2019 Feb 3, 9:34am
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NEW DELHI — International insurance companies on Friday threatened to end travel coverage to Nepal if the government did not crack down on elaborate helicopter rescue scams that target foreigners trekking near Mount Everest and other high-altitude peaks.Last year, investigations by the Nepali government and Traveller Assist, a medical assistance company based in Ireland, found that some trek operators, guides, helicopter companies and even doctors and hospitals had conspired to bilk millions of dollars from insurance companies by pushing for emergency mountainside evacuations for minor illnesses, or when simpler treatment options were available.The guides preyed on trekkers when they were most vulnerable — trudging up remote trails, cold, wet, sick, confused and miles from any well-serviced towns.The Nepali government found evidence that some guides went as far as intentionally making hikers ill by spiking their food with large amounts of baking soda, which can cause vomiting, diarrhea and other ailments, and then calling for an emergency helicopter evacuation.These evacuations can cost as much as $40,000 each, depending on how many trekkers are on board, and insurance companies are often stuck with the bill. ...Trekkers are dissuaded from exploring other options, like taking medicine, going to clinics along the hiking route or simply descending a few thousand feet, which solves many cases of altitude sickness. As a scare tactic, the common cold or fatigue are sometimes purposefully mischaracterized as acute mountain sickness, which can be deadly in an advanced stage. ...In another version of the scam, healthy hikers agree to a helicopter rescue in exchange for a cut of money or a free ride off the trail. When bills are submitted for insurance claims, helicopter companies and hospitals inflate prices for their services. Multiple insurance claims are submitted for a single helicopter ride when more than one trekker is on board.Some trekking operators, which act as brokers and take a percentage of rescue fees from helicopter companies, make more money through evacuations than they do charging for hikes. The typical profit margin for each hiker heading to Everest might be just a few hundred dollars. Participating in the scam could net operators thousands of dollars in kickbacks.
The third world is in my experience much scammier than here in the US. Everyone constantly seems to be trying to cheat everyone else.An Indian friend told me that if you go to a marketplace and see lovely fruit laid out and just ask for some, they will pull the crappy fruit from under the table and put it in a bag and hand it to you. If you pay without choosing your own, or closely examining what they put in the bag, it's considered your own fault for being an idiot.Not the least concern for the customer.
If you pay without choosing your own, or closely examining what they put in the bag, it's considered your own fault for being an idiot.
Patrick says If you pay without choosing your own, or closely examining what they put in the bag, it's considered your own fault for being an idiot.Caveat emptor - works the same way here.Not a lot of concern for the customer here either when it comes to the airlines, car companies, consumer electronics - you name it.
The third world is in my experience much scammier than here in the US. Everyone constantly seems to be trying to cheat everyone else.
Why do you hate diversity?
Patrick saysThe third world is in my experience much scammier than here in the US. Everyone constantly seems to be trying to cheat everyone else.consequence of being dirt poor
Everyone constantly seems to be trying to cheat everyone else.
Each year tons of waste and camping equipment is left behind on the mountain.
Yep, Russia IS a shithole full of scammers.
consequence of being dirt poor