We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Should I be worried? Tour booking issues.

Sanford, Florida
Level Contributor
147 posts
9 reviews
Save Topic
Should I be worried? Tour booking issues.

OK, so, I've been researching my upcoming trip to Uganda/Rwanda for about 5 months. After carefully reading all the recommendations here, I contacted Kazinga Tours to inquire about a private tour. The price they came back with was way out of my budget, so instead I decided to join the May departure of their Highlights of Uganda and Rwanda (15 days) scheduled tour. The price listed on their website is $1720 per person (2 people sharing) plus $500 for a gorilla permit. I'm going alone, so they said I would have to add on $700 for a single supplement. No problem.

After emailing back and forth with Warren he indicated that I should send my deposit ($1700, which seemed high for a deposit, but whatever) right away by PayPal to guarantee my spot on the tour. He made it seem urgent, so I did so right away. At that time he had been saying I would receive a booking form from him but, even though I asked several times, he still has not sent me any kind of paperwork. After they received my deposit Warren notified me that I was the only person signed up on the tour so far and if no one else joins before the departure I will have to pay $3300 instead of the price I was originally quoted.

That would have been nice to know before I sent them my deposit.

I just checked with Warren again, a month after all of this transpired, and he said no one else has yet signed up. The tour departs in just over two months and I'm starting to wonder how likely it is that anyone else will join up.

I'm really kicking myself for sending them a deposit without having signed anything, but I had read such good things about the company it never occurred to me to be suspicious.

So, how long should I wait for others to join before I panic? On the one hand I really don't want to start my planning all over again with another company, but on the other hand, the trip is no longer such a great deal if I have to pay so much more- I could have done just as well arranging things on my own, I'm sure. Advice appreciated!

BIC Tours
Sightseeing Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours, Cultural Tours, Day Trips
Sanford, Florida
Level Contributor
147 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
31. Re: Should I be worried? Tour booking issues.

Quinn-

It totally sucks. :(

1. I asked both Warren and Felex if they had bought my gorilla permit yet- neither bothered to answer my question. I'm guessing that's a no, then.

2. I *could* stay with them, but at this point they've made me so upset I don't even know if I would still want to go on the original trip for the published price. I don't want my trip to be ruined by bad feelings, you know?

3. If Kazinga won't give me a full refund, I will most assuredly file a complaint with my credit card company. Which is what I will probably have to do, since I asked both Warren and Felex how much I would be refunded if I decided their tour was not what I had been promised and wanted to go elsewhere. Again, neither responded to my question. I definitely won't be walking away from that deposit.

4. Easier said and done, indeed! Especially only two months out. :)

I've just contacted a couple of car hire agencies for quotes for a driver/guide for the trip I want- assuming their rates are at least in line with what I would have paid Kazinga for the $3300 trip, I'll just go it alone and not worry about Kazinga any more. I think I've lost enough sleep over this trip already!!

Sanford, Florida
Level Contributor
147 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
32. Re: Should I be worried? Tour booking issues.

I've received one last email from Warren yesterday (still no more word from the elusive Felex) wherein he again answered zero of my questions, but blithely said we'd just go along with the $3300 tour and he'd send me the booking form "right away."

Didn't answer my question about what was included in the $3300 and how much of my deposit would be refunded, and when, if I decided not to do that.

Didn't answer my question about whether or not they've already secured my gorilla permit.

Playtime over. I told them their services were no longer required and I demanded a 100% refund within 24 hours or I would file a dispute with PayPal, my credit card company, and a complaint with AUTO.

Unsurprisingly, no word has come 24 hours later. So I just filed the first dispute with PayPal, to be followed quickly with my credit card company.

Oy.

Sanford, Florida
Level Contributor
147 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
33. Re: Should I be worried? Tour booking issues.

My God, the nerve of this man.

Five minutes after they undoubtedly received a dispute email from PayPal, Warren emails again.

Now he claims to have never offered me a price of $3300 (even though I kept that message in line when I responded to his email and all he has to do is scroll down to read it) but that my solo tour is $4800 and that's what we'll go with.

He seems to have glossed over the fact that I fired him yesterday and demanded a refund.

Sanford, Florida
Level Contributor
147 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
34. Re: Should I be worried? Tour booking issues.

Well, now we're getting somewhere.

In my last response, yet again demanding a full refund, I copied in both Felex *and* the Association of Ugandan Tour Operators.

Immediately I received a response from Warren promising a refund.

Now we'll just see if it actually transpires.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
38,527 posts
402 reviews
Save Reply
35. Re: Should I be worried? Tour booking issues.

Well done. Keep on the case and keep us posted.

We feel for you and are in there. Full refund via Pay Pal, Should never happen but sadly it does.

Sanford, Florida
Level Contributor
147 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
36. Re: Should I be worried? Tour booking issues.

Well, according to PayPal they've sent the refund and it should magically appear back on my credit card. Not there yet but I know it takes a bit.

Isle of Man, United...
Level Contributor
38,527 posts
402 reviews
Save Reply
37. Re: Should I be worried? Tour booking issues.

Well I call that a result. (Almost feel sorry for Kazinga! Not!)

Let's hope it happens.

USA
Level Contributor
703 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
38. Re: Should I be worried? Tour booking issues.

FlyingHourGlass,

Those credits on the credit card can take a while. If Paypal stated it is going to happen, I think you can feel pretty good about that.

But now you have to get your trip booked elsewhere.

Thanks for sharing your unfortuate saga, step by step. We can all learn from it and it appears you have come out ok.

Good luck.

Level Contributor
154 posts
12 reviews
Save Reply
39. Re: Should I be worried? Tour booking issues.

FlyingHourglass,

I'm glad to see your saga may have a happy ending! It's good you used PayPal and cc for your deposit. You no doubt benefited from their extra layer of protection & leverage.

Your experience could happen to any of us - especially given the good reviews of Kazinga on TA. Gives new meaning to caveat emptor.

Hope you're able to put together another awesome trip!

near St. Louis, Mo.
Level Contributor
73 posts
Save Reply
40. Re: Should I be worried? Tour booking issues.

I want to ditto what others have said - thanks very much hourglass for sharing your experience, and am happy it will all work out well for you.

MightiestQuinn said it best - and I probably need to pin it to my PC:

Your experience could happen to any of us - especially given the good reviews of Kazinga on TA. Gives new meaning to caveat emptor.

Best Regards - Ev