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Careful Changing Money in Kos

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North Chicago...
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Careful Changing Money in Kos

Careful changing money in Kos -- especially at the Western Union on the corner near the ruins in the center of town. Everywhere else I went in Greece, the people were great -- they charged official prices with price tags and receipts, and were very open about making sure that tourists were happy with their cultural experience in their beautiful country.

This one shop in Kos is unfortunately the exception to the rule. Granted, most of this is my fault for being too trusting. But, I had already changed money three times in Turkey where they publish the rates, gave me a receipt and there were no problems. In Kos, at the Western Union, the older lady there simply took advantage of my trust. She did not quote the rate up front and didn't give me a receipt. it wasn't until I returned to my room that night that I realized how much I had been ripped off. When I did the math, instead of losing 3-5% as you normally expect during a transaction, she "charged" like 35%. Again, my fault for trusting her during a cash transaction, but for a country that is incredibly dependant on tourists, it's a shame to see one "bad apple" who could have soured my whole experience on the country.

So, remember the three basic rules that I neglected -- confirm the rate before you start the transaction; then ask for a calculation of the specific amount you want to change; finally, make sure the calculation is official and that a receipt is produced. Do these three basic things, and you won't be taken advantage of by anyone, regardless of their motivations.

And, if you every happen to be in Kos, don't use the Western Union there and give that lady the stink eye for me as you walk by.

Athens, Greece
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1. Re: Careful Changing Money in Kos

Western Union is not a 'normal' money changing organisation: why didn't you go to a bank? I hadn't heard of Western Union until recently, when I had to send money to a friend who doesn't have a bank account. The cost of doing this was certainly quite high (I can't remember the percentage), but it is a secure way of sending money and I was able to send more than I could take out of a bank in one transaction. Although I live here, I have to withdraw money as if I were a visitor, as Britain doesn't pay British pensions into Greek banks. There's also a limit on how much I can get out of the ATM per day (£300), and there is a charge, but only a fixed rate of £1.50 per transaction. But I must say, when I have used Western Union to send money, I've always had an official receipt: you were very unlucky.

Devizes, United...
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2. Re: Careful Changing Money in Kos

Hi Rico

It's a shame that this person seemingly took advantage of your trusting nature but surely, if you were hit with such a huge "charge", then you must have realised as soon as she handed over the Euros that you had way less than you were expecting?

I have never used a WU office to change money but can say with all honesty that in 20 years of visiting many parts of Greece, I have changed money in banks, shops, excursion agencies and even car rental offices and have never once been ripped off.

It's almost like the woman in the WU office got the decimal place wrong and charged you 35% rather than 3.5%....

Newmarket, United...
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3. Re: Careful Changing Money in Kos

>It's almost like the woman in the WU office got the decimal place wrong and charged you 35% rather than 3.5%....<

That's what I was thinking, too.

United Kingdom
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4. Re: Careful Changing Money in Kos

Aahh, but...she didn't give a receipt......If it had been a mistake (not putting the decimal point in) she would have printed the receipt...

Methinks it could have been easy to pocket the difference to make the 'till' tally at the correct rate, which it would have done without the receipt.

Fi

Ottawa, Canada
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5. Re: Careful Changing Money in Kos

Last time I was in Greece I found ATMs everywhere...

Edited: 6:29 pm, December 12, 2012
6. Re: Careful Changing Money in Kos

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