Promising tours and taking innocents for a ride!

Monday, 25 April 2016 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

I  am addressing this letter as a matter of Public interest  to expose some  so  called  Religious  Overseas Tour   Operators  making dubious claims initially and taking innocents for a ride.

Today, we read of many Tour Operators organising Religious Tours to  the Holy Land, making false promises  to lure innocent devotees to register for Pilgrim Tours to the Holy Land.  Their advertisements loaded with attractive terms such as 7 Day Budget Tours offer a variety of attractions.  They are sugar – coated packages inclusive of airfare, insurance, transport in super luxury buses, rail car rides and top class hotel accommodation with full board.

They are brazenly boastful of this long experience and value for money benefits offered with a highly personalised service guaranteed.  Their offices are replete with encouraging pictures of tours with various groups they have taken earlier.  They successfully project an image claiming how professionally organised their Tours are, depicting satisfied pilgrims they have catered to.  They also brazenly display a couple of photographs of distinguished and internationally renowned religious dignitaries to further enhance their claims and credibility.  Quite naturally the average pilgrim believes their claims unequivocally being highly impressed by their presentations.

However, often there is a big slip between the cup and the lip where they boldly renege on their promises when asked to deliver what was promised.  In the event of a pilgrim asking for a service promised based on some situation, they cunningly and evasively avoid such issues by hiding under the small print under terms and conditions and disclaiming liability.  Whenever some legitimate complaint or a service promised is requested they decline stating the nature of the complaint or service , does not cover such claims and nothing can be done about it. 

I now wish to support my case with a personal experience involving me and my wife recently: 

[a]We signed up for a 7 day tour to the Holy Land in November 2015, with a leading Tour Operator in Colombo.

[b]We were a group of 38 Pilgrims who embarked on this so called budget Tour offered by them from 12-19th November.  But we were cheated by this fraudulent Tour Operator.

[c]Ironically, the actual Tour was scheduled for only 6 days.  No amount of representing the matter and demanding an acceptable  answer could elicit a reasonable response from them.  The Tour Operator’s flimsy defense was that the Airline they contacted on the return journey had re-scheduled the date of return.  It is a very negative excuse for one who claims to be professional, experienced and with an intimate knowledge of the industry claiming much credit.

[d]They stubbornly assume the position that they are right and that there are exigencies in Travel etc. No plausible reason is offered for the clear reneging of their promise and the Tour Administrator’s replies and attitude on tour is grossly unacceptable.

[c]To put it bluntly, this amounts to cheating or more precisely daylight robbery.  They should never be allowed to get off Scot free by duping innocent citizens of Sri  Lanka  who fall prey to glamorous advertising with fancy claims. 

To those responsible: I personally feel that in the name of justice and fair-play, it is high time a proper set of rules and regulations are put in place.  They should serve as a guideline to ensure that the general public is not taken for suckers by these unscrupulous Tour Operators, who would no doubt be prospecting for yet another set of gullible victim to prey on. 

Yours in a spirit of public service.

Tony Jemmet