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Problem with booking a hotel in AU (exchange rate)

Problem with booking a hotel in AU (exchange rate)

Old Feb 7th, 2008, 09:55 PM
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Problem with booking a hotel in AU (exchange rate)

For the first time trying to book by myself - and first surprise.
6 nights in the hotel (Savoy in Vienna, Austria) is 570 Euro including all taxes and fees (aprox $832), booked yesterday.
But what I see in my CC statement today - I was charged $959 (656 euro).

I requested the confirmation from the hotel and they faxed it to me, confirming 570 euro.
I called the CC and asked about the rate they exchanged euro into dollars, was told - "WE DON'T KNOW, just OUR (Providian) rate is different from the official +1% international transaction fee.

Is anybody ever had similar problems? Is it really that any bank can have OWN exchange rate that instead adding 1-2% fee the bank adds about 10%?
What can I do in such situation?

Thank you.
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 09:58 PM
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Different credit cards have different fees and exchange rates. Can you cancel and rebook on a card with less fees.
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 10:13 PM
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The problem is - I don't know the exchange procedure here, in the US. I called to my 3 different CC and went to 3 different banks - NO ONE was able to explain how the calculation is making. NO ONE.

The CC I've used has the lovest fee - 1% for transaction.

How can I cancel the deal if there is a great chance that I will be charged much more...
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 10:27 PM
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do not ask the customer service reps at the bank - they usually don't know anything.

instead, read the info that comes w/ your cc bill. The fine print explains the rates they use . . . . .
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 10:34 PM
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If the bank doesn't know the rate - WHO KNOWS???

And how can I be sure that if I buy somthing from Europe for $10 I will not be charged $50.

There should be some way to know...
Anybody knows?

And if I wait tor a statement - one months I will not be able to change anything and just lose my money.
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 10:46 PM
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First thing to double check - does your CC statement tell you the numbr of Euros you are being charged ? If it does and the amount is 570, then your CC company is giving you a completely outrageous exchange rate and you should change cards. I've never seen anything nearly as bad.

If instead, your CC statement shows 656 euros - then it looks like the excahgne rate is fine, but that the hotel has booked a different amount than stated on the fax.

-Kevin
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Old Feb 7th, 2008, 10:49 PM
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Thank you everyone for your answers - good school for me.

The statement shows - $959.32, nothing about euro at all.
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Old Feb 8th, 2008, 04:13 AM
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Perhaps the hotel in Austria charged you in US dollars using their own conversion rate?
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Old Feb 8th, 2008, 04:56 AM
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Hi L,

>Is it really that any bank can have OWN exchange...

Only if they have sent you a letter telling you what their currency conversion fee is.

My CC companies (all 4) list the amount in Euro, the amount in USD and the currency conversion fee (if any).

I suggest that you dispute the charge, especially since the hotel has confirmed 570E.

Get a different CC.

CapitalOne doesn't charge conversion fees.


I calculate 570E as about $844 at today's bank exchange rate.
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Old Feb 8th, 2008, 04:57 AM
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Sounds like Dynamic Currency Conversion to me especially as the statement doesn't quote the Euro amount.

If so, then you should have been offered the choice between paying in USD or EUR at the time of booking - always choose the local currency not USD. If you weren't then the hotel is breaking it's T&Cs so they've made an illegal transaction

I'd complain about the charge to the CC company at a higher level than phone answerer (sorry Customer Service Officer) and stay on the phone until you get a proper answer
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Old Feb 8th, 2008, 05:02 AM
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landoradi - There's a possibilty it could be DCC which means the hotel did their own conversion rate at a very high rate. They are required to ask if they can charge in $, but most don't.
http://www.travelfinances.com/blog/i...onversion-dcc/

After googling Providian, it seems there are multiple complaints about them. They are described as sub-par and predatory.

First, call your cc and ask the exact specifics of the charge. Did the hotel enter $ or E and how much. They are required by law to disclose fees and remind them of that. Tell them you are going to dispute the charge and this must be done in writing. If they refuse to tell you, ask for a supervisor. It sounds like Providian tacked on a big fee, but your $832 isn't accurate anyway cause that's the lowest interbank rate yesterday without any fees at all.
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Old Feb 8th, 2008, 05:05 AM
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15% mark up is a bit much even by the standards of US financial institutions.

Does sound as if there is something else going on
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Old Feb 8th, 2008, 05:16 AM
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My question is - why are you having to pay in advance for a hotel?
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Old Feb 8th, 2008, 08:13 AM
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Thank you again.

I've paid for the hotel ahead, because I need a visa to Austria. But to obtain a visa I need a confirmmation from the hotel that "a hotel is booked for particular days" (it's a requirement of Austria Embassy).

I've made about 10 calls already. talked to supervisers too - no one tells me what's going on.
Just one thing is clear - 1% fee. But now I found out it can be 1-2% more after.

Yesterady was told to wait 5 more days and then to fill out a dispute form.
Will see.
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Old Feb 8th, 2008, 11:06 AM
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Since when is it a requirement to have a visa for Austria? Are you talking US$? Canadian $? I think most of the responses are about US cc laws which means nothing if you are not US.
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Old Feb 8th, 2008, 02:01 PM
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I'm talking about US credit cards and I'm in the US, but my husband doesn't have the US citizenship, so he needs a visa.
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