Complaint Review: Gavin Michelmore, The African Collection - Cape Town, Johannesburg
Gavin Michelmore, The African Collection Gavin Michaelmore, African-collection Took Payment for One Week Vacation, Provided No Services on Arrival Cape Town, Johannesburg
We purchased an all-inclusive travel package from this vendor for a one-month trip (September 2019) to South Africa and Kenya. The company principal, Mr. Gavin Michelmore, required full payment in advance for all travel services which included lodging, tours, and internal country transportation for 6 people (2 people were for 2 weeks).
He provided all services as quoted for the first three weeks. On arrival in Kenya for the last week of our prepaid trip for the remaining 4 people, Mr. Michelmore called and asked us to pay again for our last week of vacation in full and directly to his subcontractor, Serena Hotels, using my personal credit card. When we asked him why we would have to pay this again (we had already bank wired to him the full $7,620 invoiced to us as full payment for this week months prior), he stated that there was a "bank error" and that he would have our money refunded to our credit card before the end of our week in Kenya.
Furthermore, he advised us after arrival that the price of our week in Kenya had gone up from $7,640 to $12,460, and that was the amount we would have to pay Serena Hotels, or we would have no travel services at all that week. As we had no choice, we paid the additional $12,460 on our credit card (now bringing the total paid to $20,100 for which he had quoted would be $7,640 plus some small additional miscellaneous charges).
At the end of our travel week, Mr. Michelmore had not resolved his "bank error". He explained that he had been swindled by his partner a year before and faced financial difficulties. He then stated that he would pay us back within two months. At the end of the two months by the end of November 2019, he had not paid the money back.
I offered to reduce the amount he owed us to just the $7,640 that we prepaid and which he did not use to pay his subcontractor for our travel services. He agreed and offered a 6-month repayment plan. He made one late payment to this in early January of $959 and then defaulted on the next 2 payments. He then sent us a letter from is attorney stating that he was not responsible and that we should have relied on travel insurance for what he took from us.
We had not purchased this insurance because we had used Mr. Michelmore's services on two other occasions in 2016 and 1997. He had delivered services well for those two trips, so we trusted him. When we told him that we had no travel insurance and had no recourse on our credit card since Serena Hotels delivered the services we paid them for (following our wire transfer to Mr. Michelmore), he then had his attorney send a threatening letter to us and our traveling companions stating that we owed hiim $100,000 for defaming him when we advised our friends that Mr. Michelmore had taken our money and not delivered services.
We had planned to just let this whole thing go and consider it a loss and misplaced trust, but Mr. Michelmore's handling of this has left us defrauded and angry. I hope others do not make the same mistake as we did and trust a tour operator by prepaying a trip in full and not having any recourse.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 03/19/2020 06:42 AM and is a permanent record located here: https://www.ripoffreport.com/report/gavin-michelmore-african/cape-town-johannesburg-took-1493074. 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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