View Full Version : Lies, Mystery "fees," and GoAhead Tours
08-26-2006, 01:24 PM
I am currently booked on a tour with GoAhead Tours that leaves September 25, 2006. My tour has already been paid for; however, GoAhead Tours keeps adding new "fees" to my account that I am expected to pay!
GoAhead made "reservations" with Delta Air Lines in my name sometime early August. I discovered the flight itenary on their website when I checked my account to make sure that my account was paid in full. (It wasn't, but they corrected it - for the second time) The flights they had listed for me had me returning 2 days prior to the end of the tour. I contacted GoAhead and was told that I would be charged a $75 "late fee" for the ticket change, as well as $200 that "Delta charges us to change the tickets." I called Delta: no such charges were made to GoAhead because the ticket had not yet been "purchased." It was just a reservation and those could be changed at any time with no fees involved whatsoever. GoAhead, meanwhile, made another reservation in my name. This time they used my nickname instead of the name on my passport. I had sent them the correct name back in February right after I booked the tour. Once again, I was assessed a $75 "late fee" plus $100 for "fees that Delta charges us." Again, Delta told me that no such fees were charged to GoAhead.
Thoughout this whole ordeal, since early May, I have tried to resolve the problems (politely and business-like) via telephone and email to no avail. They did graciously "waive the first Delta fees" in the spirit of them being conciiatory. I have asked to speak to a supervisor at least a dozen times and been denied contact.
Should I be charged fees that were caused in the first place by errors made by the travel company? Should I also be charged "phantom" fees that were allegedly charged by Delta, but never were? I don't think so!
I am at my wits end and must have this taken care of ASAP so that I can go on my tour. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to resolve this problem??
08-26-2006, 03:50 PM
Sounds fishy to me. When you paid in full, the reservation should have been ticketed and confirmed. The only additional fee you might incur is a fuel surcharge from the airline and any change fees if YOU change it.
If they are doing the tour and made an incorrect reservation, it is their obligation to make it right. If you provided them the correct name (which might turn into a pissing match) it would be their obligation to correct it.
You may want to see if they are a part of the USTOA (United States Tour Operator Association), ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents), and make a call or two to those organizations if they belong.
DO not give up on asking for a supervisor. You may also want to toss this over to Chris Elliott (our ombudsman) at [email protected]
I just went over to their site and see that they list USTOA, so I would start there but I would first send them an email letting them know that you intend to contact them and the BBB by the close of business on X day.
They also appear to be an offshoot of a company that organizes aupair and exchange students. Probably a logical offshoot, but it appears that operating tours and selling travel is NOT their prime business.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of companies out there that do not provide what they promise. Not saying that they are, but it can be difficult to filter through the muck. A decent travel professional would be able to steer you in the right direction!
08-27-2006, 09:24 PM
I feel, that if its them that [fouls] up, and its not on their contract with you, then they should pay for it. Everyone screws up now and then, but when they charge you for their mistakes, then that is not right.
[Edited by Moderator: Ned. Folks, please be circumspect about your use of "colorful" language in your posts. This is a public board, and we do need to keep a sense of decorum]
08-28-2006, 07:01 AM
The flights they had listed for me had me returning 2 days prior to the end of the tour. I contacted GoAhead and was told that I would be charged a $75 "late fee" for the ticket change, as well as $200 that "Delta charges us to change the tickets."[/b]
I don't think so. :angry:
GoAhead, meanwhile, made another reservation in my name. This time they used my nickname instead of the name on my passport. I had sent them the correct name back in February right after I booked the tour. Once again, I was assessed a $75 "late fee" plus $100 for "fees that Delta charges us."[/b]
Unless there is more going on here than is being told, neither of these was the passenger's fault and therefore they should not be bearing any costs involved in fixing the error.
A caveat, though. Since a reservations agent at an airline is not involved in ticketing (they usually know nothing about the process), you cannot take their word for what has been charged and what has not. Tour space is usually contracted and a res agent would not know the terms of that contract. Usually they can see if a ticket has been issued, but not necessarily the price of the ticket or any penalties involved. You cannot count on just because a res agent says a ticket has not been issued that there are no penalties involved in changing a reservation. It would be highly unusual, yes, but these days it would not be unexpected if they thought they could get away with it.
08-30-2006, 08:19 AM
The flights they had listed for me had me returning 2 days prior to the end of the tour. I contacted GoAhead and was told that I would be charged a $75 "late fee" for the ticket change, as well as $200 that "Delta charges us to change the tickets." I called Delta: no such charges were made to GoAhead because the ticket had not yet been "purchased." [/b]
The first "reservation" was in error - so you can't be charged by anyone, not the airline or the tour company.
This time they used my nickname instead of the name on my passport. I[/b]
This time there is another mistake by the tour company, so again, no charge to you.
You have a bigger problem then a mistake in your reservation. You don't have an airline ticket to get to the tour. The tour company needs to give you a correct itinerary, with the ticket number and the airline record locator on it, so you can get your seat assignment, and properly verify your travel plans.
09-04-2006, 12:56 PM
Just to update everyone, I did contact Chris Elliott - he's wonderful, by the way! He suggested that I write a brief letter to the president of the company explaining my problem - he said to FED EX the letter, not mail or email it, as the FED EXed letter would get their attention. He was right! I was told the pres. was "out of the country," and an "assistant manager" was "willing" to work with me. The message was, you screwed up, you pay and unless you do, we won't forward your tickets! That's some help! As instructed by Chris, I insisted I speak with at least the vice president, who did finally call me.
With my letter, I included copies of written documents (emails and info they had sent me) to PROVE to them that THEY made the mistakes on the tickets, not me! As I spoke with the VP and referred her to the letter's attachements, there was a lot of "um.....uh....oh...." coming from her. There really wasn't much she could say when confronted with the truth. she did agree to "Waive" all the fees. Although I asked for compensation for the 5 weeks of stress and frustrations of trying to deal with their uncooperative staff, none was offered.
Bottom line is that thier customer service stinks. You can't speak to the same person if you call, and they refuse to allow you to speak to supervisors when there are problems. They also became defensive when I pointed out the problems with tickets that they had made, and they, instead of correcting the problems, blamed me for their mistakes.
I'm not a complainer by nature. I'm a professional mediator trained to resolve problems, not place blame. I did not enjoy having to confront GoAhead with their errors and have them try to reverse the tables on me. I'm glad that it's all resolved, and I hope that this situation nevers occurs to someone else dealing with them.
Thanks for listening, and thanks for the advice. Mostly, thanks to Chris Elliott!!!!!
09-04-2006, 01:09 PM
Well, I am glad it is resolved. As for the compensation for 5 weeks of stress-maybe they will give you a gift along the way. Not sure I would be inclined to make it monetary.
But, thanks for posting back here. Hopefully your experience will enable others to make a good call on planning their own trips. It goes back to the old adage---if you are happy with something, you tell someone else. If you are unhappy, you tell everyone else!
I hope you enjoy your trip!