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Agent Wants Balance Ahead of Time

Los Angeles
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78 posts
31 reviews
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Agent Wants Balance Ahead of Time

Hi,

Earlier this year we contracted with Indian Moments, in Jaipur, for a 16-day trip with car, driver, hotels, etc. I read good things about Indian Moments on TripAdvisor and other travel forums (Lonely Planet, Frommer's, etc.). They are on the official Incredible India list. We sent them 50% of the trip cost in June, with the balance due 45 days ahead our arrival (Nov. 28, 11).

Today I received an email from Indian Moments asking if we could please send the balance now, because of "unexpected change in the policies of the hotels wherein they are now demanding full deposit, 90 days prior to the check-in date." Our contact stressed that this early payment was optional, yet at the same time seemed to say this was the only way to insure our hotel reservations.

Can anyone confirm this change in hotel policies?

Is this a usual occurrence when dealing with Indian travel agents?

Should I send some money now, not too much, and the balance on the original date?

Should I look for a new agent??

I hope someone has some answers. Thanks.

Mumbai, India
Destination Expert
for Mumbai, New Delhi, Kochi (Cochin), Chennai (Madras), India
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1. Re: Agent Wants Balance Ahead of Time

Some hotels - for example, the Taj Safari lodges - have tough payment policies in place, where you have you pay upfront and it is often non-refundable. In general though, most hotels offer agents 30-days in advance payments. It is possible that your itinerary includes some hotels with a tough policy and the agency overlooked this fact while quoting the payment terms to you. I do not think this is reason to change agents; I have heard nothing but good things about this company.

Deepa

Udaipur, India
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for Udaipur
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2. Re: Agent Wants Balance Ahead of Time

Hi,

Its realy difficult situation for Agent when Hotel ask for 100% Advance on or after Booking. I agreed Deepaji and with Agent to pay them advance for Hotel.

You donot need to pay 100% for your Tour, becouse services (CAR+GUIDE) you booked with Indian Moment can be paid later

Have a Good Time

Jaipur, India
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2,793 posts
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3. Re: Agent Wants Balance Ahead of Time

Hi

this right i am also agreed for this

regards

Las Vegas, Nevada
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4. Re: Agent Wants Balance Ahead of Time

I have been asked for payment in full and thats OK, if from the very begining you are aware of it, but to change the rules half way through is not so good.

If as Deepa has suggested it is only one or two of the hotels causing this upset then surely these hotels can be treated accordingly ?

Have you already booked your airline ticket ?

Did you already pay for that in advance ?

Jack

Edited: 12:28 pm, August 18, 2011
Los Angeles
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78 posts
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5. Re: Agent Wants Balance Ahead of Time

Hi everybody,

Thanks for your replies. Jack: Our airline ticket (from Heathrow to Delhi & back) didn't cost us anything - we got a freebie from Virgin Atlantic because we agreed to be bumped last year on our return from England - ! So that's not a factor. Of course, we have booked and paid for our r-t flight to London from Los Angeles.

I like the idea of finding out which hotels in particular are asking for the $ up front. Deepa: you mentioned the jungle-sanctuary sort of thing - we are going to be spending 3 nights in Ranthambore so perhaps that's the problem. Udaipurmagic: your suggestion backs up my idea, which is to send some money now, but not all of it!

Thanks for the vote of confidence in Indian Moments. Considering the distance, the time, and the money involved in a trip of this sort, it's good to know that the tour operator is trusted.

All best,

Sylvia

Mumbai, India
Destination Expert
for Mumbai, New Delhi, Kochi (Cochin), Chennai (Madras), India
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6. Re: Agent Wants Balance Ahead of Time

If your hotels are part of a package - like if your itinerary has say 10 nights with Oberoi hotels - the sales team for Oberoi may have asked your agent to cough up the payment. In turn, your agent may be asking you. The terms that the hotel gives the agent depends on the relationship / contract between the hotel and the agent. It is possible that the agent's contract with the hotel chain or group has changed, resulting in this situation. Even so, strictly speaking, you are not required to pay since your contract with the agent is based on the terms agreed at the time the proposal was accepted. The real question you should ask them is whether this second round of money you are being asked to pay to the hotel is non-refundable in the event of cancellation.

Edited: 1:07 pm, August 18, 2011
Las Vegas, Nevada
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7. Re: Agent Wants Balance Ahead of Time

Deepa is spot on, and took the very words right out of my keyboard.

sweiserw, I mentioned the plane tickets because it seems to me that nearly everyone pays in full for their flights anything up to a year in advance.

How many of those do you think realize that they will lose a lot of money when cancelling ?

Travel insurance will cover some of that cost, but wont cover some of the taxes and surcharges imposed. These total, more often than not, more than 50% of the cost of the ticket.

You have that one licked if you got them for free.

Good luck

Jack

Los Angeles
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78 posts
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8. Re: Agent Wants Balance Ahead of Time

Hi,

Thanks, Jack, for the tip on trip insurance. It saved us three years ago, when ATA went out of business after we booked our trip to Hawaii with them; as I recall, we received the total amount of purchase back, including taxes and fees. Of course this is an international trip, so the rules might be different.

Deepa, we are not staying at any Oberois (don't I wish!) but we are staying at several hotels in the Taj chain. Maybe they are the problem.

I'll contact Indian Moments and see if I can get more specifics on which hotels want the fees now.

Thanks again, everyone!

Sylvia

Udaipur, India
Destination Expert
for Udaipur
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9. Re: Agent Wants Balance Ahead of Time

Hi Sylvia,

Pay Advance - if i am right Indian Moment is requesting you only!!!.

Its up to you wheather you want to pay now or later !!

if you write them that you are going to pay rest amount on arrival i donot think they will refuse

Regards

Yogendra (Udaipurmagic)

10. Re: Agent Wants Balance Ahead of Time

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