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Posted by
2330 posts

if you think you are being over charged walk away, don't hand over any money or don't give them your credit card. if in a restaurant just tell them you think they have made a mistake and tell them to correct it and do not give them a tip.

Posted by
2330 posts

I am through the airport in Prague several times a year and it is a complete rip off, I have given up having meals or drinks there before I travel as the prices are sometime 3 or 4 times the price you would pay in the city.

Posted by
1131 posts

Ginger go to where the locals eat in some of these European cities. If you stay and eat around the tourist zones, they will charge you more. Research restaurant and area first before you go to be well informed.

Posted by
382 posts

RJean, I am trying to be aware of these things so I will be prepared to handle if it happens to us.

We generally avoid the tourist trap areas when dining or even just for coffee. I haven't figured out where would be the less touristy areas, yet.

Posted by
4876 posts

Doesn't EVERY airport have vastly inflated prices ? Like food in amusement parks, it's the only game in town. We pack sandwiches for SFO and we are "locals"

Posted by
4595 posts

It is not that they like to overcharge foreigners. They like to overcharge anybody they think who would be willing to pay it.

Posted by
49 posts

This used to be a pretty common practice so it's good to see that they're trying to crack down on it. I've visited lots of restaurants (both in Prague and in the countryside) where there were multiple menus with the same dishes but different prices if you're ordering off the German or English menu as opposed to the Czech one. It's hard to know this is happening if you never see the Czech menu! I see this less in Prague nowadays but there are restaurants where the daily special will be advertised only in Czech (and cost significantly less than anything on the standard menu) and where the waiters aren't keen to translate for you.

Posted by
3425 posts

Ginger go to where the locals eat in some of these European cities.

It's like De Ja Vu on this forum at times. Ginger, you don't have to go where the locals eat as that's absolutely no guarantee of anything and how do you even establish who's a local or not? They're not walking around with badges identifying themselves as Prague residents.

A classic example is the (ironically titled in this case) restaurant Lokal, it's in the tourist district and is frequented by both tourists and locals alike and it serves excellent food, brews its own beer, doesn't rip people off and has a menu in English (this all must blow some peoples minds!).

Posted by
4583 posts

I think some posters may have not read, of failed to read the entire article. The issue is not that items cost more at the Airport or in Touristed areas (Yes, they do, but that is not the point of the article); but that in the Czech Republic there is a pervasive cultural norm to charge one price to people they know or assume to be "locals", or at least native Czech speakers, and another to everybody else.

This was especially prevalent after Czechia opened up in the nineties and prices started to rise. You could have a large meal with appetizer, meat dish, dessert, and beer for less than 10 USD, it was not too long that they figured out much more could be charged to tourists, same with Hotels, drinks, any tourist area could mark up prices. To avoid pissing off locals, they started a dual system.

So going in and having a meal many places (tourist area or "where locals eat") means you will pay more than the Czech couple next to you for the exact same meal. What can you do about it? Maybe not much, depending how they do it. Short of being somewhat fluent in Czech, make sure prices are clearly posted or on the menu, pay what is posted, beware of added "cover" or service charges. If multiple menus, ask to look at the Czech menu as well, use a translator to order off that menu or compare to the English menu. If you have the chance to compare beforehand, if you notice a big difference, move on, there are plenty of restaurants that do not play the game, or not that is as obvious.

If it is handled though by some discount on the bill, "specials" menus as one poster mentioned, or ordering "off-menu"; then there is little you can do, or may not even have knowledge it is occurring. In the end, if you wind up paying what you believe is a fair price for a meal, then maybe it does not even matter.

However, if you think this is a foreign tourist issue, it's not, go to just about any heavy tourist area in the US (Ski town, Beach town, etc.) and prices will be premium, and many have "Loyalty" programs for locals that cut 10%, 20%, maybe more off the bill. That is really no different.

Posted by
334 posts

Please bear in mind that the average educated Czech is earning about 1350 USD per month - yes, only 16,200 USD a year - and that the spending power of the local people is a fraction of that of the foreign tourists. If you only earned 1350 USD a month, could you afford to fly from the US to Prague for a vacation?

Yes, foreign tourists are often charged more, but they have more and can afford to spend more.

Posted by
5758 posts

Yes, foreign tourists are often charged more, but they have more and can afford to spend more.

This procedure would be fine as long as you prominently post a sign saying that prices are on a sliding scale depending on what you can afford. Or maybe just post a big sign saying "we charge foreigners more than locals for the same products/services". If you're going to do it, be proud of it.

Not trying to be rude and nothing personal, but I think this attitude stinks. But I guess if you want to discourage tourism this is the way to go about it.

Posted by
3425 posts

Yes, foreign tourists are often charged more, but they have more and can afford to spend more.

What utter BS! What if someone saved years for that trip of a lifetime to Europe, part of which included a visit to Prague? They didn't go because they are loaded and ripe for parasitical behaviour, they went because they were frugal and made financial sacrifices to enable them to visit.

To assume that a western tourist must be rich and therefore fair game to be ripped off is an attitude that stinks.

Posted by
334 posts

Or maybe just post a big sign saying "we charge foreigners more than locals for the same products/services". If you're going to do it, be proud of it.

This is the reality. Look at Karlstejn Castle for instance. Karlštejn charge 210czk for a tour in Czech. They charge 320czk for the same tour in English. It is the exact same service, but sold at a premium to foreigners can afford to pay for it. Check out the link and see how the prices change when you switch the language. This is an official government policy, coming from the National Cultural Monuments Institute.

I'm not saying that this is right, but it is the reality.

Posted by
3425 posts

Well if that is the government policy then it looks like the Czech Republic wll be off my list and I'll spend my hard earned money in places without such an ignorant, short sighted and parasitical policy.

Posted by
5758 posts

Karlštejn charge 210czk for a tour in Czech. They charge 320czk for the same tour in English. It is the exact same service, but sold at a premium to foreigners can afford to pay for it.

I disagree with the statement in your example that it is the exact same service. It's not. In this case I see nothing wrong with having to pay more for a tour in English, when English is not the native language. Here the tourist is allowed to make the choice to spend more or take the tour in Czech and not understand most of it, at least they have a choice. I don't see this as being sold at a higher rate just because those wanting it can afford to pay more, it's sold at a higher rate because it may be an imposition on the venue to have to hire a guide or guides that speak fluent English and they do that as a concession to their English speaking visitors.

Believe me, if someone wanted a tour of a US tourist sight in Czech, they would pay a premium to have a guide that spoke that language.

Posted by
4583 posts

I agree with Nancy, different situation all together. I do not even have an issue with Museums having lower entry fees for residents, since often their tax dollars support that institution. In the case of a translation service and a Supply and demand calculation, and most importantly posting the price and making it clear, it is fine, and then the consumer has a choice.

Posted by
160 posts

I liked Paul's earlier answer. The article (which I thought was pretty weak tea) has a little phrase which says "the consumer was unable to make a qualified purchase decision". This is the crux of it. As Marcus pointed out, Czechs don't earn a great deal so they are far more likely to ask how much something is if it is not clearly displayed or they will ask if there is a choice i.e. the water issue may just have been the Czech not wanting a particular "brand" of water, hence they make a qualified decision. The foreigner may simply have been given the brand. They asked for water - they got water (yes they should have given the choice but as the article tries to point out, the breaking of the law is not displaying the price, the discrimination is not offering the choice). Lets see them doing this check in the Christmas Markets, now that will cause some ruffled feathers. But the question was how to handle it. So as Unclegus pointed out, in the market environment you just refuse to accept and walk away. In the restaurant environment then you must have a clear understanding of the charges. So if the menu had one price and you are charged more then you pay the lower price, if they add service charge then you do not have to pay this, if they add a cover charge then you question was the charge was for. It's hardly any wonder that this might affect non-Czech speakers more because the first time somebody tries to rip off a Czech speaker they simply won't go back to that place so going to places where Czechs go will decrease the discrimination but you still have to follow a few basic rules. Understand how much something is, check the itemised bill to make sure that is reflected, check your change.

Posted by
9597 posts

I'm confused on the topic. Are we speaking overcharged as in being charged more than the menu price? Or menu prices being higher in tourist locations where overhead costs can be many times more than the back streets "where the locals eat". If they are running local and tourist menus, well that's sort of low class. Some how I doubt that happens much. As for charging tourists more because of their perceived greater wealth, its called social justice. Great concept till you are at the bad end of the stick.

Posted by
14894 posts

Back in the Iron Curtain days it was extremely common for western tourists to pay an inflated price for things like hotels. Very low-end lodgings were priced at Marriott levels, and you didn't have a choice because the state owned everything and you couldn't get into the country without a hotel reservation unless you had family to stay with. Foreigners paid many times the locals' price for tickets to the Moscow Circus, and I assume also for major cultural events like concerts. I didn't have a problem with different pricing on event tickets, because those cultural institutions were heavily subsidized. The hotel situation really bugged me, because the price/value ratio was grotesquely out of whack.

I think charging more for foreign-language tours is fine. Being multi-lingual is a skill for which people should be compensated. I think I've seen it occasionally in western Europe as well. I'm quite certain folks taking English-language cooking classes in countries like Italy and France pay a lot more than someone would pay for a class taught in the local language.

I'm bugged by the price differential at the Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest, where non-EU citizens pay double what EU citizens pay. I assume it's because a lot of EU money went into that building. It's not chump change; HUF 6400 (about 20 euros) is rather a lot of money.

Posted by
4595 posts

To charge a foreigner for the same service or item more than a local is now illegal. Tour in English instead of in Czech is obviously not the same service. However in nineties in so called Wild East era it was a common practice.

Posted by
9597 posts

Illegal where?

We tax people disproprtiantly based on income, we are even advocating a wealth tax; so why not extend the courtesy to restaurants, shops and hotels in a country where the average foreign tourist earns 3 times the average Czech wage? As long as the costs are clearly presented it sounds consistent of 21 century thinking.

Let's not forget that these folks give up more than half their income for social services and living subsidies so they have to earn $10 to have $4 for lunch, while an american might have to earn $7 for that same $4 lunch. And did you take the $1 public transport to get that that lunch? Well the fine Czech probably subsidized that $1 ticket with 2 of their dollars.

Posted by
9597 posts

Acraven, Hungary netted about $4 BILLION from the EU last year. Perhaps you should pay the EU price for the Parliament tour and write a $100 check to some poor German or Brit that subsidized your vacation.