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Monday, May 26, 2014

The Rip Off



We had reached the Goa International Airport after the flight that landed 20 minutes late from the scheduled time. Hordes of holiday makers that were leaving the sweltering heat of Delhi with children to destinations across the country as schools and colleges had closed a week earlier. Within minutes of landing we were zipped across the salubrious, ever green glades to Candolim in the hotel cab that had come to pick us up! After checking in we relaxed for about an hour and then decided to go out for a short walk as soon the sun would set! We had barely walked a 100m when two young men walked towards us and asked us a few questions in a very friendly and polite manner and enquired if we would like to attend a presentation to mark the anniversary of the hotel they were representing. On showing our disinterest they pulled out a sealed envelope akin to the ones the banks use to send the PIN number of ATM/ Credit cards. The duo assured us that it was a lucky dip with no cost or commitment. Reluctantly, I broke the seal and it turned out to be a 20% discount on any meal in the hotel that was located nearby. Next a similar envelope was handed over to my wife and after some glib talk they made her open the sealed envelope. There was a sudden buzz of excitement as the contents indicated that we have won either a DSLR camera, or an Apple I Phone, or a LED TV or a 7 night 8 day holiday package. All that remained was to scratch a card below but in the presence of the hotel team. The only condition was that we would have to attend a presentation for an hour and had to be less than 60 years old, in possession of identity proof and also carried a credit/ debit card from leading vendors like Mastercard/ Visa. As we had nothing much to do, we agreed and were taken in a waiting taxi to the venue. I was keen to see what happens now, more than in the gifts that were promised and how the events will unfold. Within minutes we had reached the hotel, where we were greeted by smartly attired men and ladies and after some initial verification of antecedents asked to sign a paper saying that we were under no obligation of any cost or commitment. That being done we were ushered in a big hall swarming with people and agents. It resembled like a gambling area where game of poker was in progress. Tea and coffee was ordered and next a young manager of the company came and joined us and asked us a few questions of our background, how, when ,where, we had traveled before and where we planned to go next. He pulled out different brochures and how they had tied up with some global chain of hotels where we could stay for peanuts comparing even with present stay! We could become members for 25 years for unlimited holidays and everything else just short of promise for a moon! Having generated interest, and asking us of our willingness he next called his senior who explained us the dynamics of cost and comparison with rival schemes! The best was yet to come. If we availed the scheme on the same day we would have to shell about Rs 200000 which could be either lump sum or part payments spread over 18 months. I told him that we needed about 5 minutes to make up our mind and asked him a few inconvenient questions for the first time! He then told his representative to show us around the property to impress us what we stood to lose if we did not avail of the offer. On return when he asked us again of our willingness I told him that I needed some time! Next their Managing Director stepped in and tried to better the offer by reducing cost to 75000/- for 5 year trial with all terms remaining same and we could pay in one year time. Only, we needed to sign the agreement the same day or else the scheme would not be available the next day! I told him bluntly, that I did not take financial decisions on the spur of moment even for things that cost Rs 5000/- so expecting something this big was impossible. Now, it was his turn to throw up his hands and tell his team that they were worthless who could not find the right customer. Still, they scratched the coupon to announce that we had won a Seven Night/ Eight Day Offer in their chain of hotels valid for one year! Let’s see what really lies in store as we came across many such touts the next days of our stay at places of interests offering such trips and memberships intimating it was the last day of the offer!

PS- 1. Image Kind courtesy Google
       2. Thanks to Yatra.com and Indiblogger for this holiday and all the lovely readers for their         support

26 comments:

  1. I hate these kind of hoaxes and schemes. Its quite irritating for the unsuspecting person who has no clue what they are in for. Such people swamp malls and can be quite persuasive. I just shake my head whenever I see such people approach me at mall entrances and walk away from them saying 'not interested.'

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    1. Yes , it is a waste of time ! I got into to see how far they go, as I had some time to while away:)

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  2. We went through a similar experience about 30 years back! Amazing, the game is still on!

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    1. Some things never change but this idea of fleecing gullible is bad!

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  3. Ahhh, this is very common at any holiday destination

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    1. True Mr Chowla but the way they go about is annoying and is a sheer waste of time!

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  4. too good to be true..
    we had this scheme a few years back and a lot of people were taken for a ride..

    Recently there is this company based in india, who someohow has got my mobile number and they are hell bent on making me sign some papers, so the debt i am in can be easily paid off, I have told them that other than my mortgage I have no debt ,and I am not under any pressure paying that monthly.. BUT they want ot help me .. I get fone calls PLEADING me to sign their documents ..


    Good you did not sign the documents

    Bikram

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    1. All of us have either been ripped or attempted to be ripped at some time! One has to just keep his wits about! Thanks, Bikram for reading.

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  5. I hope the rest of the holiday was good.
    I also hope the 7nights/8 day thing works. Good Luck. :)

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    1. Absolute fun it was, except for this experience, Divya! Keeping fingers crossed for the new offer in our possession:)

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  6. This type of thing happens so often here, a week doesn't go by when people don't receive hoax wins via digital correspondence, and it always seems so genuine that you never realise it it all a scheme

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    1. True, Sam! One has to be alert not to fall into these traps:)

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  7. This looks like it has been going for long... fooling around people by luring them with goodies..
    Hope u had a great Goa trip.. Also hope the new thing in the kitty works for real. I am sure it will come with lots of terms and conditions not heard of.

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    1. Manjulika yes this has been going for long and such people are getting away by luring innocent! It was fun time in Goa otherwise and apparently this time around it looks that the new offer is not too bad! Only time will tell.

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  8. I am entirely grateful for your visit....Have a splendid weekend!

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  9. I've never experience such thing but many kind of rip-off don't cease so l'll watch out such luring during trip. I hope, after this occurrence, you had a nice trip.
    Have a nice day!

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  10. I went through the similar experience! When the manager tried to call the director I told him that I am thinking of eating street food for dinner leave alone buying a holiday package for rest of my life and so not to waste director's time! They are so pushy and don't let you think!

    Another kind of fun experience during the vacation time huh?

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    1. Thanks a lot Kusum for sharing your experience on similar lines:) It was a great holiday otherwise:)

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  11. From 2 lacs to 75k. You are right, I can't buy 10 Rs thing without proper thought. Hope otherwise holiday was good.

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    1. Actually Saru, I walked in knowing well what lay in store, but was more amused by the way they kept trying to cajole us to walk into the trap :) We had a lovely time in Goa reliving our memories where we had spent two years, when I was in the Navy:)

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  12. Ugh that must have been terrible. But hopefully your trip otherwise was fun.

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  13. It is ridiculous to be ripped by people who try to blackmail you emotionally! Luckily the rest of the trip went as a breeze, Rachna:)

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