How you handle the situation matters

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cjp2010

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Let me start by saying this is not directed to any particular DR1 posters. This is a general observation from many forums as well as face to face conversations with people out and about. Not everybody does the things I'm talking about here and fits the description but if you do you know who you are and you should calm down before your brain or heart explodes.

I have been living in the country for 7 years and I have not once had an important problem that I didn't get resolved in my favor.

Some small things I didn't care about sure like Internet not working very well at a hotel, but nothing important.

The thing I will say is to not assume that every problem is the result of someone trying to rip you off. I didn't say close your eyes and be a naive, gullable sucker. But give people a chance to correct what could be a mistake. Mistakes may happen more often here than what you are used to. Education and Technology are not as good here.

I had the issue many people complain about where I went to a busted ATM. It debited my account but I got no cash. I went inside the bank and spoke to the manager calmly and the money was returned to my account in three days. These things can happen anywhere. It is less frequent in some other places but it does happen.

I had the common issue where LaSirena (could be any store) charged my Dominican bank card twice. The girl at the register was having problems because the computer from the bank wasn't responding. To her the first charge didn't go through but to the bank it did. I went to the bank and they got it fixed in two days.

I had the common issue of a high electric bill from eDenorte. It was causd by the guy reading the meter putting the wrong number down. I took it to their office, spoke calmly with the girl at the desk. This got nowhere because she didn't understand my point about how they charge more per KW after you go over a certain amount. So I asked to talk to her manager and explained it to him calmly and he took care of it.

I have never paid a cop a bribe. I have been asked for donations but I have always said no. Some folks may be afraid to say no to a cop but if you are that concerned about everybody stay in your house and don't ever leave. I was never arrested for refusing to donate. If you don't have anything illegal on you in the first place and weren't doing anything wrong you should be OK. Maybe a dirty cop will try to frame you but it hasn't happened to me yet. If you are that concerned about it keep the number of your Embassy and a good local attorney on you at all times. I actually have my attorney's cell phone number in my wallet and in my phone but I never had to use it yet.

None of the so-called pushy street vendors ever ask me more than once and never stare at me waiting after I have said no. That includes the kids shining shoes. Don't act like there are never beggars on the street where you come from. And at least with the kids shining shoes they are offering to do something for the money instead of the typical beggar that has a cup in their hand and isn't interested in doing anything.

Even the window washers in Puerto Plata ask me now before they hit my windshield with that sponge. Will some do. The ones that don't really know me yet haven't figured it out. But I don't go by there much anymore so I can't really work on that right now.

I don't get poor or slow service at any restaurant or bar that I go to regularly and there are several different ones on that list. At some that I don't frequent I might but that just crosses them off the list for a repeat visit.

OK, bank lines are still slow, but it is what it is. The procedure and the technology is not good. The computer system is terribly slow. The tellers are always very nice with me and apologetic about the wait which is not their fault personally.

Blah, blah, blah. I could go on and on. My point is I don't doubt for a second that people encounter these and many other problems, I just don't see why it is so difficult for people to get them resolved.

If your immediate response is to start yelling and calling everyone stupid then you probably won't get the results you are looking for and you will be bitter all the time and just go to forums to complain about it. Get your blood pressure up, many times over something stupid, and then still end up not getting what you wanted and walk away feeling like a loser that got ripped off.

There was some guy at a restaurant last Saturday at the table next to us that got his bill and it was wrong and he didn't even ask the waittress why or show her the charge. He just started yelling about how stupid everyone is and they always try to rip him off and blah, blah, blah. If you think you are getting ripped off and taken advantage of all the time maybe you are doing something wrong.

I don't feel that I have ever been ripped off or scammed here. Some common sense will go a long way. A scam works because the scammer is good at what they do and the victim is not. Beware of the scammers but don't treat every single person like they are one.

I feel no more sorry for the guy who gives his brand new girlfriend money for her sick relative that he has never seen than I do for the old woman who gave her bank account to the guy that sent her an email from Nigeria. Sure the scammers are bad and should be put in jail but folks have to take responsibility for their own actions as well and stop blaming all their problems on other people.

I always give someone a chance to fix the problem first. Then if I think they are not fixing it I go to their boss if there is one. If we are still not good or I think they are playing me and it is no longer a mistake then I start yelling and will do whatever else I need to in order to get it corrected. By the time we get to that point I will have given them ample opportunity to correct it and will have only spoken calmly and respectfully up to that point.

I swear if I had as many unresolvable problems as some people say they have I'd be looking for a new place to live. How can someone enjoy themselves with all those problems all the time.

Now if a particular business is truly bad we should definitely speak out about that and warn other people. I have done that in the past on other forums, but it is so few and far between that I feel that I encounter a situation like that. And I still get the resolution I'm looking for before I walk away. I just don't wish to do business with them anymore and want to let others know what they tried to do.

So I will always help folks try to get their problems resolved the right way and will always discourage the type of behavior that makes people look like little crying children and nut jobs.

I'm just saying - how you handle the situation really does matter.
 

dv8

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have you considered making your posts shorter? like, you know, more reader friendly? i'm suspecting you are related to NALs. he has the same condition... :ermm:
 

AlterEgo

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I have been living in the country for 7 years and I have not once had an important problem that I didn't get resolved in my favor.
What internet provider are you using that gives you a Miami, Florida IP address?? Just curious.
 

Bronxboy

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have you considered making your posts shorter? like, you know, more reader friendly? i'm suspecting you are related to NALs. he has the same condition... :ermm:
lol Frank12 as well!!!!
 

Omar_NYC

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The only time I felt ripped off during my stay in DR was when I went to Boca Chica beach.

Immediately when arriving, all the shore-side business employees were practically hassling me to drive to their establishment and take a table there. I went along with one and parked there.

I was told the table was free, all I had to pay for was food and drinks. I said fine and stood there.

I only bought two beers; one for me and one for the miss; and a juice for her daughter. Somehow the tab came up to RD$2200.

I was then explained because I didn't buy any food, the table fee was RD$950. The beers and the juice comprised the rest of the bill.

Oh... and it cost RD$35 for EACH person to use the running water at the establishment to rinse off the beach sand off their feet.

I questioned the bill and was given that stupid excuse. She expressed her discontent for the ripoff and so did I, but ultimately I paid and left.

Imagine that... $55 for two beers, a juice and use of a table by the water.

Needless to say... I won't be going to Boca Chica again...
 

Koreano

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If I buy pack of cigarette it cost me $140 pasos but when I send boys to get it for me it cost $120 pasos. Tell me I am not getting ripped off. Tell me 2-3 colmador that I have stopped by happen to be most expensive places to buy cigarette.

It sure is how you handles yourself but there are others that matters too. Like looks and way you speak.
 

AlterEgo

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The only time I felt ripped off during my stay in DR was when I went to Boca Chica beach.

Immediately when arriving, all the shore-side business employees were practically hassling me to drive to their establishment and take a table there. I went along with one and parked there.

I was told the table was free, all I had to pay for was food and drinks. I said fine and stood there.

I only bought two beers; one for me and one for the miss; and a juice for her daughter. Somehow the tab came up to RD$2200.

I was then explained because I didn't buy any food, the table fee was RD$950. The beers and the juice comprised the rest of the bill.

Oh... and it cost RD$35 for EACH person to use the running water at the establishment to rinse off the beach sand off their feet.

I questioned the bill and was given that stupid excuse. She expressed her discontent for the ripoff and so did I, but ultimately I paid and left.

Imagine that... $55 for two beers, a juice and use of a table by the water.

Needless to say... I won't be going to Boca Chica again...
What a coincidence that you posted this today, we were having the same discussion this morning. We live in a beach town on the south coast, and when we go to either Playa Najayo or Playa Palenque we never are charged for a table. We sit and drink mostly [beers for Mr. AE and waters for me] and sometimes we have lunch or dinner there. The prices often rival a decent air conditioned restaurant in Santo Domingo.

Today Mr. AE walked over to the beach at Playa Najayo and when he got back he said that they are all charging for using the tables and chairs now. Why? Because so many Dominicans come out here and bring all their own food and drinks, because the beach food can be very expensive for them. So the food vendors aren't making much money lately.

Mr. AE also asked why there is only fried fish on the beach - why not a place selling a 'daily special' for 120 pesos or so? They can do it in Santo Domingo with rent overhead, why not here? Our maid, who has a fritura on the beach herself, had no answer for that.

Years ago the same thing happened to us in Boca Chica, Mr. AE refused to pay the charge [I don't remember what it was] when they pulled the same thing on us, he told them to call the police. We've not been back either.
 

cjp2010

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koreano - that does happen for sure. But part of it is knowing the real price first. I never go to buy anything at a place where the prices aren't posted without asking one of my Dominican friends how much they pay for the same thing first. Then I will not let the place charge me any more than that. Some are willing to sell at the right price after they know that you know it and some are not. If they are not I just don't buy and either go somewhere else or send one of my friends/relatives.
 

cjp2010

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DeLancer. I just upgraded to the faster U.S. uplink connection. It really helps me with my work and is more stable. Also they monitor it and when it is down due to a problem with their local router it switches over to the slower connection so I am still up, but not as fast. It's a pretty good deal. USD $65/month, but the landlord pays $30 of it.
 

cjp2010

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By the way, I never pay for a beach chair at the big beach in Sosua. If you do, try telling them no the next time. Tell them you won't pay for the chair and if they insist on paying for the chair you won't stay there and buy any food or drinks. I don't visit the beach in Cabarete much, but I was only ever asked to pay for a chair once there as we were leaving, not when we arrived and I just looked at the guy and said, "What, I never pay for a chair here" and he said OK. I don't know where this whole idea of charging for the chairs came from and why so many people pay it.
 

cjp2010

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The only time I felt ripped off during my stay in DR was when I went to Boca Chica beach.

Immediately when arriving, all the shore-side business employees were practically hassling me to drive to their establishment and take a table there. I went along with one and parked there.

I was told the table was free, all I had to pay for was food and drinks. I said fine and stood there.

I only bought two beers; one for me and one for the miss; and a juice for her daughter. Somehow the tab came up to RD$2200.

I was then explained because I didn't buy any food, the table fee was RD$950. The beers and the juice comprised the rest of the bill.

Oh... and it cost RD$35 for EACH person to use the running water at the establishment to rinse off the beach sand off their feet.

I questioned the bill and was given that stupid excuse. She expressed her discontent for the ripoff and so did I, but ultimately I paid and left.

Imagine that... $55 for two beers, a juice and use of a table by the water.

Needless to say... I won't be going to Boca Chica again...
Ouch!!! I have had people try to do that to me before and in those situations I just refuse to pay. I tell them they are increasing their charges and ripping me off and we need to ask all of their other customers how much they are paying for the same thing. I tell them I am not paying that and if you think I am wrong call the police and we can discuss it with them. And then I will start asking other customers there how much they are paying for the same things. Once I go down that path I usually get a much smaller bill in a hurry. No way would I pay that bill. I have never been arrested here yet, but you'd have to put me in jail first. Get my lawyer and my embassy on the phone now, lol. Make sure I get the arresting officer's name. I have principle and I'm not going to let someone screw with me. But once you've lived here for a while and have some connections you may feel better about doing that than a typical tourist would.
 

cjp2010

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Yeah, as I said I don't like to act like a jerk, but that sort of thing would trigger it.
 

cjp2010

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Omar, one more thing. I'm not sure which post it was where I saw you mention your relationship with the girl first and some more of the details. I am happily married to a Dominican woman and I speak out against the constant bashing of "ALL" Dominican women in generalization.

But as much as I believe there are good ones out there I also believe there are many that are just looking for a tourist to prey on. I'd be lying if I said they didn't exist. So my advice is to proceed as you desire, but keep your eyes and ears open. Use common sense. How and where you met her is important in my opinion. Those "predators" will be easily found at the tourist bars in popular tourist locations. But they can be found anywhere. But like I said in the post that got this started, a scam requires a victim and a victim has many chances to recognize the scam before it unfolds if they are paying attention.

I met my wife at a supermarket more than 3 years before we got married, dated her right at about 3 years before we got married (living here not long distance) met all of her family members at least 2 years before we got married. At least I think I've met all of them.

So I'm saying you need a lot of time with your feet on the ground. Hopefully all works out and you will be happy. Be careful and good luck.
 

Pablo29

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cjp2010... I like all your posts, because you cover a lot, and because your intentions are good.
I live in Brooklyn, NY now, and I am considering moving to the DR in the future. But I might come to spend a month there first to see how it goes. By the way...don't apologize for your long posts. Some people have difficulties writing, some don't.
 

cjp2010

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I have to get back to the beach chair thing. An expat friend just stopped by and we got onto that conversation amongst other things. But he said I was insane not to pay for the beach chairs and that it isn't possible not to.

OK, maybe I've been out of touch and things have changed but I don't share that opinion at all. I told him what has worked for me and he said no way they will laugh at you. Maybe the way he speaks to people is different from me. I always say it with a smile and I always let them know there is something else in it for them if they cooperate - my business.

First of all, its not about the 100 pesos. 100 pesos is nothing. Its the principle of it that first got me on it. I don't pay for beach chairs pretty much anywhere else. The restaurant owners want you to sit in front of their restaurants so you will buy food and drinks from them. On my days on the South Coast I didn't get asked to pay for beach chairs unless I went to very high end tourist spots and then speaking a little Spanish would get me out of it.

In Sosua, they always want to charge for them. At first I just said no and wouldn't use one. Then I tried a different tact one day. I asked to speak to the restaurant owner and I said to him look I'm here all the time buying food and drinks do I really have to pay for the chair? He said yes. I said I can't believe that I'm going to have to go somewhere else. I could see he was thinking about it a bit. He offered me half price and I walked off.

Now after seeing him thinking about it like that I thought maybe I'll try another spot. So I found a new spot to call home at the beach and after a few visits I did the same thing there. The guy said no, not for you, no problem.

Then sometimes I would go to another place and tell them, look that restaurant never charges me for a chair, I'll just head over there if you are going to do it and start walking and most of the time they say OK.

In Cabarete I have never been asked until the last time I went to use one there, which has already been quite some time ago. The kid asked me to pay as I was leaving and I said that I never paid for a chair there and he said OK. That was that.

I will admit as my decreasing tan proves that it has been quite some time since I've tried to get a beach chair at any spot so maybe it is impossible to not pay now, but I don't believe that.

Almost everything in this country is for sale whether it has a for sale sign on it or not. And almost everything that is for sale is negotiable.

Again, its not the 100 pesos. This is just one of those things I don't think I should be paying for as I don't pay for it anywhere else. So instead, I tip the guy running food and drinks for me more.
 

cjp2010

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Thanks Pablo. I love it here. If you have the RIGHT attitude you can get along well.

Keep your eyes/ears open for any sort of scam. True anywhere but more so when you are the outsider. But while you are being careful, also make some REAL Dominican friends that can advise you. Those are probably not the ones you will meet at the tourist bar. I can't caution enough on that. The locals who go there go to work or to sell something both of which can be honest enough or to scam but not to help (unless you have a tip). Tourist bars can be really great hang outs for expats, but its a place where you need to have the eyes and ears really open. I visit many myself and never have a problem but I never indulge into the conversation with someone that wants to tell me their life story or some problem they are currently having or how they can help me in some way.

Definitely spend a month or a few months here before committing to move. And if you don't like one place maybe try another. The North Coast vs. The South Coast vs. Punta Cana vs. Santiago can be very different for many things.

For me it was easy to move because I was already working from home. I just needed internet and a U.S. phone which I got taken care of with Vonage. I have saved more money since I've been here than I spent. Really, if I was still in the U.S. I'd be spending 2.5x what I spend here to have the same lifestyle. But that isn't always easy. You really have to find the right places to buy from and be able to negotiate very well. Or lean on those Dominican friends to help you out, but I don't like to do that unless I really have to.
 

Chip

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With all due respect cjp you should be paying for the beach chairs because it ain't right to deny a guy his chiripita after standing in the hot sun all day, just sayin.
 
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