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Travel portals are a dime a dozen these days. But I’ve only ever used them to book flight tickets. So when the hotels I usually stay in turned me down on a particularly busy week in Mumbai, I decided to try my luck on Cleartrip.com. I paid the entire amount online (as is the process) for Hotel Cosmo in Marol, Andheri East, and was promised an airport pick-up the next morning… A morning that, unfortunately, showed the day. The cab arrived over forty-five minutes late (“Mumbai ka traffic, sir”) and deposited me and my bags at a hotel I didn’t recognise — perhaps because it wasn’t the one I had booked! A shabby cubbyhole in Saki Naka, it had nothing ‘cosmo’ about it (not even in its name). The pictures on Cleartrip, the long list of facilities, nothing added up. Even the room was much smaller.
In all my conversations so far, including the back-and-forth about the pick-up that morning, no one had breathed a word about the switch. And at the reception, all I was offered by way of an excuse was a garbled, mumbled sentence about painting and renovation. Late for my meeting and too tired to argue, I signed the register and headed out to face a busy day.
After an uncomfortable night and a complimentary breakfast (of two slices of toast, omelette and a cup of tea fetched readily from a roadside stall nearby), I decided to register a complaint with Cleartrip. A decision not taken lightly (given they have, on occasion, kept me waiting for over thirty minutes to reschedule or cancel flights).
So when I checked out, I asked for a receipt — a piece of paper I hoped to nail the buggers with. But no can do. Please call Cleartrip. I didn’t call Cleartrip. I never will.
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