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Scams still in Liguria/Genoa region

I feel bad posting because of the recent tragic bridge accident but head's up on 2 scams still being done in 2018! Gas Station Inflation and Restaurant Extra Charges.

First, while fueling up our car on a major highway at a name brand station (TotalErg) on the Self-Service Side, the attendant came and helped pump (saying don't worry - no full service price) and was overly chatty but then spilled a little gas at the end (all a diversion I think). Then went in to pay, saw the clerk inside type in 66.xx into the credit card machine and I said "no, it was 55.xx" (I could still see the pump) and then pretended like it never happened, re-keyed in 55.xx to show me, and then proceeded to remotely reset the pump to 0. I think the scam is to charge the full service price and most tourists probably don't notice the difference until later. (BTW, if anyone knows how to report this to the correct Italian authorities (in English), would be grateful).

Second scam, eating lunch later that same day. Bill comes and says 47 euro written on a piece of paper. It sounded high and asked to see the details. The waitress took me to the manager who elaborately entered each item into the front register and after several minutes came up with 37 euro. He then apologized that he must have miscounted. It's possible it was a genuine mistake but it seemed really shady. If nothing else, they were writing a bill off the books.

4000 km drive across Europe and only 2 scams, both in the same region.

Posted by
5019 posts

37 Euro for lunch...still sounds like a pretty expensive meal. How many people? Was it a high end restaurant?

Posted by
3 posts

It was for 2, (12ish per plate, beer + wine, and 4 for coperto). And it wasn't even good :-(

Posted by
8293 posts

Well, I don’t know ..... they sound like genuine errors to me. And it seems a bit much to blacken a whole region of Italy by posting “scam”.

Posted by
11575 posts

Gosh, lunch for two with beer, wine + tip could easily cost $37 - $47 or more where I live, depending on the place.
(yes, I know the bill was in euros so with exchange was higher. Still...)

Posted by
1290 posts

I tend to think like the OP that this is a scam. Just back from almost 3 weeks in E Europe and Norway and can't remember a single place that didn't give me a printed copy listing all items on the bill (even though I couldn't read the Cyrillic writing in many places).

Posted by
1514 posts

AB,

I can't comment on the petro situation where you traveled. But, it's always a good idea to be aware no matter where you go.

I will share a story that happened many years ago in the States. I pump my own gas. But, back then, some service stations still had "full service." I asked the attendant for $10 (to top off the gauge.) Turned off the ignition. After he supposedly pumped the gas, I paid, started the car and noticed that my gauge did not move. Hmm. I mentioned it to him, he shrugged and said maybe my needle/gauge is off.

I drove down to the next gas station, explained to the manager what happened up the road. I asked him to try to put gas in to see if the needle would move. The needle moved to full! He saw the look on my face, lol. He asked me if I wanted him to accompany me to the other gas station. I said, "no, I will take care of it."

I drove around and went back to the original station. When the attendant saw me, his face dropped. I got out of my car and told him he had two choices - return the $10 he stole from me, or I would have the police have him do it. He reached in to his pocket and returned the $10. The next day, I called and spoke to the manager/owner of that station to tell him what happened.

Moral is: An intentional rip off can happen anywhere - States or abroad. Honest mistakes happen too.

It's always very good practice to check your tab no matter where you are in the World. In a hurried pace, an honest mistake can happen. Maybe you feel 'taken,' but giving the restaurant the benefit of the doubt, it could have been a simple math error. Or sometimes, the person writing the original order or entering it goofed. If it was intentional, then it has to be on their conscience.

Posted by
3 posts

For the gas station, it was definitely a scam - 100%. Sorry if I didn't explain it well. The restaurant... it's possible it was a genuine mistake. I didn't think so by how elaborate the re-count charade was and the European partner I was with agreed as well, going farther to say that Italy is notorious for these things. It was literally a scrap of paper with 47E written on it.

I don't mean to generalize the country or the region, and I apologize if I offend others but mostly posting as a head's up to be cautious in this area (and yes, in general too). I was in Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, etc. and had no problems at gas stations and restaurants in those areas but I guess it can happen anywhere. And point taken about similar happenings in the US - please post a head's up to others if you see behavior like that again in a specific state/region (if you told me a station in my backyard, I'd happily help report it to the authorities here btw!). Thanks!

Posted by
16771 posts

Tax evasion aside, even a scrap-of-paper bill should be itemized. Some casual places might come and calculate it by writing on your paper tablecloth, for instance. Not itemizing seems to me intentionally misleading, or at the very least careless. You may also know that the tax police in Italy could stop you to ask for your receipt for any purchase, with possible repercussions on both sides.

Posted by
5320 posts

@ramblin on, "full service" used to mean the attendant(s) would not only fill the gas tank, but wash your windshield, check the oil, check the tire pressure ... and do it with a smile. But that was back in the 1950's (and gas was 32¢ a gallon.)

Posted by
1514 posts

Well, I was not even born in the 50's, lol. I would see full service pumps right through the 1990's.

You can still find a handful around; mostly privately owned. They clearly state "full service" which means pumping gas. Those stations are usually off a highway in a smaller city or town with very little competition. They probably have loyal locals who bring their cars in for repairs, etc.

Posted by
30973 posts

These days the phrase "full service" usually refers to the attendant pumping the fuel, and nothing more. The days of getting the oil checked or the windows washed are long gone! Most stations here in B.C. are self-serve only, since the fuel has to be paid for before it's pumped.

The description of the fuel fill in Italy does sound a bit odd, but at least you got the problem corrected.

I'd be inclined to give the restaurant owner the benefit-of-the-doubt as he could have just added wrong. The fact that he wrote the bill on a scrap of paper could get him into trouble with the Guardia di Finanza, as he may not have entered the transaction in the cash register (ie: no taxes paid).

I don't think it's accurate to imply that there are more scams in the Liguria / Genova region. I've encountered dodgy receipts in other parts of Italy and Europe.