• Report: #1134777

Complaint Review: Sedona Sacred Earth Private Tours

  • Submitted: Sat, March 29, 2014
  • Updated: Sat, March 29, 2014

  • Reported By: mersmom — Lexington South Carolina
Sedona Sacred Earth Private Tours
P.O. Box 4041 Sedona, Arizona USA

Sedona Sacred Earth Private Tours Lack of Preparation By Owner Produced Disappointing Tours Sedona Arizona

*Author of original report: Pointless

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: Sadly And Maliciously Inaccurate

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We scheduled 4 tours several months ago to make sure we had the reservation and to allow the owner (Clint Frakes) to work out any details/scheduling he needed to do before each tour. The Sedona tour was fine. One site we specified was missed, but we saw most everything we wanted to see. My crew was elderly and/or handicapped. He did not provide much assistance, opening doors, getting out of the vehicle etc. My crew noticed this.

The second tour was to the Grand Canyon. Miguel Montoya was the driver/guide on this tour. He was very accommodating.  We had brought some snacks of our own, but he had a cooler of snacks and water for us. He opened doors and assisted family members in and out of the vehicle. He even put a passenger’s oxygen machine next to him to provide more room for other passengers. We treated him to dinner at a lovely restaurant overlooking the Grand Canyon. He seemed very conscientious and sweet. I am happy Miguel called me a few days before the tour and suggested we made reservations at the restaurant. It was a very nice day.   

The 3rd tour was to Hopi Sites. It was far less than expected. Clint Frakes was the driver/guide. He brought us to buy snacks, because he had nothing for us. I bought juice, water, carrots, some crackers, but did not know that was all I would get to eat that day. I told him ahead of time, I was a vegetarian, and he assured me I would have a vegetarian plate. I got to sit and watch others eat while I had a piece of bread (Clint had several Helpings and Coffee not offered to others). Allen (the Hopi Guide), said just pick the meat out. He told me later that they did not know I was a vegetarian. Clint did not tell him.

As a Hopi guide, Allen, was marginal. He used his position as a platform to espouse his views on Christianity. I found it very interesting that he interpreted ancient Puebloan drawings in a way that included the awful Christians, since the drawings were made before Christian contact. The local rangers were surprised by his interpretations and pointed us to a book they recommended on the drawings. We tried to be polite to Allen and his views, said little when we knew he was getting things wrong, or exposing opinions not shared by all. He seemed proud of not being educated – He did not need books/education. But, guides need to provide more than made up stories.

To top the day off, I had to splint a leg, due to the back door of the vehicle being too heavy to lift by myself (popping a tendon in a leg). Help with doors from Clint would have been nice. I also got a lecture from Clint because I looked surprised because Hopis steal eagle babies from nests, raise the birds, and then sacrifice them. I did not say a word when the story was told by Allen, but later I told Clint that I was entitled to my own views which are not to kill, especially endangered or protected species. I do have my own views that I kept to myself in front of Allen. And, I did not appreciate the lecture from Clint (yelled at me).

My travel mates did not appreciate me hobbling through the day, me not eating, and me paying extra for food and a guide that was mediocre at best ($60 for food; $160 extra for Allen). The next day we learned that there was a Hopi restaurant and cultural center where we all could have eaten what we wanted. This would have helped! We also wanted to visit Hopi vendors; Clint claimed the only one he knew just left for Australia. We visited some drunk individuals who repeatedly pushed a badly stained basket and unfinished carvings. He let us put up with them for a long time w/ no intervention. This was unprofessional. A visit to the vendors at the cultural center would have been appreciated.

The 4th tour was supposed to be to the 4 corners area – Covering Three Sites: Antelope Canyon, Horse Shoe Bend, and Monument Valley. Clint was repeatedly asked to get me the details for Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley. Evidently, he had information from 3 or 4 years ago, but nothing current. I paid him to arrange this tour, not for me to call ahead for the information. I should have. The Antelope Canyon tours now run every few hours, since we were a few minutes late for one we would have a long wait for the next. That would cause us to miss the Monument Valley tour.

George (our guide/driver) felt horrible, because he was lead to believe nothing had changed from 3 or 4 years ago. He did take us to a Burger King with stuff on display and another site where most of my crew could not go, due to high winds. He tried to make up for things with charming stories and being very courteous. If he had the Antelope Canyon time schedule ahead of time, we would have made the tour. The fees for the Monument Valley Tour have also gone up in 4 years from $70 per person to $85 per person. I am happy I had extra cash. Again, I made reservations with Clint months ago for all 4 tours. I just expected more.

I feel George is a lovely person, and would have looked up the details himself, if it was his business. He works part-time for this agency and another (Safari Jeep). I just expected better for the first-class prices I paid per tour - $3230 total and an additional $700 to $800 in tips/gratuities. We will probably not get to see these places again, and it just was “not first class.” This review was removed from TripAdvisor after Clint made calls to us requesting we take it down. He then had them take it down. I will never trust this site again or use them in making my travel plans. I gave him an AVERAGE rating, since some of the tours were ok, some not. Parts good, parts bad. 


This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/29/2014 08:37 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Sedona-Sacred-Earth-Private-Tours/Sedona-Arizona-86340/Sedona-Sacred-Earth-Private-Tours-Lack-of-Preparation-By-Owner-Produced-Disappointing-Tou-1134777. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 Author of original report


AUTHOR: mersmom - ()

As far as review being taken down -- Virtual Tourist-- took everything down of mine, when I pulled my picture album, because "someone" was posting unwanted material all over my albums. When your persona and album is pulled, so go all of your reviews, etc. They understood the situation. My review on TripAdvisor re this indivisual was removed due to complaints from this individual. I felt my review was very fair. I certainly did not call anyone deranged or imballanced. He does have an anger issue and blew up at us when we asked questions about a ritual. The native american man never showed anger. He was very nice. I am not sure why Clint has said this over and over in so many places. We never said this. We said that Clint yelled at us. We felt uncomfortable with him after that episode. His lack of planning is evident. We did not get to see all the sights we were promised and were forced to make choices between places we were told we were all going to see that day. If I had planned the trip myself, we would have seen those places. The Trip-Advisor Forum Experts do not recommend him. I wish I had started there and not reading reviews, that now seem so meaningless/pointless.  

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#2 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Sadly And Maliciously Inaccurate

AUTHOR: Sedona Sacred Earth - ()

Dear Ripoff Report Readers,

A thorough investigation of the tours in question was made and the two guides that gave the tours (in addition to myself) were interviewed at length. It was determined that this customer's rendering of the incidents and overall tenor of the tours in question is both inaccurate and fraudulent. We found that there were too many both explicit and logical contradictions to take her claim seriously, and furthermore that she misrepresented the facts in so gross a manner that we could not begin to understand what her motive is, or even the actual grounds for her complaint. Our sad determination was that she suffers from severe emotional/psychological imbalance and that we were targets of irrational rage, after the fact. We found it perplexing that she would attempt to malign the reputation of the company and its guides and could find no reasonable foundation for her claims whatsoever. The guides and owner had several meetings over this as we care deeply about the expereince of our clients/customers. She lodged the same complaint with the Northern Arizona BBB and they determined that we made a reasonable attempt to appease her. Other travel forums also took down her complaints as they violated ethical standards, or simply didn't hold water.

A close review of her narrative in this complaint exposes a muddled, incoherent sequence of scarcely related topics, but what we found disheartening is the deliberate fabrication/falsification of certain facts and actual events (or non-events) strictly composed to malign our business reputation (why, we still do not know). Her story also demonstrates a complete misunderstanding of the information presented to her on the Hopi tour.

Regarding the scathing negative review that she posted on Trip Advisor.com, we have no control over what Trip Advisor posts, or their criteria for removal, but it is most likely the case that she violated their guidelines, or even fraudulently posted a second review (there were two) under an additional alias. She mentions the tour guides by their full names and even listed their other places of employment among other potentially harmful indiscretions. I heartily urge those evaluating this dispute to question whether or not the same mentality is operative in this compaint, and whether or not she is simply trying to inflict damage to the reputation of the company for reasons known only to herself.

We at Sedona Sacred Earth would also like it known that a courtesy call was made to her even before any public complaints were registered to see how her final tour went, and that she did not respond. Ms. Moore did not at any time contact us with any indication that she was dissatisfied, and in fact led us to believe quite the contrary by leaving large cash tips with each of the guides on every single tour. If she had contacted us in a civil manner, we would have given her concerns thoughtful consideration. Instead, she attempted to smear our reputation with every possible public agency and travel forum while disseminating distorted facts and fraudulent claims. We feel it is a considerable ethical breach to resort to such tactics without attempting to first contact our office for some amicable resolution. Furthermore, she went out on a fourth tour (she states in this document that her first two tours were “fine” and “excellent”) after what she is now claiming was a sub-standard experience that resulted in serious physical injury. We only ask that you read her letter and notice the incongruities indicated above. In fact, almost every single assertion she makes is refutable.

I will address each of her assertions below:

  1. Regarding the client's food issues. She was instructed that she should bring some foods that she could eat as she had dietery/digestive problems. We made a stop at the local Natural Foods market in Sedona before traveling up to hopi explicitly for this purpose and for other people in the group who requested the stop. While we did request a vegetarian version of the traditional Hopi food that was offered that day, and the request was overlooked, other food options were offered and she refused them. The rest of the group ate heartily and seemed to enjoy the food very much. It must be noted that the meal is only part of the experience that was provided during the lunch. We were invited into a traditional Hopi home and were given generous and gracious treatment by out hosts, and her attitude was a bit arrogant and critical--and contrary to the spirit of the day which was all about cultural exchange and appreciation. It must be understood that this is not a typical tour, but a cultural immersion on an Indian reservation. These are humble and gracious people and they did everything they did to try and make her comfortable, which she apparently scoffed at. Had she asked me to help her procure additional food items, I would have gladly done it. I checked in with her repeatedly and she repeatedly told me that she was fine—even smiling. Her concern about my eating habits seems odd and a desperate attempt to make me look bad to the reader. Everyone in the group was offered as much as they wanted to eat and drink with no price attached. Modest donations (about 10$/per person) were suggested and accepted.

  2. This grievance, at its heart, seems to be with the culture she claims she wanted to see and meet. She was told in advance that there were protocol and customs different than that of her own culture and she agreed that this was to be expected—yet she argues with the interpretation of cultural artifacts from a highly esteemed traditional Hopi elder! These are people that have lived on that very land for 1000-3000 years and she claims here to know more about it than the Hopi. At this point I want to make it clear that she and everyone in the group were treated with kindness and patience and absolute attentiveness and every effort was made to provide them with a special experience.

  3. Regarding the claims that the Hopi elder “yelled” at her: this is sheer fabrication. Nothing of the sort happened, as I was with him the entire time. Ms. Moore appears to have objections to spiritual and cultural practices of the Hopis, but she requested to be taken to the Hopi reservation to learn about them.

  4. Ms. Moore’s claim of sustaining physical injury do to “doors being too heavy” in the vehicle is ridiculous. We were in a 2014 GMC Acadia (a larger vehicle rented at her request) with electronic doors and trunk buttons, and I was more than willing to assist with any and all physical matters, incuding carrying an oxygen tank around for one of the family.

  5. After speaking with the guide for the Monument Valley tour, it has been made clear that the tour she claims to have missed due to me “not getting the times right” was offered and entirely possible for her to have experienced. It was only required that they wait 30-40 minutes. They chose to skip this option in favor of moving ahead to the next part of the tour. The tour guide testified to this. Everything that was offered in the Monument Valley tour was provided.

  6. I did not call her “multiple times” or “badger” her in any way. I made one (normal procedure) courtesy call before I even knew she was upset, and a second call after I read a ludicrous Trip Advisor review, asking her to reconsider the unfair/untrue review and even attempt to come to some resolution at that point. Both calls were made in a friendly, even and civil tone.

    In short, by her own admission, the first to tours were good to excellent, therefore clearly do not a "ripoff". The third Hopi tour was not to her liking—but largely due to her disapproval of the culture itself and a small mishap on her lunch. All services offered for the fourth tour were provided, even though she declined one of them. This angry person seems to me to be of the sad variety of people who lash out against others from some severe inner pain and discontentment within the emotional/spiritual poverty of their lives, and that somehow I and my company was chosen as the object of her wrath. This was completely undeserved as I posed no affront to her whatsoever, and was professional, generous and accommodating in every matter. She should be ashamed of herself for the trouble these claims have caused me.


Owner, Sedona Sacred Earth

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