Five things you need to know so you won't get fleeced abroad
Published 29/07/2010 | 05:00
You've saved up, booked the holidays and bought the sunscreen. The plan is total relaxation. You definitely don't want an experience that leaves you feeling more stressed than you were before the trip.
So you're in unfamiliar territory but you need to be aware of how to avoid ending up in a shopping nightmare.
1If you're lured into an electronics shop and given the hard sell by over-attentive salespeople, do not succumb and buy the "amazing" camera at a "special" price. It may turn out to be a useless one that costs a fortune.
One man I know was hassled into the back office of a shop in the Canaries by no fewer than five people. He ended up with a credit card bill for nearly €2,000 and useless gear.
2 You don't hear about it much these days, but the problem of holiday-club rip-offs persists. If you're approached with a scratch card and "win" a holiday or a case of wine, don't collect your "prize".
You'll face a lengthy presentation and a hard sell to sign up to a holiday club that may well turn out to be money for nothing.
3Tempted by the knock-off designer bags and sunglasses? Bear in mind that you won't be able to enforce any consumer rights when buying from a stall selling fake goods.
And do you really want to help fund the black economy? If you're heading to Italy, you'll be interested to know that the authorities can issue fines of up to €10,000 if you are caught buying counterfeit goods.
4If you're renting a car and have a breakdown or accident, call the rental company before even thinking of going to a garage.
Check the fuel policy and don't pay for a full tank because you'll be charged for it even if you don't use it all. When returning the car, ask an employee to check for damage, and take photos if you drop back after hours.
5 Using your phone abroad? If you access emails, remember that although the amount you pay for downloads is capped at €50 plus Vat, charges can still be high so check the best option with your provider.