Overseas Adventure Travel ( Grand Circle Travel subsidiary ) Informative - Unfair policies - Escorted tour to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia
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 took the last two places. In additon 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.