My girlfriend and I booked a trip with Wild West Horse Tours in Ocala, FL thinking we'd have a nice day date riding horses on a Saturday and it turned out to be quite a mistake. I’m posting this with the genuine hope that no one else will repeat our error in judgment and will avoid this company at all costs.
We got the first red flag when we contacted them through the website to make sure the date and time were available. Two different people from their company called us four times over the course of two hours trying to get our credit card info to book the trip. Initially, I thought, "Perhaps they're just disorganized, but really want the business; times are tough, right?" I should have pulled the plug then.
The lady I spoke with to book the trip seemed very friendly and took down our information and confirmed us X weeks in advance for the date and time that we wanted on a Saturday afternoon. However, after the call, we never received a confirmation email or anything stating that the card was being charged or that they were expecting us... red flag number 2. The charges for the trip appeared on the card, so we knew they had at least gotten our information correct.
On the Monday before the Saturday of our trip, my girlfriend wanted to make certain that we were confirmed, so she emailed the company checking to make sure we were still confirmed for Saturday. Someone named George responded that we were confirmed for Saturday at 11 and said he was sorry that we didn’t receive a confirmation email, that maybe it was in our spam box. There was no email in the spam box from them, though the spam box would have been a fitting place for correspondence from Wild West Horse Tours.
Regardless, we felt better having received the email confirmation from George. On the confirmed Saturday morning we drove for 2.5 hours to Foxtrotter Ranch in Ocala, FL. We very excited when we arrived 25 minutes early and saw that there were other riders already on horses, prepared to go on the trail ride. We walked into the stable area and were met by one of the workers who was walking a horse out of a stable towards the other riders. His less than cordial first words were, “We don’t have any more horses.” I was stunned and said, “Are you serious? We confirmed with you on Monday and we just drove 2.5 hours to get here.” He simply responded, “You’ll have to talk to George about that. You might go up the road to Cactus Jack’s (another horse tour company), he probably has some horses.”
And then he walked away with no apologies or any semblance of helpfulness to our inconvenience and expense.
We returned to the car with our confirmation email in hand and I promptly called the number for Wild West Horse Tours and there was no answer, so I left a voice mail message that I wanted someone to call me as soon as possible. No one returned my call, so I called again a few minutes later. This time I got George on the phone and explained the situation and that I wanted a refund. He didn’t even bother to apologize for the inconvenience and expense that his company's incompetence and disorganization had caused, he just said that he would take care of the refund... red flag number 3.
At this point, we were greatly concerned that the whole website was perhaps a front for a credit card scam and that we should keep an eye out for fraudulent charges. In the interest of proactively retaining legal paperwork, we emailed him later that same day, informing him of our dissatisfaction with Wild West Horse Tours and that we expected to see the refund posted to the account by the end of the week. He never responded. We received an email from the company that processes their credit card transactions, INRG Marketing in Palm Coast, FL with an email from Gloria who was the first person to offer an apology for Wild West Horse Tours' failure to provide services. She stated that we would receive a refund, gave us a confirmation number and informed us that it should take several days for the credit to appear on the account.
In summary, after they get your credit card information, the staff is incompetent, disorganized, rude, unhelpful, unconcerned and fortunately, with these as their company characteristics, probably won’t be in business much longer. Do NOT waste your time or money on them; find a reputable company to work with if you are looking to book a trail ride.
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