Saturday, March 10, 2007

Travel: When things do not go the way you expect

So, as you already know, I had friends visiting me a few weeks ago...
They stayed in New York for about 3 weeks and we used the weekend to travel shortly.
The first weekend we visited Philly, and for the following, I booked a tour in to Boston and New England.
Unfortunately, it was a nightmare!!!
You can read the details on the complaint I wrote and I´m copying below...
Now that I think about it, it´s a fun experience, but it was nothing fun at the moment :)

My favourite part is when I say we were taken to Chinatown with no options but eating Chinese food or starve in a hotel in the middle of nowhere. J

Request History for Complaint regarding incomplete and misleading information in the webpage:

2007-02-28 15:33:57
To whom it may concern,

After successfully using GoToBus a couple of weeks ago, I recently experienced a terrible problem. I am writing to obtain compensation for the huge ordeal I had to go through, for which I believe your firm is responsible.

At the beginning of the month I purchased a 2 Day tour from New York to Boston, based upon the description in your webpage. For the three of us, the total paid to you for our trip was $225.

Finally, last Saturday February 24th, it was time for me and my friends to take the trip that ended up being a nightmare.

First of all, when we took the bus, we realized all the other people were Chinese, even the tour guide. So, I asked if the trip was in English, and I was told it was. No one (nor the webpage nor the employees on the bus) mentioned that 90% of the time I would have to hear the tour guide speaking Chinese, missing all the explanations of the places we would visit. The description and information of the places were very poor in a very bad English that was nearly impossible to understand.

Second, according to the tour guide we were not allowed to use the WC. We could only wash our hands. That was it. So, the bus made several stops to allow passengers use restrooms, incurring in unnecessary delays.

Third, and the most important thing, the bus door was opened, while the bus was on the highway. We fear for our lives and other people’s. Furthermore, there were toddlers, walking barefoot in the bus corridor, that could have been easily thrown out of the bus with the open door.

Fourth, the Yale University tour was very poor. We spent only 25 minutes, with an explanation in English of less than 5 minutes. But immediately, we were took for lunch for more than an hour.

Fifth, we were misled by the guide tour to purchase the $15 guided tour to the mansion, when he told me I wouldn’t be able to get off the bus if I didn’t pay the mansion tour.

Sixth, I asked the tour guide where the hotel was, and after insisting several times to get the information, he told me he didn’t know the address and just gave me the telephone number for me to call and find out. After that, he explained me the hotel was in Lexington, 20 miles away from Boston. This was surprising, because Lexington was never mentioned in the tour description. But the worst thing is that there was no public transportation from Lexington to Boston. I called the hotel to find out if there was something to do nearby, and I was told there was absolutely nothing around.

Finally, we arrived to Boston around 6pm, and we were left less than 30 minutes in the Quincy Market, to be taken to an expensive restaurant in Chinatown with no options but eating Chinese food or starve in a hotel in the middle of nowhere.

Considering all I explained before, and having fear for our safety, my friends and I left the tour, being forced to incur in more expenses like a hotel to spend the night and bus tickets to go back to NY on Sunday.

This was a nightmare from beginning to end. The information in your webpage is deliberately misleading in its description of the tour. It is not a tour suitable for non-Chinese people, you can hardly visit Yale University and Newport, the fact that the hotel is far away from Boston is never mentioned and above all, the bus didn’t fulfill the basic requirements to transport passengers.

From my perspective, this was not a holiday, but a very stressful experience that I would have done anything to avoid. It was distressing me and my friends and we lived from one crisis to the next, just begging for the chance to get to a safe place to get off the bus.

In the circumstances, we do not feel that is unreasonable to expect a full refund of the money paid to GoToBus following your misrepresentation of what you were offering. We expect, therefore, a refund of the full £225. If this sum is not forthcoming, we are quite prepared to take the matter to the appropriate authorities.

Yours faithfully,
Bel And The City

I don’t think they are going to give my money back, but well, I never loose hope.

If you want to laugh at me and my stupidity for purchasing a Chinese tour, look at my video, recorded just an hour before leaving the tour, when my friends were insulting and willing to kill the tour guide and the crying babies.

So I´m including some pictures of our tour, with Chinese fellow travelers, and then by ourself when we decided to leave the tour and find our way back to NY the day after with Greyhound.

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