27

We Got Got: Scammed in Delhi

Agra Bazaar

You’ve probably heard that India is a budget traveler’s paradise. This is true, but there are a few things that make it expensive. Sure, you can splash out for a hundred dollar dinner in Delhi or Mumbai just like any city in the world. I’m talking about the unexpected expenses. If you let it, India will clean out your wallet faster than anywhere else.

We landed in Delhi a few weeks ago, and we’ve been scammed twice (as far as we know), and deflected a few other attempts. The first time was pretty minor; a taxi driver from the airport told us the meter had rolled over, and against our better judgement we paid him double the fare. Whatever. It was a mistake and a few bucks down the drain. SERIOUSLY, I’M OVER IT. Ok maybe not, but I’m working on it.

The second time happened just minutes after the first and will be much harder to recover from. Here’s how we were grifted out of more than $150:

The aforementioned scammer driver disgorged us and our three massive backpacks, duty free purchases, and other assorted hand luggage from his cab at New Delhi Railway Station. We needed tickets and had read that they can be difficult to get on the day of travel, so we were a little nervous about navigating the station.

As we approached, if was as if someone threw chum in the water. The sharks smelled eau d’traveler stink. We looked around for some kind of ticket office, and after the slightest of pauses he pounced.

“Tickets, please,” in a very official voice.

“Uh, no tickets. We need to buy tickets.” Looking back, I’m sure his face lit up at this moment. He pointed to sign that read ‘Ticket Holders Only,’ then to his map, and said “You need to go to this office: DTTDC.” Little did we know he was in cahoots with this “DTTDC.” I’d read that there was a special tourist bureau at the station and assumed this was it. It sounded bureaucratic enough.

He looked at our big bags. “I will get you rickshaw, you pay Indian price!” As if he was saving us money.

We thanked him for his help and piled into the rickshaw. The driver dropped us at the office that the helpful old gent had indicated, which was blazed with signs reading “Train Tickets” and even “Government of India Tourist Information.”

We were hustled into a comfortable office and then the real scam began. A well-dressed young man told us in perfect English that no trains were available for more than a week to our desired destination. After a few keystrokes on a computer that may or may not have been plugged in at all, he deduced that no tourist buses were available for a similar period of time, and local buses took “fifteen or sixteen hours” and were unsafe. The latter was probably true but the former certainly not, because on our way back from this trip we took the local bus and while it wasn’t comfortable, it took only about six hours.

“What are our options to get there today?” We asked. We were intimidated by staying in Delhi and wanted out of town as soon as possible.

“Well, you could take a taxi. It will be expensive.” He quoted us a price over US $250. This was way out of our $40 per day budget. We talked about maybe going somewhere else instead. But this would throw the rest of our schedule off and be more hassle and expense.

“Is there any other way to get there?” This was his signal to go in for the kill.

“Hmm, well you can take a private car.” And after a few more keystrokes in his magic box, “It will be $160.” After some deliberation and seen in light of the higher taxi price we decided to just bite the bullet and go for it, taking an expensive lesson about trying to buy train tickets on the day of travel.

A few days later, we discovered that this office wasn’t actually a government tourist representative but, as it seems obvious now, a tour operator/car hire company. How officials can allow such brazen disregard for their authority to continue under their noses I still have no idea. I suspect that there were train tickets available, and I know that the government run bus service was a viable option on the day of travel. Don’t make the same mistakes we did, kids! If it doesn’t seem legit, it probably isn’t.

Wait, there’s more. I’m writing this while en route to Agra and the Taj Mahal, and were just the targets of YET ANOTHER scam. Again, a helpful fella at the New Delhi train station saw us coming and insisted that we needed “boarding passes” in addition to our printed tickets to avoid fines of “over $200″ on the train. I was suspicious but listened to him because I’m a sucker and it’s not uncommon for foreigners to jump through some hoops in India. He took us on a little run-around intended to make us miss our train, in the hopes that we might hire him to drive us to our destination. Luckily we sniffed it out in time and told him to stuff his boarding passes. We had absolutely no problems on the train, and it’s a lovely way to travel.

Traveler scams are infuriating, but don’t let them get in your way of enjoying a place. India may be better at scamming you than you realize, but its a fantastic place to visit (more on this soon). Just remember to be cautious, the more we fall for the scams, the longer they’ll stick around. Sorry guys! We’ve learned our lesson.

Share this!
    1. Mom M says:

      The same thing happened to ginger in Istanbul. I’m just glad you are both OK!
      Love, mom

    2. Dad says:

      Hi Zach& Christina,
      Get me the name of your hotel, I am anxious to try it!
      When are you moving on? What is the next stop? Happy Thanksgiving. Love dad

      • Stina says:

        Hi Augie!
        We are in Hampi right now and having a blast. We met up with our room mates from Wanaka, New Zealand and are enjoying a slow paced, small town, hassle-free living in the south of India! Happy Thanksgiving to you, too! Much love to you and Janet from both of us :)

    3. I’m pretty pleased to find this great site.
      I need to to thank you for your time due to this wonderful
      read!! I definitely oved every little bit of it and I have you book-marked to
      see new informaion in your blog.

    4. butt says:

      If you desire to take a good deal from this paragraph then you have to apply
      these strategies to your won blog.

    5. I just want to say I’m all new to blogging and site-building and absolutely enjoyed you’re website. Likely I’m going to bookmark your website . You certainly come with awesome articles and reviews. Appreciate it for revealing your web page.

    6. Sorry for the huge review, but I’m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

    7. I truly appreciate this post. I’ve been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You have made my day! Thank you again!

    8. Thanks so much for providing individuals with such a splendid opportunity to discover important secrets from this site. It really is so useful and also jam-packed with a great time for me and my office friends to search your web site really three times in one week to learn the fresh tips you will have. And lastly, I’m just actually contented with your wonderful opinions you serve. Certain two tips in this article are really the most efficient we have all had.

    9. I am continuously invstigating online for ideas that can facilitate me. Thanks!

    10. Business says:

      I was just seeking this information for a while. After six hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your site. I wonder what is the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this kind of informative websites in top of the list. Normally the top sites are full of garbage.

    11. Automotive says:

      I would like to thnkx for the efforts you’ve put in writing this blog. I’m hoping the same high-grade web site post from you in the upcoming as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own website now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is a good example of it.

    12. Pets says:

      Wow, superb weblog format! How long have you ever been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The entire glance of your site is fantastic, let alone the content!

    13. Because the admin of this web page is working, no hesitation very soon it will be well-known, due to its feature contents.

    14. Education says:

      Excellent read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he actually bought me lunch since I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that: Thank you for lunch!

    15. imscseo says:

      IMSC SEO is a Singapore SEO Company. They provide comprehensive Singapore SEO services to help SG businesses to gain traffic from search engine. Their SEO agency has many years of experiences working with overseas companies on more competitive grounds. They are the best seo company in Singapore you can find. Their SEO expert and consultant understand exactly what search engine optimization your company need to gain search engine traffic.

    16. Terrific post, plenty of great info. I wish to show my pal and ask them the things they think.

    17. Divorcemind.com is a online divorce resource for divorce attorney, attornies and lawyers. You will find the best divorce information online. Divorce Mind will make your divorce or separation a quick, convenient and private.

    18. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again very soon!

    19. Emeryeps is a SEO(Search Engine optimzation) and Internet Marketing company. They help businesses to get traffic from various search engine and online community. They have seo experts and consultants with many years of SEO Experiences. No matter where your business is located, EmeryEPS.com can help your business to secure your highly convertible leads online.

    20. SacramentoCremation.us is one of the leading crematorium services in the Sacramento area. Feel free to contact us regarding any questions on Sacramento Cremation Services or concerns you might have. Our staff will respond to you as soon as possible.

    21. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people think about worries that they plainly do not know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks

    22. Click Here says:

      SacramentoCremation.us is one of the leading crematorium services in the Sacramento area. Feel free to contact us regarding any questions on Sacramento Cremation Services or concerns you might have. Our staff will respond to you as soon as possible.

    23. Emeryeps.com says:

      Emeryeps is a SEO(Search Engine optimzation) and Internet Marketing company. They help businesses to get traffic from various search engine and online community. They have seo experts and consultants with many years of SEO Experiences. No matter where your business is located, EmeryEPS.com can help your business to secure your highly convertible leads online.

    24. Divorcemind.com is a online divorce resource for divorce attorney, attornies and lawyers. You will find the best divorce information online. Divorce Mind will make your divorce or separation a quick, convenient and private.

    25. MichaelJemery.com is a site with many hypnosis downloads. Whether you are looking for free hypnosis downloads, self hypnosis download for mp3, video and any audio files, Michael Jemery has the downloads for you. You can download hypnosis from apps, audio, mp3 and even youtube !

    Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookCheck Our Feed