You will inevitably pay some learning money when it comes to your life in China. If your Chinese is not up to speed and people realize it they will oftentimes try to get the better of you. This is not because all Chinese are out to get the better of outsiders. It is because as a foreigner you are likely to frequent certain places (e.g. the foreigner markets) where it is part of the business model to try to squeeze every penny out of unassuming 老外.