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Tour de Force Travel - anybody with any experience with them

Los Angeles
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2 reviews
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Tour de Force Travel - anybody with any experience with them

This company seems to have a lot of insertions on the web onto many different tour lists/company blurbs but I have not found very many reviews about them. Has anyone ever used them for a cruise shore excursion? If so, any suggestions or recommendations?

St Petersburg Russia
Destination Expert
for St. Petersburg
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2,705 posts
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1. Re: Tour de Force Travel - anybody with any experience with them

They seemed to have started just last year but their web site claims being several years older. Suddenly last summer they were appearing on lists and ads even "reviews" here all about the same time so I assume it was a marketing campaign because I could not find anyone who actually used them before May of last year. That seems to be the pattern for new startups now, to fill forums with enthusiastic reviews on user forums by "members" having only 1 post made on accounts minutes before the post. I saw their signs on some mornings at the port last summer so apparently it worked.

Maybe someone with a longer posting history on other topics will respond. A rule of thumb on forum reviews is that from members with a history of posting on various topics are a positive sign. Glowing detailed reports by those with few or no prior posts are usually negative signs of suspect origin.

Utah
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11 posts
6 reviews
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2. Re: Tour de Force Travel - anybody with any experience with them

I was looking into using Tour de Force Travel until they asked me to fax them a photocopy of both sides of my credit card. This sent a red flag up and I stopped the process right there and went with another group (Alla Tours).

Island of Malta...
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3. Re: Tour de Force Travel - anybody with any experience with them

Hi, we have just used them on the 21st and 22nd August. We were a group of 14 senior citizens, and we can tell you that they are tops. They even arrange the visas for you. Tour leaders are very fluent, full of information, and extremely helpful. I will certainly recommend them.

Alfred Borg. (Malta)

Island of Malta...
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4. Re: Tour de Force Travel - anybody with any experience with them

It happened to us as well, but I clarified things with them, and conducted our payment through a bank transfer. I can say that their service is tops, and very efficient. We had a wonderful two day tour.

5. Re: Tour de Force Travel - anybody with any experience with them

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Cincinnati, Ohio
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6. Re: Tour de Force Travel - anybody with any experience with them

Although I just have started following this forum because I will be visiting St. Petersburg next June, I have been very active for a couple of years on the Athens and Istanbul forums, as well as sister website cruisecritic.

I post now simply to concur with stanj's post that you should not give much credence to posts by people who only join tripadvisor to tout one particular tour company. Look at the number of posts by those providing opinions before letting these "one-offs" mislead you.

Edited: 01 November 2010, 04:29
St Petersburg Russia
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7. Re: Tour de Force Travel - anybody with any experience with them

Especially when they post with claims that anyone who knows credit card processing as someone living in the US, that is NOT a method of confirming whether a company has a a merchant agreement or their standing.

The card thing is new to Russians so they harbor some misconceptions and those creep into fake testimonials.

Do not use a company that requires faxing or divulging the back side security code, if they had a merchant agreement, which is doubtful, they would know that was a no-no and a violation of the terms of the contract with VISA and MC.

It is also a violation to add fees for using a credit card, which most Russian based companies do. That is a violation of the merchant agreement contract also. Also make sure the funds are denominated in your home currency or else you will be paying high exchange fees and spreads, up to 10%., So that "deal" could easily be jacked up 15% from the agreed upon price.

I've seen several quotes recently where prices for museum entrances were quoted at the old "foreigner" price for next year while the tour operator knows full and well that several major museums have changed to a lower foreigner price and a higher, same price for locals. That can represent an overcharging of another 20-50%.

Bank transfers add another unwanted and unnecessary expense of $35-$55 and are usually only done for business to business transactions. If a guide insists on a wire transfer, make sure to have them deduct the transfer fee from your bill. It is not your fault they do not have normal business credit and banking status. You have no protections if the transfer is a fraud.

Western Union is another request that should send up red flags when dealing with a Russia based tour operator. The best way for lowest cost and protection is making payment via credit card and the payment gateway is in your home country. That alone can reduce real out of pocket costs and add security since the banking laws of your own country are in play.

8. Re: Tour de Force Travel - anybody with any experience with them

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Removed on: 03 November 2010, 13:31
Edited: 03 November 2010, 13:31
9. Re: Tour de Force Travel - anybody with any experience with them

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Removed on: 03 November 2010, 13:31
10. Re: Tour de Force Travel - anybody with any experience with them

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Removed on: 03 November 2010, 15:44