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Have Your Say: Fake currency

A passport and foreign currency

Thousands of people order foreign currency for holidays abroad each year but very few check it when they pick it up.

And some people are now claiming the money they were given turned out to be fake.

We asked for your comments, a selection of which are below. This debate is now closed.

The advice which appears to have been given that the Sales of Goods Act doesn't apply and therefore consumers have very little protection, is very poor advice indeed. Correct that the Sale of Goods Act doesn't apply but I defy any court in the land not to accept that it is an implied common law term of the exchange contract that the money given is genuine. Any lawyer who would not happily argue this point in court would be very half-hearted indeed. The real problem of course is evidential. You have to prove it and this means that you have to check the notes in front of the cashier at the time of exchange. The only solution is to insist on high value notes so that you have very few of them and then to write down the numbers and give a copy to the cashier. Or else get your money from an ATM in the destination country.
Mark Gander, Consumer Action Group

Isn't it a bit suspicious that no-one has discovered these fake notes at the time of purchase. All the complainants found the notes later. I always check mine when I buy them and I've never been given a dud.
Steve Rimmer, Halesowen

With pressures on workers everywhere (ie - one person doing the job of three) it is hardly surprising that these problems occur - not enough time to check currency. This would soon change if everyone taking out currency insisted that the dispensing agency checked that it was genuine. Also a record should be kept of the issued note numbers (copies kept by both the issuer and the purchaser) so that if any notes are not accepted they can be returned and refunded if it is verified they are fake.
Jeannette, Ross-shire

I got Peruvian currency from a major high street travel agent last year and had 50 Soles refused as a fake in a restaurant in Cusco. I only got currency from one source and 50s were the largest notes I had so it can't have been given to me in change anywhere else.
Claire, Stirling

I'm a driving instructor in Cambridge and over the last couple of months I've been handed over £10 in fake one pound coins from different students. Now I check not only the notes but all coins as well.
Martin Tyler, Cambridge

I always avoid getting currency in advance if I can. I draw money out using an ATM in the destination country.
Lennie Bradshaw, Herts

In November 2007, I purchased £500 in Canadian Dollars. One of the $50 bills I offered in a Toronto restaurant was not acceptable. I was told me it was fake and not a very good one and it was confiscated. I examined the other bills I had and found a similar one which I subsequently gave the courier as a tip (it was in an envelope). On my return to the UK, I informed the issuer and was told it could not have been from them because they did not handle duds. I know it was from them because that was my only source of these bills.
Geoff Doherty, Ellesmere Port

A few years ago I got some dollars from an issuer in New Cross. When I tried to use them at the Empire State building in New York I was told that they were all fake.
Tony Windeatt, London

I got money out of my bank account, walked five mins to the Post Office for ordered foreign currency to find £60 of my English was fake. What chance do we have with foreign currency?
Elizabeth Evans, Bolden

On 3 April (after hours) I took £100 out of a cashpoint and discovered what looked like a fake £20 note. I took it into the bank to complain but they said it was not their problem. They gave me the ATM disputes line to make a complaint and strangely didn't take the note from me which I thought they were supposed to do. Banks shouldn't be allowed to get away with this - it may be only £20, but it's my £20. Plus - it has made me unwilling to use ATMs which is inconvenient trying to get to the bank within working hours.

In the Ukraine and Bulgaria I had every dollar note checked carefully by shops and hotels and approximately 25% was rejected as fakes. I was a frequent traveller to Eastern Europe at the time and it was a common experience. I told the bank on my return and they laughed and said they were fine! The year 1996. Since then I have read that an alarming percentage of dollars are in fact fake but it is kept quiet as it may undermine the global economy!
John Bills, Yelverton

Early 2008 my partners 21-year-old daughter took a trip to Jamaica. She purchased US dollars, $100 in 20s were discovered as fake whilst on her trip. In November 2008 my partner and I took a trip to New York, again purchasing currency from the same place (albeit a different branch). On our first evening we had a couple of these notes rejected as fake.
Stuart Johnson, Canvey Island

I had a fake 50 Maltese Lira note supplied a few years ago, The Bank of Valletta told me it was an easily recognised fake and they had issued details of the fakes to UK banks and the Post Office. Like your case the issuer said it was not possible, but there was no way I got a 50 Lira (£75 value) in change.
Brian Middleton, Glasgow

My experience was not foreign money but British. I withdrew £20 from a cash machine. When it was rejected by a shop as a fake I took it back to the branch who denied responsibility. It was the only money I had so definitely came from there. I was so upset by the "Couldn't care less" attitude that I closed my account and took my business elsewhere. The lady there told me that she used to work for the bank in question and that they don't check every note if they are paid in in bundles of £1,000 or more and that such occurances were common.
Adrian Sheppard, Hastings

Many years ago, I got a large cash amount from a bank but it was only when I went outside did I look at the notes and found a fake £20 note. I went back in to complain but was told that because I did not check the notes before I left they couldn't do anything about it. Also had a friend who took out a very large sum of money (years ago) from a bank to pay his staff was given four fake £50 notes and was told the same thing - because he had not checked them before he left the counter they wouldn't accept responsibility!
Moira, London

I withdrew several hundred pounds from my building society in £20 notes. I then went immediately to the local supermarket where on paying for my goods the person at the till told me one was counterfeit. I went immediately back to the building society, gave them the note and explained what had happened and was told it wasn't their responsibility. The note was confiscated and sent to the Bank of England. I was told that it is my responsibility to check the notes when I receive them. How am I supposed to know what is counterfeit and what isn't? The building society accepted no responsibility even though in reality they were actually passing on fake money. Their answer was that they don't have the time to check the money in their vaults.

I received no compensation. Why aren't the banks and building societies responsible for ensuring that the money they issue is legal and not counterfeit?
NIck Kirk, Chatteris

The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.

Occasionally Money Box or Inside Money may wish to contact Have Your Say contributors about future programmes. If you find this acceptable we ask you to include your e-mail address.

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