20 February 2013

Bali - watch out for scams

There could be nothing worse than being ripped off while you are enjoying your Bali holiday.

Unfortunately almost anyone that has traveled to Bali can recount at least one situation where they have been taken advantage of. Here are a few of the common small scams.

1. Money Changer Scam
There are a large number of unscrupulous money changers around Bali and they are easy to spot. They are generally the smaller operations that offer a slightly higher exchange rate than average. Avoid these places like the plague. They will give you your money in small denominations and they will use distraction and sleight of hand to trick you out of your cash.

2. Taxi Scam
Bali taxi drivers have plenty of scams up their sleeves and most of them are common throughout the world. A relatively new scam Bali's taxi drivers are employing is the lack of change. If they are paid in a high denomination note they will claim that they are unable to make change for the note they have received. They will then make no effort to seek this change from somebody else. And they will wait for the customer to offer the remaining amount as a tip.

3. Rental Scam
When a punter rents a motorbike, car, surfboard etc it will seem to be in perfect condition. When they return the rental it has some small fault. The tourist is then expected to pay for the repair of this fault. And they are inevitably charged an inflated price for this repair. Example: Small surfboard rental businesses on Kuta Beach sometimes put one Balsawood fin in the surfboard. This fin breaks after a few moments of use.

4. Commission-Gathering Scam
The driver on a private tour will sometimes tell his customers that he knows a cheap family owned place for them to shop, eat, or to do a tour. What he won't say is that he receives commission for taking tourists to these places. And that he is willing to drive them, at their expense, miles out of their way to get them there.

5. Pressuring Scam
People selling in Kuta will sometimes try and pressure a potential purchaser into buying their product. They will enlist the help of others to achieve this. The customer finds themselves surrounded by two or three people and the product is forcibly pushed onto their person. Bracelets are a good example of this. You should never allow anyone to tie a bracelet to your wrist. Once you are wearing it you will be expected to buy it.

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