Complaint Review: Expat Explore
Expat Explore Tried to cancel my Italian tour 1/2 way through in Rome at midnight London SE Nationwide
*Author of original report: This is an example of what someone receives traveling with ExPat
*UPDATE Employee: Response from Expat Explore Travel
After years if saving and homeschooling Italy we finally decided to take the plunge and book the $11,000 dream vacation of 17 days in Italy with Expat Explore and Tour Radar.
It turned out to be one of the worst decisions that we could have made, because Expat board member, Ananda Heyl called me in our Rome hotel at midnight 1/2 through our tour and told us that they were cancelling the rest of our trip and they NEVER gave us any chance to change anything that we were doing before they decided to do this.
They need to be shut down and punished for what they did, but they will admit no fault and when someone books with Expat, Expat can CANCEL their trip at any time for ANY reason. Beware before using Tour Radar and Expat Explore! Protect your family,
Here is a copy of the letter that I sent to Ananda once we had returned:
June 19, 2017
We have now returned from our tour.
We made the decision to go with our son and we’ve been saving for years and homeschooling all Italy. He’s been practicing his Italian so he was ready for the trip. We chose Expat, because of the 20-30 age group and irreverent pictures. It seemed like a more laid back group that fit our style. Our goal was not to worry about the details and help our son enjoy the trip.
Because of decisions made by you and your team to kick us off of the tour the night before you have completely ruined our Italy trip. You forced us for 45 minutes at 11:30 PM to grovel and beg to be kept on and even having to find other passengers that would vouch for our behavior. It’s a miracle that we ran into them. The amount of stress that you caused us is immeasurable having to figure out what to do with my family in a foreign country.
At no time were we presented with this possibility happening during the southern portion of the tour. At no time previous to this were we told that our behavior would be grounds for cancellation. The only time that we heard about it we were then assured by Shabby when she said that we wouldn’t be a problem and she was amazed that the the company was considering this based on things that “weren’t our fault". When I heard this I was amazed that it was even an issue.
Since I don’t have the vindictive complaint reports from the passengers and the tour guide I am unable to respond directly to their comments, but you verbally shared several things that night that I need to dispute now:
Tour Leader complaints
When we visited Pompeii we were excited to see it, but during our 1st tour the director was very monotone and didn’t keep the group interested. During the tour I went up to him and asked him if there was any way that he could liven up the presentation a little to keep the kids interested. It never changed. We talked to Shabby that night and gave her our feedback on him.
The next day it turned out that the same director was taking us to Capri. We were very concerned that we’d have the same experience. We asked Shabby what she could do and she said that we could talk to him before the tour to try to get him to make the next tour more interesting for the kids. After we spoke to him that morning about how concerned we were he was able to improve 100%. He had more energy and I think that everyone enjoyed the Capri tour more because of our feedback.
From the very beginning when I booked with Tour Radar I mentioned that my wife and son had motion sickness issues and if they were allowed to sit in the front seat she’d be OK. Tour Radar said that I should contact the tour leader to see what she could do. From the first day I talked to Shabby and told her about the issue and she said it was first come first served until people complained then she’d have to start a rotation. So for the first several days I made sure that I was first in line to ensure that she had the right seat. Once a complaint came in, we started rotating, except on one especially long drive day I requested that Shabby let us sit in the front seat. Shabby said no. I said can I talk to corporate and ask them for the favor. She then gave us your corporate office and after a long conversation I was told that it would be OK if she sat in the 3rd seat, but no closer. I was never told by Shabby or Expat that by making the decisions to ask for this I was jeopardizing our vacation.
After this day we rotated as requested. Since we were in separate seats when my seat tended to be closer to the front of the bus I switched with my wife and son. I was never told that this was not allowed. So I suspect the complaining passengers were not aware of this. That being said several other groups of passengers never switched seats even though we rotated.
Making the group late
From what I understand we were reported to be constantly late and holding up the group. This is a complete lie. We NEVER held up the group. The only time that the group was held up my wife and son had gotten lost in the Valley of the Temples and so had several other passengers. The only other time that this may have happened again we were with several other passengers on an optional tour of Syracusa. This was a tour that we originally were booking as a private tour, but decided to open it up to other passengers. When we had requested it as a private tour we had specified that the only thing important to us was to spend as much time in Syracusa. During the tour while we were in the site (our tour guide did not come in) we called the guide and told him that we wanted more time to look around. Three other passengers that we were with said they’d rather stay later in Syracusa too. So we all came about 30 minutes later to the departure point.
Bothered other passengers
We were also told that our son annoyed other passengers by passing gas and saying excuse me loudly. I think that this is a ridiculous thing for a passenger to complain about and shows even clearer evidence that the complaining passenger is just an unhappy person that doesn’t remember being around kids. When this happened of course we told him to stop and keep his voice down.
As you can see we were victimized by several groups of passengers who all decided to complain, but according to Shabby never directly talked to her. We have been treated entirely unfairly by Expat. We were forced to beg at 11:30 PM the night before the bus left to be kept on the tour. This all is entirely unprofessional and indicates a breach of contract. If Expat felt that our behavior was going to get us kicked off we should have been contacted with time enough to modify our behavior. We never were.
The difference is this. As a family, if someone on the tour bothered us we would just make it a point not to spend time with them. We wouldn’t complain. the tour guide from Pompeii and Capri improved 100% we would never complain if he made that much effort to improve. The problem is Expat believes their vendors more than their employees and passengers and that ruined what should have been a once in a lifetime experience.
Please refund the full amount of our tour ASAP, $5,525.58 USD. After our vacation with Expat we need another one to replace the destroyed memories.
Ananda, I would suggest your forward this email to all of the Expat board members so you as a company know how you would like to proceed based on your company’s behavior. I look forward to your board’s response within a week. I will forward this to Tour Radar at that time.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/23/2017 05:30 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/expat-explore/nationwide/expat-explore-tried-to-cancel-my-italian-tour-12-way-through-in-rome-at-midnight-london-1395040. 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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