Tourists are an easy target for scammers and criminals – but also for businesses trying to pull a fast one. Have you been ripped off on holiday by a cafe, taxi or other business?
Been overcharged for a coffee, meal or taxi ride while on holiday? You’re not alone. Although you might plan the perfect and most economical holiday, it doesn’t always turn out that way in practice.
Tourists are often caught out by businesses charging more than what might seem reasonable – and a cafe in Venice is just the most recent to come under fire for saddling punters with a jaw-dropping bill.
The cafe in St. Mark’s Square charged tourists €43 (£38) for two espressos and two bottles of water – that’s €10 for 25cl of water and €11.50 for a coffee.
According to the cafe, the pricey bill was due to a surcharge they levy on customers sitting outside in the square, where views of St Mark’s Basilica can be enjoyed.
Other customers of the cafe have complained about this surcharge. One reviewer wrote on TripAdvisor:
“We naively didn’t look at the menu before ordering water and coffee for a family of five. €78 (£69)!!! Including €11 (£9) per latte and €9 (£8) for a glass of milk for a three year old. Avoid at all costs.”
Rip off rates
These stories are not isolated events. Earlier this year, Venice’s authorities stepped in after four Japanese tourists were charged just shy of €1,200 for a meal consisting of four steaks and a plate of mixed seafood.
Tourists from the same group were also charged €350 for three plates of seafood pasta at another nearby restaurant.
Venetian authorities have promised to investigate and crack down on businesses trying to exploit tourists – the mayor of Venice vowing to “do all we can to punish those responsible”.
But stories like these can only make you wonder how many tourists are being ripped off without knowing it – or without sharing it on social media.
And it’s not just tourists abroad being ripped off either. There have been many uncomfortable examples in London recently of tourists being taken for a ride, literally.
In several reported cases, rickshaw drivers in central London have been charging tourists seemingly whatever they like for rides around the city.
In one example on Oxford Street, a rickshaw cyclist demanded £600 from tourists for a 30-minute ride, aggressively claiming he charged £10 a minute (which even then should have made the fare half of what he claimed).
Another example saw a rickshaw driver demanding over £200 for a trip between Marble Arch and Oxford circus.
We’ve got plenty of advice on how to avoid holiday booking scams, but how easy is it to avoid being ripped off once you’re there?
Have you been ripped off abroad for a product or service? How do you personally guard against getting scammed on holiday?