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Payments to Belize / Ambregris Caye dive shops

Discussion in 'Belize' started by _Alex_, Feb 28, 2019.

  1. _Alex_

    _Alex_ Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Seattle
    20
    0
    1
    Hi all,

    I'm going to be diving in Belize March 2nd - 9th, and tentatively decided on Belize Pro Dive Center based on good feedback on this forum and Trip Advisor reviews.

    However, their payment request is funky. First they sent me a "credit card authorization" document asking me to provide them my credit card info via email. That's not a secure way to be sending your credit card info around. When I objected to that, they asked me to call in my credit card info. That's a bit better, but I figure they are going to write my credit card info on a piece of paper that will be laying around somewhere in their office. Also not super great.

    Is that pretty normal for the Belize/ AC shops to run payments like that? I don't really feel comfortable giving them all of my credit card details rather than making a payment via a secure web site or via a credit card terminal in their shop. If that's pretty much what all other shops do, I have no choice I guess.

    I'd love to hear what your experiences were as far as the payment goes.

    Thanks,
    Alex
     
  2. flyboy08

    flyboy08 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: NYC
    2,656
    1,554
    113
    Did you use your CC to pay for air and room? I’d have no issues calling in my CC to reserve my dives....it’s hard to get bitten these days as your CC company protects you.
     
    kelemvor likes this.
  3. _Alex_

    _Alex_ Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Seattle
    20
    0
    1
    Hi flyboy,

    I paid for my air and room via secure web site payment processing to major US companies. They typically have proper security measures in place (my flight is with Southwest and my room was booked via Hotels.com). It's not exactly the same thing.

    Yes, credit card companies do protect you, but it can be time consuming to get things cleared up sometimes. Last time I had my card number stolen, somebody charged almost $4,000 in airline tickets. Took multiple calls to get it squared away.

    My question is - is this a normal practice for all/most dive shops in Belize?

    Thanks,
    Alex
     
  4. ReefHound

    ReefHound PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Houston, TX
    5,013
    1,029
    113
    When I went to Caye Caulker we didn't prebook diving. We showed up and had no issues diving every day. What is the driving need to prebook? Same thing last month when I went to Costa Rica. Shop wanted me to email or call cc info. I said I'm not doing that, we want to dive these days, we'll be there on mm/dd to pay cash, if you can't take us diving then we'll find someone else who can.

    You really never know what happens on "secure sites". There may be contractual requirements in their merchant cc agreement but when you push the button, code runs. And for all you know that code is storing your data in a text file or printing it out. I'm not disagreeing with you about the security probability. I'd trust my cc info more with a large US-based corporation than a small local business. And while I'm not a big fan of paypal, I often prefer that due to the nature of it being a "push" transaction on my part than a "pull" transaction on the vendor's part.
     
  5. _Alex_

    _Alex_ Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Seattle
    20
    0
    1
    Hi ReefHound,

    Thank you for your reply. I'm not sure if there is a need to prebook. Once in a while, popular dive shops do get fully booked based on their boat capacity. E.g. I dove in Grand Cayman with Living The Dream, and they started getting full about a month before my trip, so I ended up having to adjust my dive scheduled because of that (still got my diving done, just had to switch some of the days to the afternoons, which wasn't my preference). From what I'm reading so far, Belize / AC has more dive shops than divers, so that's a good problem to have. It's my first time diving there though, which is why I was trying to check. Also many shops offer a price break (like 10-20%) if you prebook.

    It doesn't sound like there is a need to pre-book, so I'll see if I can gently decline without offending the owner / manager (Emiliano), who sounds like a nice guy and I read good things about him on this board. I obviously will be trusting them with my life, so it's almost silly I guess not to trust them with my credit card. I just had almost every single credit card number stolen somehow within the last couple of years, and I am pretty security conscious.

    I know what you are saying about "you never know what the software is actually doing" :) I'm a software engineer myself, and work on web development tools, so yes, the software could be mass mailing your credit card info to every single dark web site as soon as you click "submit" :wink:.

    Thanks,
    Alex
     
  6. Stoo

    Stoo NAUI Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Freelton & Tobermory, Ontario, Canada
    2,766
    2,262
    113
    I keep one credit card for potentially "sketchy" transactions (not casting aspersions on this shop). By sketchy, I mean transactions that are with unknown, distant operations etc. It was a small limit, so anyone trying to use it improperly isn't going to get far.

    All the others are maxed out anyway, so they won' get far with those either. ;-)
     
  7. Damselfish

    Damselfish Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Boston
    8,763
    1,306
    113
    I think as long as you believe you are dealing with someplace reputable you just do the best you can. If you need to email something you want to keep secure, do it in a password protected zip or similar. Then send the password separately, even through a different channel if you can. As said there is no guarantee that an online system is secure, heck the phone (which along with fax and snail-mail is how everyone used to do this back in the dark ages) may be more secure sometimes.

    Some businesses are just behind the times, and some places simply work differently than what you may be used to. Wait until you go to someplace in the Indo-Pacific that wants to be paid by wire transfer...
     
    chillyinCanada and ReefHound like this.
  8. ReefHound

    ReefHound PADI Pro

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Houston, TX
    5,013
    1,029
    113
    Been there done that. Put together a 10 night group trip for 13 people last year. Sending off $20K in bank transfers to providers you know virtually nothing about operating in a country where have virtually no recourse will trigger nerves you never knew you had.
     
    Damselfish likes this.
  9. Malarky

    Malarky Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Southeast
    34
    15
    8
    Ask if they will take PayPal or Venmo?
     
    lthomas132 likes this.
  10. Ministryofgiraffes

    Ministryofgiraffes Barracuda

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Toronto
    241
    125
    43
    I know these guys well, been diving with them for years and I can assure you that there is nothing sketchy about them and they will run your number through the machine and then bin it. It’s a well run shop. I presume they are asking for card because you are booking blue hole or turneffe trip with a cancellation policy on the day you arrive? Or possibly a private boat charter? Other than that I have never seen them ask for card upfront (before you arrive at the shop) for anything else and certainly not for anyone who is OW+ and has dives in the last year who just wants a two tank.

    Why did they say they need it?
     

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