Gip and rip-offs are everywhere, even in Rome. Although much is warned, many tourists are too careless and fall into the trap. Some cases even make headlines worldwide. Read how you can protect yourself and how you should behave when confronted with an inflated bill.
Prudence with …
Very high is the risk of buying tickets from hawkers or if you take an illegal taxi at the airport or at the train station. In addition, there may be high and excessive bills at bars and restaurants.
illegal ticket sellers
Illegal ticket vendors get up to their tricks at the well-known sights. The longer the queues, the more expensive the tickets become. If you handle cash on the street, you risk a thief disappearing with your wallet and your money. Therefore, only buy tickets online and download them to your phone. Many museums, such as the Colosseum, no longer accept paper tickets.
To protect yourself from rip-offs in illegal taxis, there is a very simple remedy: you do not take any. Illegal taxis very often require a multiple of the normal fare and there are few opportunities to protect against it. If there is a quarrel about the fare at the end of the journey, it can quickly become threatening and you should have no hope of someone coming to your aid. Never take an illegal taxi.
You can pay legal taxis by credit card. You should do this to avoid fraud when giving change. Read also taxis in Rome
A well-known family, whose grandfather began the empire by roasting chestnuts, controls the beverage carts and souvenir stalls, which are almost inevitably shared in photographing the sights.
Even today they roast chestnuts, even in midsummer! The prices requested are disproportionate to the quality and quantity sold.
In Rome, you can find good drinking water everywhere for free at the well, the “Nasoni”, and you only need one plastic bottle to refill.
The minimarkets would be convenient, because you can shop at any time, even on public holidays. However, often you must pay a multiple of the normal price. Wine and prosecco at the Minimarket cost almost as much as in a restaurant. For self-catering you should shop in a supermarket on time so you do not have to rely on the minimarkets. Most supermarkets are also open on Sunday. Only on high holidays like Easter and Christmas they are closed.
Most Romans have breakfast in the bar and a coffee and a pastry are usually very reasonably priced. However, the Romans stand at the bar. Once you sit down, the price can rise significantly. Especially at the beautiful Roman squares, a drink or a sundae at the table can be quite expensive.
The prices must be clearly recognizable. Often you will find two columns: “al banco” – at the bar and “al tavolo” – at the table. The barist is entitled to charge the price indicated in the price list. So check the prices before ordering and you will not be surprised. As long as you have not ordered anything, you can go away.
Don’t waste 20 euros for a cappuccino and a dessert. Check the prices before you order!
In Rome you will find restaurants in all price ranges. Read the list carefully before ordering. Because some “tourist traps” are particularly creative. With the order you conclude a verbal contract and you have to pay the indicated price. Bread is charged extra and usually brought even if not ordered. You can send it back if you do not want it.
Some restaurants charge a service fee, “Servizio”. These surcharges are sometimes hided in the fine print somewhere down or at the end of the menu. A surcharge of 10% or 20% increases the order considerably. If you do not want that, go before you order.
Most restaurateurs in Rome are respectable and offer high quality. High prices are therefore usually justified due to the quality of the food and the ingredients and with a good service. Whether the price-performance ratio is right, you learn, for example, at a glance in .
Acchiappaturisti and buttadentro
In Rome there are many tourist traps. Most of them have people standing outside inviting people to enter. They are popularly called “acchiappaturisti” – tourist catcher, or “buttadentro” – throw-in. It also happens that they advertise with a plate of pasta in their hands. Often there is also a table set up with plastic dummies.
Mostly the quality in these restaurants is not very good, the prices are excessive or there are other problems. Otherwise, they would not need the buttadentro to attract tourists. The is a high risk to be ripped of.
Tips on restaurants can be found in our category Food in Rome.
What you have to watch for
Many restaurants offer the food relatively cheap, but ask a high price for the drinks. Check the drink prices! Usually there are no side dishes with the main course and they have to be ordered separately.
Steaks or fish plates that are calculated by weight are often cheated in weight. Have the raw meat or raw fish shown before preparation and ask about the weight. Recently, a case went through the newspapers in which two Japanese women were charged over 4 kg of fish. A large fish of 1.2 kg comes from wild catch and costs in the restaurant usually more than 100 euros.
Significant additional costs will be incurred if a restaurant charges the service extra. This must be stated on the price list, for example Servizio 10%. Even if an extra is charged on holidays such as Easter, Christmas or New Year, this must be stated.
The legal situation
If you have difficulty with the amount of a restaurant bill, you need to know what rights and obligations you have. The journal La Legge per Tutti deals with this topic again and again.
Failure to pay a restaurant bill is a breach of contract that is not criminally enforced. It would be different with a deliberate bilking. That would be a criminal offense.
What you can do in an emergency
So you’re going to eat in a restaurant. You will be surprised by the amount of the bill and do not have enough money. Then you have to tell the restaurateur and assure the payment within a reasonable period of time. To do this you must leave him your data. If you do not pay as promised, he may sue you for payment of the sum.
If you think that the bill is excessive and you don’t want to pay the amount, you can refuse the payment. Basically, the restaurateur can not prevent you from leaving the restaurant. In the worst case, that would be a deprivation of liberty and you can call the police at 112. You can also ask the landlord to call the police if he wants to stop you from leaving the premises.
The problem is that the fraud has to be obvious. As long as the host complies with his price list, there is no fraud. If you order a bottle of champagne for 200 euros, you can not say afterwards that it was too expensive. It is also not enough that you did not like the food or did not meet your expectations. Taste is discussable. However, if you are charged 2 kg of fish per person, the fraud is obvious.
Fraud is when you are charged for items that are not included in the price list. It is not allowed to charge a tip – “Mancia”. Also credit card fees may not be charged.
Your rights in the restaurant
- As long as you have not ordered anything, you can get up and leave without paying anything.
- The landlord can indicate on the invoice a total amount without details. However, he must tell you how this amount is composed.
- If you order and consume something for which there is no price in the list, you must accept the price charged. Details at La Legge è uguale per tutti
- If frozen products are used, this must be stated in the price list. In most cases, there is an asterisk in the list. For raw fish, special legal regulations apply.
- The menu must contain references to allergenic substances.
- If the restaurateur wants to stop you leaving the restaurant because you do not pay the bill, you can call the police at 112.
No matter how it turns out. Such experiences are a nuisance and they spoil your day.
Avoid illegal ticket vendors, illegal taxis, beverage vending cars and minimarkets.
Check prices in bars and restaurants before ordering. Do not just stumble into the next best restaurant and do not get involved by buttadentro. Avoid tourist traps.
Let friends and forums give you recommendations for good restaurants.