Ever been had….

OMG, what ever is that charge for?  That was the initial reaction to a charge on our credit card.  Certainly didn’t recognise the merchant’s name and certainly didn’t purchase anything for that amount.

I’ll backtrack a little and mention we will be travelling o/s again later this year, so as you have to for some countries, we needed a ‘visa’  – only this one isn’t actually a visa as such but an authorisation to enter a country.  Although I don’t think it’s necessary to identify the country involved I think most travellers will be aware of the one I mean.

As our previous one had just ‘run out I’m trying to get things organised for this trip before we tootle off up north rather than having a list of things to do at the last minute when we get back so I urged someone to get on with it now while we thought about it.

Bad move Catherine!

Seeing the word associated with the document in the merchant’s name on the C.C. I ‘gently’ asked The Golfer which online site he actually used.  Was it the official one?  Can’t remember – so I ‘gently’ asked him to check the browsing history and find out.  Something that usually only costs USD14 shouldn’t be costing USD89 !  Well over AUD100  – each!

More ‘gentle’ persuasion (and investigation) revealed he (The Golfer) had used a website toting a service that would ‘assist Australians’ to get this authorisation for an undisclosed……. until the applicant had pressed enter for the last time…..fee.  Which he says he didn’t really notice!

So after a little look online I discovered it’s been going on for years, we weren’t the first (and probably won’t be the last) to be charged large overinflated amounts for this simple request.

Thinking we’d been scammed and wouldn’t get what we paid for we checked the official site and discovered our e’s’t’a  electronic authorisation to enter had been granted and was attached to our passports. Phew!!

We just paid far more than necessary by getting it from a well presented ‘third party’ website offering a service – nothing illegal or fraudulent – just not the actual official site!

Bad move Golfer!!

So he got in touch with them (via the email they sent) and ‘politely’ asked for a refund – ‘not possible’ to cancel your request because the document had already been processed but they would look at giving ‘some’ of our money back’.

Some is better than none I suppose….the credit did arrive last week….but I wonder how many others (or first timers  not knowing the real cost) have been taken in, not querying the amount?

And I wonder how much is refunded when the site owners are ‘found out’ and wonder at all the monies they do make from their efforts?

So the moral of the story is – check check and recheck anything to do with official documents.

Or you’ll never lose that nasty taste in your mouth and the feeling of being hoodwinked.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That’s my sorry tale on this Monday – the morning I sit here with a coffee and muse about things in my life

So what traveller’s tales of woe are you willing to disclose?
Have you ever been taken for a ride in the past – were you able to come out of it smiling

21 Replies to “Ever been had….”

  1. A salutary tale indeed. It sounds like one of the better scams, based on some kind of reality. Your experience shows that we always need to be vigilant, especially on sites we don’t use very often. It’s not quite the same, but I once had a payment go through my bank account for a site based in Mallorca. Seeing as I haven’t been out of the UK for thirty years I knew it was fake. The bank checked it for me and found that the payment was made to a host – for a porn site based in Pakistan!


    1. “especially on sites we don’t use very often”
      I think that’s half the problem Clive – these ‘authorities’ are valid for two years so it’s not as if the traveller is requiring them all the time. Web site designs change and one does not know if the official site has changed – and from what I read even the most regular traveller to this particular country has been taken in.

      Ooh that charge would have been a surprise when your credit card arrived 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sigh. Lucky that they did provide the service for which they charged the inflated price. I have been expensively caught out by scammers. I was expecting a parcel. Received an email purporting to be from Australia Post. Opened it and followed the link. And was hit with ransomware. It cost rather a lot to get most of our files and documents back.


    1. Yes EC we were quite relieved to see ‘the good news’
      These ‘people’ will go to great lengths to deceive others won’t they. Your scenario is just one.


  3. I’m always very wary of buying anything online – I don’t part with my money easily!! Hope that you get a good refund and are not caught out again.
    We had an incident recently when we first started selling on ebay where a guy came to collect some doors and told us it was Ok to take cash from him when he had seen the doors. Not having sold collection only items before we thought it OK – of course it is not and ebay were not too pleased. We won’t be doing it again!


    1. The trouble with this travel document is that it’s so easily available from the government site (USA) hence the ‘greedy ones’ are all out to make a dollar.

      I’ve never dealt with eBay but would imagine they’d want their cut from the sale. How did they find out?


      1. Being on the ‘wrong’ site is easily done and that is how these companies are able to make money. Vodaphone have some cheap mobile phone contract offers through other sites like Uswitch. But on their own site they are called ‘hidden pages’ so you cannot access them at all going directly to the Vodaphone site – in fact they don’t want you to see them as they want you to take up their own more expensive contracts!
        We told Ebay ourselves. The guy told us to end the listing we would just ring them and say we had accepted cash on approval – he said he always bought things this way and never had a problem – sadly we believed him but it is not true. Anything bought by someone on ebay must be paid for upfront before collection there is no approval of the goods ebay told us. If the goods are not as described the buyer would have to make a complaint to ebay or the seller and recover their money afterwards. Ebay were not pleased but could understand it was a genuine mistake on our part and did not sanction us!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. So far, we have not been hoodwinked, thank goodness. By the way, I like your link to comments at the bottom of the post instead of above it. More convenient.


    1. The comment box placement was one of the things that drew me to this theme Gigi. Others had mentioned the inconvenience of having to scroll back to the top.


  5. Luckily Leo has a beady eye for fake sites, though friends in France inadvertently used one for obtaining copies of birth certificates at a price far above the government site.


    1. There’s no end to their scheming is there Helen. We have obtained countless esta authorisations over the past twenty years and it was so so easy before – there’s been a big rise in the number of these dodgy sites recently…..they weren’t there last time we renewed two years ago

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh so so clever Jean. As I mentioned we have renewed this travel voucher (esta) so many times over the past twenty years or more it stung when we (well The Golfer) discovered he’d been had. Life was so much easier ( but more involved) when the visa was stamped in your passport instead of being electronically attached.


    1. Yes they’re all over the place Kristy touting not just what we wanted but other documents as well.
      Some was returned- not all. But buyer beware just the same!


    1. No Kate same one – I’ve had him for 57 years now……don’t think I’ll trade him in now 😊
      I’m trying to think of what I might have written to give the impression he wasn’t around anymore.


  6. Also, my first husband and I were stupid when we bought our first house. We didn’t think the bank would give us a mortgage so we paid a broker $1000 to make sure we got one. We didn’t even check with a bank first! D’uh … still chewing my lips about that one. -Kate


    1. Oh we all do daft things when we’re young. We wanted our driveway concreted so The Golfer (yes the very same one) handed over $100 to someone as a ‘deposit on a mix truck to arrive the next week. Silly thing was we really had no idea of all the preparations that should have been done ( digging out and boarding the sides) and were quite annoyed when no concrete truck arrived either!!
      He never ever sighted the concrete man again – wonder why. $100 in those days was quite a bit of cash.


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