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Biggest Rip-off?

Have you been ripped off, had things stolen, scammed with a ‘chalk one up to experience’ or lost money while travelling?

Air it out here and let others know what, where, when and who to watch out for.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, a lot of knowledge is a powerful thing.

I haven’t carried a wallet in my back pocket for 30 years. Always deep in a front pocket. It still could get 'picked" but a lot safer nevertheless. Beware in Elevators and, of course, in crowds. When in these situations I keep my hand in my pocket and my wife always keeps her purse in front of her with a hand on it !
A lot of thefts at Resorts are blamed on Staff. I’m not saying that on occasion this doesn’t happen but I’m sure that most times it’s the individual’s lack of common sense that contributes to these issues. A nice terry beach towel hanging over your railing at night might make a nice souvenier for someone! Does the thief care if you have to pay 20 CUC to replace it ? NOT ! Also, just because “you’re only going to be gone for a few minutes” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t lock your patio or balcony door!! Again, common sense is the bottom line. Too many people don’t use it. Tourists are always a ‘mark’ for a smooth con man. Ignore the great deals they can give you and buy legitimately !

Most serious problem I ever had was in Portugal many years ago. We were going to walk into a town for lunch and parked on a street. The camera bag was put in the trunk and everything in the rental car was locked and out of sight. However, someone was watching.

When we got back an hour later, the driver’s door lock was very neatly popped in, they opened the trunk through the back seat and took the camera bag that also had $500 in Amex traveller’s cheques.

Had to go to a police station and give a statement. I started to lean over to suggest that I could type the statement a bit faster than the cop, who was a ‘word a minute’. Oops, saw that he was typing in English with a Portugese keyboard. I kept my mouth shut.

Amex replaced the money within an hour. Insurance bought me a new video camera. we did lose an hour’s worth of our video and 3 hours of our trip. Budget rent a car tried to charge me for the repair, even though i had zero deductible. The repair guy said he worked on a ‘few’ locks every day, so it was a common thing. Wish they had told me.

Now, I do almost everything with my phone camera and it stays with me and protected by ‘where’s my droid’ plus password protected.

Oops - forgot. I parked at one of the Buffalo hotels while away on a flight for a week. Returned to the parking lot and my van was missing. No biggie, insurance paid for a rental car for a month as I had to wait for 30 days before it was replaced. I had ‘new for old’ policy so I stood to get a new van out of it. Cheektowaga police called on day 30 - they found the van. It had been used for B&Es throughout the region for a few weeks. Same thing, popped lock, screwdriver in steering column. The repair guy showed me how to break in, start the van and drive off in under 20 sec. OUCH.

Live & learn but sometimes you can’t do much more to protect yourself.

[quote=@dax]
Oops - forgot. I parked at one of the Buffalo hotels while away on a flight for a week. Returned to the parking lot and my van was missing. No biggie, insurance paid for a rental car for a month as I had to wait for 30 days before it was replaced. I had ‘new for old’ policy so I stood to get a new van out of it. Cheektowaga police called on day 30 - they found the van. It had been used for B&Es throughout the region for a few weeks. Same thing, popped lock, screwdriver in steering column. The repair guy showed me how to break in, start the van and drive off in under 20 sec. OUCH.

Live & learn but sometimes you can’t do much more to protect yourself.[/quote]

This is quite unreal to hear, dax. We do fly out of Buffalo (love it, btw) and were shocked to hear your story. Pretty awful mess for you. We live quite a distance from Buff so it would be quite an inconvenience to have to return there to pick up our vehicle if it had been stolen and recovered…

The insurance company had the van towed to a local garage for repair and took care of returning my rental car back to Buffalo. Those were the good old days when your insurance took care of you. :wink: I would be in agony if that happened now.

I’ve parked in Buffalo since then and no problem.

I had a friend who had his van stolen out of Park n Fly valet in Toronto. It was out of the lot and headed south even before he got checked-in at the airport. They found it in S. Carolina. He was in Florida when he got the call. Gee, if they had only left it a bit farther south …

BTW, we’ve had a few resorts in Cuba where the patio door cannot be properly locked at all and a few that are very difficult to lock correctly.

Last time we were south, I hid the passports in a great spot because the safe looked really unsafe. We spent an hour tearing the room apart looking for them on our last day. I had forgotten where I hid them. Duh. ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile:

[quote=@dax]The insurance company had the van towed to a local garage for repair and took care of returning my rental car back to Buffalo. Those were the good old days when your insurance took care of you. :wink: I would be in agony if that happened now.

I’ve parked in Buffalo since then and no problem.

I had a friend who had his van stolen out of Park n Fly valet in Toronto. It was out of the lot and headed south even before he got checked-in at the airport. They found it in S. Carolina. He was in Florida when he got the call. Gee, if they had only left it a bit farther south …

BTW, we’ve had a few resorts in Cuba where the patio door cannot be properly locked at all and a few that are very difficult to lock correctly.

Last time we were south, I hid the passports in a great spot because the safe looked really unsafe. We spent an hour tearing the room apart looking for them on our last day. I had forgotten where I hid them. Duh. ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::slight_smile: ::)[/quote]

You know, these incidents can happen anywhere~Toronto, Buff, etc. :wink:

We never, ever get a ground floor room as they can be problematic with easy break-ins. It would be like us, as well, to hide our passports and not remember where we hid them. LOL However, any resorts we have been in have had very secure safes so we’ve not worried. We do put some things we value in one of our suitcases and keep it locked during our stay… Several people enter the room: maid, the person who stocks the fridge, possible maintenance people. It’s just smart to not tempt anyone by leaving items around that you treasure.

Biggest ripoff I have experienced concerns room rates.

Spent 2 months in Cuba a couple years back staying in CP’s for $25 per night, first couple nights were at the Hotel Nacional in Havana for around $130 (booked in advance) which was worth it for New Years eve on the 50th anniversary of the revolution.

The ripoff came when I stayed at Club Amigo Guardalavaca where the walk-in rate was over $100. ???

The other was in Canada, traveled by bus up from San Antonio, all the way up the billboards were advertising Motel 6 for $30, the one in Peterborough ON was a mere $68 + HST. ::slight_smile:

Only experienced one rip off in many years of travelling. Stayed at a resort on the Mayan Riviera. The couple we were travelling with were in the room next to ours. We each had about a hundred dollars in US funds removed from our safes. (Electronic safes which we locked with our own pass codes). During our week’s vacation, we didn’t notice anything amiss. I had money in my wallet, hubby had money in his. On returning home with our purchases/souvenirs we realized that we had been had. Lesson learned: All safes can be compromised. Chalked it up to a “vacation memory”.

We have been lucky to date (knock on wood) and not experienced any issues while on vacation. We are quite vigilant about security and picked up a great idea, here on Debbie’s, in regard to protecting our camera(s) when in Havana. A past member posted his gizmo and my husband put together a couple for our video cam and digital cam. Works great and we feel quite confident about not having them ripped out of our hands. If someone wants our cameras, they have to drag us along ;D

Biggest thing I lost was 2 chocolate bars. ;D

Was my 1st trip south, and knew in advance that chocolate was hard to get down there., so brought a couple with us.

Had a couple bars in a bag attached to my suitcase carry handle. Bellboy offered to take the bags for me, by the time i got to the room they were gone.

It was a very small price to pay and a great lesson learned. I am pretty careful and cautious now and since then have never had 1 cent taken or missing on many trips south.

Was such a small thing…but a great lesson I have never forgotten. Maybe it was the fact it was my first trip south and my honeymoon that had me not really thinking about the chocolate bars… ::slight_smile:

Only rip was in Varadero one year, someone took my sandals while I was in the water :frowning: They were the only flip-flops I took with, had other ones but not for the beach. Good thing someone else had a pair.

I will say that one year in the Dominican my daughter left the safe open. When I went to the room later that afternoon there was a note taped to the safe to call security. Flip out did Momma! Called, they came to the room with everything that was in my wallet all cash accounted for, jewelery everything. They did miss the secret $500 I had stashed in another compartment of the wallet that is not easily detected. They removed everything from the safe, marked down everything on an official form, had me look at everything count everything to make sure it was all there then I had to sign. I was so freaking grateful to the maid. I had been treating her well all week, did that make a difference, who knows. I did track her down the next morning & give her a bug hug and $25.00 tip. She didn’t want to take it but I told her it was for her honesty. Sometimes you hear so many horrible stories, I was very happy I had a more positive outcome. :slight_smile: That was 10 years ago, nothing since.

Has anyone been ripped off bying art, either on the resort or in town? I paid over 100$ CDN for a rather large painting (said to be original), but next day, same painting was once again on display.

Now I admit that I am NO bargainer. I reallllllly thought this lady was legit. She spoke English, appeared very professional, took the time to wrap the painting up for transport, even gave me a piece of paper attesting to the sale “as an original”.

Should I have haggled after the fact?

(This occurred on Cayo Guillermo about 7 yrs ago)

I don’t think “Original” means Unique other than it isn’t a photocopy or lithograph.
The “56 Chevy in Havana” paintings can be had in hundreds of compositions and painted by a thousand hands; All Originals!
I was in the back of a shop in Puerto Plata a few years ago where one artist turned out hundreds of the iconic “bent palm and fishing boat at sunset” each week. Boy, was that guy fast with a roller and 4 inch brushes doing the backgrounds. All Originals too.

You could always ask for a second “Original” for half price. LOL

If you bought the painting out of charity for the lady, you got ripped off.
If you bought it because you liked it, you made a wise purchase. Art is to be enjoyed and it’s true value is always priceless.

BTW, the ‘oil’ paintings you see in most malls and home decor stores all come out of China where they have a ‘team’ of artists in an assembly line that paint them. One does the sky, one does the mountains, one does the river … you get the idea.

We bought a large painting in DR years ago and I negotiated down 50%, strictly because I knew enough to see that the painting was made in Haiti and the artist probably got pennies for their work. The seller was simply an entrepreneur. Regardless of the price, it still hangs in our ‘Caribbean Room’ (AKA family room) and we still like it.

Ten years ago, I needed 10 or more very large wood parrots (a meter tip to tip). I searched and found the guy who carved and painted them at his home near Sousa DR. For all the work he did and the price charged by the beach vendors, his house/shack had a dirt floor and the kids wore rags. So sad. But they knew nothing of the ‘other world’ and they were happy.