Tuk tuk traffic in Amritsar, India

Beating a Rickshaw Commission Hotel Scam in Puna

For the final bit of fun after our 31 hour train journey, Carrie and I found ourselves with the unenviable task of finding cheap lodging near the world famous (who knew!) OSHO Meditation Resort in Puna during a festival. The first few guesthouses we saw were too expensive and we were exhausted so we decided to go with a rickshaw driver who said he could find us something in our price range. These guys are notorious for only showing you places where they get a hefty commission. Still, if all goes well they do the legwork for you and you get a cheap room.

new_delhi-Tuk_Tuk-ride-adventuresofagoodman-minAt our first few stops, we waited in the rickshaw while the driver got out, talked to the owner and returned saying that they were full. When we finally had our first vacancy it was far from the center of town, the side bedroom in a family house and double what we were trying to pay…even after haggling. Back into the rickshaw we went and as our search passed the hour mark Carrie and I concluded that we were being duped an enough was enough. Despite finding us nothing, the driver still demanded money for his effort while maintaining innocence. We gave him a pittance and moved on.

Our final resort was to ask the first pair of white people we found where they were staying and how much it cost. The first couple we found said they were around the corner and paying exactly what we wanted from the beginning but our rickshaw driver convinced us was impossible.

How surprised were we when arrived and it was the very first one we looked at with our driver. I guess the owner didn’t want to pay commission so the driver lied and said it was full. When we finally checked in it was on our own accord with no help from the driver, yet two days later the owner of the guest house was forced to pay a commission. And that’s the way it works.