Only 16 crowns per Euro in some offices while ordinary rate is 25 crowns per Euro
TV Novas´ reporter Jana Schillerová focused on the practices of Prague exchange offices in April 2019, especially those that are in the major tourist destinations of the capital. She visited several of them in recent days and exchanged money at the airport, train and bus stations.
Exchange offices in the subways
This time she has decided to test the exchange offices in the subways. However, the first exchange worker didn´t even bother to get her acquainted with the rate or even the final amount.
She received 33 euros and 40 cents at a rate of thirty crowns per euro. Compared to the bank rate (around CZK 25), this is not a win, but it is not entirely bad. However, the exchange back to Czech crowns will surprise her. The banknotes and coins are examined in detail by the worker. She only gets an incredible 16 crowns per 1 euro.
This is the least she gets for a euro. He has 534 crowns for about 33 euros, which means she is left with about half a thousand.
The Florence subway exchange office is thus number one in depreciation of a thousand crowns. While he has had 598 crowns left after the exchange to the euro and back at the airport, it was 30 crowns less at the main train station; she had lost 466 crowns in a blink of an eye at the Florence.
She took advantage of a three-hour period during which she can withdraw from the transaction, even in this case. However, the exchange office worker guesses that she probably didn´t like the rate and starts to bargain: “I’ll give you a better rate. What rate? What rate do you want?” he offers to the reporter.
However, when she demands the exchange rate of twenty-four crowns per euro, the exchange office worker says that she would have to change at least 100 euros. In the end, the money is returned, without signature and without confirmation.
Another attempt was made at the exchange office in the Muzeum subway station. There is a fair exchange rate for the euro. They give you 2 crowns for a euro when exchanging back. The surprise comes when the claim is made. The reporter gets her paperwork, but then an offer comes. More than 24 crowns per euro. If you want to exchange money for any currency, it is not enough just to go to the exchange office. More experiments are needed.
Prague Airport Exchange Offices
There is only one network of exchange offices at Prague Václav Havel Airport. However, it offers only eighteen crowns per euro or even less. It is the tourists who need to exchange money immediately after landing, above all, who are taken advantage of. The Nova TV crew tried it for themselves.
TV Nova reporter Jana Schillerová tried to exchange a thousand-crown bank note for Euros at Prague Airport. She wondered how much she would get. So she went to the Terminal 1 counter. “Sign here, your money,” said a lady in the exchange office, and gave the money.
The reporter received 33 euros and 20 cents for a thousand note. These were then exchanged back to Czech crowns. She received 18 crowns for one euro. This means that Jana only had 600 crowns in her hand instead of a thousand.
Although the exchange office offers a zero exchange fee, the exchange rate is eighteen crowns per euro. That means eight crowns less than if the tourists had changed them somewhere else. In that case, they would save 386 crowns.
A reporter received a receipt in the exchange office, but no one understands it. With the new rules, people now have a right to withdraw from the contract within three hours and get their money back. The measure protects clients from unfair practices and covers amounts up to a thousand euros.
Finally, the lady behind the exchange office returned the money. But she had to request a colleague’s help, who said it was a lot of paperwork.
The currency exchange operator pleads that their prices do not differ from other tourist destinations in the world. The airport itself is said to be unable to regulate prices. “This option is available only to the Czech National Bank (CNB). The company won a very strict concession procedure,” said Vaclav Havel Airport spokesman, Roman Pacvoň.
“Following the recent change in the law, the exchange rate is de facto the only tool that exchange offices could compete by,” explained CNB spokeswoman Markéta Fišerová.
The error is said to be on the customer’s side. The customer should find out the current exchange rate. Many tourists who come to the Czech Republic, who do not speak English or go straight to other cities, have no other chance than to exchange money at the airport. The Ministry of Finance has been trying to fight against the currency exchange practices for a long time and has tightened its conditions since April. Customers can withdraw from the contract within three hours or within three business days if they have changed money in an exchange machine.