Report: #1057685

Complaint Review: Ripoff Report | Touch of Africa aka Deon Barnard (Owner)

  • Submitted: Sun, June 09, 2013
  • Updated: Fri, May 29, 2015
  • Reported By: Damian — Beach Park Illinois
  • Touch of Africa aka Deon Barnard (Owner)
    464 John Ringling Blvd
    Sarasota, Florida

Go Touch Down Travel & Tours REVIEW: Go Touch Down Travel & Tours, Touch of Africa & Touch Corporation 100% dedicated to total customer satisfaction. Go Touch Down Travel & Tours, Touch of Africa & parent company Touch Corporation operate under the same philosophy... "Customers are first priority— always." Sarasota, FL; Oakville, ON; Johannesburg, SA..
*UPDATE: Go Touch Down Travel & Tours, Touch of Africa & Touch Corporation pledge their commitment to Ripoff Report Corporate Advocacy, Business Remediation and Customer Satisfaction Program. A program that benefits the consumer, assures them of complete satisfaction and confidence when doing business with a member business. Go Touch Down Travel & Tours, Touch of Africa and Touch Corporation recognized by Ripoff Report Verified™ as a safe business service.

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

Ripoff Report Verified™ REVIEW:

EDitor’s UPDATE: Positive rating and recognition has been given to Go Touch Down Travel & Tours, Touch of Africa and Touch Corporation for their commitment to excellence in customer service.

Ripoff Report’s discussions with Go Touch Down Travel & Tours, Touch of Africa and Touch Corporation have revealed an ongoing commitment by these companies to total client satisfaction. Go Touch Down Travel & Tours, Touch of Africa and parent company,Touch Corporation are extremely sensitive and responsive to client concerns and view them as an opportunity to continually develop their systems, procedures and products in order to maintain excellent customer service, employee and client relations and exceptional product delivery.

Chief Operating Officer and Director of North American Operations Deon Barnard stated, "Communication is essential. We remain transparent regarding who we are, what we do and how we do it. The Rip-off Report Corporate Advocacy Program is a wonderful way to demonstrate the depth of our commitment.”

Go Touch Down Travel is Ripoff Report Verified
Ripoff Report Verified™ .. part of Ripoff Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program.A program that benefits the consumer, assures them of complete satisfaction and confidence when doing business with a member business..

The information provided in this report below is based on comments made by Dion Barnard during an on-site inspection held by a third-party verification company with no biases toward Go Touch Down Travel and Tours.

Go Touch Down Travel and Tours is a registered travel agency specializing in tours to South Africa, as well as offering cruise-planning services. In addition to their sales and services offered, Go Touch Down also markets their business through a store called A Touch of Africa, where clients can learn about unique aspects of South Africa. Leads are acquired through a number of sources, including networking events, travel shows, and other promotional and marketing events. At each of these events, they have a registration table available for clients to gather additional information or subscribe to an e-mail list to receive information on promotions and specials. These marketing and promotional events serve as the first point of contact in the sales process.

At times, customers are not satisfied with the services they received. “We are a new company. When you develop a new process, develop a new business, something in some way will go wrong,” states Deon Barnard, a representative of Go Touch Down. Mr. Barnard states that the few complaints they have received have been regarding the administrative and pre-travel portion of the process, rather than the product and vacation itself. “Maybe we did not do something on an account, or it might be that our staff did not return a call as required and a client feels that the feedback is not there. So that has been the most challenging thing about setting up a new business,” states Mr. Barnard. However, in the 3-4 years that they have been in business, Mr. Barnard believes they have only had three or four serious complaints. “We take it very seriously to correct anything which has come to light,” he states. “We immediately address the problem, contact the client, and ensure that our relationship with the client is restored.” Mr. Barnard states that through their complaint resolution process, he believes each client who brought an issue to the attention of Go Touch Down feels that the issue is resolved and feels satisfied. “We work with the client until we believe an amicable, reasonable resolution has been reached. Any contract a client signs can be canceled. We can accommodate changes in dates or cancellation,” he states.

After a complaint is resolved, Go Touch Down Travel and Tours has a follow-up procedure in place to ensure the continued satisfaction of their clients. “Unless a client unsubscribes from our newsletters and follow-ups, they will continually be serviced through our service department,” states Mr. Barnard They do not remove any clients from their database, unless that client specifically tells them that he or she is no longer interested in their services. To keep complaints to a minimum, the team at Go Touch Down reviews feedback from their clients via an online survey. The feedback is analyzed in weekly operational meetings with the staff in South Africa. Any feedback offered by a client is recorded in that client’s file. The representatives also strive to communicate the sales contract and cancellation policy in full detail to clients in the beginning of the planning process, to make sure there are no misunderstandings. In the event that a client does need to cancel, Go Touch Down does their best to work with the third-party suppliers such as the cruise lines, etc, to satisfy the client.

In response to complaints lodged against Go Touch Down Travel and Tours on Ripoff Report, Mr. Barnard states that the complaint came from a disgruntled ex-employee. “She was extremely good at what she did [in the marketing department]. She was good for the company. But at the end of the day, the relationship came to a point when it was a mutual decision that we part ways… The very next day she lashed out on Ripoff Report,” states Mr. Barnard. Go Touch Down went to court with this person, and states they have since moved on from the matter and are focusing on continuing to ensure that their clients are happy and satisfied.

Mr. Barnard and the team at Go Touch Down recognize the value of working with Ripoff Report and the Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation and Customer Satisfaction Program, and the platform it provides for businesses and clients to interact and resolve issues. “Being a part of this program [and] turning a negative into a positive will benefit us. We understand that Ripoff Report is a voice for the consumer. At the same time, we are grateful for the opportunity that that company can now have a rebuttal. This is the positive and this is what we stand for,” states Mr. Barnard.


" Because we provide such personalized service, superior accommodations and extraordinary itineraries, our travelers return home with memories of a lifetime and the desire to share them with friends, family and colleagues.

Touch Rewards

"UNLIMITED CASH BACK – Rewards with us NEVER expire!

Everyone loves cash back. With our Touch Rewards loyalty program, you will enjoy 1.5% cash back on every dollar you spend in any of our companies. Whether it is for South African tours, Cruises, our Condominium and Resorts membership, for Art and decor at our Touch of Africa boutique or beverages and lite bites at our Afro Cafe. The more you spend, the more you earn.”

Going Solo with Go Touch Down

"No Single Supplements – Ever.”

What is a Single Supplement?

A single supplement is not a vitamin, though it might be much more palatable if it were! The single supplement is a premium surcharge imposed upon solo travelers when they reserve a room. The amount of the supplement ranges from 10 to 100 percent of the standard accommodation rate and applies only to single travelers, not to couples traveling together.

The Great Single Supplement Debate

"Single supplements are fairly standard in the hospitality industry; accommodation vendors justify the charge as an appropriate business practice. The commonly-held notion is that single travelers should pay for the luxury and convenience of having a room to themselves, and secondly, the burden of cost for preparing and cleaning the room must fall upon the single guest. They argue that although single supplements appear unfair, one must realize that travel providers calculate costs of lodging and transportation based on two travelers, the most common way to travel.

Single travelers, however, see the charge as price gouging at their expense. They may prefer to travel alone, or have little choice but to do so. Many travelers enjoy traveling solo as the best way to tailor their own experiences. Some enjoy traveling with a friend but prefer the privacy of their own room. As part of a family or group, a person may be the third or fifth traveler requiring a single room.

Among the many comments online, and particularly on Trip Advisor, we found this one to be most poignant and succinct:

“Single supplements when traveling are nothing more than blatant discrimination against single travelers. Just because it’s an industry norm it by no means makes it right! Singles consume half the water, electricity, amenities and toilet paper but are penalized for having the sheer audacity to travel alone…”

We couldn’t agree more.

Go Touch Down Travel & Tours does not charge a single supplement; never has, never will.

Our Cruise and Land Specialist, Judy Weppler offers her thoughts on the matter, “Some tour companies charge hundreds of dollars. Some offer a share rate, if you’re willing to share a room with another single traveler, but that’s hit and miss. We don’t charge a single supplement for our Cape Town or Safari tours – ever.”


Ripoff Report was pleased to learn that Go Touch Down Travel & Tours, Touch of Africa and its parent company,Touch Corporation, are committed to 100% customer satisfaction and have made every possible effort to ensure that all customers have a positive experience when dealing with any of their companies. One of the ways they know exactly what their customers think is through their surveys. The results from these client surveys, debriefing and feedback has proven invaluable in maintaining and improving their service levels.

Touch Corporation and its subsidiaries, Go Touch Down Travel & Tours and Touch of Africa recognize that complaints that might be posted on Ripoff Report (whether true or not) are issues that need to be addressed, not ignored. If handled correctly, complaints can be valuable learning opportunities. The group continuously make organizational changes allowing its clients and employees a more streamlined approach to problem resolution and a commitment to a great client experience.

In summary, after our investigation, which included discussions with Mr Barnard and many of his colleagues, clients, staff, and other past and current associates, Rip-off Report is convinced that Go Touch Down Travel & Tours, Touch of Africa and Touch Corporation are committed to quality delivery of services resulting in total client satisfaction.

Read more about why consumers should feel confident when doing business with a member of Ripoff Report's Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program. Yes, it’s a long name for a program that does a lot for both consumers and businesses alike.

Read about Ripoff Report Corporate Advocacy Business Remediation & Customer Satisfaction Program, a program that benefits the consumer, assures them of complete satisfaction and confidence when doing business with a member business. This program works.

As a matter of policy, when a business becomes a member of the Corporate Advocacy Program they agree to allow Ripoff Report to contact every client who filed a complaint so they can make things right with them. In order to confirm that the complaints were resolved, Ripoff Report is copied on all responses so we can insure that the member business did right by their customer.



Touch of Africa aka Deon Barnard (Owner) Touch of Africa *Beware of Deon Barnard* I have had dealing with him in the past..not trustworthy. Sarasota Florida

Deon Barnard remember me .... you were part of the First American Monetary Consultants Inc. (FAMC) I was one of the ones who lost my life saving waiting on gold and silver promised to me by you. You claimed you were not aware of the SCAM and to this day you were pretty convinceing. I lay awake at night wondering if you were 100% sincere when you turned on Larry Bates and claimed that the Christian Based Company was a SCAM.

There are many of us that never recovered. But I see here you are out there live and kicking. I remember how you would give those wonderful speeches with your South African flavor. I agree with the other people who have reported you on Rip Off that you are a LIAR and Cheat. I did not experience any Racism but I would not put it past you. Deon please I beg of you, don't put anybody else through what you have put so many of us through that really trusted you. I am sure in the end you will do the same thing and say you knew nothing of the wrong doing. If they are asked to pay for some Safari years down the road and give you or anybody you are affiliated with any money, ie credit cards, checking et. Buyer, Beware of giving anybody any MONEY, Credit Card or God forbid banking information for anything you can not see, touch and feel. If you are totally convince then at lease check them out first. If the deal sounds too good to be true....then I must say it usually is.

I know this guy and how he can look you dead in the eye and not blink when asking you to trust him. I was really hoping that he had changed his stripes. I have kept an eye out for him and I am glad I did. I am hoping that I can save someone from what I am dealing with everyday. At lease I can feel that I have found the truth by not believing  that he was in on it. If you have any questions about the truth that I have stated here not only have I used my real name but look up Deon Barnard and FAMC in 2010/11.

God Bless anyone and everyone who has been caught in Deon's latest web of deception. I wonder if the other characters in his circle are in on it. These types usually move in packs then turn on each other.

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This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/09/2013 09:17 AM 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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Updates & Rebuttals


#1 REBUTTAL Owner of company

Carmen Celestine Court Order

AUTHOR: Deon Barnard - ()

Important notice to all clients, staff, friends and family that read this post written by Carmen Celestine (aka Unhappy Sammy, Damian, Gary)

She is an ex-employee that was asked to leave our offices in St. Armand's Circle, Sarasota Florida on June 6th, 2013 after a series of events, threats and bad conduct. When she refused to leave the premises, the authorities had to remove her. Some of our Staff at our offices have proceeded with criminal charges against her and one of her sons. This disgruntled ex-employee arranged her sons to start picketing for days at one of our stores in St.Armands Circle and then she started a series of rip-off-reports and smearing campaigns on ten internet about our comapanies and Directors.

On July 2nd 2013 this isolated and serious matter was refered to court and heard in the Circuit Court for Sarasota County. "The Judge has ordered Carmen Celestine, her sons, Agents, her Attorneys, Representatives of this family, and all others acting in concert or participating with her; to remove all the defamatory, disparaging, libelous and false statements about our companies, staff and Directors posted on the internet, rip-off-report, websites, blogs, internet search engines including Google, Yahoo and Bing."

To date Carmen has not complied with the court order and contempt proceeding are now in process.  The authorities are looking for Carmen Celestine's whereabouts as she has provided false addresses to our company, authorities and the IRS.

The Touch Corporation group would like to apologize again for any inconveniece these posting by Mrs. Celestine has caused during the past few weeks. Please do not hesitate to contact Touch Corporation or any of our subsidiary companies for a full statement, testimonials of travelers, or more information about our show and tell social events.  

Touch Corporation is the holding company for a large collection of internationally based partnering companies, with over 25 years of experience in the hospitality industry. Our award-winning group employs more 1,000 staff worldwide and has made a significant impression on the leisure market. We proudly boast recognition of being named the Top Marketing Company for 18 consecutive years in of Africa’s leading tourism sectors. Our commitment to customer satisfaction is reflected in the success of each of our affiliated companies.

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#2 REBUTTAL Individual responds

Touch Corporation Response

AUTHOR: Deon Barnard - ()

Dear Patrons, Staff and Friends. This report has just been brought to our attention. For the past 24 hrs a disgruntled ex employee who left our employ on Thurs 6th June 2013 has started a smear campagin against the company, our group and me personally. I apologize for any discomfort this may cause when reading this, and we have reported these personal attacks and slander. We hope to find a suitable remedy to deal with this Individual. We can assure you that I am not the Deon Barnard that is referred to in the article FAMC. Sincerely Touch Corporation 

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