Consumer: Scam by companies selling cheap travel packages

Recently, I got a call from my spouse about contact from a travel package company. A company called XS Travel Club had contacted my spouse with grand promises of a great package – for Rs. 5000, you get a 3-4 days 4 nights package at locations varying from Mussorie to Shimla to Goa to Bangkok. Sounds good, right ? But there was more. There was 10 complimentary beauty treatments from the various Delhi outlets of BodyCare (typically things such as facials, massages, hair treatment, etc). And there were 10 dining coupons from 5 restaurants in different places in Delhi. Since I had more experience in handling such kind of things, my wife gave my contact to these people, and they contacted me. I talked on the phone to them, asked about the holiday resorts (the names they took sounded good), and even the restaurants looked fine. So I asked them to come over to my office for showing me the package and taking the Rs. 5000 from me.
They were at my office the next day, and everything was there – the stay vouchers, the dining coupons, and the BodyCare coupons. So I started reading and discovered a few interesting things:
– There was a separate processing charge of Rs. 199 mentioned in the terms and conditions
– For every night, there was an additional charge of Rs. 399 to be paid
– Places like Manali / Mussorie / Shimla did not allow the coupons to be used during the following months (yes, you must have guessed by now – the summer months; so no using of these coupons between April and July)
– so, overall they were going to be charging me Rs. 1400 more if I used the travel package (which is almost 30% additional over the Rs. 5000 they wanted to charge initially)

When I spoke to the person who had contacted me, he spoke to his manager (and I could hear the conversation to some degree). In effect, his manager said that they should tell me to take my vacation in August, and not in summer.
By this time, I was not exactly a cool cucumber, and I gave a piece of my mind to the guy who had spoken to me. In effect, what he had done was deceitful since he had not told me these conditions, and since I had opened the fine print, I came to know, else I would not have known.
He assured me that they would not charge these Rs. 1400, and would change the not allowed period of the package to some other time, but when I asked him to make that in the written terms and conditions, he did not respond.
What could have gone wrong ? Learnings:
– If I had taken the coupons without checking, I would have been stuck with those conditions, and would have been cursing myself for not looking at this more carefully.
– If I take the person’s oral committment about getting the money and period waiver without getting that in a written form, it is not something that would have held up later. After all, the person whom I would have spoken to later may deny any suck knowledge and I would have been stuck.

Thus, be very watchful when you see such offers, and always take the time to do a study.

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