• Report: #1057388
Complaint Review:

Ripoff Report | Touch of Africa

  • Submitted: Fri, June 07, 2013
  • Updated: Sun, May 18, 2014

  • Reported By: Gary — Sarasota Florida
Touch of Africa
464 John Ringling Blvd Sarasota, Select State/Province USA

Go Touch Down Travel & Tours REVIEW: 100% Customer Satisfaction Commitment: Touch Corporation & subsidiaries, Go Touch Down Travel & Tours & Touch of Africa, are committed to customer satisfaction. Licensed Seller of Travel, full-service travel agency, Go Touch Down Travel & Tours continually developing procedures & products improving customer experience. Touch of Africa, high-end retail gallery.
*UPDATE: Recognized by Ripoff Report Corporate Advocacy Program as a safe business service – Go Touch Down Travel & Tours, Touch of Africa & Touch Corporation pledge to always resolve any issues. Customers can feel safe, confident & secure when doing business with Go Touch Down Travel & Tours, Touch of Africa & 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***unethical, liars, gypsies*** Sarasota Florida

This company is the worst for employees.....I worked here in their Marketing Dept.....I collected leads at different events....I was promised to be paid per lead......they never paid as promised. They cheated and stole and made up one lie after another....

I did not stay long. My manager was the absolute worse....Tammy, she did not have any expertise in the field. She actually was fired after I quit....I understand they still owe her to the tune of 4,000. I consider myself lucky to have left the first time I was cheated. The CEO Deon Barnard ....is totally full of himself...He is the best LIAR I have ever seen....especially when he is in front of a crowd...He will twist and turn and put on a show  for the crowd... I must admit he is quite funny for a little guy....

Do business with this company at your own risk....from the inside I would not do business with them. I doubt if they will be in the USA long as there whole plan is to get people to give up their banking information and travel years later. They claim to have sold many trips....or so the LIAR Deon claims but can produce no pictures of tours ever leaving. Just a few isolated folks that are his personal friends who he then hires as staff to give testimonies.

If someone refuses their payment plan...and insist on traveling in the next couple of months they are given one excuse after another. I am not sure why. If you ever attend one of their "Events" take the gifts and run...I hear there is another travel agency on the St. Armands Circle run by a lovely couple that can do what Go Touch Down Travel & Tours can't and that is DELIVER....Word is...Tammy the fired manager is there and they are teaching her to deliver as well.. Good for you Tammy...Hope you collect your $4,000.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 06/07/2013 05:41 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/touch-of-africa/sarasota-select-stateprovince/touch-of-africaunethical-liars-gypsies-sarasota-florida-1057388. 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 Corporation, 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 the same disgruntled ex employee as seen under a seperate heading. 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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