Samos, Greece

Paying the bill in the hotel today the woman went through the things I’d eaten or drunk then started saying two and a half hours internet, three hours internet etc.. They had wifi access and I’d been sitting there with my laptop, assuming it was free, not realizing they were noting down how long I was sitting there and charging me for it. There were signs saying internet 3 euros per hour by the computers, but when there’s wifi that’s usually free, except when some charging thing comes up on the screen and you have to put in a credit card number. I mentioned it to them but I still paid it.

The last place I stayed in in Turkey was a pension I’d found over the internet with the prices in euros and a deal saying five nights for the price of four. I emailed to make a reservation and asked them to confirm the five nights for the price of four deal, which the owner, Ali, did in his reply. When I arrived there he gave me a complementary beer then asked me what the price said on the website. I said 15 euros a night, which was the price for a room and dinner, but then later when I went up to the rooftop restaurant to see if it was worth having dinner there or going out for it – it was 11 euros a night without dinner, so I’d thought it would be cheaper to eat there – but the restaurant was closed. Four days later, the day before I was due to check out, I mentioned to Ali about payment and he got out his calculator and multiplied 15 by 5 and told me 75 euros.

No, on your website it said…

He brought up the website on his computer and was pointing to the 15 euros per night summer price. But it’s now October, so winter prices should apply, I told him, and the winter price is 11 euros. But I’ve written 15 euros down in my book, he said, showing me his book, though I didn’t bother looking at what he’d written down. He got on his calculator again, saying okay, he’d charge 11 euros a night but for 5 nights, not 4, so 55 euros, which he then converted to Turkish lira.

No, it should be 44 because I get 5 nights for the price of 4.

But I’m already giving you a discount!

I decided it wasn’t worth arguing for now. I had to go and get cash out and wanted to see what the exchange rate was. Usually when these places show their prices in euros or dollars they convert to their local currency using an inflated exchange rate.

At the cash point I found I could take out euros, and since I was heading to eurozone Greece I took euros out rather than liras. On my laptop I checked my email archive which confirmed the email he’d sent me. I also checked the exchange rate and saw the one he was using was slightly inflated, though not excessively.

I handed Ali a 50 euro note.

But this is… 50 euros?

Yes. 4 times 11 equals 44 plus 4 for the laundry comes to 48, so you’re getting 2 euros extra.

I told him I’d checked my emails and he had emailed me confirming the 5 nights for the price of 4 so I was sticking to that, and I was sticking to the prices that were on the website.

He started saying his website prices were out of date and he’d forgotten to change them. He wanted to show me a message he’d sent to his web developer but I wasn’t interested in seeing it, and he didn’t seem to be able to find it anyway.

If the prices on your website are wrong you need to update them, I said. Those are the prices I saw so they’re the prices I’m paying. If it had been more expensive I might have gone somewhere else.

But I can’t change it myself and my web designer has gone away, I don’t know where.

If you give me the password I can update the site for you.

I don’t have the password. The web designer has it and I can’t contact to him.