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Explore India - Fraud Travel Agency

Mumbai (Bombay...
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Explore India - Fraud Travel Agency

Hey there travellers, I recently hosted some guests at my place from Germany who wanted to go from Goa (Madgao) to Kerala (Kochi) by train so they approached this travel agency in Colaba, Mumbai called "Explore India" near Bentley's Hotel in the backpackers district. This fraud agency charged them an exorbitant 13,000 rupees for train tickets that normally should cost 5,000 or 6,000 (for 2 persons) at the most including the agents commission. In addition, the agency did not provide them with a ticket or PNR number or class or train number and merely gave them a paper bill (which counts for nothing). They were told that the tickets would be sent to their hotel in Goa which is absurd.

When my guests told me they paid 13,000 rupees I was shocked. and I called this agency. The guy was extremely rude when I asked him about the high charges and refused to refund the money. So please beware of this fraud agency and warn your friends.

Edited: 11:04 am, December 21, 2013
Mumbai (Bombay...
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for Mumbai (Bombay), New Delhi, Kochi (Cochin), Chennai (Madras), India
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1. Re: Explore India - Fraud Travel Agency

It would help more if you posted an address or some contact details.

Italy
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2. Re: Explore India - Fraud Travel Agency

You don't say if the guy kept the money and didn't issue the tickets or overcharged them but the tickets were still issued.

Brisbane, Australia
1 post
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3. Re: Explore India - Fraud Travel Agency

Our experience with Explore India.

My boyfriend and I have just returned from a three week trip in India. On our first day, we were approached by a nice guy on the street in Mumbai who spoke English well and asked us about where we were travelling. We mentioned that we needed to catch a bus to Goa for new years. He said that he worked for a travel agency (Explore India) who could help us book a train to Goa. We thought this sounded good as we needed to get a train ticket confirmed asap.

We visited their office which is located in Colaba, Mumbai, next to the Bentley Hotel and met with a number of their workers who all spoke English really well. We walked in with hardly any plans for our trip (we were planning on playing it by ear and booking hotels/transport as we moved around the country) and we walked out of their office with $1500 worth of travel plans.

A number of things went wrong with the portion of our travel that Explore India arranged for us.

1. They did not book trains for us where we requested them and booked buses instead. When they made us aware of this change, they promised us air conditioned buses with reclined seats - this did not happen. The buses were dodgy and seemingly dangerous. After our first bus experience, we told them about how we were unhappy - they said that they would book a better bus for us with different seats for our next trip - that didn't happen. We were very disappointed!

2. We were told that we would have transfers to and from our buses/trains to our hotels in a number of cities however this never occurred and we were required to pay for all of our connections. Usually we would be okay with this however this was promised to us.

3. Train tickets - we told Explore India that we wanted to travel in first class on the trains (this had been recommended by all travellers that we had met) however they told us that first class wasn't that different to second class so they said they would book us second class tickets which would mean that we had only four people in our cabin. It ended up that they put us in 'sleeper class' which meant there were 8 people sleeping in tiny bunk beds in one tiny room.

4. Contacting Explore India - whenever we did encounter issues and tried to contact the main workers at Explore India, they frequently couldn't answer our questions and said "oh, no problem". The issues were not fixed and just caused us unnecessary stress.

My strong recommendation is to thoroughly research how much hotels cost, how much train and bus tickets cost and how much a driver would cost and then book it on your own. Do not get suckered in just because these men speak English and are friendly. If we were to do this again we definitely WOULD NOT book any part of our trip with Explore India and I discourage any other tourists from doing so.

Their contact details:

Phone: 022 22841767

Email: explore-india@hotmail.com

Address: 3, Gr. Floor, Shirin Manzil Beside Bentley Hotel, Walton Road, Electric House, Colaba, Mumbai - 400 001

I hope that this will help other travellers avoid being ripped off and being given false expectations by this company.

Jaipur, India
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4. Re: Explore India - Fraud Travel Agency

Thanks for sharing these incidents it will be helpful for others

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5. Re: Explore India - Fraud Travel Agency

I would have to agree. This has to be the worst, most unbelievable fraud of a travel agent I have ever come across. The prices are extausionate, the services promised do not come through, and the agents are rude and difficult. My friend booked a number of services through these people and experienced an unbelievable level of stress for over a month after that as she tried to organise a refund for some services which weren't provided, attempted to re-organise said services, dealt with the agents who either didn't pick up or told her to call back later. And finally, she is as of this morning having to purchase an entirely new flight because Explore India failed to change her oriiginal one, but still pocketed the money she paid them to do so. She is now crying in Delhi airport with no way home and a genuine disgust for this travel agency and their joke of a service. NEVER USE THESE PEOPLE.

Auckland Region...
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6. Re: Explore India - Fraud Travel Agency

This travel agency is absolute filth, especially the man called Mumbarik who works they. However they are all scum, he is especially bad. Myself and my freind booked a driver through this agency for around Rajasthan, we were promised he would speak english, he did not. Later we found out the extortionate price that we had paid, we threatned to call the police and eventually they promised us a simole 5000 ruppee refund if we cancle our camel tour and safari we booked through them. We agreed as we simply diddnt want anything more to do with these horrible people, however we never saw any glimpse of a refund, they eventually blocke our number and we never heard from the again. Finally My freind booked a flexi-saver fare so she could change her fligjt cheaply, she paid explore india the 50 dollars it cost to do so. But the money was never paid to air india for changing the flight and instead her ticke was canceled an had to pay a whole new $1500 for a new ticket when she got to the airport withiut a valid ticket. We have tried reporting this agency to the police but nothing has come of it. Please please please do not use these criminals for any of your travel plans, get out of anything you have booke with them asap or you will be left with the horrible looming feeling of them for the rest of your trip

Manchester, United...
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7. Re: Explore India - Fraud Travel Agency

Sad to hear about it

Caloundra, Australia
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8. Re: Explore India - Fraud Travel Agency

Hi, if all these one time posters are genuine, sorry this has happened to you, but how come you have found TA after your travels and did not bother to heed all the many warnings before you started your travels ?

Just saying

Cheers Carole

Vancouver, BC
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9. Re: Explore India - Fraud Travel Agency

The cost of train tickets can vary a lot in India - and what you might 'expect' to pay is hard to say. The cheapest way to get tickets is to go to the stations yourself and buy them because then typically (though not always) you can get them at the price quoted on the Indian Railways Website.

However, you might not wan to do that because it is confusing, difficult and involves queueing - OR because it seems that the tickets you need are not available.

For these reasons you might use an agent like Explore India. Obviously, because they are a business they would charge a mark-up on the original ticket price - they aren't providing a free service, usually one of the staff is going to the station and getting the tickets etc.

But also, these agents may have 'ways' to get tickets that are otherwise unavailable. For example, they have a contact at the railway who will provide tickets held in certain quotas etc, or first class. When that happens, you can certainly expect to pay double the price because the agent themselves will have had to pay a 'commission' to their connection.

We may not like the way things work, but people are always assuming they are being ripped off, when actually they are paying for a service which gets them what they need - and couldn't easily get themselves. That's a fact of life here in India.

In the interests of full disclosure: I have used Explore India to book travel for me several times. They have always been open and honest with my about what costs what and why, and have always gone out of their way to ensure I got what I needed. So it made me surprised and sad to see this post.

Edited: 9:20 am, February 27, 2014
Vancouver, BC
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10. Re: Explore India - Fraud Travel Agency

I also feel compelled to respond regarding these other posts relating to man called 'Mubarik', since I know the inside story on this. It's not a pretty story for anyone involved - I'm really, so, so sorry for you guys that were on the receiving end, and I'm also sorry for the guys at Explore India as this person was indeed involved in swindling people, them included.

Essentially, he came asking for work with Explore India and presented what appeared to be good credentials. However, over the three weeks he was there, he wreaked havoc. He booked trips with mistakes, including promising tickets that were not available. He charged higher fees and pocketed the extra cash - including, I suspect, the money relating to the air fare mentioned. Some of this he did and gave his name as those of the other staff at Explore India, so that they were blamed instead.

Obviously he was asked to leave as soon as this became apparent. After this, he made phone calls to clients telling all sorts of lies to try to take revenge - including to me.

Anyway, that is what happened. It's still awful for those whose trips were spoiled. It's also hard for the guys whose reputation has been screwed by one, really nasty individual. They are working hard to build it back again.