How it works:
- Situation 1: the infamous hotel is closed or burned down scam which touts at transportation hubs (e.g. train stations), borders (e.g. Sunauli) and rickshaw/tuk-tuk/taxi drivers may play on you. Basically, this is to bring you to another hotel where they get a juicy commission.
- Situation 2: the site has received reports on misleading advertising/photos by hotels on online platforms. This is of course not unique to India and should not be generalized.
- Situation 3: one thing to note with smaller hotels is that some may not display standard prices clearly, not provide receipts and/or not accept card payment. In these cases, there is a risk of being overcharged if you do not check carefully.
Places to beware:
What to do:
- Be skeptical if you hear that a place is closed and always check for yourself to confirm (e.g. online, email, going down, etc)
- Photos provided by hotels themselves can be assumed to be embellished anywhere in the world. Always look beyond the photos and check out user reviews, though note that certain reviews and ratings can also be faked. As such, a holistic review is recommended.
- Always be very clear about the pricings and surcharges before you even stay at a hotel. Use hotel booking platforms with buyer protection rights: e.g. Booking.com (Frommer’s tests found it to have the best selection and rates).