Over-pricing and Over-charging Scam In a Bar at Tashkent International Airport

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

My first trip to Uzbekistan was not so good. For one, the country is not so much fun. Second, my travel agent - McTrip Holidays Delhi, turned out to be a fraud and the trip that otherwise could have been a lot better, turned out to be a bad experience. I have written a separate article on this 'Tashkent Tour From Delhi Fraud'. Anyway, another experience during this trip managed to register in my memory. While leaving Uzbekistan, our group somehow completed the flight check-in at Tashkent International Airport, then survived the departure Customs formality, and landed in the transit area where the wait time was over an hour. There was a lone airport lounge in the transit area but when I went inside that, I did not find any staff there and there was no sign that my Priority Pass card would be accepted. I came out and joined some of the other members of our tour group at perhaps the only bar/restaurant available. There I saw this scam in progress...

Bar at Tashkent International Airport

Tashkent International Airport (TAS) Bar Over-pricing Scam

The staff at the bar counter sold some alcohol and tiny wine bottles to two members of our group at different prices when the items purchased by them ware exactly the same. This was alarming. Then a third person from our group, a friend of mine, went to the bar counter and asked for the same small wine bottle. The price quoted was again a new number. When asked, the staff reluctantly produced the printed menu. The price of the wine printed in the menu was a lot less than what the staff had verbally quoted. My friend started taking pictures of the menu with his mobile phone camera. The staff of the bar got worried at that and suddenly came clean. They not only charged the correct price for the new wine bottle but also agreed to return the extra money charged by them for the earlier purchases. Suddenly they had some change to return too about which they had been reluctant a little earlier. Thanks to my friend we could avoid being scammed in that way but even we could not beat another scam that was going on there...

Tashkent International Airport Bar

A Water Bottle For 1 Euro or 2 USD

In that bar, the price of a small 500ml water bottle was marked as 1 Euro. Now the most common foreign currency that is used in the country is US Dollar and hence most tourists carry USD to Uzbekistan. It was funny that the price of water was marked in Euro. The reason soon became clear. The official exchange rate between Euro - USD was approximately 1.06. That meant, if a customer needed to pay in USD, they would need to tender at least 2 USD. The staff at the bar accepted 2 USD and expressed inability to return any change because they would not have any US coins with them. Practically, the price of the water bottle became 2 USD when it should have been 1.06 USD. In Tashkent city, 500ml water bottles were being sold at 1500 Som (a dollar officially equalled roughly 3300 Som and unofficially 6700 Som). The bar could easily have priced the water bottle at 1 USD and still made over a 100% profit. But they wanted over 300% profit instead.

What a bunch of scamsters. And they do not care a bit about giving a bad name to their own country!

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Posted by Narinder Singh


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I left my day job in October 2013 and became a full time blogger. I love travel and hence a travel blog was the obvious place to start from. The result is desiyatri.com. I currently live in Bengaluru, India. - Narinder Singh.


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