MASSACHUSETTS -- My husband and I recently (June 2016) returned from a European vacation which included three segments in Italy offered and organized by Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT): Sicily (main trip) plus a pre-trip in Puglia and a post-trip in Calabria.
We were very satisfied with the OAT segments in terms of the itineraries, accommodations and content of the various days. But, we are very, very disappointed with the fact that OAT billed us an additional $800 for an “adjustment for Internal Flights”, apparently because we booked our own flights from the USA to and from Italy. This is despite the fact that OAT's pre-trip brochure stated clearly that Airfare is included for the flight from Puglia to Sicily, independent of how we got to Italy. We wrote and spoke to OAT representatives at length about this issue but they have refused to refund these fees, each time citing a different reason why they “had” to charge us these fees.
We doubt that we will ever use OAT again because of these added “hidden” fees. We advise anybody planning to use OAT as an organizer for their trip to carefully inquire about these additional fees for “airfare included” before they book a pre or post-trip. If you don't use their air booking services for the main trip, you will be ripped off. BUYER BEWARE. If you do use their flights, beware of poor departure and connection times. And don't buy their travel insurance. It's not very good.
In March 2011, I booked a December trip to Kenya and Tanzania with OAT after seeing that it was listed as travel & leisure magazines top travel companies in 2010. In Sept, OAT called to cancel my trip. I asked to have my deposit refunded, which they were reluctant to do... They asked me 5 times whether I wanted to book another trip instead. I told them I just wanted my money back because I might have to choose another destination instead, one where I wouldn't need a guided tour.
After thinking about it for a day, I decided that I still wanted to go to Africa and called them to ask about other trip dates. I was told that there was only 1 space available on a November trip and that they would not hold it for me. Then I was told that I would have to pay the current price ($300 more than my December trip, which was scheduled only 1 week after this November trip). I told them I shouldn't have to pay the difference since they were the ones who canceled my trip. Finally, after much discussion, the supervisor said they would match the price, but would not hold the November trip for me.
It took me 2 days to get approval from work for the new dates. When I called back, I was told that the November trip had filled up. I then asked them if they had any December trips in 2012 and they said it could cost $400 more. I know that often prices change from year to year so I didn't ask for a price match but I did ask if I could get a $100 discount for being inconvenienced and postponing my trip for an entire year. They told me no. It really seems like all they care about is getting as much money out of you as possible and not about customer service.
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- My husband and I booked a tour on-line with OAT for a trip to Thailand with a pre trip to Ankgor Wat in Cambodia and a post trip to Vietnam. OAT does some group travel, no more than 16 people. At the time of booking we were told that we were the 15th and 16th clients and that the selected tour was the only one available during the winter that included the pre and post trip.
We put a deposit down on the tour. We received confirmation of the booking and paid the full amount within 14 days. Subsequently we were sent applications for visas for Cambodia and Vietnam. We also made our own air arrangements with Thai Air to avoid the two changes of plane and the 27 hour trip offered by OAT.
Just a few days after receiving our visa forms from OAT we sent them to their recommended Visa service with a check. Three days after that we heard from a representative from OAT who informed us that the Vietnam portion of our trip was being canceled due to only 4 people signing up. We questioned this because before we made our deposit we had been told that we were taken the last two places. In addition friends who had traveled with them had found that they had only 5 people on their tour. OAT said that the decision to cancel the Vietnam portion was not negotiable. We decided to cancel the trip because of their change of itinerary.
When we told them that our air tickets included our time in Vietnam, they said they weren't responsible because we arranged for our own air. We had to pay a penalty to the airline to cancel the tickets. We were told to call the Visa service immediately which we did. OAT said that they would pay for any the cost of already processed visas. To date we have received $50 from the Visa service company and are still waiting for OAT to refund the remainder of $315.
OAT charged my charge account for the travel insurance two weeks before I authorized them to do so. In the small print, sent in a booklet with the confirmation, I found out that any insurance refund would be in travel vouchers for their company. In addition we would be charged a $300 administrative fee because we canceled. We canceled only because they changed the trip by eliminating the Vietnam portion It is absolutely necessary to read ALL THE FINE PRINT because everything is stacked against the consumer.
We would never travel with this group again as they do are totally uncaring and manipulative. Several friends who have traveled with them have said that will not do so again either. Like a previous correspondent I checked with the Mass. BBB after my troubles and found that OAT and Grand Circle have an unsatisfactory rating. CONSUMER BEWARE.
Before traveling with this company be warmed! A recently traveled with a group of friends which I formally traveled with and except to enjoy a long awaited African Safari. The trip itself was good but the service received left me very disappointed. While in a OAT camp - Baobob Lodge in Chobe - we were advised in OAT literature that several campsite did not have individual safes in the campsite but had canvas lock bags which we were assured that we could put our personal belongings and these bags would be locked in a central safe, there was no need for worry - our belongings would be in safe hands.
While, these bags can easily be open without a key, and myself and several other travelers monies were stolen out of the bags after being given to the staff to lock in the safe. We filed a report and a police report but was told that no one had a copy machine to give us a copy. SO we used carbon paper to assure ourselves that we would have a copy when we returned home.
The tour guide was more than willing to extend himself to take us to an ATM to get more money so we can have funds to TIP him and everyone. Again, we were told not to worry, it would all be taken care of by OATS when we returned to the states. Between three of us there was approximately $1500.00 stolen while in the hands of their employees.
Went I returned home a called OAT and was advised to sent the reports to a PO BOX in Boston. I did my letter and was ready to mail to OATS, I again called only to be told I had the wrong address. It took three days to get a real person to speak with - that was after I advised them that I would be filing a complaint with the Attorney Generals Office. Well we all mailed our letters and reports to Quality Management - only to receive a letter from OAT advising us that they are not responsible for our loses because we did not follow the directions given to us.- this was what their African office told them.
This is an outright Lie IT appears that both the Tour Guide and Manager were involved with the other staff in the thefts. IT WAS A SCAM- We will all be filing a formal complaints with the Attorney General Office and Boston Mass and seeking legal advise from an attorney. BEWARE!!
Along with two friends, I was scheduled to leave Dec. 30, 2008 on a 3-week trip to Vietnam and Cambodia with Overseas Adventure Travel. This was to be my third trip in four years with OAT, chosen in part for its good value without expensive fringes. Since I've never had to cancel travel -- whether for business or pleasure -- I did not purchase trip insurance which would have added another 10 percent onto the trip cost.
Unfortunately, on Dec. 1, I had emergency retina surgery. My surgeon advised I not take this trip because of airplane cabin pressure vis a vis my eye pressure. Once there, I put myself at risk of infection as health care facilities in Third World countries could be questionable. I made several calls to OAT to see what options I might have. OAT reps lectured me about my failure in not buying trip insurance. On Dec. 16, I wrote a letter to the Chairman and CEO of the parent company, Grand Circle Travel, informing them the reasons I could not make the trip, asking for some customer consideration.
Their response from a Quality Management representative repeated yet again that I should have purchased trip insurance. Meanwhile, OAT is offering huge discounts to future -- and new -- customers. They obviously were able to make a profit in my not joining the tour: rooms not slept in; meals not consumed; an add on trip not taken and more. Legally, I realize the company did not have to send me a voucher toward a future trip. That said, in this perilous economy, shouldn't a company make some gesture of good will?
OAT purports to be a company with a strong customer focus. They market themselves in a folksy, friendly manner. Yet the cold formality and dismissive tone once they have received your full payment belies their advertising and marketing. Indeed, OAT is truly a huge corporation with the bottom line in mind. The customer is no longer valued once the customer has paid for the trip. Buyer beware!
PENNSYLVANIA -- Recently I booked a tour with OAT. The booking part was easy. Phone was answered in 2 minutes and everything was taken care of. One week later I had a question and called back (customer service phone number is not the same as for booking and you can not be transferred). I was told by a recorded message the waiting time is 6 minutes. So I waited 6 minutes and 30 and no answer. I attempted to call the 3 more times. Same experience. So I was never able to get an answer to my question. I would recommend avoiding this company in the future. I believe customer care should not at at the booking of your trip.
THE WORST CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE EVER. My mother was so upset by her customer experience that she told me in tears that she wanted to cancel the trip - a once-in-a-lifetime trip that she has been excited about for months. Numerous customer service agents told her that they were working on an issue and would get back to her, including supervisor ** - but none of them never did.
When I called to find out what had happened, I received the exact same treatment - I was transferred, told that people would call me back, and the issue was never addressed. When I asked to speak to the manager of the supervisors, I was told I could not speak to them.
It's the same experience you get from a mega corporation like Verizon or Capital One, except you are paying them thousands of dollars to guide you through a foreign country. Save yourself time, exasperation and money, and RUN to another agency. They don't care enough about their customers to even call them back, even when they are paying over $20,000 for the trip. Would you trust a company like this?
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- OAT now requires a signed agreement that gives them the right to do anything and you have the right to complain in vain. The tour guide for the Jewels of Bohemia May 3, 2014 to May 22, 2014, maybe be the reason for the NEW agreement. A racist, denigrated Roma at the memorial for the (Gypsies) Roma who died during the Holocaust.
Forcing people to walk hours 2 to 3 after a long day just to find an ATM and place to eat by lying saying the walk would be 15 minutes. Lost people, usually 2 or 3 out of a group of 14 because he only cared about himself and never turned around or walked slow enough for everyone to keep together. Also he hired the cheapest, smallest transportation available, making travel uncomfortable. Most of the Hotels were 2nd or 3rd class, but the prices were 1st class.
Overseas Adventure Travel disappointed us. We had paid for our Morocco holiday, and had paid OAT to arrange for our air travel from Sacramento CA so that if there is any delay in flight, a representative would still meet us in Casablanca upon arrival. Our flight from USA got delayed; in Paris we had to take the next flight to Casablanca as we missed our original connection.
I had phoned OAT before we left USA that we would miss the connection in Paris due to delayed departure and have to take the next connecting flight from Paris. Could not contact OAT from Paris because of long hold time on the telephone (40 mts.). Lo and behold, there were none at the Casablanca airport upon our arrival late in the evening. Had to buy a phone card to call OAT in USA and had to endure a wait time of 38 minutes. After a lot of shouting, they agreed to transport me by a taxi to Rabat (100 miles away) at their expense.
Most complaints on tour operators stem from missed connections, and OAT, in spite of their boasting about repeat customers, failed us. Further, I had asked that their office call me to explain why there was this slip up. They have not cared to call us yet. This is what they care about customers. Do not trust them.
I signed up for the New Year's Special, which was supposed to be a $300 discount through 1/15. OAT's representative acknowledged that they did not raise the price back up after the "special," but in fact reduced the trip further. It can be purchased today $200 cheaper than my invoiced price.
Even though they are selling the trip $200 cheaper, OAT added an additional $100 to my invoice and indicated that the price might increase further. In short, they reduced the trip to sell spots and raised the price on those already booked who haven't paid in full six months in advance to make up the difference. Their representative noted that these are financially difficult times. I'd put down a $995 deposit to reserve and they indicated that the prices were in full including taxes and fees; but now they claim buried somewhere it says differently. Of course, they won't cancel without a $300 penalty. The representatives attitude is "got ya." The company won't respond to my emails.