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About capgh

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  1. capgh

    Tours in Vietnam

    We had heard good things about Buffalo Tours in Vietnam. Frommer's tour guide on Southeast Asia recommended Buffalo and we had even heard the travel channel mention their name. We had a group of 12 and wanted to do a customized tour. We are world travelers -- Mediterranean, Australia, Europe, China. We always do our own tours rather than do anything with the cruise lines. It is a cheaper way to tour and we also like the fact that our group is the only group the tour takes. As such, we could customize our tours or change the itinerary should we all agree we want to spend less time or more time some place. We got a quote from Buffalo tours a la carte. So, we chose where and what we wanted to visit a la carte. Once chosen we were each quoted a price for a group of 12 and told that no matter what we were paying for 12. As luck would have it, we eventually became a party of 11 only and the 12th person had to pay even though she was no longer going. The tour guides for Buffalo were great, no complaint there. However, when we got to the Buffalo tour head office in Hanoi, we were told that because we had been picked up at a different port than originally planned that we had to pay an extra $40 total for our tour. (Note, because the tour guide went to the wrong place to pick us up, we also waited 2 hours for the tour guide, so many things on our itinerary could no longer be accomplished). We paid the $40 because we felt it was nominal. At the second port, we arrived and mid way through the tour, the tour guide said that the head office (Hanoi) had called him and that he was to take us to the Buffalo tour office in Nga Trang and we were to pay another $50. We objected but did not want to argue with the tour guide since he had nothing to do with it. At the Buffalo office, we spoke via phone to the Hanoi office and told them that we had a receipt from them from the day before saying "paid in full", so what was the deal? They said because we came into a different port, it cost them and that the tour was no longer profitable for them. Although after much arguing, the manager of the Nga Trang office decided to end the rift by telling us that we did not have to pay. For the 3rd tour with Buffalo, we wrote to them the night before to tell them which port we believed we were going to dock in. We also asked them to doublecheck via the internet or via the cruise line. The response we got was that "since the tour was no longer profitable for them" that they would not check" (talk about cutting off their nose to spite their face!). Anyway, we waited yet another 1 1/2 hours before being picked up again. We were made to sign a contract with Buffalo tours. Nowhere in the contract does it say that there would be additional charges should ports change. Also, we kept getting un-customer friendly emails from them telling us that they were no longer making a profit and in fact one email told us that the company was taking the money out of her salary. The tour prices were set by them, not by us. We signed a contract and also we had a receipt of paid in full. We also waited in total about 4 hours for their tour guides to show up and missed out on many sights. Buffalo tours in unscrupulous. I do not recommend anyone use them as they are not customer friendly, and are constantly trying to nickel and dime their customers to get more money from them. I have already written to Frommer's to ask them to not recommend them in their tour books. This was a very unpleasant experience.