6 Most Common Tricks of Fraud Tour Operators in China

When facing a great deal of China tour operators, without a cool head and sharp eyes, it is easy for tourists to fall into some travel traps such as fake qualification, false advertisements, extreme low price, hidden fees, and compulsory purchase. Here we list 6 most common tricks of fraud tour operators that you should try to avoid:


 Fake Qualification Due to Illegal Subcontracting

You may find some travel agencies on the market, claiming themselves the branches of some well-known tour operators, but actually most of them are just 'affiliated' to these large agencies by paying a certain amount of fee. There are also travel agencies in China subcontracting a certain area of the workplace or even a business department to individuals. If you happen to meet such a self-employed tour operator with a decent title but actually limited experience, it's certain that a high-level and enjoyable China tour experience cannot be guaranteed.
 See more details about How to Identify the History of China Travel Agencies


 False Advertisements from 'Warm-Hearted' Hawkers

Ignore various sticker ads on billboards, utility poles, street lamp posts, or other roadside facilities, and also be cautious of flyers stuffed into your hands by strangers. A reputable travel agency won't do that way. Such advertisements are mostly false and services provided by them are absolutely not reliable.

Around the train stations, bus stations, or some commercial blocks in China, you need to be careful of the typical traps from some 'warm-hearted' guys speaking simple English that recommend you the so-called 'economy' tours or 'cheap' rides to tourist attractions. The same situation also happens around some scenic areas. 'Warm-hearted' tricksters will keep after you saying they can help you get the tickets at a low price or even lead you into the tourist spots for free. If this happens, we suggest you stop talking with them and leave. Always remember to ignore touts or people who offer you a free lunch.


 Extreme Low-Price Trap: Travel at No Cost?

There are some wicked tour operators, launching deceptive itineraries at extremely low prices. Customers easily buy on impulse when encountering cheap and enticing prices. However, wake up and think twice when you see a tour sold at an obvious below-cost price, or even at zero. Don't be naive to concern for the profit of the tour operator; you have to worry about your own pocket. Once joining such a tour, you are counted as one of the multipliers of their commission, when the guide continuously takes the group to the appointed stores with over-priced jewelry. Some tour operators even lower the service standard in dining, vehicles or accommodation to get the profit back. 


 Hidden Fees and Surcharges

Vague tour contract is another commonest trap which usually features hidden fees and unannounced self-paid activities. There are visitors complaining that they are informed to pay extra fees on the spot, otherwise the guides would leave them by the roadside for hours, waiting for other group members taking the self-paid activities. Optional activities are common and acceptable when they are stated clearly in an itinerary to allow flexibility and personal preference, but you should be aware of them in advance, not be informed on the spot or forced to pay. Be careful to see all the inclusions, exclusions, optional items and their prices before start a travel booking. A decent travel agency will sure have all these essentials clearly showed in their web pages or brochures. 


 Unannounced Shopping Obligations & Compulsory Purchase

Shopping is a delightful supplement of a tour if being properly arranged, allowing travelers to learn about the local handicrafts and buy satisfactory souvenirs. However, be alert of tours with unclear shopping activities and obligations. Some mean tour operators may play tricks on this to add more shopping stops without informing the customers in advance. Small tour operators don’t have fixed local guides, let alone training or regulating them. As a result, some guides will probably cut the sightseeing time and threaten visitors to stay longer in the stores to buy things of low quality but at high prices in order to take kickbacks. Travelers are forced to buy and always end up with being ripped off!


 Bait-and-Switch Trick by Flattering Photos

Over-edited photos can cheat you. This happens mostly in accommodation, dining and bus services. Some tour operators are incapable of managing the service standard, and use over-edited or even deceitful photos to allure customers. A luxury hotel photo showing the international chained-brands’ style might turn out to be a plain lodging with substandard facilities or an inconvenient location; a so-called high-end restaurant is actually a fast-food eatery; a limousine on the photo might be replaced by a battered old car. Before booking, one could turn to the reviews and photos of real buyers to confirm the actual service standard of a China tour operator.

- Last modified on Nov. 04, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on 6 Most Common Tricks of Fraud Tour Operators in China
Asked by johntc from AUSTRALIA | Nov. 04, 2018 05:21Reply
hi, please advise best way (simple, fast, inexpensive) to travel from Dongtai to NKG on 22/12/2018?
hi, our flight departs NKG at 19.25 on 22/12/2018. So far the best way Ive found (to get from Dongtai to NKG) is Airport bus Wuxi Grand Hotel depart 15.30 Y60, (arr NKG 17.30).

Buses depart Dongtai 12.40 and 13.20, (we are hoping to meet friends for lunch in Dongtai and leave afterwards).

Please advise/estimate what time these buses should arrive at Wuxi. Is the Wuxi bus stop close to Wuxi Grand Hotel? Thank you for your advice, regards John, Australia
Answers (1)
Answered by Emma from CANADA | Nov. 04, 2018 21:47

Hi, I haven't found the airport bus you mentioned above. The only shuttle bus from Wuxi to Nanjing departs from the city terminal located at No. 88, Station Square, Liangxi District, 80m south to the Wuxi Railway Station. The bus departs at 15:20 and the fare is CNY70. (arrive NKG 17:30). The bus from Dongtai to Wuxi takes about 3 hours so you are suggested to depart before 12:00 and the bus fare is CNY66. The distance of the bus stop to the city terminal is about 15minutes' walk.

Another way is to take a train from Dontai to Nanjing and it takes about 2.5 hours and the fare is around CNY60. Then take a shuttle bus to the airport, which takes about 1.5 hours and it takes about CNY 20.
Asked by Sandra Anderson from AUSTRALIA | Feb. 12, 2018 18:43Reply
Baggage on Flights
We are travelling very soon back on China Southern Airlines from China and it says on their website that we can bring back 2 suitcases X 23kgs of luggage each. Is this correct?
Answers (1)
Answered by Kinsley from CANADA | Feb. 12, 2018 20:54

Do you refer to the international flight? If yes, the information is correct. For economy class seat, each passenger can bring 2 suitcase x 23kg each.
Asked by Sherryl from UAE | Oct. 16, 2016 10:46Reply
Business Invitation
Hello my big bosses were invited to come and sign a contract in Guiyang, Guizhou China.
Am just a bit scared as I dont want them to waste time if its a scam. How would I know if the company is legit. They have given me their business registration number but I dont know where to check it.
Please reply ASAP before they travel the next day. Thank You.
Answers (1)
Answered by Wendy from CANADA | Oct. 17, 2016 21:32

You can check the number on the website of China Trademark Office of the State Administration for Industy & Commerce. But only the Chinese version can do the checking. You may need to get some help from colleagues who knows about this language.
Asked by Zuraimi from SINGAPORE | May. 25, 2016 09:10Reply
What is the best transportation option to reach dezhou xiajin from Qingdao airport?
Could anyone please advise me on what are the best option of mode of transportation getting there?
Your help is greatly very much appreciated!
Answers (1)
Answered by Cronin from FRANCE | May. 25, 2016 22:19

First, you can take bus no. 702 or a taxi at the airport to Qingdao Railway Station. There are high speed trains to Dezhou East Railway Station. The train takes nearly 3.5 hours.
Upon arrival, hire a taxi to Dezhou Bus Terminal. Then transfer to take a coach to the destination directly. There are many schedules every day. And it costs CNY 15-20 per person.
Asked by JoChan from MALAYSIA | Feb. 04, 2016 08:29Reply
Any public transportation from Maquan Ying subway stn to Quanfa Hua Yuan, Beijing?
Answers (2)
Answered by Mashina from INDIA | Feb. 14, 2016 21:01

As I know, the Quanfa Huayuan is close to North Xiangjiang Road, isn't it? If so, they are only around 1.6km between. You can take bus no. 988 and get off at Maquanying Shangchang and see the community in the east. Or directly walk there by moving east along North Xiangjiang Road for 10-15min.
Answered by JoChan from MALAYSIA | Feb. 15, 2016 07:28

Thanks, Mashina.
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