That is frightening Disgusted. I don’t know of any other country in Europe where this could happen. It would need the order of a judge to enter premises and confiscate anything in most places outside of China and certanly not on the say so of a Town Hall official.
NTarrant, you bring up a point my wife brings up all the time. She thinks I’m crazy, but I do not feel secure if I don’t have a small wad with me. I distrust plastic which is great, but subject to power cuts and the arbitrary need to refuse a transaction, perhaps for a security check, just when you are in the most hurry. It’s much quicker to peel off the cash and deal with the check while in the taxi.
True, London hotels can be found for much less, my club in St. James charges £120, but sometimes I need to stay in the Ritz or Claridges if with a client.
Then there is the 3% card companies charge, plus a handling fee and exorbitant exchange rates. Many companies will give you 10% off if paying cash, which with the VAT refund can equate to a 30% saving.
Talking to Swiss friends (nationals that is) they all carry a few thousand with them. Switzerland is still a cash society and like many Germans they do not like credit cards.
Martyn, that must have been frightening. Though I should emphasize the officer was also very courteous and polite at all times, and he did not confiscate the loot. While £3,000 sounds a lot, it was just a note of CHF 1,000, 4 x 4 500, 6 x £50 and 3 x $ 100, plus some assorted smaller notes. This fits easily in my zipped inner jacket pocket.
I could understand it if there were signs saying you could be questioned, have it confiscated etc, but the only ones I have ever seen are signs saying you must declare any amount over £ 10,000 / € 10,000.
I know we have the problem of drugs and money laundering, but criminals also buy cars and watches. That does not make us all criminals because we buy a car or watch!