Today I went to buy £100 of Euros to keep me going when I arrive in Tenerife until I can change my money at a better rate over there.
As the Co-op travel and Thomas Cook are virtually next door to each other I looked first in their windows to check the rate. The Co-op was showing (or so I thought) 1.42E to the £ whilst Thomas Cook had no rate showing, so I went in the Co-op - for some reason the foreign currency counter was closed and assistant said cashier would be 5-10 mins, so instead of waiting I went into Thomas Cooks.
I was amazed when cashier said their rate was 1.35E - I said How come, as it was £1.42 next door? The cashier then looked at a list on the wall at her side and said "the highest on offer today is 1.41E to the £ so I will match that rate"!!
So, presumably if I hadnt already twigged what the going rate was she would have fobbed me off at 1.35? I consider that rather dis-honest!
The final straw was when she said she would round it up to 150Euros for £110. I said no I didnt want to do that, so she sold me 145Euros for £102.84.
On the receipt she has shown it as a discount of £4.57. so if I had spent £1000 with them it would have been a saving of over £45 from their quoted rate to what they actually gave it me for just because I complained.
Not happy with Thomas Cooks way of doing business.
Sadly its like most things like buying say an electrical item, ask for a discount and you might get it, don't ask and you wont. Same with holidays, some people will ask for price match, others don't and accept the first price offered.
It is just the same as booking a holiday or for that matter a car or large electrical item, shop around and get the best rate and ask for it to be matched if necessary.
American Express Travellers Cards which is pretty much the 'new travellers cheques'. The only snag with this is you have to do it a good 7-10 working days before you go away because the card and PIN number have to be sent to your home address. I was offered 750 Euros for £495 (exchange rate 1.51) this summer, but I couldn't do it because I'd booked the holiday last minute and wouldn't have had time to get the card in the post. Look out for their deals in the window.Thomson travel agents (formerly Lunn Poly) can offer a very good rate (sometimes 1.50 or even 1.52) as long as you have your Euros loaded onto one of their
doesntnormally between these two shops.
The reason I was annoyed is because I use these two particular shops for my foreign currency 3-4 times a year and the rate has always been identical or as near as dammit between the two, obviously because they are next to each other on the High St, but this is the first time Thomas Cook didnt display their rates in the window.
I am well aware it happens in most aspects of life, but other people might not be!
I don't see that Thomas Cook have done anything dishonest, after all you didn't have to buy from them you could have gone back to the CO-OP for the higher rate.
if you are happy enough not to use travellers cheques then take sterling and change it abroad for a better rate.
as for the american express cheque card agencies are on big profit with them as the agencies are really the power behind the sucsess of the card at the moment. there are still problems with the card and some places are not set up to use it. it is a good idea but most agencies are making big money on them so they will offer to give you 50 quid pre loaded cards if you sign up.
Forget taking travellers cheques .... get yourself a Nationwide debit card & take the cash out of a ATM in destination country.
You get charged bankers rate (far better than the tourist rate you get from travel agent) & Nationwide don't charge you !!
I've done this a lot in Europe & USA .... never any problems.
You can shop around and get them commission free.. but even paying comm,
it's worth it for the replacement factor.
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