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Avoid Primero Travel & Tours!

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Avoid Primero Travel & Tours!

These guys weren't just incompetent and dishonest--though they certainly were that--but, as I'll describe below, they almost got my wife and me killed.

The agent we dealt with was Mahinder Kumar--"Manu," as he told us to call him. We spent four hours with him, planning every detail of a two-month itinerary for our honeymoon: hotels, trains, and where trains were impractical, drivers. We checked and rechecked all the prices together. Then, later, he not once but twice claimed he'd made a mistake and that we owed him more money. We gave in the first time, but not the second. (We knew we hadn't made a mistake, and it didn't help when he changed his story, first claiming that the problem was with the hotels he'd booked, and then, when we produced our notes of that four-hour conversation and pressed him for details, saying that it was actually the cost of the drivers that he'd gotten wrong.) At that point he tried to extort us, making very clear that if we didn't give him the extra money, one of the drivers we'd already paid for to help us make a tight connection between two different train stations wouldn't be there. (And the driver wasn't there, but we found a cab right away; we missed the train, however, and would have missed it even if Manu had provided the driver we'd paid for, because the drive took longer than the time between the trains he'd booked.) When we were arguing about his demand for more money, he said that he'd made an honest mistake and that if we wanted, he'd refund all our money and we could find another travel agent. Yes, we said, that was what we wanted. He refused to refund our money.

So, since we'd paid for the things he'd booked, we used them, or most of them--but a hotel he'd gotten for us in Udaipur was pretty typical of his offerings: loud, dirty, no hot water, and the rain came in through the leaking windows. I won't bore you with every detail of everything that went wrong, but the last straw was a driver he provided for us in the Himalayas. This guy was erratic from the start--which would have been scary anywhere, but was very, very scary on those winding mountain roads, where there was often a thousand-foot cliff next to us. We should have made him stop the car and gotten out, but we didn't like the idea of being stranded in the middle of the mountains with our packs. After a few hours, however--on a relatively straight section of road--the driver simply lost control of the car and ran off the road; fortunately driving into the mountain to our left rather than off the cliff to our right. He'd been reaching for something in the drivers' side door when he lost control, and while he tried to push the car out of the ditch it ended up in, we took a look. That something turned out to be a half-empty bottle of whiskey.

We called Manu and told him what had happened. He said he doubted the driver was drunk, and his advice was to get back in the wrecked car, with the same driver, and ask him to drive to the nearest hospital and take a breathalizer test. No, we said, we didn't think we'd do that. Instead, we told Manu that he needed to find us a different car, with a sober driver. "That's not my responsibility," was his answer. So, thirteen kilometers from the nearest town and with all our bags, we started walking.

Manu isn't the only crook at Primero. When we eventually got back to New Delhi, we went into the office to demand a refund. Manu wasn't there, but the "director" of the place, Rajan Tahim, was. He refused to give us even a partial refund--not for the drunk driver his company provided us, not for the expensive cab we eventually had to hire after we managed to hitch to a town, and not for the driver we paid for who didn't even show up.

It's good to think that these guys live in the land of karma; but karma's workings can be slow. In the meantime, my advice to you is, avoid Primero Travel & Tours!

--David Kaiser

New Delhi, India
Level Contributor
242 posts
44 reviews
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1. Re: Avoid Primero Travel & Tours!

Hey Dave! Sorry about what happened with you guys...Didn't you read reviews before hiring that agency? I'm glad you posted here so more and more read the fact and make more people aware. If possible, please post this guy's mobile number, office address so people can isolate more easily.

Thanks for posting !!

New Delhi, India
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242 posts
44 reviews
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2. Re: Avoid Primero Travel & Tours!

Is that this one:

http://www.primerotravelandtours.com/

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Avoid Primero Travel & Tours!

Yeah, that's the one. The office is at 1 Municipal Market, Connaught Circus; office phone number 91-11-23360657. We didn't read reviews before going to them--actually, it's hard to find reviews of travel agents--but I'll make more of an effort next time!

Winnipeg, Canada
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3,952 posts
276 reviews
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4. Re: Avoid Primero Travel & Tours!

wow, what a complete nightmare! i am sorry that happened to you!

goes to show how important it is to research the forums and get good reviews on the tour companies your hire before you leave on your trip!

Jo

New Delhi, India
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242 posts
44 reviews
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5. Re: Avoid Primero Travel & Tours!

TripAdvisor is an excellent website to help connect travellers all around the world and share experiences. One should always spend some time here before making reservations/bookings, for anywhere. Unfotunately you came across this only after you were scammed.

New Delhi, India
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729 posts
18 reviews
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6. Re: Avoid Primero Travel & Tours!

David.

Sorry to hear of this experience. Hope you'll have a better trip next time. Do not let this trip spoil your image of India.

Titus.

Delhi
Destination Expert
for New Delhi
Level Contributor
4,337 posts
5 reviews
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7. Re: Avoid Primero Travel & Tours!

Dear David,

I am sorry that you have had so bad experiences during your India travel.

Another hand, thank you very much for warning to others about this company but I do not think it will help to others. As these types of companies are in Connaught Places and Paharganj area, mostly they are managed by touts and they change their names and locations, frequently.

If you wish to help others, kindly let the people know how you reach there?

I do not think, it is listed in any Govt. of India Tour operators manual or Guide Book or Trip Advisor.

It means some touts take you there by telling you some stories. If you share that story with us in TA, it will help to others avoid to use that tout running companies who defaming travel agents.

Do not call them travel agent better to say them trouble agent.

Hari Mangal

8. Re: Avoid Primero Travel & Tours!

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Removed on: 03 November 2012, 11:05
New Delhi, Delhi...
3 posts
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9. Re: Avoid Primero Travel & Tours!

Mr Hari Mangal Let me assure you i am not a small company that shifts offices every now and then or ever, i have had my travel agency running successfully for the past 15 years from the same location.

also as far as the experience goes Mr David and his wife were well aware of the accommodation being provided to them, we cater to the need of our guests according to their budget, not everyone stays in five stars while on holiday.

New Delhi, India
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202 reviews
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10. Re: Avoid Primero Travel & Tours!

Mr. Rajan/Rohan if you really have the proof with you then i don't think u should have waited for them to post on Trip advisor, you would have gone to the police or the embassy by now- well lets not get into personal details

i agree they choose the Budget hotel themselves but as the chosen adviser, you should have given them the real pictures instead of showing them post card pics- or do u want to say you recommend hotels even without visiting them yourselves ?- rainfall leaking inside the room can only happen at a poor man's hut not a Hotel no matter what budget it is

when you make arrangements for a cab at a certain point through a local vendor- you ensure that they reach on time especially when the time is of importance

Drunk/ Rude / Rash driving drivers should never be sent for tourists on the hills and instead of agreeing that it could have been the Driver's mistake, you are telling the guests they were wrong- Hospitality rule says "the customer is always right".

to me it looks like the whole wallet story was created to curb attention from the main point and that point is the poor Quality of service provided by your company

A company might be in service for a lot many years but to have satisfied customers should be your primary objective

I again say that i do not wish to get into personal details but atleast the basic Hospitality rules should not be taken for granted