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Any advice on getting a refund from a safari operator?

Toronto, Canada
3 posts
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Any advice on getting a refund from a safari operator?

I have been having some difficulties with getting a refund from my safari tour operator and I'm hoping to get some advice on what to do (particularly from people who also had trouble, but were successful, in getting their own refund).

My friends and I had booked a safari tour in Kenya and Tanzania (plus a few days in Zanzibar) with a local operator in Kenya (they also have an office in Tanzania). We had paid a 30% deposit via wire transfer 3 months before the trip and paid the balance in cash upon arrival. The fee to the tour operator included all accomodations, flights, driver, local tours, etc. Unfortunately, the tour operator failed to pay for 3 lodges, a flight for 2 of 4 people and a transfer fee for a tour that was included in the itinerary. In order to minimize the disruption on our trip, we agreed to pay for the lodges/flights and then get reimbursed by the tour operator when we returned to Nairobi (where we were flying out of to go home).

When we got to Nairobi, the tour operator acknowledged that we were owed a refund (and provided us with a signed letter indicating the same). From the beginning, we had asked for the refund in cash and had emailed the tour operator with the total amount of the refund 2 days before we arrived back in Nairobi. However, they said that they normally process refunds by wire transfer and could not pay us in cash.

It has now been 2 months since we returned from our trip. The tour operator is not responding to emails or text messages and are not answering their phones. Does anyone have any advice on how to "encourage" the tour operator to process the refund? We were thinking about hiring a lawyer - if anyone has any experience in using a lawyer in Kenya to get their refund, if you could let me know who you used and your experience, it would be greatly appreciated.

South West England...
Destination Expert
for Mombasa, Diani Beach, Kenya
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7,179 posts
25 reviews
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1. Re: Any advice on getting a refund from a safari operator?

I would name and shame the con man. Being cynical, he isn't likely to respond to encouragement so you have to weigh up the cost of a lawyer and maybe then not seeing a refund against the expense of the tour loss.

Make sure you hire a "straight" lawyer as anything can be bought in Kenya. I can recommend Timamy & Co Advocates - Tel: 87288 or 80100 Mombasa.

nyc
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14,780 posts
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2. Re: Any advice on getting a refund from a safari operator?

I too suggest you name the tour operator.

Question?

Did you purchase Trip Insurance? If so, you can turn over copies of all documents to them and see what they can do to assist.

Deposits are often non-refundable, but if you have details/docs of what was purchased and then not provided, why and reply from the operator... might get you your money.

Otherwise, you may have to take the legal option.

Boston...
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819 posts
174 reviews
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3. Re: Any advice on getting a refund from a safari operator?

one reason that despite the fee.. I prefer to pay by credit card.. you can always dispute the charge if something like this happens.

good luck getting your refund.. it's a real bummer

Cologne, Germany
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947 posts
2 reviews
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4. Re: Any advice on getting a refund from a safari operator?

I agree, please name the company, it might help others avoid the same problems you are experiencing right now...in fact, if the company follows these threads, it might even help you in the long run, putting more pressure on them

USA
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703 posts
18 reviews
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5. Re: Any advice on getting a refund from a safari operator?

I am sorry about your problems.

I agree with the "name and shame" approach. Give the operator a chance to make it right and show them this link.

Good luck and please post what happens.

6. Re: Any advice on getting a refund from a safari operator?

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Kampala
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95 posts
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7. Re: Any advice on getting a refund from a safari operator?

That is really bad.

I too advise you to name the safari company / Tour operator help save the rest of the Travelers becoming victims.

And forward this link to them, may be will get sympathy and refund your money.

To the rest of the Traveler, Never book a flight with Tour operators. Better you book directly from the flights themselves.

May be He under estimated the trip in terms of costing?????????

Nairobi, Kenya
Destination Expert
for Kenya
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3,065 posts
215 reviews
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8. Re: Any advice on getting a refund from a safari operator?

Local operators can be cheap but this sort of problem is recurring on TA. Please always use a KATA agent if you book local or use am agent from home who cannot rip you off.

Sorry to sound irate but everyday (literally) similar posts are raised On TA because tourists try to get a deal with a local operator. Let me know if I am out of place saying that. I just wish people would research when booking trips.

Name and shame them. Get a local lawyer involved but court cases here take years to resolve and outcomes can be bought.

nyc
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14,780 posts
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9. Re: Any advice on getting a refund from a safari operator?

While it's recommended travelers check KATO (Kenya) or TATOTZ (Tanzania) for reputable in-country outfitters, know that these are still voluntary membership organizations. So no guarantee. Besides, there are reputable outfitters that don't belong to either (or any) organization/s who can and do fulfill what they promise.

There are too many threads that start out:

" We've just booked a safari and paid our deposit with ABC company and wonder what feedback you can provide as to their reliability, etc. etc. blah, blah! "

Hey folks, do this beforehand please on forums as TA, Fodor's, Thorntree and ask for references from the outfitter/tour operator, preferably in your home country, even your city, that you can email.. better yet, phone.

Isle of Man, United...
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37,618 posts
375 reviews
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10. Re: Any advice on getting a refund from a safari operator?

Come on folks! Do your research. OP used a firm called Neo desperations or something! Just check his only other post.

So my advice to him/her is forget it and get on with your life. Why make Lawyers any richer?

Then, to all others who may read this and other sorry tales, I willingly support Ms sandi. The time for research is BEFORE you part with your hard earned cash. By all means use Tatotz or KATO as a filter but do NOT rely on this alone. Get references from genuine satisfied clients and ask on here too. There is a goldmine of usefull info on here but as in all mining you first gotta know where to start digging.

And never ever pay for anything that the operator was supposed to have done! If he failed at that then he will surely fail again!