Travel and hotel booking apps have become an integral part of our lives. With just a few taps on our smartphones, we can book flights, and hotels, and plan our itineraries for any destination in the world.
However, with convenience comes risk as many of these apps are responsible for scams that prey on unsuspecting travellers.
Despite the booming hospitality industry in India and the increasing popularity of online bookings, the number of people getting scammed by travel and hotel booking apps is not uncommon.
From fake listings to hidden fees and even identity thefts, these scams are leaving travellers out of pocket while ruining their vacation plans.
Hidden charges: Misleading prices and extra fees
Travel and hotel booking apps have become the go-to source for booking travel arrangements. However, users in India have reported hidden charges and misleading prices that are ultimately leading to extra fees. This is a common practice among these apps, where they advertise low prices to attract customers but add additional costs during the checkout process.
One of the ways these apps mislead customers is through taxes and service fees that are not included in the initial price. Many users have reported being charged up to 20% more than the original price due to these hidden costs. Additionally, some hotels listed on these apps charge a convenience fee that is not disclosed until after check-in.
Another way travel and hotel booking apps scam people in India is through their cancellation policies. While some offer free cancellations up until a certain date, others will charge exorbitant fees for even minor changes or cancellations. This can leave customers feeling trapped and forced to pay an extra fee just to make a change. It’s important for Indian travellers to be aware of these hidden charges when using travel and hotel booking apps. They should read all terms and conditions carefully before making any bookings or payments.
Fake reviews: Structured ratings, paid reviews
Fake reviews have become a prevalent issue in the travel and hotel booking industry, especially in India. Structured ratings, which are often manipulated by businesses to make their services appear better than they actually are, can deceive consumers who rely on them to make informed decisions.
Additionally, paid reviews are another form of deception that is commonly used. Businesses offer incentives or payments to individuals or companies to write positive reviews about their services. These fake reviews can be difficult to identify and may mislead potential customers into choosing subpar accommodations or experiences.
Travel and hotel booking apps are not immune to these scams; they may even facilitate them by featuring biased ratings or promoting businesses that pay for higher visibility. As such, it is important for consumers to remain vigilant when using these platforms and conduct additional research before making any bookings based solely on ratings or reviews.
Unreliable bookings: No guarantees and cancellations
One of the major issues with travel and hotel booking apps in India is unreliable bookings. Users are often lured into making a reservation through these apps, only to find out later that their booking was not confirmed or has been cancelled without any prior notice. This can be extremely frustrating for travellers who have already made plans and arrangements based on their supposed bookings.
The worst part is that there are no guarantees when it comes to these bookings, leaving users at the mercy of these apps. Many users have reported cases where they were charged for their reservations but never received any confirmation or booking details. Some even received fake booking confirmations or were directed to hotels that did not exist.
As a result, many people have lost money as well as valuable time due to these scams. While some travel and hotel booking apps in India do provide refunds, it often takes weeks or even months for users to receive their money back – if they ever get it at all. These unreliable bookings serve as a reminder that travellers must always exercise caution when using such platforms and should consider alternative options before making any reservations through them.
Data privacy breach: User data sold to third parties
One of the most common ways that travel and hotel booking apps scam people in India is by selling their user data to third parties. This data includes personal information such as name, address, phone number, email ID, and financial details like credit card numbers. Once this information falls into the wrong hands, scammers can use it for a variety of fraudulent activities such as identity theft, phishing scams, and credit card fraud.
The problem is compounded by the fact that many users are unaware that their data is being sold or used without their consent. Often buried deep within lengthy terms and conditions agreements or privacy policies lies a clause allowing these companies to share user data with third-party advertisers or partners. Users who don’t read these documents carefully may be unaware of what they’re agreeing to and unwittingly give away valuable personal information.
To protect themselves from this kind of data breach, users should always read the fine print before signing up for any service or app. They should also be wary of providing unnecessary personal information and consider using disposable email addresses or virtual credit cards when making online transactions. Ultimately, it’s up to both users and companies to prioritize user privacy over profits if we want to put an end to these kinds of scams once and for all.
Legal loopholes: Lack of regulations and legal recourse
The lack of regulations and legal recourse in the travel and hotel booking industry in India has led to many legal loopholes that are being exploited by various apps. These loopholes allow these companies to scam people without any consequences. One common tactic used by these companies is to advertise fake deals and discounts, which attract customers who then end up paying more than the original price.
Another way they scam people is by listing hotels or accommodations that do not meet safety standards or are located in unsafe areas. These listings often have fake reviews, making it difficult for customers to differentiate between safe and unsafe options. The result is that unsuspecting customers end up staying in dangerous locations with no recourse for compensation if something goes wrong.
Moreover, there are no clear guidelines on how refunds should be handled when a customer cancels their booking due to unforeseen circumstances such as a pandemic or natural disaster. This has resulted in many companies refusing to provide refunds or offering only partial refunds, leaving customers feeling cheated and helpless. In conclusion, the lack of regulations and legal recourse in the travel and hotel booking industry is leading to widespread scams that need urgent attention from authorities.
In conclusion, travel and hotel booking apps in India still pose a significant threat to unsuspecting travellers who rely on them. Despite the increased awareness of their fraudulent practices, it is quite evident that they are still able to scam people in many ways. As such, there is a need for both government agencies and private companies to work together in order to identify and shut down these fraudulent apps.
The tourism industry has always been an essential part of India’s economy; hence, it is vital that all stakeholders work hand-in-hand to eradicate this menace completely. By doing so, more tourists will visit India with peace of mind knowing that they can safely book their travels without falling victim to scams from unscrupulous operators masquerading as legitimate travel agents or hoteliers.