• Report: #1057433
Complaint Review:

Ripoff Report | Touch of Africa

  • Submitted: Sat, June 08, 2013
  • Updated: Fri, July 25, 2014

  • Reported By: Carmen — Bradenton Florida
Touch of Africa
464 John Ringling Blvd Sarasota, Florida USA

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.

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....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 Go Touch Down Travel & Tours aka Touch De L'Afrique aka Afro Cafe aka Touch Corporation America and Canada Touch of Africa "Attention Deon Barnard, Leonard, Lucius, Riana and the entire Touch Corp American & Canada" Sarasota Florida

NOTICE: About the Report below.

Ripoff Report (((REDACTED))) the offending words and false accusations/statements because we found what was posted to be completely false. If the posting was true, there would have been legitimate proof or documentation. The claims were absolutely ridiculous. Ripoff Report was not sent any evidence for the claims the author of the Report below made – unfortunately all the Reports about Go Touch Down Travel Tours were authored by the same person all from the same IP address. As a matter of policy, when a business joins the Corporate Advocacy, Business Remediation and Customer Satisfaction Program, .. Ripoff Report emails everyone that filed a complaint so the member business could make things right with them…  our program calls for the member business to err on the side of the customer. It is our opinion, the Report below is bogus Ripoff Report hired a 3rd party verifier  who inspected the offices of Go Touch Down Travel Tours and found them to be legitimate with the credentials supporting this fact.


My name is Carmen and I worked for this company for the over a year and HERE IS MY STORY:

I was hired by Deon Barnard (CEO) of Touch Corp. He and his family had relocated here from South Africa to set up shop in St Armands Circle. For those of you who are not familar with St. Armands it is a very exclusive little island in the heart of Sarasota, Florida. They came here to seek out the rich and unassuming elderly or as they call it 55+ target market. My position was called ETC (Executive Telemarketing Consultant). To the best of my knowledge I was the only Black person on the US payroll. I came in with over 30 years of experience in the telemarketing industry and hit the ground running. From day one I was the number one ETC and they quickly took notice of my character, work ethic, integrity and kick a*s attitude. While they took notice of that...via appointments set and qualified 55 + arriving for each show. I noticed their RACISM....so I will put it on record and I have many facts to back up my claim that not only are they Liars, Cheats, Unethical but Racist....

 If you are owed money because of a refund after trying to cancel your written contract where I can swear in a court of law any day of the week they intentially did not answer your call I welcome you to join the fight. I am organizing a team of lawyers to pursue a Class Action Law Suit against Touch Corporation, Deon Barnard, and the entire Touch of Africa Team. A web site is currently under construction (((ROR redacted))) where you can tell your story and someone will be in touch with you. There is also a fund being set up for employees who have not received their pay as promised. I personally have donated 10,000 US dollars for anyone employeed by Touch of Africa St Armands, in Sarasota Florida who was cheated....I feel somewhat responsible for sitting there knowing what was going on and staying until I was Lied to in my face by Deon Barnard that I had called him a theif for even questioning a client that had arrived for a Event and not being paid for the booking. I had the nerve after working for him for over a year to question his ethics to not pay me. His exact words were "What are you trying to say" and I responded "I am not sure what you call it" and he jump up and confessed to the entire office and his superior Leonard (who had just arrived and set up shop to hopefully stop him from running what is left of the company in the ground) that I had in fact accused him of STEALING...so now I will go on the record and say I did not then but will now absolutely state he did Steal from not only me but anyone else who he could. I know for a fact he has cheated and scammed all of the ETC's out of countless qualifed customers that arrived were given "the gifts" but found every excuse in the book to not pay the commission. That is the reason I feel compelled to set up the fund to repay anyone that has the courage to ask for their money. Not only was I asked to leave the company after not asking for his forgiveness for something I did not say but escorted out by the POLICE when I asked for a letter of Separation...to explain why I was beging let go. The letter stated "we agree with you that it is best to part ways at this time" Another Lie...to try and keep me from collecting unemployment.

Leonard stated for the record that I had quit the evening before when I sent him an e-mail asking if I could return the keys to his desk. I was never allowed to have a set a keys for the year I worked there even though I worked 30 plus hours of overtime that they refuse to pay me for...to set up the shows and ensure that someone was there to answer the calls if someone was lost etc trying to find us. I was not given any keys for reasons not known to me as everyone around me that was hired after me ie...Riana, Debbie or anyone else could have the keys. So I had the keys by default from a couple of days prior and did not want to be accused of any wrong doing which he had announded the day before that I had accused him of stealing. I simply did not trust the whole company and did not want to be held responsible. Leonard by the way did not respond to the e-mail (coward) so I returned the next morning and put them on his desk and went to mind and began working. I attended the morning meeting where Deon announced I had accused him of stealing again and when I spoke up and asked him if I could speak he said NO....so here is my forum where I can speak and I that RipOff report for this opportunity. This is the US of American and everyone has the right to defend any accusations made against them...Lets run them back to Africa where slaves are the norm by many years of culture but not here in the US no sir... So here I sit a proud black American woman who not only was the very best at what I did which is set the record time and time again for appointments set. Not once telling a lie to get the job done, NOT ONCE...and being responsible for running off any person (ETC) who did sit there and lie because I would not stand for it. Again for the record they quickly hired back the most notorious Liar in the history of the company Rebecca and made her the team leader the  day after I was asked to leave. So that is proof enough for anyone thinking of doing business with these bums their intentions of running an ethical honest opporation. She was fired for not being honest and hired back to lead the team to dishonesty. I proved it could be done the right way and she could not produce 10 percent of what I did doing it the wrong way. So go figure...

So in ending this statement of absolute TRUTH and that is why I have listed my real name. I am going to take on this comany with everything I have and ever going to have. I will meet them face to face in court and look forward to it. I will not look for other employment because my job will be to work just as hard to bring them down from 9am in the moring until 10pm at night and right now 5am in the morning as I am known for overtime. As you read this now whoever you are I promise you I am at the computer or on the phone working to bring this company to a hault and send them back to ARICA and the boat they arrived. I gave them the best opportunity to succeed and left in tears because I was LIED to in my face for something I did not clearly do and not even given a chance to SPEAK....so my human rights were taken but I will not be silenced...and I that you Rip Off Report for this very humble forum....

If you would like to join the fight or claim any of the funds that have been set aside to repay you for what you were cheated out of please....visit (((ROR redacted))) the sight has been purchased and the team is working to get it up and running as I type..

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/08/2013 02:32 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/touch-of-africa/sarasota-florida/touch-of-africa-aka-go-touch-down-travel-tours-aka-touch-de-lafrique-aka-afro-cafe-aka-1057433. 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

Click Here to read other Ripoff Reports on Go Touch Down Travel & Tours, Touch De L'Afrique, Touch Corp America & Canada, Afro Cafe

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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 Owner of company

Touch Corporation Response

AUTHOR: Deon Barnard - ()

Dear Patrons, Employees and Friends. This report has come to our attention. It was posted in the past 24 hrs by a disgruntled  ex employee. We apologize for any discomfort that this report may have caused. We have referred this unfortunate incident in order to seek a suitable remedy. Sincerely Touch Corporation

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