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Warning!!! Rip Off in Prague!. ....I got totally ripped off while in Prague. I was madder at myself than anything else because I have traveled enough to know better. I needed some money and went to what looked like a reputable exchange shop, just around the corner from the Municpal House. I had 50 Euros and expected around 1200 Czech crowns. I got 950. I thought something must be wrong, but I figured it was my calculations. Later, I thought SOMETHING MUST REALLY BE WRONG and I looked at the receipt I got. Well, something was really wrong. For starters, I was charged nearly 4 Euros for the map they gave me that I didn't ask for.. I thought it was complimentary. Well, I went back to the shop with no compliments in mind.

I asked for an explanation of his math skills. The clerk said he had nothing to talk to me about. Clearly written in English was a message that said if you had any questions about the transaction, it had to be done immediately. I was way too late. I held my ground and finally had a bit of an explanation. There was a rate of buying Euros, Selling Euros, and a much lower rate for Traveler's Checks. 50 Euros was considered a small amount and given the Traveler's check rate. So, combining the poor exchange rate and the map, I got the equivalent of about 35 Euros out of the joint. Then, I did a little research. It seemed that this could have been the only agency with maps readily available, at least the only ones I saw, but all agencies appeared to be out to steal from you. After knowing what to look for (the fine print that most tourists never noticed), you could get a closer to proper rate only if you were trading for a certain amount. That amount ranged from 15,000 to 50,000 Czech crowns. And, you may ask, how much was that in Euros and dollars? Depending on the company, you needed to at least exchange 557 Euros ($806) on up to 1,857 Euros ($2,687) to get the advertised rate. Otherwise, it was the rate I got. As I checked at one place, the woman at the counter questioned the exchange and after my explanation demanded her money back. She never even stepped away from the window, but she was refused. Lesson learned.. Use plastic in Prague. Never, ever, ever go to any money exchange places.

I was livid. Of course, there was no getting anything back SO I lingered around the place and warned other people before they could get ripped off. The clerk was furious, too, and called security. It was some bruiser who spoke no English. When I didn't leave, he threatened to call the police. I should have stayed and talked to them but I thought they probably spoke as little English as anyone else in Prague. Anyway, I was glad I ruined his day. That helped. But the final revenge would be warning others on the website. So be warned and safely enjoy your money in Prague.

Copyright 2007 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.