There is only one network of exchange offices at Prague Václav Havel Airport. However, it offers only eighteen crowns per euro. It is the tourists who need to exchange money immediately after landing, above all, who are taken advantage of. Nova TV crew has tried it for themselves.
TV Nova reporter Jana Schillerová has tried to exchange a thousand crowns 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 exchange office in English and has given the money.
The reporter has received 33 euros and 20 cents for a thousand note. These were then exchanged back to Czech crowns. She has received 18 crowns for one euro. This means that Jana had 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 would have changed them somewhere else. In that case, they would save 386 crowns.
A reporter has 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 has returned the money. But she had to request a colleagues´ 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.