Overbilling

OverbillingUnfortunately overbilling is a word that is rapidly becoming synonymous with Hungary, and especially with Budapest. Not long ago some poor tourist was told to fork out 300 Euros for a goulash and two beers, after which he made a complaint. The method was the one we’re almost getting tired of - girls coming up to you for a chat - and which never seems to go out of fashion and which still seems to work. Again, two girls walked up to this man, and after some small talk they invited him to a restaurant saying “we know a really-really good place not far from here”, where those 300 Euros were practically robbed from him. Well, this is exactly what we and others have written down in several articles, and what is almost business as usual in Budapest. In the Hungarian capital overbilling is just another national tradition. Nightlife is no exception of course. For instance, if you order and pay a vodka shot of 4 cl, but they only pour you 2 cl, this can already be considered overbilling as you’ve paid the double of what you should have. And this is a fact that’s almost accepted in many clubs of the capital. You don’t get as much as you should... you can’t, because many times the staff is forced to be fraudulent. There are places where bar workers simply don’t get paid and the boss takes even the tips away. Therefore at the end of the day all that’s left for the staff is how much they managed to steal from customers. And this is how clubs and restaurants work in Hungary. Some clubs and restaurants at least...

If you’re a foreigner visiting the country, you are even more threatened by these dangers. There are only a few bars, clubs and discos where the first item on the menu is not ripping off tourists. But to paint the full picture we must mention that such places do exist. There are managers who are satisfied with what they can earn in an honest way, without getting a bad reputation. There are places where it’s the customer who’s important. If you look for them, you can easily find these places. Unfortunately probably a generation has to grow up until all creditable information is uploaded to the web and thereby this sector is purged. Because it is only a matter of time until it is purged. 10 years ago I was convinced there wouldn’t be this much corruption, tricks and frauds in the nightlife and restaurant business as there still is today. I wasn’t right. But I’m still optimistic about the prognosis for the next 10 years. That’s because the spread of the internet will definitely bring about the expected results. Most of the corresponding useful information is already available on the net, the only trouble left is tourists themselves. Many people, especially from the older generation do not search the web before travelling. They don’t seek out information, even though all you need to do that is a laptop or a PDA, a few useful and relevant keywords, google and you immediately have everything we could only dream of a couple of years ago. You can check which places are recommended and which aren’t, where have frauds occurred and how. At the end of the day, it doesn’t take rocket science anymore to get all the information you need to save yourself hundreds of Euros and a few unpleasant experiences.

Therefore, our advise to anyone travelling to Budapest is to do some browsing before leaving home, to ask friends and relatives, to get as much information as possible. Of course this article won’t be of any use to someone who doesn’t use the internet for such purposes, because they won’t read this article either. But we still believe that our message will sooner or later reach everyone and thereby we’ll be able to make our contribution to the rebirth of the nightlife of Budapest.


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