Consumer Focus point their supercomplaint machine at currency exchange world

21 September 2011

euros Welcome to the age of the supercomplaint! Consumer Focus are at it again, and this time they’ve got the currency exchange ‘industry’ fixed firmly in their sights, claiming that UK holidaymakers are being stung out of their cash by a system of complex charges and misleading information.

At the moment, a whopping £1 billion is charged in currency exchange fees and Consumer Focus have complained to the OFT, disputing that the whole of that amount is warranted. They’ve cited the fact that the conversion of £500 into euros could cost anywhere between £10 and £30, even though the service provided across the board is the same.

They’re also griping about complex card charges that prevent holidaymakers from shopping around for a better deal, charges for buying currency with a card that fail to reflect the costs of processing the payment and hidden mark-ups that make enticing phrases such as ‘0% commission’ misleading.

“Individuals buy holiday money infrequently and so may not shop around much or may just stick with the same supplier,” said Mike O'Connor, chief executive of Consumer Focus, adding that “a cocktail of confusing charges and poor transparency means collectively we are losing out in a big way.” Naturally, the banks are huffing about the supercomplaint, moaning that they are disappoinited that Consumer Focus didn’t speak to them first. Because, yeah, that would have really helped wouldn’t it?

The Office of Fair Trading has 90 days to respond by stating what action, if any, it plans to take on the issue and the reasons behind its decision. Tick... tick... tick....

TOPICS:   Travel   Consumer Advice

25 comments

  • captain c.
    I tried to leave a comment on the BBC about this, but they obviously dont like people naming and shaming the banks, because 6 hours later it has still not been displayed. Can i name and shame here??? First Direct/HSBC used to use the international mid market rate to decide how much you had spent when using your card abroad, now they use the same rates as travelex (ie shite), AND charge you a whopping fee for using the card for either purchases or ATM withdrawls. It is now MUCH cheaper (if you shop around), to buy a Pre Pay Credit Card just for holidays. (Currently entering my third month in China and pissedoff at the fees I have to pay to use the ATM)
  • PokeHerPete
    Does the Office Of Fair Trade have anything about websites promoting fake competitions?
  • The B.
    What on earth is all the moaning about that bloody competition? Most of the entries I saw looked as though they'd wasted a full 5 minutes of someone's life, does it really matter that much?
  • StuPid
    Mine took a lot longer than 5 minutes, because I enjoyed doing it, just like the 2nd Birthday competition. The moaning is because if any other company did this, Bitterwallet would (quite rightly) be all over them. The new issue is that Bitterwallet are ignoring all requests to say something about it, again a particular bugbear of Bitterwallet (and its avid readers). Ps, you only saw 3 or 4 entries, none were mine, so there is at least 1 more, and I would assume 10 to 20 more, based on the Birthday competition.
  • Blimey C.
    agree with the above, I spent a whole hour on my cover attempt…. precious time that could have been spent bumming foxes (or doing actual work…)
  • Dick
    BW should make a statement about the competition. Along the lines of "All the entries were crap and a two year old armed only with some paper and a piece of day-old dog shit could have managed better. They were so crap, we have decided to give all the prizes to Mof because he is 'special'." Then that could be the end of it.
  • Dick
    BW should make a statement about the competition. Along the lines of "All the entries were crap and a two year old armed only with some paper and a piece of day-old dog shit could have managed better. They were so crap, we have decided to give all the prizes to Mof because he is 'special'." Then that could be the end of it..
  • Dick
    Fecking software.
  • Blimey C.
    I think BW just like winding up the only 4 people that keep asking what happened. one more comment and we'll get on the 'most discussed' sidebar… whooo!
  • Blimey C.
    I think BW just like winding up the only 4 people that keep asking what happened. one more comment and we’ll get on the ‘most discussed’ sidebar… whooo!
  • Blimey C.
    Fecking software.
  • PokeHerPete
    BitterWallet hosted a competition?
  • StuPid
    Seems to be a lot of repeated comments, I say repeated comments
  • The B.
    Echo...
  • PokeHerPete
    Think this could be most discussed?
  • Blimey C.
    I think that unlikely
  • Blimey C.
    But I would welcome the discussion…
  • PokeHerPete
    Discussion or percussion?
  • captain c.
    Errr, I think the PFY has entered all the comments into the wrong story comment section again.......
  • Boris
    I won the competition with my outstanding entry entitled "NO COVER". They said that it best matched their policy of "no content". Andy Dawson told me not to tell anybody about it because they would all be upset and cry. He said we were all winners and we should all be vewy pwoud of our work.
  • Boris
    Sorry, Andy just phoned to correct me. He has a strong Kentish accent and I mistook "winners" for "wankers".
  • Joe
    To actually comment on this ACTUAL FUCKING POST: Fucksake, companies should be allowed to charge what they like for services they provide so long as it is not an illegal penalty charge or part of monopolistic behaviour. If people aren't going to shop around for a good deal when they buy some Euros, whose fault is that? It's not like the charges are hidden, they'll tell you before you buy the pissing things. Fucking people wanting things spoonfed to them. I blame Martin Lewis.
  • Catweazle
    Wheeee......today it's my go on the pig
  • Rhialto
    The obvious solution is for the UK to join the Eurozone. Presto, no more charges for visiting the rest of Europe!
  • money C.
    I was recommended this web site by way of my cousin. I am not certain whether or not this put up is written via him as nobody else realize such targeted about my difficulty. You're wonderful! Thank you!

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