Fake Office

tourist office

Beware of fake government tourist offices!  This is old scam in Delhi, if you arrive late a night and hire a pre-paid taxi, they will often try to take you “tourist office” saying that all the guesthouse are closed and you must check in there and they will help you find a room  etc.  This is travel agency scam is making you think that your at official tourist office. When it is just a sign with  "Tourist Office" in front.  You maybe just walking by and looking for ticket and mistakenly walk in.
"Yes this is a government approved tourist office..."
Is what they will say, making it sound as though they are the Government.
In India, especially in a big city or town, guest houses always have a night manager on duty. The Manager can always be awaken in the middle of the night to supply you with a room, this is the normal practice in India. So don't worry about "pre booking your first night when you arrive in India."
What will you do the second night? The third night in India? Soon or later you have to learn to find rooms on your own.

The “tourist office” is just an tour agency with the words “Tourist office” painted on the outside. The scam ensues by you sitting there, while your taxi driver waits outside (for his baksheesh) and the agent make a fake phone call to his friend and finds a crappy, over prices guest house, often asking you to pay in advance there and then. A booking fee.

Remember: you wanted to come to India, you wanted an adventure right? Even if it's your fist time in India, put your foot down with the driver -  don't let him take you to anywhere you don't want to go. You may have to show some strength and little anger, even a bit threatening.
A good tactics is to say that you need to go to the New Delhi railway station to catch a train, from there you can walk or take another cycle rickshaw to where you want to go in the Paharganj.
Lastly your taxi driver will always say your choice of guest house is full or closed etc. It not that hard to do on your own, you don’t need to arrange an “airport pick-up” just know the tricks and you won’t get  burned, and find a great guesthouse on your own for your first night in India. Sleep well.

+ 5
+ 1