Monday, July 16, 2012

Melbourne Airport Duty Free Rip Off?

We bought some products at Melbourne Airport at a duty free shop. We were already a bit pressed for time and R was getting a little stressed. R went to pay with his card, a credit card that accesses his saving account. It would not work. I'll do it, said I. I tried my usual card, a credit card that accesses my saving account. It would not work either. No probs. I have another card to access my savings account. Would not work. The lass serving seemed genuinely mystified. She moved to another machine and we tried again, no.

We tried all cards again, no. No access to withdraw payment from our savings account. This is something we do all the time in Australia. We didn't want to use our cards for our credit accounts as there is a surcharge imposed by the shop.

She moved us to another counter. Still no cards would work.

Time was marching on and eventually we said, ok, use the credit facility. It then worked perfectly and no doubt we paid the credit card surcharge fee.

No doubt there was something wrong with the system that stopped us from using our cards to access our savings account, or was there?

As it was happening, I recalled the same thing happened to us when we were travelling to Japan and paying for something at a Melbourne duty free shop.

We had terrible trouble in both Japan and England trying to access our savings accounts. Eventually we realised that in other countries it was not the done thing to have your savings account linked to your credit card. I had prepared myself this time with a Visa debit card, so while I used my credit card in Malaysia, the money was only coming out my savings account. I think it was pointless as the overseas transaction charge seems to be the same. I expected to have to withdraw cash, which might have cost more, but Manny was our money changer. We took $500 each, plus $100 in local currency and that was enough.

Effectively we were forced to use our credit cards at the Melbourne duty free shop and incur the credit card surcharge, as we were a couple or years ago when we went to Japan. 

I might be lazy at times, but I never let go of a complaint. I received an answer from VLine eventually, City of Port Phillip eventually, Metro about Richmond Station not displaying the next loop train, not yet, but I haven't forgotten.

I am going to follow through with this what I expect is an airport ripoff. I haven't named the shop and I am not accusing any particular shop.

I do not like the credit card surcharge usually charged by businesses where you have no other or limited options.


  1. Completely agree, it definitely smells of bank highjacking, they drive me mad with their 'hidden' charges, as if they don't make enough yearly profit or something!! I look forward to hearing the results of your complaints. btw did you take the photo of Gok at the side here, he is soooo gorgeous we (my daughter and I)love him, never miss a show.

  2. Agree - it's unfair, provides no choice and is merely another way to scalp you.

  3. Grace, not my photo of Gok. I got to know about him when we were in England. He amuses me. I expect I wrote something about him once and used the photo. Ah yes, I will follow my complaint up once it is made.

    A small amount of cash Kath, but not the point.

  4. Banks are almost as bad as politicians with their taxes, sorry, fees.

  5. River, in this case I suspect it is the store that is 'taxing'.

  6. Anonymous2:13 am

    I Skyped Melbourne Duty Free from Europe to test the price on an item but they wouldn't get the particular camera I wanted in. They're earning too much money to need my business. Ho Hum.

  7. Anon, Melbourne Airport Duty Free used to have a reputation of being the cheapest in the world. It is no longer the case. I am sure you can buy the camera cheaper over the net.