Report: #1083007

Complaint Review: Affordable Tours

  • Submitted: Mon, September 09, 2013
  • Updated: Tue, September 10, 2013
  • Reported By: hhbava — Alexandria Virginia
  • Affordable Tours
    11150 Cash Road
    Stafford, Texas

Affordable Tours: Once they have you on the hook, you’re virtually alone! Stafford, Texas

*General Comment: Great Experiences with Affordable Tours

Show customers why they should trust your business over your competitors...

We booked a 19-day Insight Vacations "Treasures of  Spain, Portugal and Morocco " tour through because we were lured by the discount they offered. Everything went  smoothly until we had completed the booking and made a down payment. At that point, Affordable Tours revealed its true nature, and customer service came to a virtual  standstill. Our problem arose from the fact that one of the travelers was a non-US/non-EU national who required tourist visas for all the countries to be visited. It turned out that Affordable Tours will offer no advice or assistance on visa-related questions. We were referred to their preferred "visa processing service," which failed to respond to our inquiry. In preparing for this tour, we needed specific details for the tourist visa applications that should have been immediately available as part of the online booking information, but wasn’t and getting it proved to be like “pulling teeth” and required multiple e-mail exchanges. In one case, we were left dangling without the required hotel details only to find out that Rick Contreras, our so-called "travel consultant," had gone on vacation without informing us, so we had to generate a separate e-mail request to another staffer who then provided it. Subsequently, we asked two very basic, simple, but specific, additional questions regarding our booking, and in each case, ran into the proverbial brick wall with Affordable Tours. Here are these two instances:


1. Once it became clear that we would be unable to obtain a Gibraltar visitor’s visa in a timely fashion for the non-US citizen traveler because his visa application had to be sent to the Gibraltar authorities for review, which might have required up to two months, we asked a direct and simple question: Can he wait at the Spanish border (and where) for the return of the group from Gibraltar? We quickly got the brush-off from Affordable Tours ... "we don’t know, you can’t alter the tour itinerary” (something we never asked for!!!), it’s up to the tour director, don’t bother us!"  At our insistence, Rick Contreras finally contacted Insight  Vacations and got a very forthcoming, satisfactory answer: "No problem, there are a number of options, the tour director will take good care of you." Problem solved!


2. Later, we asked for the scheduled return time to the hotel from the morning tour in Fes, Morocco, on 12 August, to enable us intelligently to schedule an independent excursion to Volubilis and Meknes, two UNESCO World Heritage sites, for that afternoon. Same stone wall: "We don’t know; it’s up to the tour director, don’t bother us."  We then escalated the request to the "travel consultant's" supervisor, Marilyn Minke. Ms. Minke took no additional action. Rather than contacting the our operator, Insight Vacations, for an answer, she provided a brush-off, generic response, stating essentially "... we cannot tell you the exact start and end times of the tour (something we had never asked for; we needed merely the scheduled times); it's up to the tour director." We then contacted Insight Vacations directly ourselves and promptly received a very satisfactory response which allowed us to book the desired excursion. Prior to our departure on the tour, I expressed my anger and disappointment about the customer service we had received form the Affordable Tours staff to the company CEO/Chairman, Jaime Fernandez, via direct e-mail. Mr. Fernandez dit not deem my complaint worthy of a response.


Our conclusion from this experience is that is a discount seller/clearinghouse for multiple tour operators, whose sole focus is on selling tours. Once the sale is closed, the customer is essentially on his/her own. The so-called "travel consultants" employed by Affordable Tours are untrained and unfamiliar with the tours they sell, show no interest in anticipating customer problems or questions, and treat queries with indifferent nonchalance; when pressed, they find it easier to make excuses for inaction than taking positive action in the spirit of providing service to the customer. We will never book anything through Affordable Tours. DO NOT BE LURED, AS WE WERE, BY THE DISCOUNT; IT IS NOT WORTH THE TIME AND AGGRAVATION EXPENDED IN DEALING WITH THIS COMPANY!  The experience with Affordable Tours stands in stark contrast to the very excellent service and high quality provided by Insight Vacations, the tour operator.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/09/2013 01:23 PM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 General Comment

Great Experiences with Affordable Tours

AUTHOR: Serious Traveler - (USA)

I am surprised by the "complaint"!  Affordable Tours has been my primary go-to travel agent for several years.  I have booked 6 river sruises and 2 ocean cruises with them in the past 3 years.  This includes multiple trips to Europe, along with China, Russia, Vietnam and Australia/New Zealand.  Their follow up is great.  I have had to make insurance claims twice -- once for lost baggage and once for a cancelled trip -- and they were there all the way.  I find them very honest and responsive.  

Next time read the website and the documentation regarding visas -- Affordable Tours makes it very clear that these are your responsibility, but that they are happy to refer you to one of many visa services if you are requiring a visa.  if one in your party was non-US and non-EU, did you think there wouldn't be a problem?  So don't blame them because YOU have special issues and wanted your hand to be held.  Next time use a full service travel agent and pay 20% more.   Then you'll get hand-holding.

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