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Scammed By A Foreign Merchant

by Jason Steele

Dear Mr Credit Card,

I am spending hours trying to dispute a transaction that was performed using dynamic currency conversion in the UK on my World MasterCard issued by Barclays Bank Delaware.   I told the merchant in the U.K. to run the transaction in local currency (pounds sterling) but the merchant claimed it could only be performed in U.S. dollars.   My credit card company (Barclays Bank Delaware) don’t seem to have any idea what I’m referring to and told me I need to call MasterCard. When I called MasterCard I spoke with a representative in the Philippines.

Eventually I got to speak with a representative in the U.S.  She referred me back to my credit card company.  I’m extremely frustrated by this process.  What can I do to receive a refund on the inflated portion of the exchange rate that I received?  I’m tired of the process and I’m close on throwing in the towel but more than anything else I would love to see action being taken against this merchant in the U.K. Please advise.

Thanks,

Robert

As you have learned by now, Dynamic Currency Conversion is a scam.     The retailer pushes this on visitors because they receive a generous cut from each transaction; they and their dubious partners are the scammers.   While it is too late now, you should always know that you have the right to refuse the DCC.    Of course, the whole point of the scam is for the merchant force this onto the customer by not giving them a choice.     If you have any indication that a merchant is trying to get you to agree to DCC, then you should decline the transaction.    You can even go so far as to write on the receipt that you are declining DCC and paying in USD.   Keeping a copy of the receipt should make this clear to your bank in the event that this fraud is perpetrated against you.

Even if you don’t have your receipt, I think you still have a good case that you were fraudulently charged.   You should be able to ask for a partial chargeback, and force the merchant to produce your signed receipt.

Sadly, I have dealt with Barclay’s bank before, and I have found their customer service to be pretty poor.   I encountered nice people, but it was almost as if their company kept them in the dark on purpose.    I would try to frame your inquiry as a fraud investigation, and demand to see the receipt or request a chargeback.      Put the burden of proof on the merchant.

If all else fails, try to reach their executive customer support team.    These people are generally better trained and more interested in resolving problems than their regular customer service personnel.

Good Luck!

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