Rico’s TICO BULL – $4,000 for ice cream in Costa Rica? I don’t think so. At least not for Canadian tourist David Kindrat as his bank, Scotiabank, has since reviewed the case and reversed the charges.
But it wasn’t easy, it took over 30 days for this to happen.
How could this happen, a mistake by the customer, the merchant or the bank?
Kindrat, a dentist from Winnipeg, Canada, on vacation in Costa Rica, told CTV News that the charges were made when he bought his wife and daughter ice cream in Tamarindo. He thought he was paying in the local currency.
“When I saw the receipt it was for $4,050 and I thought that’s about right. That’s about $9 Canadian, but when I got my credit card statement that wasn’t the case,” said Kindrat.
When he contacted Scotiabank, he was originally told that because he used his PIN and authorized the charge, there wasn’t anything the bank could do.
“They said you put in your PIN. It’s a legitimate transaction and we can’t do anything about it,” Kindrat said. “I can’t understand why a ( $4,050) charge, wouldn’t be flagged at an ice cream store,” he added.
Kindrat told CTV News Toronto he was pleased to have the matter put behind him.
“Scotiabank has refunded my money and apologized for the whole situation,” he said. “I appreciate that we were able to get my story out there and hope that it may caution other viewers to closely watch electronic transactions when travelling.”
In Costa Rica, many merchants have dual currency – Colones and US Dollars – card processing accounts.
Typically, at a merchant like an ice cream store, restaurant, supermarkets, clothing stores, etc prices are in local currency and the corresponding card charges follow the currency.
If an item or service is being quoted in US dollars, it stands to reason that the charge will most likely, but not necessarily, be in dollars.
Unfortunately, the Kindrat case is not the first case of someone being overcharged in the wrong currency while on holidays. Worse, won’t be the last.
When traveling, always check receipts or transaction details immediately after the sale. Receipts should be kept and monthly statements should be reviewed.
“We got a great picture from it (the ice cream),” said Kindrat. “But it certainly does leave a bad taste in your mouth. No pun intended.”