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Is this acceptable, opinions appreciated

Canberra, Australia
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Is this acceptable, opinions appreciated

Hi everyone

Some background first:

A friend and I recently attended a wedding in a country we were not familiar with and there was little time to do the usual research and self booking. So we used a recommended travel agent ( friend of a friend).

Many emails went back and forwards. We seemed to have an itinerary we were happy with.

We left home at 5am to catch our flights. Unknown to us the "final" itinerary and hotel vouchers arrived in my inbox at 1am. Once auto downloaded onto my PC there was no way of knowing it had arrived. I turned my computer off as I left the house without thinking something crucial would have arrived in the few hours since I last looked.

The problem:

By not having this final itinerary and the vouchers a multitude of problems occurred. We didnt know that certain things had been booked that we didnt ask for (such as a show, driver for 4 days etc). We didnt have times of when things were happening (just the days) but our driver had an itineray and seemed to know eg "we leave at 8am tomorrow" so we trusted his knowledge. His itineray was different to the final one too!

There were other non itinerary issues as well such as a filthy hotel, driving times well out so we missed an excursion we really wanted to do, driver taking us to the wrong hotel (same name as booked but different location) etc etc

What I want to know is the sending of an itinerary at the last moment acceptable? I am requesting an explanation of the problems we encountered from the agent and the most quoted excuse is " But we sent the itinerary before you left home so therefore you should have known this or that".

Thanks :)

Edited: 06 April 2014, 04:49
Melbourne, Australia
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for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
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1. Re: Is this acceptable, opinions appreciated

Tale of two halves.

No, I don't think sending an altered itinerary at 1am local time is acceptable on the morning of departure. Their incompetence is further evident that the itinerary provided to the driver was different to that of yours.

Having said that, you not doing your research on who you're trusting is ultimately the start of it all. My opinion only, but there's never "not enough time to do our research", you always have enough time. If you choose not to, then it's an absolute lottery, and you've basically accepted whatever has been provided.

Then there are the 'grey' areas. It's easy for us to say the travel agent is completely at fault, but what exactly were your instructions? By your oen admission that you didn't have time to do your research, my impression is that you've given them a Carte Blanche on a 'we'll leave it up to you' basis. So unless very specific details (such as must be 5 star CBD hotel, no transfers, excursion tickets), then once again, you're at the mercy of the agent.

Driver not knowing the hotel is a local contractor issue, or simply a mistake by that driver on that date. That's one of those things that can happen.

So as far as I can tell with only one side of the story, the issues you can address are; late itinerary change, and bookings of activities you didn't request. But that's about it.

It's entirely up to you as to how far you pursue this, but there's little scope for salvaging much - and that's coming from someone who has little regard for high street agents.

Edited: 06 April 2014, 09:56
Canberra, Australia
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2. Re: Is this acceptable, opinions appreciated

Hi there

I was trying to not make my post as long as war and peace so I left out some things :).

I researched enought to know where we wanted to go, how to do it ie car with driver, 3/4 star hotels etc. All I left up to the agent was choosing and booking the hotels (which when I had the names I checked and all seemed ok), organising the driver and his instructions, and 2 dinner shows were mentioned but both said optional extra so I thought ok we can decide when we get there, only to find they booked them without my agreement. I also assumed a local agent would have a good idea of travel times between towns.

But you are right I should have done more myself. I usually spend ages researching trips and have rarely had anything go wrong. It was the fact they were a friend of a friend that made me trust them..definately lesson learnt!

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: Is this acceptable, opinions appreciated

Hi,

Don't ever worry about the length of your post. As long as it's written in clear paragraphs, and it contains relevant details, the more the better. It effectively minimizes the back and forth trying to get to the starting point.

With that added information, I certainly would not sit on my hands about the 'optional extras'. Unless there was a clear agreement on your part, they were inclusion which you did not ask for let alone wanted. If definitely speak up about it. In regards to the driver, speaking to the agent is more based on courtesy, rather than obtaining a refund - which mind you, isn't unreasonable. If I were to book a limousine for a business meeting in a foreign city, and they took me to the wrong address, I would not be impressed. The fact it was for leisure purposes is irrelevant. A transfer is for travel between Point A to Point B, not Point X.

As for the hotel selection, that part you may have to wear. You did the 'preliminary' but it simply required more research.

I hope something can be salvaged from all this, and if there are any positives, you weren't stranded anywhere without a flight or accommodation. Nevertheless, it is an agent shortcoming that should be addressed, as they have no right adding inclusions without your permission.

Toronto, Canada
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for Family Travel, Honeymoons and Romance
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4. Re: Is this acceptable, opinions appreciated

Hi Georgette.....................I think it's unreasonable and somewhat tricky/unethical of the travel agent to make changes to your itinerary and send the info to you at the "last minute"........how many people check their e-mail at 1a.m.?, especially if they're trying to get some sleep because they're getting up extra early the next morning and leaving the house.....what are the T & C's of the agreement....can they make changes and not notify you, within a certain period of time, like 24 hours/48 hours,for instance?..............I think KVE's pretty much covered it all, just adding my 2 cents.........

Hong Kong, China
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5. Re: Is this acceptable, opinions appreciated

>>>>It was the fact they were a friend of a friend that made me trust them..definately lesson learnt!<<<<

For the benefit of those who read this thread, can you share the name of the travel agent who changed your itinerary?

6. Re: Is this acceptable, opinions appreciated

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