Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hotel Experience

Last week we visited Guruvayooor in Kerala.  This is one of the holiest places for Lord Krishna.  I have no idea which hotel to book for staying.  I surfed the web and booked a hotel through Kerala.com Travel Division.  I have no idea if they are affiliated with Kerala Government or a private travel consultant.  Anyhow I booked in a hotel in Guruvayoor.
 
We had a good darshan of Lord Guruvayoorappan.
 
It is time to check out.  The time was 7 PM.  It was pouring cats and dogs.  We have to catch the train at Thrissur, which is about a 35 minute drive from Guruvayoor.
 
We go to the reception desk and I give my Visa credit card.  He took my card and looked at it for almost 2 minutes.  (To us, it looked like 2 hours.)  Then he asked me if I can pay in cash.  I told him I don’t have that kind of cash with me.  I asked him what is the problem in accepting my credit card.  I pointed out at the big sign at the reception that says they will accept Visa and Mastercard.
 
He then threw me a curve ball.  He said his card swipe machine is not working.  I told him there is nothing I can do about it.  He than asked me if I have any debit card.  I asked him back: “will that “swipe machine” work on a debit card and not on my visa credit card?”  I also told him I don’t have any debit card but I have a mastercard if he wants to use that.  He never replied.
 
He picked up the phone, dialed someone, and had a serious conversation with someone for 5 minutes in Malayalam.  I did not understand a thing of what he was saying.  One English word I picked up was “commission”.  He used that word 3 times.
 
After hanging up the phone, he swiped my Visa credit card in his machine.  It was accepted.  He gave me the small print out to sign.  I did and he gave me my credit card back.
 
Something bizarre happened then.  I asked for a copy of the detailed statement of account for which I was charged.  Usually, in hotels, during check out time, you do not have to “ask” for it. They themselves will give you.  That will show all charges – room charges, tax, bar charges, food charges, and others in detail.
 
He said I have to get that from Kerala.com Travel Division from whom I booked my reservation.  Now I have no way to verify if those charges are correct/legit or not.  I have stayed in hundreds of hotels in many countries including India.  This is the first time a hotel will not give a statement of account and ask me to get it from the organization through which I booked my reservations.
 
We had to catch the train.  We did not have time.  So we left.
 
During our car ride from Guruvayoor to Thrissur, I was telling my wife I would like to call our Visa card company in USA and make a stop payment on this until the hotel send us the statement of account to our home.  My wife being a Goody Two-shoes convinced me not to do it.

35 comments:

  1. I think that wherever you go, some trouble or other is following you... But then, on a positive note, you have a story to tell :)

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  2. that was a sour experience indeed. Sadly, such people and biz spoil the India's image and most tourists leave with more horror stories than pleasant ones.

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  3. Thanks for your comments Satya. I do not consider them "trouble". I consider them interesting experience. You have a point. I have a story tell.

    If a plane starts from Point A and reaches Point B - it is not a news. If it does not reach Point B, then that is the news.

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  4. Thanks for your comments Ankita. I have stayed in hotels in many cities in India. This type of incidents are very rare.

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  5. Their worry must have been 2% commission they have to pay to the bank.I dont know if it is legal for what they did,but it surely unfair

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  6. Thanks for your comments Mr. Chowla. I think you are correct.

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  7. It's strange that he had a working card swipe machine and still lied that it didn't work. Instead of creating this drama and lose the trust of the customer, they can increase the bill by 2% if paid in credit card, and allow the customer to choose (credit card vs. cash/debit card) what they prefer.

    And a hotel should give the bill - so many business travelers need the bill for reimbursement, not the credit card statement!

    Destination Infinity

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  8. The manner in which he refused to accept your card in the first instance and then finally did would make anyone suspicious. Hope it turns out well.

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  9. From now on words use "make my trip.com", or "trvel guru" kind of sites which offer good service, and it always good to read reviews of hotels before booking them. Always decent hotels( even if they are small) have reviews about them in the internet.
    Also trip advisor is good site to check out the best hotels and their reviews.
    Hope you have good trip in every way next time.

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  10. He might have found ready cash a better option than swiping the card and getting the form signed.It is very well white and the cash he an urn to black to avoid the tax.Any way nice to read these travel tips. Some novelty it contains.
    Guruvayoorappan bless you.

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  11. How odd. What a strange check out experience. I always like hard copies so I would not be to thrilled with this.

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  12. A devilish experience in God's own country ;)

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  13. Now that's some experience to associate with the visit to Guruvayoor.IT is wrong on part of the hotel not to give the bill.

    We stayed at Bharat tourist homes at Kerala(Ernakulam) and had the best services in terms of food, guidance and living.

    AT Guruvayoor, we stayed at Hotel Annapurna(?) on the temple lane itself close to the entrance.We had a good experience here too.

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  14. Thanks for your comments Rajesh. I don't know if openly charging 2% additional (for card users) is legal or not.

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  15. Thanks for your comments OW. It turns out OK at the end. I did not get a detailed statement. That is also fine because I am not going to submit any expense voucher to my office. This was a personal trip.

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  16. Thanks for your comments Rama. Also, thanks for the nice suggestions.

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  17. Thanks for your comments Sarala. You could be right.

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  18. Thanks for your comments Lady Lilith. It was kind of strange. I never had this experience before.

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  19. Thanks for your comments Mr. V. Bond. And, welcome to my blog. It was kind of different experience for me.

    Mr. Bond, please visit here as often as possible. Thanks.

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  20. Thanks for your comments Asha. We will remember the name of the hotel you suggested - to use during our next visit to Guruvayoor.

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  21. It was weird..but in India many people say that they will charge extra if you pay by card..or will give you a discount if you pay in cash..

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  22. Thanks for your comments Renu. I don't know if it is legal to ask for extra to accept a credit card.

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  23. This weekend I'm traveling with my parents to Paraguay! There are twelve hour driving... I hope to have a good experience at the hotel (:

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  24. I think the Hotel has to give the bill and not the travel div of Kerala.com. It must have to do with the commission thing. I think, you should have stopped the payment. LOL :D
    Interesting experiences you are having here :)

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  25. I've stayed in Kerala, in our flat and in Hotels, but somehow I've never had this kind of experience. Trouble seems to have a knack of finding you :-)

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  26. This is really weird. I feel that Indians are still reluctant to accept credit cards. Maybe most of them are not educated enough to know that it is common everywhere to accept credit cards. Some shops also charge 2% for credit cards exp. while buying gold.

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  27. Aww. Language beats us hollow every time. They can always smell a non-localite from localite.

    You ought to have done that stop-payment thing. Such people deserve an answer in the same code.

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  28. Thanks for your comments Camila. Have a great time in Paraguay

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  29. Thanks for your comments Shilpa. I should have made a stop payment. But my wife stopped me from doing that.

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  30. Thanks for your comments Ashwini. I would call them interesting experience.

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  31. Thanks for your comments Sandhya. I don't know if it is legal to ask for additional 2% from credit card holders.

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  32. Thanks for your comments Sweety. I should have made the stop payment.

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  33. That was interesting read for us too! Else, I would never imagine something like this may happen...

    TC! Keep smiling :)

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  34. This is really weird...the machine didn't work the first time but after talking on mobile it worked.Strange.
    Travel brings us many new experiences.It makes us meet new strange people too...;-)

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  35. Thanks for sharing your experience. There are plenty of other temples and churches in the town. Thrissur Pooram is the most popular festival celibrated here in the months of April or May, and is known for its parade of elaborately decorated elephants and generous use of firecrackers through the festivities. Explore all best hotels in Thrissur.

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