Thursday, June 30

Travelzoo Reviews, Complaints & Contacts

 

Source: Travelzoo Reviews, Complaints & Contacts

Discovered on: 2021-11-08 22:47:26

My husband and I were scheduled to go on a 10-day UTO tour to Thailand leaving on February 15, 2020. We had paid in full 6 months in advance, per UTO’s requirement.

On February 3, 2020 UTO sent us this email:

We would like to update you about your tour, as well as obtaining a consensus from you if we should continue to have this tour.

Recently we have received a couple of customers’ phone calls/emails inquiring about this tour to Thailand if it’s going to be impacted by the CoronaVirus situation.

Please note that we still plan to operate this tour, however we would like you to feel comfortable to go on this tour.

Therefore we are opening up this choice to all of you with the following 2 options:

(1) remain going on this tour

(2) choose not going to this tour

For option (2), refund to you will be 70% of your tour price.

On February 4, 2020 we responded with #1, that we still planned to go on the tour.

On February 7, 2020 UTO sent us another email:

We would like to let you know the conclusion of the consensus from the group, there are only 5 people choose option 1.

Therefore the tour will be a no go, sorry.

We will as indicated in our email, to refund:

tipping : full refund
tour price: 70% refund to you

On February 10, 2020 we sent an email to UTO that we expected 100% reimbursement, as it was the company that had canceled the tour, not us.

On February 14, 2020 UTO responded that they are unable to give us a full refund, saying this:

“…expenses have incurred, airlines, hotels and transportation. We paid deposit, some in full because of the dates are very close to the departure date.

We actually could have not done the initiative to contact our clients and just make the tour to go, and any customer who is not showing up, and choose not to go the last minute, 100% penalty will be incurred. We did not do that.

Therefore, we hope you can understand we are deducting the 30% is the minimal coverage of our damage.”

We are insulted, to say the least. UTO’s own policy states that if the company cancels a tour due to low numbers, reimbursement will be at 100%. UTO canceled this tour just one week before the departure date–we did not.

On February 17, 2020 we responded to UTO that we would accept nothing less than 100% reimbursement of our money.

On February 21, 2020 we had not yet heard back from UTO and so sent another email inquiring when we could expect to receive our full 100% reimbursement.

On February 21, 2020 UTO responded, yet again, that they would not refund 100%, rather they offered us this:

“Can we offer you the following options:

1) we refund you 80% of your tour price + full refund of tipping

2) you can use your credit on this booking – 2938 to rebook another tour on our website, such as Germs of Thailand, or Central Europe tour in the future date.”

Today, February 22, 2020 we responded to UTO:

No, I will not accept either of the two options you offer. I will only accept at least 100% refund of the money I have paid to UTO. Your own policy 1.0 states:

1.0 Cancellation policy
UTO vacation reserves the right to cancel or modify any tour prior to departure date if the group has less than 10 passengers. Alternative departure date will be offered for no extra charge or a full refund will be issued.

UTO has not yet responded to our most recent email to them. This is completely unprofessional and unacceptable.

Additionally, UTO’s proposal was to reimburse us at 70% which would be a loss to us of nearly $800 (for 2 of us). If they originally had, say at least 60 people in the tour group, their proposed withholding of 30% from each of the participants (just an estimation based on what we paid), would amount to somewhere around $24, 000, at least. Again, that’s just a guesstimate, and frankly that’s not really even the point here. Some participants made the personal decision themselves to not go on this tour; we made the personal decision to continue on this tour–UTO decided for us that the tour would be canceled and, per their own policy, we are owed 100% refund.

We have wasted our time on this ridiculous back-and-forth correspondence with UTO when a full 100% reimbursement of our money should have NEVER even been a question.

Are their other confirmed participants in this UTO Thailand tour that are battling the same with them?

I just finished a 10-day China tour with UTO. For people who have never visited China and/or do not speak Chinese, this was a great option. The tour schedule is INFLEXIBLE, so nobody should plan on doing their own activities. BUT the planned activities were exactly what most people want to see: Forbidden City, the Great Wall, pearl factory, jade factory, embroidery factory, tea estate, Shanghai, acrobat show, river trips in ancient towns, Shanghai skyline at night and a few stops in lovely rural places. The guides were all friendly, knowledgeable and spoke excellent English. So for people who haven’t seen these sights before, the trip is excellent.

My only complaints were that there was little/no accommodation for people with disabilities…lots of steps, including into the bus, without any obvious plan for helping people out. On our tour there was a guy in a wheelchair and 2 people with walkers/canes who were assisted by fellow travelers rather than the tour or the site.
The other issue was that the VERY FANCY and comfortable hotels were too far out of the centers of the towns for us to go out at night. And because they were so far, we often did not get back to the hotel until 7pm or later and had to leave fairly ( or very) early.

The government shops at the various factories were hard sell, but many people wanted to buy the merchandise so it was fine to visit all these places.

If you can accept the strict schedule, the distance from town of the luxury hotels and can get up and down stairs ok, then I highly recommend this tour.

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