13 Aug 2017
Just back from Prague, thought it necessary to tell about the ways the big currency exchange bureaus operate there. For reference, a very good rate for Euro at the moment would be 27.00 Korunas.There are two types of scams going on by big operators, looking like normal business:
1) rate confusion scam: first on the posted rate tables are Koruna to Euro (or USD or what ever) conversion rates, which look good, like 28 Koruna per Euro. Only then is the relevant conversion rate, Euro to Koruna, which is extremely low 15 Korunas per Euro. Big signs advertise 0% commission, but who needs commission of every transaction gives 40% margin? Usually the rates would be shown Euro to Koruna 15, and Koruna to Euro 0.03571, but then people would not fall for this trap. Big operator Chequepoint with blue kiosks works this way, legally, all is posted…
2) commission confusion scam: Rates shown on the tables are really good and the spread is small (good sign basically). Below the conversion sign is a notice that a 2.8% commission is charged when selling currency. Sounds good, better than you get from ATMs, yes? NO, read on: 2.8% commission is for SELLING currency, i.e. them selling us Euros or Dollars which we pay with Korunas. We are not buying currency from them, we are selling it = they are buying. Next paragraph tells that when buying currency the commission is a whooping 28%, without the decimal point. Western Union yellow kiosks use this scheme, again legally, of course.
Fortunately there are also honest exchange bureaus, small private ones, which give better rates than ATMs(after bank charges) and give honest and exact tenders before the transaction.