It’s been a while since we spotted a Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) Scam outside a hotel but we can now confirm (and warn) about this happening just as well when renting a car at Sixt in Germany.
Businesses often charge the customer in the home currency of where the credit card is issued, however the customer has to consent to it which is usually done by pressing a button or crossing a field by pen.
It’s been a lucrative source of extra revenue for vendors as they (or their designated payment processors) use an inflated exchange rate to charge the credit card.
In my case I rented a car at Frankfurt Airport yesterday for a simple one way rental and since I’m a Sixt Card customer who at some point in time signed a Master Rental Agreement I don’t have to sign individual contracts anymore.
For this rental I used my Hyatt Visa Card which is a Visa Signature product issued by Chase Bank and comes with Rental Car Protection. Obviously it’s in US Dollar since issued in the U.S. and the system noticed that.
The contract reads the following:
Where in this process is the practice turning into a scam? When the customer isn’t being given a choice or asked by the associate in which currency (local or home currency) he wishes to pay.
In my case I wasn’t asked at all and neither did I sign for this individual contract. In fact after reading this the associate also had no idea how to circumvent the charge other than using a EURO issued card which I had but which didn’t have the insurance coverage.
For the 80,78 EUR rental the difference is about $3 as the bill quotes me a final rate of US$91.71 while the XE conversion shows it to be $88.82. Still cheaper than buying insurance though but this was just a one day rental. You do the math for more expensive rentals!
I will most certainly complain about this to Sixt Diamond Customer Service and if there if no solution then I will contact Chase as well.
This isn’t about the $3 but the point that Sixt deliberately scams their customers with this. It would be fine and legitimate if the customer is being asked and declines but as it was apparent the employees don’t even know how to de-select this USD charge mechanism.