Just like any big city in the world, there are various tourist traps and scams that one should avoid. In this blog post we will try to address the famous airport taxi scam that plagues tourists coming to Delhi.
Imaging, you are a first time visitor to India and choose Delhi as your entry point. You have already booked your first stay in any Hostel / Hotel in Delhi. The property has already confirmed your booking via email and requested you to book airport pickup. But, the adventurer in you decides to make it to your hostel in Delhi on your own.
Arriving at the Delhi airport after a long tiresome flight, you’re tired, and choose to pick a pre-paid taxi from the airport to commute to your hostel in Delhi. The driver, after driving for a sometime, tells you that he doesn’t know exactly where the hotel is and suggests that he checks with the Government Tourist Agency to inquire about the booking and the hostel directions. Too tired to wander off without directions, you agree with him, being oblivious to the fact the driver is pretending not to know directions, and the Government Tourist Agency he is talking about, is nothing but spurious agency run by touts.
Anyways, after arriving at the unofficial agency the (un)concerned person pretends to call your Hostel in Delhi and the impostor, on the other end of the call, imitates to be someone directly associated with your hostel. He then informs you that your booking has been cancelled, or something on those lines. Now that you’ve learnt that your booking has been cancelled by your Delhi hostel, you feel very upset. Your driver and the agency, well-aware of your mental condition, take full advantage of the fact and manage to convince you to take you to another Budget Hotel in Delhi, which may OR may not be more expensive. After you reluctantly agree, you check-in to this new budget hotel in Delhi. The driver and the agency get commission money from the new so called Budget Hotel and they laugh their way to nearest pub.
Another innovative way is to create some kind of security hoax alert saying that the area is closed due to security issues or the area has been cordoned off due to disturbance in that area OR something on similar lines.
The next day you get a NO-SHOW mail from your hostel in Delhi, and after reading it you realize that there is nothing called a Government Tourist Agency and that the driver and the agency run by touts have actually SCAMMED you. It is now you realize that had you booked an airport pickup with Smyle Inn and spend an extra 8 USD or 7 EURO approximately, it would have saved you such a big trouble especially if you are coming at odd hours.
Hope this blog post explained how the Airport taxi scam works. In order to avoid it, it is best to order airport pickup from the hostel you will be staying. It will also help you save the trouble of locating the place, especially at odd hours. Once you are are in the city you will be able to navigate yourself better.
Following are some links where others are also talking about this scam: