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Buyer beware: OAT does not value its customers
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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!
     
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SLR+ on 01/28/2009:
Lesson learned. When planning a trip, buy trip insurance.
saj80 on 01/28/2009:
Don't blame the travel agency for your regret in not purchasing travel insurance. The responsibility lies fully on you, so please accept that you made a mistake, and as SLR stated, lesson learned.
leopard on 01/28/2009:
I guess you should've purchased the travel insurance. Its not the company's fault, its yours!
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Hotels in Jordan
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We returned from a trip with OAT yesterday; the organization of the trip through Egypt, the cruise on the Suez Canal and Red Sea were fine, but when we arrived at the hotels in Jordan, they were a disaster and nobody changed anything to make it better.

The hotel in Petra, the Petra Inn, (Our schedule stated that we would stay at the Petra Palace) was a dump! It was dirty, unkempt and nothing worked. When my husband used the commode, it fell to the side. We have pictures to prove this. The food was disgusting too.

The next hotel in Amman was better, but not much!
When there was running water, it was cold. It was not kept well either. One of the couples got so fed up with the quality of the hotels, that they left early.

The rack rate for the hotel in Petra was 55 JD per night and the one in Amman was 100 JD per night. Tour operators pay a lot less... When you consider that your trip costs $ 800 per day per couple, you wonder how the rest of the money is spent. A guide and a bus certainly do not cost $ 650 per day!

Another complaint is that, when you arrange your own flights, they do not pick you up from the airport. You arrive in a totally strange country, without local cash and you have to find your way to the hotel... this way, they save $ 30 - 50 on your back! Not very consumer friendly, esp. since they are at the airport anyway to pick up other clients.

     
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dan gordon on 01/23/2009:
you know that when you arrange your own air you have the OPTION of buying hotel transfers. Obviously you chose to save the money. Don't compalian when you were offered the option but tuned it down to save some $$. I'm sure you were a lovely couple to travel with
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Disappointed
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- I was very disappointed with OAT. I've taken several trips and the trips are OK. However, their customer service is sorely lacking. They are inflexible and unresponsive. Avoid them!
     
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Turkey's Magical Hideaways May 2014
Posted by on
Rating: 5/51
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- OAT, the Tour Guide "Cagatay Seri" and the tour was excellent, there was nothing that could be improved upon. Well organized, educational & Cagatay Seri was the best tour guide any of us had ever had. I would highly recommended this tour, this tour guide & OAT.
     
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