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I've been travelling in India for about 2 months now and about half the places I've stayed have asked for an advance payment way over the room rate at the time of check in. Often asking for 1000 rupees, even if the room is 400/night. They promise to pay the difference back on checkout, but then look confused when asked for a receipt. Also they don't check the room when we leave, so it doesn't seem to be a damage insurance policy.

Normally I just plain refuse to pay more than one night upfront and the policy magically goes away, but today it got a bit stressful (lots of numbers were being said and it felt like the goalposts were shifting).

So the question: Is this normal in India or any other countries? And why? Do tourists often run out on the bill? They have passport and visa details, so I assume I'd be easy to trace.

  • It's not just the bill guests run out with. A story has recently been doing the rounds of a gentleman arrested for stealing 120 hotel TVs. That happened to be in india as well bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-42164828 – origimbo Nov 30 '17 at 22:01
  • That would make sense, but they never check the TV is still there before check out... Or that we haven't trashed the place. It'd be alright if they provided a receipt upfront, but otherwise I have nothing to show that I've already paid. – Oliver Houston Dec 1 '17 at 10:13
  • That suggests two possibilities, either it really is a security deposit and they're just quicker at checking than you think (I once saw a hotel manage to find a shampoo bottle a colleague left in their room during the five minutes it took to check out), or they're copying higher class hotels which do have the man-power to check. – origimbo Dec 1 '17 at 16:44
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There is no such policy for taking advance payment for every Indian hotel. As there are more than 8000 hotels in India, such kind of behavior generally happens at low-budget hotels (costing approximately 300-1500 rupees/night).

As you said such incident happened at about half the places you have stayed, that completely depends on the hotel or group of hotels you are staying in. You can ask them for the rulebook of "Hotel and Restaurant Association" of that particular city or state to check if any such rule exists. If you doubt there is no such rule or you are being scammed, you can refuse to give advance unless confirmation is provided.

I would suggest you to take a receipt of advance payment, in case something goes wrong you can contact the police on 100 in India.

  • Thanks, that's generally what I do. It's just sometimes they say they'll give me the bill at checkout. Which of course leaves me without proof of what I've paid... That's when I start heading for the door. – Oliver Houston Dec 11 '17 at 17:50

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