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Old Apr 4, 10, 7:27 am   #1
 
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Charged in US Dollars instead of local currency

I am interested in your experience in having your credit card billed in US dollar instead of local currency. I am seeing this in more frequency. I found it a disturbing trend because the conversion rate by the local bank is really bad; usually equivalent to 3% conversion fee. On top of that credit card issuing company tacks on their own ForEx fees.

I am posting at this forum because it was an SPG property that charged my credit card in US dollars instead of local currency. At the spg property I specifically told the hotel I want to be charged in local currency. All receipts indicates that I am being charged in local currency. Unfortunately, my credit card was billed for US dollar. The difference for the stay is $15. It might not seem like a lot but they all add up. Besides, they lied to me. At present time, I am asking them to refund my $15.00. They are offering to give me 1000 SPG point. I am tempted to say no and just give my $15.

What is your experience? Should we as travelers tolerate this type of extra fees tacked on by foreign businesses. I don't what the SPG hotel gain by charging me in US dollars. I do know that it is the default way of settling the account by many hotels and restaurants. During my recent trip, I made the businesses cancel the charge and re-do the charge in local currency.
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Old Apr 4, 10, 7:39 am   #2
 
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These charges are almost always made by the property rather than the local bank. The MC and V policies will impose the FX charges on any TX that originated outside the domestic currency zone of the credit card issuer. Thus, for a US issued card you'll end out paying twice. This is not unique to SPG, others do it too. You might also pay attention to non-geographic numbers, a common way for hotels, including some UK Marriotts, to jack up phone charges. Calling them from the US can cost up to $10 per minute!
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Old Apr 4, 10, 7:53 am   #3
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Originally Posted by jbcarioca View Post
The MC and V policies will impose the FX charges on any TX that originated outside the domestic currency zone of the credit card issuer.
This is incorrect; Visa and MasterCard apply the exchange rate that applies to transactions of $1m or higher, and this is part of a settlement. Banks can add their own fees, but it has nothing to do with Visa or MasterCard.

This topic has been exhaustively addressed in FT and there's an excellent wiki entry at http://www.flyerguide.com/wiki/index...reign_Exchange

To be blunt, the fee on foreign purchases is a fee for the lazy who doesn't shop, while dynamic currency conversion is a fee on the ignorant who doesn't decline it.
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Old Apr 4, 10, 8:20 am   #4
 
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Westin Chosun Busan also did this to me... its obnoxious, as the conversion rate is bad on the KRW to USD, and then my credit card is actually a CAD account, meaning I get hit with a credit card conversion fee as well. I wish the hotels would specifically request permission to do this, particularly if everything is denominated in local currency... it might be more acceptable at properties somewhere like Bali, where room rates are quoted in USD.
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Old Apr 4, 10, 9:07 am   #5
 
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This is why I stoped using credit cards at hotels outside the U.S. I just bring enough in AMEX travelers cheques (free to AMEX cardholders and AAA members in the U.S. as well as at many banks in the U.S.), convert them to local currency at a bank, then pay the hotel bill in cash. Yes, it may be a pain, but the savings do add up.
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Old Apr 4, 10, 9:47 am   #6
 
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I have actually never experienced that my CC was changed in other than local currency unless I signed for this. And if I had not signed for a specific amount I would contest the charge with my CC company. It is as easy as this: I owe the hotel (most prominent expample) Thai Bhat and not US Dollar. And I sign for Thai Bhat. Full stop.
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Old Apr 4, 10, 9:54 am   #7
 
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I agree. Contest the charge as a billing error with your credit card company.

Be sure to follow all the rules (notice in WRITING, to SPECIAL BILLING ERROR ADDRESS, within 60 days of date of mailing of bill to you--note that a phone call, email, etc will not protect you). This usually works. If not, you have a good lawsuit under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. I know those who have made a goodly sum on these.

In any event, this is a scam. Very popular in China and elsewhere. Not permitted unless you agree to it in writing, usually snuck onto the charge slip, often with no way to refuse on charge slip. Credit card company rules do not permit this (no option) but, it is often done anyway.
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Old Apr 4, 10, 10:03 am   #8
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I was just in China, where every single hotel attempted to charge me in USD. I vigorously fought this at the IC in Chengdu, with no success. Hotel staff went so far as to call the bank, who claimed there was no way possible to charge me in local currency. I had a car and driver awaiting me, and decided that what I had scheduled for the day was more important than the few dollars I was going to lose, but I was not happy.
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Old Apr 4, 10, 11:21 am   #9
 
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Originally Posted by SanDiego1K View Post
I was just in China, where every single hotel attempted to charge me in USD. I vigorously fought this at the IC in Chengdu, with no success. Hotel staff went so far as to call the bank, who claimed there was no way possible to charge me in local currency. I had a car and driver awaiting me, and decided that what I had scheduled for the day was more important than the few dollars I was going to lose, but I was not happy.
They tried to do the same with me in Shanghai. I wrote on the form "the above mentioned charge in Euro is not accepted" and happily signed and contested with my bank. The hotel had quite a nightmare to get money at all.
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Old Apr 4, 10, 2:15 pm   #10
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Originally Posted by Flying Lawyer View Post
I wrote on the form "the above mentioned charge in Euro is not accepted"
I've been told the correct "legal" wording is "With reservation of rights".
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Old Apr 4, 10, 2:37 pm   #11
 
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
I've been told the correct "legal" wording is "With reservation of rights".
I wanted to be sure that the Chinese understood what I wrote. Sometimes it is better to use plain language. And seriously: "With reservation of rights" can mean anything or nothing - in particular when considering that you sign the slip under local (and not German or NY) law.
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Old Apr 4, 10, 2:46 pm   #12
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Originally Posted by Flying Lawyer View Post
I wanted to be sure that the Chinese understood what I wrote.
As long as they actually read it (which I doubt they did).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flying Lawyer View Post
"With reservation of rights" can mean anything or nothing
Isn't that the way of most legal terms?
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Old Apr 4, 10, 2:53 pm   #13
 
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We were at a number of SPG properties in Germany and all asked us what currency we wanted to be charged in.
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Old Apr 4, 10, 3:42 pm   #14
 
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Originally Posted by hillrider View Post
This topic has been exhaustively addressed in FT and there's an excellent wiki entry at http://www.flyerguide.com/wiki/index...reign_Exchange

To be blunt, the fee on foreign purchases is a fee for the lazy who doesn't shop, while dynamic currency conversion is a fee on the ignorant who doesn't decline it.
You are missing the point. Foreign exchange fee charged by a credit card is my choice. Having my charges in US dollar by a foreign business is a forced foreign exchange fee.

Thanks to other who posted. I will be sure to sign with note to refuse payment in US dollars.

At present time, I am going to insist the SPG property to refund my $15. I wish more people would complain to the corporate office about this deceptive practice.
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Old Apr 4, 10, 3:58 pm   #15
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Originally Posted by Ilove2fly View Post
I wish more people would complain to the corporate office about this deceptive practice.
If it ever happens to be, believe me, I will.
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