HotelsCombined Scam, old habits die hard

World wide web is full of stories narrating how HotelsCombined affiliate program robbed them and the list is never ending.

hotelscombined scam
Screenshot from Hotels Bookie article on HotelsCombined Scam

Hotelscombined scams are again in news, as they say ‘Old habits die hard’. Dan Winther made an in-depth analysis of this whole circus in his travel blog Hotels Bookie. Please read here…

Who are these people calling from

Getting too many emails from India lately regarding something very interesting and fishy going on at one of India’s leading on line travel portal I called up one of the user who reported similar incident as others. As I’ve already told you that it is very interesting as well as fishy also. Interesting because these guys at Cleartrip are using state-of-the-art technique to reach out their customers and fishy because they are reaching out to them when customers are about to buy a travel product from Cleartrip.

I was very confused with all the narratives given to me and I decided to experience it myself. I got very suspicious after what happened with me, anyone will be. I was indeed going to buy eight return air tickets from New Delhi to Goa. I hit on Cleartrip website and voila! Their rates were cheapest among other top Indian players like Yatra and Makemytrip. After choosing both departure and arrival flights I filled out traveller’s details and my details with my mobile number and hit the next button. I was on payment page which gave me options like paying by Credit Card, Net Banking or Debit Card. My mobile phone rang and ye lo! It was call from one of the Cleartrip sales executive!

CT: “Sir you are trying to book eight return tickets for Goa as I can see”.

SC:   Oh yeah, I was about to pay for them using net banking.

CT:  I’m sorry sir, but our payment gateway is giving some problems so I’ll do it manually for you if you can provide me with your Credit Card number.

SC:   I don’t have any Credit Card thats why I’m using net banking. Is it really not working, you mean transaction will fail?

CT:   Yes sir, thats why I called you.

In the meantime I clicked the pay button on my Net Banking page and transaction was successful. My PNR number was blinking on the screen and the person whom I was talking to before few seconds was not on other side of line any more. What technology man? I don’t know why this man called me while I was about to buy a travel product on their site and why he was pushing me not to use net banking and instead pressing hard for using my Credit Card? Why did he lied that their payment gateway is not working and transaction will not succeed? Whether Cleartrip is aware of such practice is regular feature at their call centers?

I must tell you one more thing in the end that it is not just one in million incident, it is common practice these days and Cleartrip must come forward with some kind of explanation sooner or later.

What did I forgot to tell you? Oh yes, while I was busy talking to Cleartrip sales executive over phone, in the meantime the return flight I chose got sold out and I was given Go Air 20:35 return flight to Delhi.

PNR of trip discussed above is 7EFNIJ. Airline was Go Air and booking date was Tue, Jan 4, 2011 at 7:01 PM

Affiliates, Publishers, Beware! (or whatever) Another Scam Site.

Every other day we are receiving emails from robbed affiliate publishers who put too much money and energy to promote Scandinavian programs offered by yet another scam site and Modus operandi is quite familiar, they just use publishers to generate leads for hundreds of Scandinavian advertisers and never pay them, just disabling publisher’s log in access when it comes to payment.

adfair scam

It was never heard of in Scandinavia though. What the Danish and Swedish Cyber Crime police is doing? Well, our duty was to inform our subscribers and readers, rest is upto the concerned authorities of the respective countries. A formal complaint has already been logged at the Copenhagen Police with signatures and other details of the complainant publishers against Henrik Sode Holm who is running the whole show. Action is yet to be taken.

Someone from the network contacted our hosting vendor and got suspended our account with them (only thief resort to such things)  but we are unfazed by such small acts as we’ve experienced the same during American School of Aviation Scam. We are in touch with many affiliates who were robbed by this rogue network and will continue this campaign alive with inputs from robbed affiliates in the coming days.