Aito issues warning about misleading exchange rates on websites

Mainstream tour operator and travel agency group Aito has issued a warning to consumers about being ripped off on exchange rates by booking on accommodation websites.

The group, which is holding its AGM today, issued the warning as Sterling continues to fall against both the euro and the US Dollar after the UK lost its AAA credit rating.

Aito chairman Derek Moore said consumers should be wary of any websites that use wording ‘indicative exchange rates’ which he said give a false impression.

“Such websites quote ‘indicative exchange rates’ to give customers a ball-park price as to what they will pay the hotel when they are at their destination.

“These indicative exchange rates are quoted in the sterling equivalent of the local currency and seem, on the face of it, to be a useful guideline.

“However, such rates tend to err on the positive side – and the rate that your credit card company is likely to charge you could be very different, and certainly not in your favour.

“You’ll then also be faced with the credit card company’s charge for converting currency – a double hit which will, typically, add 3% to 4% to your bill.

“This can be further aggravated by a change in the exchange rate between the time of booking and when checking out of your accommodation.

Unsurprisingly Moore added that Aito’s advice was to book with a UK tour operator and pay in sterling upfront.

“It’s quite likely to be cheaper than the price you would have paid locally, direct to the hotel – absolutely the opposite of what many believe to be the case,” he said.

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