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Black Ibex Company ripoff - and offered me money not to post this

Travel agency
Review by mocmocmoc on 2012-05-26
Rating: StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
MONGOLIA -- I want to file a serious complaint against the Black Ibex travel company. I have photographs and emails to prove what I am going to tell you. Dates of travel – left July 7 returned July 18, 2011.

I have been in 43 countries all over the world and traveled with many many tour companies. Black Ibex was the worst I have ever traveled with. Here are some of my complaints:
• they endangered the lives of people on the tour
• they promised four star hotels and put me in dirty, smelly, two star hotel rooms
• the two guides were below standard.
• they lied to people on the tour rather than give them correct information which they thought would upset us
• they promised us air conditioned vehicles to travel through the Gobi Desert and did not provide them until I complained
• the private guide they promised me the final two days of my tour never showed up and I had to get my own guide from the hotel
• the driver to the airport was over 45 minutes late. By the time he arrived, after I called Black Ibex for help, I and my luggage was already loaded up in another car with an employee from the Israeli embassy who took me to catch my plane back to the USA

Bait and Switch Accommodation.
Two days before I was to leave for Mongolia, I got an email from Black Ibex advising me that I was being moved from the Baynagol Hotel to the Palace Hotel. I had been emailing the Baynagol for some time in order to plan sightseeing for myself from their hotel since I was staying an extra two days on my own. I got into the Palace Hotel after midnight and was taken by the Black Ibex guide to a room that smelled. The carpeting was filthy and paint was peeling off the walls. (see photos) I told the guide I had paid for a four star room and this was totally unacceptable. We went downstairs to the front desk where the guide did not speak in English so I could understand. (The woman she was speaking with spoke English.) The guide told me that there was no other room available in the entire hotel. I said, fine, I will take action against both Black Ibex and the hotel. After I said that, they changed their story and admitted there was another room. The guide took me to a smoking room (see photo). I had already told Black Ibex I could not tolerate smoke for medical reasons. I stayed in the filthy, dirty smelly room for one night. The following day I was transferred to a non-smoking room which was certainly not four star.
At the end of the trip, I was supposed to go back to the Palace Hotel. Instead I was taken to the Baynagol Hotel. This hotel is advertised as four star and has lovely photos on the Internet. Once again, I was taken to a two star room. Paint peeling off the walls and doors; cracked tile in the bathroom; a total of two, repeat two, hangers in the closet. (see photos)
The Baynagol has two towers – one is lovely and nice. The other one is cheap and dirty. I was put in the cheap and dirty tower. This was false advertising on the part of Black Ibex. I want money back from them.
Private Guide Cancelled; Driver to airport 40 minutes + late
I had arranged with Black Ibex for a private guide for the two days I was on my own in Ulaanbaatar. I have their email confirmation of this. When the tour was over on July 15, I asked the Black Ibex guide what time my private guide would be meeting me the next morning. She told me that no private guide would be coming for me at all. On the morning I was to leave for the USA, the Black Ibex driver was not there to take me to the airport. A guide from another company took pity on me and called the Black Ibex guide on her cell phone. First the Black Ibex guide hung up and we had to call back. Then the guide said she would call the front desk of the hotel. After waiting some 40 minutes, I was in tears. A group from Israel took pity on me and loaded my luggage and me into their van to go to the airport. As we were driving away, the Black Ibex driver shown up – now 45 minutes late.

Endangering my life and that of other tour members
On July 12 2011, the guide endangered my life and that of other tour members. We were scheduled to take a hike to see a “glacier.” I asked how long it was and what was the condition of the ground. I was told, along with the entire group, that the walk was 800 meters on a level surface. Not only did the “walk” take over one hour, it was over and around rocks, over water and on very dangerous ground. Two of the tour members fell. The previous year, the guide herself fell on this very walk and suffered a compound fracture. She lied to me and put my life in danger. I would not have attempted the hike had I known the conditions. As it was, I refused to walk to the end after my walking companion fell. We waited for the rest of the group.

Failure to Provide Air Conditioned Vehicle
On July 12 2011, half of the group got into a vehicle that we were promised was air-conditioned. There was no air conditioning. The driver rolled down the windows so that we were covered in sand and dirt. I demanded an air conditioned vehicle. The next day we did get an air conditioned vehicle. Apparently to save money, the driver consistently turned off the air conditioning and rolled down the windows. I was sitting in the front and when I put down the sun visor on my side of the vehicle, he slammed it up, again and again and again. I had to ask the guide to tell him to stop. He then became abusive to me. Needless to say, he did not get a tip from me.

Lies
The guide in the Gobi consistently told lies to the group. She cheerfully admitted to doing so on July 13, 2011. She said she did it to “make you feel better.” When tour members asked for estimates of how long to a bathroom or a cold drink, she lied to “make you feel good.”
On July 13, I declined to take the camel ride and I and another tour member took a vehicle to the Khongor Dunes. I had asked the guide specifically how long we would be there and she said, “Twenty minutes.” She lied. We were there, trapped, for almost two hours. I could not go back because the camel riders were joining us on the ride back. Had the guide not lied to me, I would have stayed in the Ger camp and read a book. Instead I was trapped in a vehicle for almost two hours.

Incompetence
If you search the Internet, you will find comments from others about Black Ibex guides. These include that they lack “in depth knowledge about Mongolia and the places we visited.” The guide on the first part of the trip gave no, repeat no, talks as we drove on the bus. She was so incompetent as a guide that she failed to tell members of the tour to being their passports to the airport for an internal, repeat internal, flight. The entire tour was held up for over three hours in the Ger because two members could not board the Air Mongolian, internal, flight. They had left their passports in the hotel. There were no briefings at all from one day to the next. Questions went unanswered. In Ulaanbaatar we stood around in the squire doing nothing until one member of the tour asked, “How long are we going to stand here doing nothing?”
Summary
Black Ibex engages in false advertising and bait and switch. The guides I had were incompetent. They tried to get out of providing us an air conditioned vehicle in the Gobi Desert until I protested . The rooms provided were not only not four star, they were dirty and cheap. My private guide never shown up and the driver to the airport was 45 minutes late.
I paid $4577 for this trip. I want some money back.

And to top it off, they said they would only refund me $500 if I agreed to take down all Internet complaints and not make any more.
Comments:2 Replies - Latest reply on 2012-05-27
Posted by old fart on 2012-05-27:
Good luck getting ANY money
Posted by trmn8r on 2012-05-27:
They offered you $500. How much do you want?

Between crevasses, snowbridges, silt-laden streams like quicksand, and millwells, sightseeing around glaciers can certainly be dangerous. I see two possibilities - viewing at a distance without being trained of dangers, and being fully educated and viewing up close.

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