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Watch out driver con...check before you go !!!

Redditch, United...
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283 posts
6 reviews
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Watch out driver con...check before you go !!!

I must warn you all about a scam that happen to us while holidaying over in Sri Lanka ,when we arrived at the airport we were met by a

Man who we thought was the guy that we had been talking to over the net, sorting out our two week tour from north to south.

No this was his friend only his wife was ill so he sent me !!!! Quote “

Now I don’t know about you but I was looking at a guy I have never spoken to, no track record to speak of, so what would you do?

We went to our 1st hotel all the way he kept saying you have

Money? you must pay all the money as my boss will not be happy, we told him that he would have to wait till we got to the hotel and I would make my mind up if we carry out the rest of our journey with him, thank god my mum and dad did not use this guy as they would have just freaked out.

So on the night this guy who we had been giving for our tour asked for the money ,saying he had spoken to his boss and we had to pay ,why did he not email me before we flew over ..Or could have at least spoken to me on the phone...

He would not speak to me at any time and we overheard him speak to our driver many times,

This driver was recommended by someone on here a DE no names mention ,but when I got back he told me he had spoken to our driver and would not recommend him again, just to shore this up he sent me many emails saying how sorry he was and he would do all the tours himself in the future and was going to send me $100 back asap...well guess what not a bean ,just a con so I would not put this on tripadvisor ,telling me that I would ruin his life ect ,I am sorry but if you what his name or need to check before you book p.m ..

Don’t be put off just be aware its happing more and more as sri lanka becomes more poplar.

Colombo, Sri Lanka
Destination Expert
for Sri Lanka
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54,886 posts
196 reviews
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1. Re: Watch out driver con...check before you go !!!

Hi there,

Unfortunately this too happens, and more so with the freelance drivers than with an operator-assigned driver. At least report back by PM to the DE concerned (even if it was us :-), (s)he will no doubt drop this driver from their list or at least start a thorough inquiry or trial-with-jury ;-)

A few pros and cons of freelance versus operator-assigned drivers (note that it's often the same persons, but the business model differs - and hence responsibility, either relatively nameless driver or name-holding company).

PRO of freelance: slightly cheaper, more flexible (e.g. in avoiding the tourist traps for some extra tip; in the company price the trap-commission is discounted already), more feel-of-the-person before travel.

CON (minus) of freelance, and hence pro's of the operators: not so easy hotel bookings (he has to do it in between travelling, the operator has specialised staff at the office), no plan-B (someone to fall back on) if he falls ill or treats you bad, 'no guarantees' as was proven in your case.

That having said, it's not always the drivers or operators to blame for mess. A clear case, overheard from 'my' driver; will withold the country of the tourist for now but it's a bit notorious for this kind of cowboy-behaviour...

Tourist Mr. X Whatsyourname books hotels himself. He also does extensive negotiations with driver for the best price, makes the deal for USD 1000, and tells the flight no.

Upon arrival at the arrivals area, the driver waits with a sign labeled 'Mr. Whatsyourname'. Strangely enough, next to him is another driver with a sign labeled 'Mr. X'.

When the person arrives, he calls BOTH drivers and tells 'Yes this is our way of negotiating. Now with nr. 1 I have a price of USD 1000 and with you my nr. 2 for USD 1050, and both are still too high for me. First bidder please with a price below USD 950, the other one can go back home'...

Both drivers walked away a bit and chatted in Sinhala. Conclusion: both told him that he could drop dead, take an expensive taxi to his first hotel, and start finding a driver-compatible-with-cowboys from there on. And if he ever dared to contact them again, would sue him for breach of trust etc...

All the best,

<Erik> & [Sandya]

Edited: 06 July 2010, 16:10
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898 posts
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2. Re: Watch out driver con...check before you go !!!

Erik, Good to point out that the ‘scams’ are not just perpetrated by the tour providers but sometimes by the client as well. As anywhere, there will always be a few bad apples.

In the rare cases where there is dissatisfaction with a DE recommended agency, driver, guide, then that should, as you say, be reported to the DE concerned. As tourism grows in Sri Lanka it is inevitable that some driver/guides and agencies will start to use other staff to meet the demand. Most of the time this will work, occasionally it won’t.


3. Re: Watch out driver con...check before you go !!!

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