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Holiday makers short changed

Holiday makers short changed

Category: Money

Updated: 25/05/2012
First Published: 25/05/2012

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Some holiday-makers are being short changed by currency providers, new research has uncovered.

Which? found significant regional variation in how many euros were offered between branches of the same provider, including the UK's biggest high street foreign currency supplier, the Post Office.

In London and Glasgow, €578.50 was offered for £500, but this dropped to €574.85 in its Manchester, Norwich and Southampton branches. The lowest exchange was €565 in Birmingham, Haverfordwest and Sheffield.

The rates offered by Thomas Cook had even bigger differences with the best euro total, €585, offered in Sheffield.

In Glasgow, Leeds, Haverfordwest and Croydon, €583 was offered while Birmingham and Southampton quoted €580; London €575.80; Norwich €575; and Manchester €553.80 - a difference of just over €30 or £25

This was not the case for all high-street providers. Marks & Spencer offered the same rates nationwide, while Sainsbury's rates showed no significant regional variation.

There was some variation between branches of Asda and Tesco but this was not common.

At ICICI, an online provider, Which? was quoted an average of €587.15 compared to HSBC's online rate where the average fell to €562.78 - a difference of almost 4%, which could leave consumers as much as £21 worse off.

"While we understand that local competition may play a part in the rates set, it is unfair that people are missing out on the best currency exchange rates just because of where they live," said Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?.

"Holidays don't come cheap and these anomalies don't help hard-pressed consumers.

"Currency providers need to make sure their rates are consistent to ensure a fair deal for everyone."

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