Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Is TravelGenio a Scam?

It is always a good idea to compare the flight prices across multiple travel agent sites before actually buying them. Skyscanner is a web site that lets you compare the flight prices across multiple sites such as TravelGenio, Tripsta, and eDreams.

TravelGenio, has always been the poortest performer across many of the flight booking sites that I tried. However, I keep falling for them again and again as they list the lowest price. But, TravelGenio is the best in their bait-and-switch pricing strategy. For example, a price may be listed as 506 Euro. But when you are about to pay, it will increase by 10 Euro for many of the popular cards. As of today, only Visa Credit and Maestro cards offer the promised price. Others have an increase of 10 Euro for the flight of 506 (thus making the price 516 Euro).

However, I had even worse experiences with them.

I share my 2 bad experiences below:


First bad experience:

After booking the flight and everything was finalized and confirmed (they even had the payment finalized from my debit card), Travelgenio sent me the below email from the address infort@corp.travelgenio.com.

Caro Cliente,
Tal como lhe informamos no processo de compra, a reserva que tentou realizar não pôde ser confirmada pela linha aérea.
Como alternativa, realizámos uma reserva com a melhor tarifa disponível e com vôos semelhantes.
A nova reserva que realizámos possui localizador 4KB5FY e está garantida durante o dia de hoje.
Necessitamos, por favor, que nos confirme se deseja adquirir ou não esta nova reserva, caso contrário, procederemos à sua anulação sem qualquer tipo de gasto.
Envio-lhe em outro e-mail o itinerário detalhado da reserva para que possa verificar se os vôos são do seu interesse.
Ficaremos aguardando as suas instruções.
A tarifa mais económica que lhe podemos oferecer é 60.00 Euros superior ao importe que reservou inicialmente
Muito obrigado.

[Goolge Translation:
Dear Customer,
As we inform you in the buying process, the reservation who tried to perform could not be confirmed by the airline.
Alternatively, we made a reservation with the best available rate and with similar flights.
The new reserve that has held locator 4KB5FY and is guaranteed during the day.
We need, please let us confirm whether to purchase or not this new reservation, otherwise, proceed to its cancellation without any expense.
I send you another e-mail the detailed itinerary of booking so you can check if the flights are of interest.
We'll be waiting for your instructions.
The lowest fare we can offer is 60.00 euros to import higher than initially reserved
Thank you very much.
]


I replied:
Hi,
When I initially checked, the price indicated 752 Euro for 2 passengers. Then when I was about to pay, the price increased to 806,70 Euro, and I still paid and reserved the tickets. So that already is an increase of around 54 Euro.

Are you telling me that you are going to charge me an additional 60 Euro, making it 866 Euro, or are you telling me that you are going to charge 120 Euro more (60 Euro per person), and make it 926 Euro?
This is so frustrating. Please let me know and clarify how much is the current price, and how much, in addition to the 806 Euro that was reserved I should pay, so that I can confirm. Also let me know, how long will it take you to refund the amount, if I decide to cancel the booking.
Is there is a way I can create a bug report or feedback for this weird behaviour of the system?

I have used Travelgenio before, and it never had similar issues. It seems probably some management or other policy changes leading to this behaviour. I would stop using Travelgenio and instruct my friends and colleagues to do so (through social media, and travel reviews, etc), if this issue is not smoothly resolved.
Also, is this a real email, or a scammer impersonating Travelgenio? The email looks so unprofessional and extremely weird.

Regards,
Pradeeban.


Their reply:
Dear Customer,
 
Thank you for contacting Travelgenio.
 
In reference to your e-mail we inform you that the total amount is eur 864.74.
Please let us know on how to proced with the booking.
 
Yours sincerely,



I replied:
Ok, you may proceed with this for the total amount of 864.74 Euro. Please finalize this soon. Please do not keep randomly increasing the price further.
Also send a finalized invoice and confirmation to my email account once this is done and completed.
I do not want to mess up with my travel due to the mishaps in your system and policies.

Regards,
Pradeeban.


I was angry. So I replied once more:
I booked using Travelgenio, because it indicated 752 Euro. Otherwise, I would have used Travel2Be which showed a bit higher price (around 800 Euro, if I remember correct). Now finally I have to pay 864.70 Euro due to the inefficiency in Travelgenio. I wish your system was more effective. Also I noticed that the flight slots are quickly filling up. So I want to finalize this sooner. I do not want you to further increase the price or change the flight schedules.

I will be happy with your customer service, if you still could go ahead with 806,70 Euro, the amount I paid for, during the registration. If customer satisfaction is nothing for you, and if you still think it is not possible, you may go ahead with the 864.74 Euro as I indicated in the previous email.

I am writing up a blog post based on this experience. The ending and the verdict of that review blog post depends on how this issue is resolved.

Thank you.
Regards,
Pradeeban.


Eventually, I checked the prices online and with the local travel agent, and it turned out the prices went up during this delay, even in the other web sites. So I decided to pay TravelGenio the additional amount they asked, despite feeling betrayed.


During this conversation, I was not aware that Travel2Be actually has a partnership with TravelGenio, and they are probably owned by a single company. I later learned that from the TravelGenio web site itself, and from the signature of the emails I received:


Dear Customer,

Regarding the invoice for this booking, we have forward the information given to the corresponding department and as fast as possible you will receive the corresponding invoice.

We remain at your full disposition should you have any questions or need any further information.

Thank you and kind regards,


TRAVELGENIO/TRAVEL2BE

--
Giuditta
User Satisfaction Agent
Travelgenio.com



Second bad experience: 


Interestingly, I did not really remember the first experience when I booked another flight after some time. I just went for the cheapest option.
I paid for TravelGenio once more for another flight. Only after paying, I realized something not right. I immediately sent them this email:


When I was booking, it showed 154.01$. Suddenly the total appeared as 157.01$ with no explanation. Pls see the screenshot.
I expect an explanation how the 3$ is added to the final value magically.
Regards,
Pradeeban.
3$ magically added to the price.



Their reply:

Dear Pradeeban Kathiravelu,
Thank you for contacting our Advanced Support Department and sharing your comments with us. The feedback of our customers helps us to improve our products every day as well as the customer care provided.
We are writing to you regarding your booking T6T7FI.
In reference to your query, let us inform you that the prices shown at the availability page are subject to discounts and/or surcharges that will apply according to the payment form selected by you when you do the purchase.
At the payment page you can verify the payment methods available as well as the surcharges that apply to each one of them. If you select a payment method without discount, the price will change and the page will be immediately updated. As a consequence and before you confirm your booking definitely, you will be able to see, next to the “purchase” button, the final price you will have to pay according to the selected payment method.

However, and even if the final price, including surcharges, was shown before you confirmed the purchase, we understand your situation and therefore, as a goodwill gesture, we have refunded the amount corresponding to 3 usd, as you requested.
We hope you will travel with us again soon.
Kind regards,


Their reply was weird, cryptic, self-serving, and unnecessarily long (also not at all apologizing for their mess up). They just should have apologized for the technical glitch and refunded. However, I indeed received the 3$ back to my bank account. Nevertheless, if I did not pay attention, or if I did not complain, I would have lost my 3$.


Summary: TravelGenio may not be entirely a scam. But it follows shady business practices. Travel2Be is in fact another site managed by them.


VERDICT: AVOID TravelGenio and Travel2Be at any cost! 

TravelGenio and Travel2Be are scams. So what are the alternatives? Read my recommendations - My experience with flight reservation sites

37 comments:

  1. Hi,

    thank you for your post. I'm currently struggling to find any of my reservations on"manage my booking" on the three airlines I'm booked on. Did you actually get on your flight? i've read reviews of flights not booked. or flights were booked only one way, then return flights were doubled. im furious at myself for not doing enough research before the purchase.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for the late reply. I was in the similar situation as you. Frustrated and irritated. I got on the flights after paying the extra money they demanded - I had no choice by that time. I hope you got the flight too. Now I always avoid TravelGenio and its affiliates such as Travel2Be.

      Delete
  2. Scampedia is an app which wants to help you make your smartphone fraudulent free and share your scam story freely without being identified
    scammers list App

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you know the limitation of the Scampedia Scammers List App you created? It works if you want to create awareness of unknown online scammers such as the popular "Nigerian princes". But it is irrelevant when we deal with a well-known company such as TravelGenio that attempts to scam its customers. Thanks for sharing the link anyway. It does not work though.

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  3. Cuidado al comprar un boleto aereo con Travelgenio on Skyscanner,no son responsables, realizan o hacen ventas de boletos sin tenerlos disponible,te dicen esta confirmado tu booking pero luego de 3 a 4 horas te dicen que esta cancelado el booking,

    Booking cancelled - 2XWP48, que forma de trabajar tan irresponsables,esto tiene un nombre:ESTAFA

    stay away from Travelgenio, they are not seem to be scammers.they are scammers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear this happened to you. Travelgenio is indeed scammers.

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  4. I have read your article, it is very informative and helpful for me.I admire the valuable information you offer in your articles. Thanks for posting it..Hotel Frankfurt-Oder

    ReplyDelete
  5. i was almost going to buy a ticket from Travelgenio but changed my decision after reading all these review. Thanks for heads up

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am glad you avoided the risk. Often when I check flight prices on SkyScanner, TravelGenio or Travel2Be come as the cheapest. I carefully avoid these 2 sites. Sometimes new websites pop up with the cheapest offer. I give them a chance, after checking their rating and a Google search for their reviews. Good luck.

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  6. Horrible! I bought two tickets via travelgenio for my mom, myself and extra luggage, and for the full price for all of it at the checking in 36 hours before the flight they processed only one ticket for myself being the main passenger and entirely denied the mistake or refunding the difference after being hung up on so many times, spending an eternity on hold and not wanting to transfer me over to a supervisor. They're only after your money and zero customer service. Never again and strongly suggest to stay away from these crooks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, a scam company with a shady business practice. I don't use them even when their ticket prices are much cheaper than elsewhere.

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  7. I guess this mess shit used to happen to people who book their flights spontaneously or a few days before traveling. And I’ll also say these issues of having ongoingly flight troubles during or after the booking,don’t happen in any country. Therefore I cannot totally dislike travel2be or travelgenius on my zone. And I’d finally advise anyone to do diligent research on the online travel agencies he wants to travel for in order to avoid useless stress or frustration

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not true. In my experience of booking flights between 30+ countries in North America, Europe, and Asia, I have used several travel websites. TravelGenio was always the bad apple, regardless of the time I booked. And no, I don't book spontaneously or a few days before the departure. TravelGenio often increases the price or does some stupid shit after you pay (if you read my blog post, I have mentioned 2 such situations where TravelGenio was a culprit, and others too have mentioned their experience in the comments). I am happy that this did not happen to you or in your region. But that does not mean it did not happen to others. Our collective observations highlight that TravelGenio is shady, if not a scam.

      Delete
  8. Dear Pradeeba,

    I am writing to thank you for your post. In fact, I almost bought my tickets from TravelGenio website. They are indeed shady!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Never ever use them! Worst company ever. I booked a round trip to Europe through Travelgenio/travel2be (they are the same company). My flight was canceled due to the weather, and I could not travel as there was no alternative. Even though the airlines was refunding Travelgenio refused to refund me saying they didn't see the cancellation in their system. I called them 4 times, wasted 3 hours, and finally forced one operator to contact the airlines because their system was wrong. The operator promised me that they refund my outbound trip, but they still refused to refund my inbound trip because, even though I purchased the tickets as a round trip, they purchased as two separate trips, and they would not refund for the outbound trip! Better yet, I did not get the promised refund for the outbound trip even after a week, so I contacted them. And then they said "As we have previously informed you, unfortunately a refund is not possible, this means that you will not receive the money in your account." How condescending and stupid one can be? Also also, some of the operators I talked on phone barely spoke English...Also also, for all email correspondences, they called me "Mr." even though I am female (with a doctorate degree and I sign my email with "Ph.D.). I don't know how they could mess up this much...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sorry you had to deal with their nonsense.

      Their call centers and customer reps must be from non-English speaking countries where they can get them for a cheaper wage. That must explain the poor English and bad email skills.

      Delete
  10. Pradeeban Kathiravelu hi i purchased my tickets from travelgenio for a reasonable price but i can't get into the my bookings portal of the main airlines which includes air canada. Will it cause any problems during the check in ? Please respond ASAP.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would recommend calling AirCanada and confirming with them. That will give you peace of mind.

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  11. hello there...I just had a horrible experience with them today...my wife with two kids drove 4 hours to the airport, only to find out that Travelgenio did not make the bookings even if they charged me and sent me message all was ok! I called them and I was very angry, since my family lost the flight, and they just said that there was "an error in their system"!!! Just this! Not even an apology! Aferwards they "offered" to book me another flight, the next day, but I would have to pay them extra!!! I could not believe what I was hearing! After a lot of screaming at them, they found me tickets without extra cost but two days later! There was never an apology! It was a horrible experience! Never again!

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    1. I am sorry you had to deal with this. Indeed. They are horrible. Even when their tickets are 100$ cheaper, I don't use them anymore these days.

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    2. the question remains: how can they still be in business with such a horrible record?n and is it possible to sue them for compensation if you suffer damage due to their mistake?

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    3. They must have some terms and conditions in tiny font that prevents you from suing them. :) How can they be in business? Because most of the time, their price turns up to be the cheapest. Even I fell for their scam until I started to notice a pattern from them. Most people just buy their tickets from whoever seem to offer the cheapest. That's how these travel agents manage to be in business.

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  12. My mom also faced the same issue. They lack transparency and I'd advice everyone to use another 3rd party site or just go directly to the airline. Travelgenio charge me more despite paying more to get the flexible ticket arrangement. They charged me 300 EUR. The customer service is also slow and multiple different personal respond to you. All in all a terrible experience and highly recommended NEVER to use

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, they are shady, indeed. Even if they show the cheapest price, I don't use them anymore.

      Delete
  13. I made a booking last night with travelgenio. They sent me reference number for saudia airlines, i checked in saudia and the reference number is working and the booking is confirmed but we were not charged the amount yet although we entered the debit card number and all for the payment. Till now, they did not debit the corresponding amount for the bookings made. No ticket yet and payment was not confirmed yet by the travelgenio. Can i eventually book another from direct saudia site? Or it is not allowed since we already have confirmation from saudia airlines thru travelgenio?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The reference number is working. That means, the booking went through. They will charge you soon. Give them 24 - 48 hours. They are not giving you away the tickets for free. Don't book again. You risk the chance of losing money as Travelgenio will eventually (rightfully) charge you for your booking with them.

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  14. DO NOT USE TRAVELGENIO - they are either completely incompetent or they are complete scammers
    I booked my flights and when the confirmation came through the payment had been taken but the depature date was wrong. I then spent two hours getting through to their office in spain where i was told i had to pay an extra 147 euros to change the date - even though their site had made the error. I paid under duress over the phone - in addition to the £354 already paid for the flights. I was told i would get my tickets by email in 2 hours. 4 hours later - no tickets - rang again and was told i had been sent an email: this said they could only take payments through a secure link - so i paid using that. Still no tickets - phoned again, explained, ten minutes on hold and cut off. THEN had an email saying my booking had been cancelled. Rang the airline direct - Pegasus - and they confirmed no booking in place. RANG Travelgenio AGAIN and straight away told them if they cut me off or did not resolve the problem I would sue them - explained YET again - 20 min later they said they would cancel my booking and i could rebook again if i paid another 468 euros then and there. I declined as I had already , according to my banl, had three payments sent to them for well over £600. I told them to cancel the booking and refund all 3 amounts - while i had been on the phone i had booked direct with Pegasus on their site and managed to have the tickets downloaded before Travelgenio had decided what they were going to do.
    I will never use them or sky scanners again - AVOID!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sad to hear. Hope you get this resolved soon.

      Yes, I always avoid TravelGenio these days for the same reason. But Skyscanner has nothing to do with these scams. Skyscanner is just a listing site like Google. They list all the other travel agent web sites and let you compare the price conveniently.

      Continue to use Skyscanner. Just make sure to do your own research before using any of those travel agent sites listed in Skyscanner to purchase your flight tickets.

      Delete
  15. They are thugs. They have refused to give me a a refund inspite of the airlines refunding them.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Travel2be is also a scam. I just booked a ticket and it showed one price but debited my card for much more. Apparently they have some condition that the offered price is valid only if you pay through Maestro Card (I couldn't find any such condition) and it charges much more without telling you that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Travel2Be and Travelgenio are owned by the same company. They are basically the same.

      Delete
  17. Hi!
    So, I booked my tickets from Malaysia to London on the 4th of October. I got the first email saying booking has been done, and the second email with the confirmation of ticket and booking reference. I even logged onto the Emirates app with the booking number and my booking is listed on it there. Is there anything to be worried about? I was thinking of changing my return flight date from London so I was going through google to look on how the process would be and I found all these forums about the company and now I'm worried. Is there anything I can do to absolutely confirm my flight?

    I am due to fly to London on the 23rd December.

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Pradeeban,

    I used Travelgenio for 7 years as they are the cheapest...... so far so good till this time. The airline modified.my flight which not suit me. I called Travelgenio asked to find alternative options, but i have been told there was not any. And the staff so kind and easy to help me cancelled my filght, and said the refund process depends on the airline. So I contacted the airline, they said it would be 14 business days. And nowwww, after 15 business days, still nothing in my account. I called Travelgenio again, the staff told me the waiting time would be 30days to 90days......I didn't think much till I searched their reviews.....freak me out.... do u think I will get my refund? or any suggestion from you? as I read about people still waiting for their refund after 8 or 10 months...... Thanks very much Pradeeban!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,
      I agree TravelGenio tends to be one among the cheapest. However, I won't buy from them.

      The reason, my first few experiences (yes, I gave them multiple chances) with them were terrible.

      Since you did not encounter problems so far, it worked smooth for you.

      Look at it this way: Canceling is nothing. They can of course be "kind and easy" to help you cancel. But until you get the money refunded, there was no success (we don't merely want to cancel the ticket and forget it. We want the refund!!!)

      I have heard that TravelGenio is horrible that even after the airline refunded them the fare, they take their own time to process and refund it to you.

      You are right that they have taken 8 to 10 months to refund the money, and some people even gave up their hope on receiving the refund after almost a year. You may be able to send a dispute through the credit card company. Contact them and analyze your other options.

      TravelGenio/Travel2Be is predatory. But they are not alone. Many other booking sites such as Vayama have predatory practices too. It is safe to book directly from the airline. Of course that is typically more expensive.

      Delete

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