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Monday, April 06, 2015

Hotel Garni Seebachstüble – Titisee – FraudulentHotel

[ UPDATE 17th April 2015 ]
I made a complaint to about this whole episode and they made me a refund for the two rooms for the extra part that we paid. i.e. 28 EUR per room that we paid extra at the new hotel. I do not know if did it on their own or if they did something with the hotel. It good to see that there is some care in customer service by I think I can trust that website again.
Original Story continues below.
This blog post is a public service announcement to warn others out there about this hotel:
Hotel Garni Seebachstüble
Seebachstr. 43, 79822 Titisee-Neustadt
These guys are a FRAUD! They take your reservation on and then totally change it when you reach! We booked 2 rooms, for one night for 4 adults, for 80 EUR each, breakfast included, for the night of 4th April 2015. 

When we reached the hotel, firstly there was no one there at the reception, with a simple note on the door of a number to call. We found this really strange.
Then a lady came by said “Hello” and then disappeared into another room, without saying anything. Just “Hello! This lady actually made a phone call inside that room. When she came out she told us that we are not staying there but at another place and that a woman will come by in a car and take us there. We asked her why aren’t we staying in this Hotel which we had booked for us, and she said that her manager handles the booking and they only get the information but no updates as to why and who is booked where. She also told us that we are staying at another place and that someone is coming to take us there. Another lady came with her car and then drove us to another building with an apartment about 2 kilometres away.

At the apartment building, our friends had to take the stairs because the lift could not take the load of 4 people, in spite of being big enough. While getting to the apartment, the lift got stuck on the way up, between the 1st and 2nd floor. She then opened the doors with her hands, closed them again and then we got off at the 2nd floor. We had to climb to the 3rd floor. We needed a lift or room on ground/first floor because my wife is pregnant. We even mentioned this in our notes on
They gave us an apartment, with small kitchen etc. that was meant for a family of 2 adults and 2 children, and not 2 rooms like we had booked. It had bunk beds!! They expected two adults to sleep in bunk beds! How are we to fit in that? This apartment was also not worth 160 EUR, which is what I believe they would have charged us!

Also, for breakfast they expected us to go to the other hotel 2kms away. We had no car, and they planned to subject my wife to walking 2kms for breakfast! Useless people.
The useless, unprofessional manager refused to even come and speak to us in person and later stopped picking his phone. When we refused to stay in the alternate apartment they just left us at another hotel. At the other hotel we had to pay for more expensive rooms.
So please, do not ever book with this hotel at all. Do not subject yourself to this kind of torture.
Please help spread the word.

On a side note, in my opinion Titisee is not worth visiting at all, at least not in Winter. The lake view is nice but there is nothing to do at all, even if the lake is not frozen. Maybe it is better in the summer, with more activities.
The famous Black Forest cake is also largely over rated. There was no non-alcoholic version of the cake that we could find and therefore my wife could not even get a taste of the cake!

Fancy some shopping?

Friday, April 13, 2012 Shopping and service review

I recently bought a Logitech M-950 mouse from This post is an account of my shopping experience with them.

Why did I buy from Snapdeal and not from

This question may come to your mind in case you have followed my blog (or even looked around a little) and noticed that I am a Flipkart Fan boy.
Well that is because Flipkart did not have this mouse in stock with them (and still do not about three weeks after initially checking). I also did the "notify me" option in Flipkart (has that actually worked for you?).

One day I received a promotional mail from Snapdeal and noticed that they had deals on Logitech mice, including the I wanted to buy. Also, it was Rs. 50 Cheaper that Flipkart, so, I decided not to wait anymore and buy it from Snapdeal instead.

The timeline

--> On 13th of March 2012 at 8:50 AM -  I placed the order for the mouse on and paid via credit card. I immediately got an email and a SMS(text message) to confirm my order placement along with price, order id, shipping information and the estimated delivery date of 20th March 2012.

--> On 19th of March 2012 10:52 AM - I got an apologetic email from the Snapdeal system that my order has been delayed (reason not specified) and the revised date of delivery is 23rd of March 2012.

--> On 20th of March 2:07 PM - I received a mail letting me know that my product has shipped and the delivery date was now 24th of March. Shipping details included my address and also an AWB tracking number, which was linked directly to the courier company's website.

--> On 23rd of March - I received the package.

--> On 24th of March - I received an email from Snapdeal to confirm that my shipment had been delivered.

The fulfillment of the mouse was covered by a sub-vendor of Snapdeal and not by themselves. This was mentioned in the system when the order was placed.

The package was well sealed in cardboard and had Snapdeal sticky tape all over.

A few closing points

1. Something Snapdeal could improve upon is the delivery time line. They are delivering around the industry average time scales but not as prompt as Flipkart is i.e. 3 days flat!

2. I never called up Snapdeal even once so I cannot comment on their phone support.

So that is it, that was my experience. Please share yours in the comments.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Online Shopping & Services in India

Online shopping and other online services are not that big in India just as yet, but are catching on at a rapid pace.
A plethora of online e-tailers/service providers are being added everyday, ranging from shopping, banking to travel. Online Shopping and banking seem to be the plats du jour with even small co-op banks offering online services.
Even the quality of service ranges from extremely good to appalling.

Books, shoes, travel, aluminium products, jewellery, handicrafts, & electronics all can be bought online now.
What amazes me is also the focus on Children. Children's fashion and accessories, toys and products for babies/infants are also available online.

Movie tickets, tickets to music and sporting events are also being sold online and is fairly common place.

The government also has finally upgraded many of their services, providing online payment options as well, such as property tax payment, electricity bill payment etc. This is extremely useful as government establishments are quite infamous for long queues and pathetic customer service by the people at the counters. Especially more so when it comes to paying bills.

With online services at least a good percentage of the frustration of dealing with them is reduced.

One very useful side effect of these services is that now, even NRI's or other people residing outside of India or other parts of India, can send gifts or apply for services in India. Gifts/Flowers can be sent by you to your friends/family, anywhere in India on occasions such as Birthdays, Anniversaries, Raksha Bandhan, Diwali, Christmas, Valentines Day etc.

I have personally experienced shopping with (reviewed here) and also (reviewed here). I find to be completely delightful and is not bad (note got taken over by Flipkart recently).

So, for your convenience I am providing you with a list of online services below.

Keeping this page updated is a Herculean task so all your help is appreciated.

Please send me your links in the comments in case I am missing any.

I will work on categorising the links soon.

The updates will be affected here.

Charities & donations to NGOs

1. Save the Children India
2. Unicef 
3. C.R.Y.
4. Help age India
5. World Vision - Sponsor a child 

Job, Careers studying and recruitment portals

3. India
5. Ma Foi Consulting
6. Frankfinn Academy
8. My college Form

Flowers, cakes and gift items

1. Flowers and Ferns
2. Ferns and Petals
3. Indian Gifts Portal
5. Glim Gifts
6. Mithaimate
7. Till Stocks Last 

Photos, Photobooks
1. Printland
2. Zoomin
3. Snapfish
4. PicSquare

Movie tickets, IPL, sporting events etc. ticket booking

2. Book My Show 
3. Ticket Genie 

Magazine subscriptions, books, and educational related

2. McGraw Hill education
3. Flipkart books
4. Infomedia 18 
5. Crossword
6. Oxford Book Store
7. LandMark

Insurance, Trading and Finance related
1. Get Me Insure
2. E-Toro Trading system (Commodities, Currency etc.)
3. Nifty Direct market trading tips
4. Insuring India Motor Insurance


[ Clothing and Apparels  ]

2. Shoppers Stop online
3. The Stiff
5. Rediff Shopping
6. Fashion and You
7. Fashion Focused (Indian Hanger)
12. Cool Life Shop 
13. Shop your
14. Site4Shopping 
16. HomeShop18
18. Bag It Today
22. Online Shopping India
23. Shop Major Brands
24. Maniac Store
25. Shop 70 mm
26. Infibeam
27. TimTara
28. India Shops Here
34. Utsav Fashion
35. Globus Stores | Globus India
36. Jabong
37. PepperFry
38. Network Green ( Eco-friendly, natural products for gifts!)
39. FreeCultr
40. Chhabra  555
41. BrandsFetish
42. Sahiba Fabrics
43. E-Gully
44. The Private sales
45. The Brands Village
46. Mustard Clothing Company
47. Style Ever
48. Barcode 91
49. Chabra 555

50. Price King
51. Incynk
52. Fetise
53. Shoppers Kart
54. Peprismine

[ Handi Crafts ]
1. Craftsvilla
2. 48 Craft

[ T-Shirts ]
1. TeeSorts
2. Tantra T-shirts


[ Perfumes, Bags, make-up and Fashion accesories ]
2. Bags Kart
3. Perfumes Direct
4. Beauty Mart
5. Perfumes 2 Order
6. TrendStreet 
7. MedplusBeauty
8. Fast Track Watches
9. Urban Touch 
10. Pro Activ
11.Sheer Cover

[ Jewellery ]
1. Tanishq
3. Surat
4. GRT Jewellers
5. Gili
6. Ddamas
7. Gitanjali Gifts
8. Johareez 

[ Lingerie ]

1. Bwitch 
2. N Gals Originals
3. Straps and Strings
4. Victoria's Secret India
5. Shop imagine

[ Grocery Shopping ]

2. Aaram Shop
3. Mandi Fresh 

[ Children's and infants related ]
3. Disney store 
4. Mango Street 
5. Hush Babies
6. My Baby Cart
7. Kidloo
8. Hoopoos

[ Shoes ]
2. Bata India
3. Nike 
4. Reebok
5. Puma
6. Metro Shoes
7. Fashos 

[ Deals ]

1. SnapDeal
5. Sulekha Deals
6. My Dala
7. DealMonster
8. Crazeal 
[ Musical Instruments ]
1. ( my review here )
3. Raj Musical Mart

[ Computers, peripherals, home appliances & technology related ]
4. Saholic
5. The IT Depot
8. Lynx India
13. ShopByChoice
14. Letsbuy Products ( not the same and should not be confused with
15. Giz Me Up
16. Next
17. LootSpot
18. E Digi World
19. Dell India
20. E-Zone
21. Bathla Direct Online
22. Sulekha home needs
23. Sulekha Office needs
24. NCarry
25. Svaiza 

[ One to One selling ]
2. Olx

[ Sports, Health, Personal care, Fitness/Body related ]
1. E Sports Buy
2. Playground Online
3. Dabur Uveda and Dabur Shilajit Gold 
4. Dr. Batra's hair loss clinic
5. Eureka Forbes

Travel & holiday booking

[ Crawler and deal finder sites ]
7. (Bus | Domestic Flights | International Flights | Holidays)
8. Travelguru
9. ( Train | International Hotels | Flights )
10. Via (formerly Flight Raja)
11. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC)
14. TravelMasti
15. Cox and Kings
16.  Savaari

[ Airline websites ]
1. Jet Airways ( Domestic | International )
2. JetLite ( Domestic | International )
3. British Airways
4. Spice Jet
5. Kingfisher Airlines
6. Indigo airlines
7. Go Air
8. Air India  ( Air India Express )
9. Via

Real estate, property, land, apartments & housing related

1. Magic Bricks
2. 99 Acres
3. India Property
4. Makaan
5. Any Time Property
6. Unicon real estate
7. Sulekha Property

Utilities, services & telecom bill payments

1. Aircel
2. Reliance Global calling card
3. Airtel
4. Idea Cellular
6. Vodafone
7. Tata Docomo
8. Maharashtra Electricity Distribution Co. (Maharashtra only)
9. Citibank Credit Cards
10. American Express Credit Cards 

1. The information provided below is up-to-date to the best of my knowledge.
2. Information is provided as-is with no warranty.
3. Links of establishments are provided, however, authenticity & credibility is not endorsed by this blog in anyway and personal due diligence is advised.
4. This blog and its owners do not accept any liability in anyway or for any reason for the service providers mentioned below.
5. List is by no means exhaustive. All measures to expand and keep this list updated have been taken.
6. This list and a growing and updated list of these links is maintained at this page

Sunday, January 22, 2012 online shopping and service review.

Furtados is one of the biggest, best and renowned musical instruments importer and retailer in India. Started in Mumbai in 1865, they have been around for 145 years and also recently opened a new outlet in Ahmedabad. Their range of instruments covers almost all types and categories and also some renowned and reputed brands.

Their reputation of selling in stores is well known, what about their online business?

I recently bought an electric guitar from them, an ESP LTD M 10. Here is an account of my experience shopping online with them, and also their in-store after-sales service.

Here is why I bought online rather than from the store

I visited their store a few times to enquire about the guitar I wanted.They told me they did not have it in stock at the Pune store and they took down my number so they could call me later about it.

I also told them that I was ready to pay a booking amount of Rs. 1000 up-front, and would pay the rest when they had the guitar in-store for me to pick up. They hesitated to take my money to make a booking, letting me know that their system was down, hence, they could not check their stock in Mumbai, also that they were going to receive new stock in a weeks time and that they would phone me to come down and pick it up.

A week later, no phone call, no new stock.

I then decided to go ahead and buy the guitar from

Some quick enquiries over the phone before buying it online

Q1. Is there any difference in price buying it online or buying it in-store?
A1. No. No difference in price.

Q2. Any extra 2% charges for using credit card as payment.
A2. No.

Q3. What about after sales service?
A3. After sales service can be availed at any store, anywhere in India where they have a store.

Q4. Are delivery charges extra?
A4. At the moment there is no delivery charges on bills of Rs. 1000 and more.

Q5. What about octroi payment?
A5. Octroi payment should be made by me on delivery which will be roughly 3% of the cost of the guitar and this octroi amount would be refunded to me, after I make the payment and mail Furtados corporate office the original octroi receipt. Instead of a refund I could also opt to use the amount to buy something else from Furtados, like guitar straps or plectrums etc..

And finally the actual sequence of events...

-->Monday, 21st of November 2011 13:54 hrs --  I ordered my guitar from, paying by credit card. Upon placing the order, I immediately got an email confirmation of my order stating the order number, the product, its price and the shipping address.

--> On Wednesday, 23rd of November 2011 -- I called them up to confirm my order and its progress.

--> On Saturday, 26th of November 2011 at 19:00 hrs -- I received my guitar at home delivered by Blue Dart.

I immediately checked out the guitar for issues and buzzing. There was a buzz on the 12th Fret on strings 5 and 6. :(

--> Sunday, 27th of November 2011 -- I took the guitar to the Furtados store in Pune at ABC Farms and gave it to them for straightening the neck. The checked my paper work and immediately took up the job, under warranty of course, and said that they would let me know when the guitar would be ready.

(Monday 28th Furtados was closed as the Pune store is closed on Mondays.)

--> Tuesday, 29th of November -- In the evening I called them to check if the guitar was ready, they told me it was not and that they would call me to let me know.

--> Wednesday 30th of November 11:30 hrs -- I got a call from Furtados store to let me know that the guitar was ready and I could pick it up.

--> Thursday, 1st of December 2011 -- I picked up my guitar from Furtados and finally got to spend some quality time with it.

--> Monday, 6th of December 2011 -- I mailed Furtados' Mumbai office the original copy of the octroi receipt with a covering letter, sent by registered A.D. facility of the Indian postal department.

--> Wednesday 14th of December 2011 -- I received the registered A.D. letter in my post box and the octroi amount refunded to me, transferred to my bank account.


All in all not a bad experience.

The Packaging
The packaging in which I received my guitar was pretty sturdy. The guitar was kept inside a  soft foam bag. The bag was 0.5 to 1mm thick. Then it was wrapped in a bubble wrap. The bubble wrapped guitar was then placed into the guitar's bag. The guitar bag was placed inside a two piece card board box at the center and the empty spaces between the guitar and the cardboard box were filled with plastic air bags.

Areas where they could improve

1) The delivery if made within 3-4 working days of ordering would have completely blown me away. I feel this way after the amazing delivery time lines I have experienced with Flipkart (I recently heard of Flipkart delivering within the same day and in another case, within 2 hours! of course the items delivered were a books but Flipkart generally delivers electronics within 3 working days).

2) Other than the initial order confirmation mail, I got no email/sms updates, or updates sent to me by any other medium about my order and it's shipping. I could only see the details upon logging into my online account in and then checking updates about my order. Some pro-active updates initiated by them would have been good.

3) This one is a feeling I have with no concrete evidence. I somehow feel that my order was not acted upon until on Wednesday 23rd of November. when I called to check on it. If this is true then I have had to wait a couple of more days for it to reach me. And anyone waiting eagerly for something knows how annoying and painful that can be, especially if you spent the previous 3-6 months saving up and planning for it. The final days of wait after having ordered, are agonising!

4) A good proper setup job & checking for a buzz before delivery of my guitar would have been nice and saved me a trip to the store.

Final words
The neck straightening and setup job done on my guitar when I gave it to them at the Pune store, was extremely well done. This was confirmed by my guitar teacher, professional and Master guitarist Christopher Fonceca.

To sum it up, I would recommend as your point of online shopping for musical instruments.

So that's it folks. That was my  experience.
Please share your experience and do leave a comment too.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dell 24" Monitor S2409W, reviewed

A slightly old review of mine. Re-posting it. 

Do you want a 24" inch Monitor with HDMI for sub Rs. 20,000? Then the Dell S2409W is the one for you. What makes it great is the Price point for a 24" with HDMI.
I bought one of these for Rs. 18,500
all inclusive. In a word, WOW. It Looks great. It is a huge wide screen. Great picture quality for Movies and Games. The buttons are nicely hidden away on the side and power button has a nice glow. Text is crisp clear and sharp at 1920x1080 resolution(even my dad who usually had problems reading on my old 19" PC monitor when used at 1024x768, had no problems reading on this). I bought this in India however it does not feature on the India site just yet.(contact me and I can give you the guy to call fo

r ordering).

 I played Prince Of Persia Sands of time and a watched a few movies on this. It was really awesome to watch. Very clear. Features: 24" Wide screen Monitor with native (an max) resolution of 1920x1080. DVI, VGA and HDMI connectivity. Overall If you want a 24" with an HDMI connection, this panel is sure to please.

Dell S2409W 24

If you are like me and are planning to move to a LCD wide screen from a regular CRT (I moved from a 19 inch CRT), then let me tell you some of the other benefits of using wide screen at a high resolution(benefits mentioned may not be valid for lower resolutions.)
-Things look sharper and clearer than on CRT.
-Wide screen means you can see more on the screen and thus need to scroll less to read emails and view web pages; more desktop room.
-You can see two pages side by side in MS Word.
-No black banding on top and below when watching movies and videos at 1920x1080 resolution at 16:9 aspect ratio.

Advantages of LCD over CRT
-Lower power consumption means lower electricity bills; UPS lasts longer.
-Less space used on table/desk.

However, I did notice that colour on LCD is not as vibrant as on CRT. To sum up about the Dell S2409W. If you are looking for 24" with HDMI connectivity, then don’t miss this monitor.
The cons mentioned below are easily ignorable.

-Great Price for a 24" with HDMI connection.
-DVI, VGA and HDMI connectivity 

-Very good for Movies and Gaming.
-Sexy looks.
-Light weight.
- No HDMI cable supplied.
- No extra Conn(USB, webcam etc).
- If not connected to a proper/stable power supply, may cause interference on the screen.
- Glossy side panels a bit of a dust magnet.
- From OTHER reviews, seems to be inadequate for Graphics professionals.
- Only power button has back light. Would be nice for all buttons to have a back light.
- Uses TN TFT technology which is not as good as PVS or S-PVA.

"Dude I got a Dell."

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