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Author: TMFJeanie Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 20733  
Subject: Re: Anyone tried Rick Steves? Date: 10/17/2006 1:00 AM
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No big problems with the car rental. It was Avis,too. They did add-on a charge then pretended not to speak English anymore.

LOL! I do believe that the add-on charges represent a "personal entitlement" on the part of the rental clerk. Something I've dubbed "tip at gunpoint" ;-)

My Italian Avis clerk added on almost $400 to the contract price, and didn't back down until he finally realized that I wasn't backing down either. (I kept an eagle eye on my Amex account for a long time after, too).

Two other ripoff experiences we had last year in Mexico (San Miguel), one through carelessness and one through naivete:

DH left his cellphone in a restaurant one night. Next day when he discovered it missing, I called Cingular on my cell and put a block on his number, and then went back and asked the English-speaking hostess if anyone had found it. She was very helpful and talked to the wait staff. One waiter came up to me, all smiles, said he had found it on the floor but took it home with him "for safekeeping", and if we'd come back after his dinner shift, he'd run home and bring it back to us.
We were so damned thrilled to get that phone back that we tipped him 200 pesos (about $20). Then discovered later that he had run up about $40 in international call charges that same night.

Second "tip-at-gunpoint" was more surprising. It was in a very upscale pottery store where they offered shipping to the U.S. I purchased three heavy items and arranged to ship them home. I was quoted 1200 pesos ($120) for the shipping charges and she wrote up the bill. When I handed over my CC, the saleswoman said that shipping charges had to be in cash; she was "not allowed" to charge that portion of the bill to a CC. I'll admit a flag went up, but hey.... I'm the foreigner, right? So maybe that's just the way they do it. I charged my merchandise to the card and gave her 1200 pesos in cash, just about all I had on me.

The pottery never arrived. I wrote to the store; I had Amex initiate an investigation and reversed the charge back to the merchant. Never got a response. So, while I didn't have to pay for the merchandise, I was still out the $120 "tip" I'd obviously been conned out of.

The joys of travel ;-)


Jeanie
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