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trouble with Agoda auto-currency-conversion

trouble with Agoda auto-currency-conversion

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Old Jul 8, 11, 2:41 pm
  #1  
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trouble with Agoda auto-currency-conversion

My credit card is AUD based.

This is what use to happen: I view the hotel rate in USD. When paying, Agoda asks me if I want to pay USD or AUD. I usually choose USD.

Just out of curiosity, I choose AUD a few times to check our their conversion rate.

This is what always happen now: I view the hotel rate in USD. When paying, Agoda charges AUD to my credit card without ask me.

The conversion Agoda uses is 2.5% away from inter-bank rate. My credit card company on uses 0.5% away from inter-bank rate. So I pay 2% more if I let Agoda convert the currency for me.

Does anyone else have the same problem?

I contacted Agoda to discuss issue. All they can do is cancel the transaction without charging me a fee. But if I retry the same booking, I am always charged AUD even when I view the hotel rate in USD.....

---
I can view the hotel rate in AUD, and Agoda will charge me AUD without asking.
However the hotel rate in AUD has build in 2.5% cost. So I still end up paying 2% more compare to view & pay in USD.
---

2% is not too much. I can wear it.... but a nasty feeling of getting ripped off by Agoda....
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Old Jul 8, 11, 4:44 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by Frank8899 View Post
My credit card is AUD based.

This is what use to happen: I view the hotel rate in USD. When paying, Agoda asks me if I want to pay USD or AUD. I usually choose USD.

Just out of curiosity, I choose AUD a few times to check our their conversion rate.

This is what always happen now: I view the hotel rate in USD. When paying, Agoda charges AUD to my credit card without ask me.

The conversion Agoda uses is 2.5% away from inter-bank rate. My credit card company on uses 0.5% away from inter-bank rate. So I pay 2% more if I let Agoda convert the currency for me.

Does anyone else have the same problem?

I contacted Agoda to discuss issue. All they can do is cancel the transaction without charging me a fee. But if I retry the same booking, I am always charged AUD even when I view the hotel rate in USD.....

---
I can view the hotel rate in AUD, and Agoda will charge me AUD without asking.
However the hotel rate in AUD has build in 2.5% cost. So I still end up paying 2% more compare to view & pay in USD.
---

2% is not too much. I can wear it.... but a nasty feeling of getting ripped off by Agoda....
I too am always asked in which currency I would like to pay, I usually pay in USD or CAD depending on which dollar is doing better. Have never had a problem, payment is always made in the currency I select.
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Old Jul 16, 11, 7:57 pm
  #3  
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I've seen this on Agoda also, but I don't think this is Dynamic Currency Conversion (the China forum has a long sticky thread on the DCC scam). The most likely thing I figure it can be is a programming issue. Specifically, that Agoda doesn't adjust currency exchange rates on a daily basis, but instead periodically. In other words, the price per property per currency is loaded into the system, but the prices for each currency are not always connected to each other with a constantly-adjusting exchange rate. Therefore, in between periodic rate adjustments to the listed rates, divergence will be seen from the interbank exchange rate, when comparing any two currencies that have been actively moving against each other in the interim. This arbitrage can work for or against you--sometimes it makes Agoda rates a little better than elsewhere...other times a bit more, depending on the currency you want to be charged in.

Remember that Agoda's policy (or any website's) is separate from any fees charged by your own bank for foreign transactions or foreign currency transactions. So, everything has to be taken into account holistically when figuring out what the best deal is for the way you want to pay. I usually also compare the rates on at least 2-3 other booking sites, as Agoda isn't always the bottom-line best.

I don't know why you were charged in AUD instead of USD. But that selection is on the booking information page, what you "view" the hotel rates in isn't the final selection. Is it possible you inadvertently overlooked or forgot to change your billing selection to USD this time?

Last edited by jiejie; Jul 16, 11 at 8:07 pm
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Old Jul 26, 11, 2:39 pm
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JieJie, if I understand you correctly you are saying that: Agoda tries to charge the final amount using interbank exchange rate? But sometimes it is out of step because they only update the exchange rate a few times a day.

This may be true; but I think it is not the case. I think they use live update, but put in a 2.5% profit margin. This is what Amazon does as well, they use live update but give themselves a 4% profit margin from the fair inter-bank exchange rate.

In any case, I have no problem with Agoda or Amazon make 2.5% (or 4%) profit margin. Both company offer you the choice of not using their currency exchange, but pay in the native currency.

If you pay native currency, then Agoda/Amazon make no money from you from the exchange. They just make money on the hotel/book/dvd that you buy.

The problem with Agoda lately is: I am not given that choice any more. They auto convert for me without asking.....
I just talk to their support and explain what happen. The support staff refunded the 2.5% profit they made from me without any hassle (about $40 USD). So I am thinking there is a problem with their system, thus refund of 2.5% is very common.

>>>>I don't know why you were charged in AUD instead of USD. But that selection is on the booking information page, what you "view" the hotel rates in isn't the final selection. Is it possible you inadvertently overlooked or forgot to change your billing selection to USD this time?

Nah. I was pretty careful. From my previous experience and what Agoda staff tell me there should be a small pop up box asking me if I want USD or AUD. I use to see it, now it never pops up....

>>>>Remember that Agoda's policy (or any website's) is separate from any fees charged by your own bank for foreign transactions or foreign currency transactions. So, everything has to be taken into account holistically when figuring out what the best deal is for the way you want to pay.

Yup. I have a second credit card from a different bank. This bank charges 4% profit margin from the fair interbank exchange rate. So if I had to choose between this bank or Agoda, I would choose Agoda to do the currency conversion.
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Old Jul 26, 11, 2:44 pm
  #5  
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Old Aug 6, 11, 9:28 am
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frank, you are right in your assumption. agoda uses rsb to dynamically convert exchange rates with a markup, hotels are able to enter rates at a base rate of their choice of which rates are then converted from, so usd might not always be the best choice.

chollie gave you the hint i would have given, too - did that clear it up for you?
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Old Aug 18, 11, 11:04 pm
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Agoda credit card rip off

I have just experienced the same rip-off from Agoda.

I have made 50+ hotel bookings through their website. All prices are shown in USD, and their service/booking charges are clearly shown. In the past, when I submitted the payment there was a pop up box which gave me the option to pay the USD amount, or to pay in the currency of my credit card which is NZD. I tried both in the past and discovered that when they converted to my local currency I ended up paying MORE, so I only ever accepted the charge in USD.

However recently the box from which you can choose the currency does not appear. I am shown a USD amount to pay which I accept, and it is only AFTER the transaction has been processed that I suddenly discover I have been charged a different amount in a different currency. They should at least give you the option to opt out of this, and tell you the amount you are going to pay BEFORE they have charged you for it.

I emailed Agoda about this and they kept answering questions which I didn't ask them. Initially I thought this was due to the lack of English language ability from their customer support staff, but eventually I realsied that they were deliberately not answering my questions or acknowledging my concerns regarding their currency conversion procedures.

They eventually offered me a 5% discount on one of the bookings I had made, but not the other 3 in which I had been charged extra. They also refused to address the core issue whatsoever.

I find it hard to believe that they are not breaking Visa's merchant T&C's by a) not allowing their customers to opt out of the "service" and b) by not informing their customers them amount they are being charged until AFTER they have already been charged.

I am going to complain to my credit card company on the other 3 charges, and will continue to do so for each transaction done by Agoda in this manner.

I thought Agoda was a reputable site and I liked the transparency that they show you what their fees and service charges were, they don't try to hide charges from you. But this Direct Currency Conversion debacle (and lack of adequate communication) has completely eroded my trust in them.
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Old Aug 22, 11, 1:19 am
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I got exactly the same problem.
Was charged like 4% (!) more in russian rubles without any notice.
E-mails didnt helped so I asked bank for chargeback.
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Old Sep 25, 11, 12:42 am
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Agoda.com currency exchange scam - I am furious!

I had the same experience with Agoda, my next payment with the same card was billed in my local currency instead of USD. I was always billed in USD for my previous bookings. After emailing Agoda for several days and insisting that it's not my mistake, they refunded me 10% of the booking price. I hope they will correct this issue as it's very annoying and I do not want to lose Agoda service just because of this issue.

Last edited by MegaTraveller; Sep 27, 11 at 12:39 am Reason: Agoda served my complaint
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Old Oct 14, 11, 11:20 am
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Exclamation Agoda scam

Agoda have made a couple of changes to their website when you check out for the purchase now but are STILL forcing all customers into their Direct Currency Conversion "service" and charging them an extra 3% for the privilege.

Interestingly when you go to pay at the final step they no longer say "FINAL PRICE" and infact they do not even tell you how much you have to pay or how much they are going to charge your card, which I think id very deceiving.

They will state the room rate per night, and Hotel Tax and service fees per night but will not actually tell you how much the payment is for!

In my case the room charge was USD 218.26 per night + USD 52.07 hotel tax per night, less USD 90.00 of "rewards", so the total is USD 450.66, right? You'd think that's how much I'm going to be charged right, but NO.



Once I clicked on the "Continue" I then found out that I hadn't been charged USD 450.66, infact I hadn't even been charged any USD. I now see I have been charged NZD 594.65!



And if I had been charged the correct amount of USD 450.66 then it would have worked out the same anyway, right? NO. At the time of purchase USD 450.66 was equal to only NZD 577.09.



So Agoda have charged me an extra ~3% commission for their "service" of converting the currency. They don't tell me of this service nor give me the opportunity to opt out of it (like they used to). They don't even have the decency to tell their customers how much they are being charged!

Yes I have emailed then about this situation numerous times and no matter who replies to you, their M.O. is always the same, they will not actually answer your concerns or questions, but they will provide irrelevant information you didn't ask for and quote different amounts and issues unrelated to the actual problem. They pretend to not know what you are talking about. If you email them 3 times they will suddenly offer to refund you the ~3% commission they have forced upon you, but at no time will they ever answer any of your questions or engage into discussions regarding their billing practices, DCC issues, or lack of transparency.

I used to think they were a reputable site offering good hotel rooms at reasonable prices, but their deceptive billing practices and ignorant customer service has seriously dented any respectability they might once have had!
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Old Nov 14, 11, 7:00 pm
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I too, was charged on my local currency on the final bill. Agoda refused to refund the disputed amount, I saw the final bill on USD but when I charged my credit card, it went to Philippine pesos. Considering I have a credit card that has dual currency function that notifies for USD transactions to be accounted for USD, I complained this to agoda. This is an unfair practice for them, as spurner has mentioned in his post the last time. The USD has been going down in our country so I opted to pay in USD, but they charged me in my local currency without any notification, charging the 3% commission that spurner had mentioned. I emailed them that I wont be using their website and would post this comment to several websites about this unfair practice of them!

I also mentioned that I sent a screenshot to [email protected] about a website that I found out was offering a much lower rate with them, and yet they are claiming that they have not received screenshot which was sent a few weeks ago but never responded to. I used to think agoda was a reputable company but now I am doubtful since other websites are more cheaper than them. I would never use them in the future!
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Old Nov 15, 11, 5:28 am
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They are probably just using a service from their bank where they split the "convenience" overcharge of charging you on in your own currency when it is NOT in your benefit.

I just had this same problem in China. Most of the POS machines where programmed to do this automatically for my "benefit". Only when you got manager involved they always found a machine that didn't participate to this "scam".
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Old Nov 20, 11, 7:57 pm
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Technical glich or scam?

Today I was looking in their website for reservations in Chiang Mai. Saw the Holiday Inn for $22.00 per night. Tried to book 7 nights and after imputing my cc #, the per night rate was still $22.00 but the total was $611.++. cancelled the transaction and emailed Agoda to find out what the hey? Still waiting for an answer. Looked at my pending transactions at my debit card and nothing has been charge or authorized.
I like to think that it was a technical issue, cause when I got out of the transaction and went to back to the hotel info the price had gone back to $40.00 for the lowest class room. I had good service from them few times before and like to stay with them. If not, Expedia is very comparable to Agoda.
Just another option

Zeus
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Old Nov 27, 11, 3:59 pm
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not only a scam, but fraud, as Agoda says:

"Please be informed that you will be billed based on your credit card provider currency and country."

completely unauthorized!!

Originally Posted by Akazeus View Post
Today I was looking in their website for reservations in Chiang Mai. Saw the Holiday Inn for $22.00 per night. Tried to book 7 nights and after imputing my cc #, the per night rate was still $22.00 but the total was $611.++. cancelled the transaction and emailed Agoda to find out what the hey? Still waiting for an answer. Looked at my pending transactions at my debit card and nothing has been charge or authorized.
I like to think that it was a technical issue, cause when I got out of the transaction and went to back to the hotel info the price had gone back to $40.00 for the lowest class room. I had good service from them few times before and like to stay with them. If not, Expedia is very comparable to Agoda.
Just another option

Zeus
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Old Nov 29, 11, 6:46 pm
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Follow up to my previous post

Agoda replied to my request the day after. There was no reservation recorded and my credit card was not charged. It must have been a technical issue.

Cheers

Zeus
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