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BEWARE: Avoid Wicked Travel

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I booked a day trip through Wicked Travel in Sydney. Two days before the trip, the company actually doing the trip said there were not enough people and cancelled it. As such, I went back to the Wicked Travel office and they gave me an email address to send my information and get my refund because they needed to make sure they only refund me once (perhaps I might go to two different offices to request a refund). A week later, I returned to the US and sent an email. No answer. It's been two months now - I've sent 2 emails to the address they provided me and I went to their website and looked for other email addresses to contact. I just googled Wicked Travel only to find that I'm not the only one not receiving trip refunds. In fact, there were numerous instances where people said not to use Wicked Travel. Anyways, after my experience, I wanted to warn others. Beware!!

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    Have als oseen lots of negativity on the boards fake posts for van rentals etc. I always try to pay with my Visa CC if you did you can file a dispute get an immediate credit and your money back. Thanks for the heads up.

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    Same here.

    DO NOT BOOK WITH WICKED TRAVEL!

    Having been in Australia twice now I can speak from experience, you are far better off booking your tours through a hostel or hotel, or going directly to the tour company involved. Some tour booking agencies are better than others, but Wicked Travel appears to be the worst of the walk-in lounge-style tour agencies. Let me share my story. Don’t get me wrong though, their in-store service is relatively fine. It’s their head office that’s the issue.

    I booked a Whitsundays tour with Wicked Travel and got a small satchel handed to me which I assumed contained a receipt for the 175 AUD I paid, and a trip voucher. Due to poor weather on the tour date, the tour was postponed twice and then cancelled indefinitely. I couldn’t stay long enough to wait around and possibly take the tour a week later, so I had to leave and accept the cancellation. Because this was due to bad weather and the tour operator had to cancel, as opposed to me cancelling the trip, there is supposedly (I heard) some Australian law that requires the tour company to refund at least 85% of the tour cost. I can’t find a reference to this supposed law online, but most companies seem to operate this way regardless of any legal rules.

    I followed the instructions for requesting a refund, which was simply “email the head office and they’ll refund the tour cost onto your credit card”. After sending the email, the head office responded with what was effectively “that’s not our problem, you need to get your refund from the Whitsundays people”. What? Ok, fine. So I email the Whitsundays people, and they say they haven’t taken any money from Wicked because I never did the tour and they never took the voucher, so it’s Wicked’s responsibility. I email back to Wicked with this information and the head office doesn’t even bother to read my email, and repeats that the Whitsunday people should be refunding. Excuse me, why I am playing middle man here? You guys call them and figure it out, and read my email please. At this point I’m left to get the Whitsundays people in on the email, and only after multiple emails and getting a Whitsundays finance manager to directly say they don’t have the money, does Wicked agreed to give me a refund.

    Without any invoice, explanation, or reason, they deposit roughly 125 AUD into my account. I’m left scratching my head, because 125/175 = ~70%. Where’d the other 30% go? I email about this multiple times and get nothing but silence. One thing I’ve left out is that their head office uses one blanket email address (info@wickedtravel.com.au) for everything they do, so you can never see who you’re emailing or who’s responding. You have no idea if the person who previously responded to an email is the same person responding now, or who’s handling your information. I voice a complaint about the lack of responsiveness regarding my refund amount, and am anonymously told through their blanket email address that my issue is “being investigated”.

    More than a month goes by and still no response. This is now nearly 3 months since my trip was cancelled, and I’m literally on the other side of the world still trying to find out what happened. I email again asking what’s going on, and let them know with some slightly colorful language that I’m about to give them public negative reviews (like this!), and they proceed to lookup my facebook account and make cheeky jabbing comments about my profile pictures!

    This is an all new level of unprofessionalism for me.

    The next email they send me is a scathing, emotional email telling me that they didn’t have to give me a refund at all because it was the Whitsundays company’s responsibility, that I’m harassing them, and that “we will refund you [the rest of the full amount you paid] so you don't waste anymore of our time or cost our company [any] further money” (corrected for errors and to make it more clear what they said). Excuse me. All I did was ask a simple question about how my refund amount was calculated, and now I’m getting this kind of treatment, while being offered money to shut up. However, in their response, they finally included the answer as to how they arrived at my refund amount. They think I paid 145 AUD.

    The trip I booked, on the Camira, costs 145 AUD if you have a backpacking membership. I did not. The non-membership price was 175 AUD, which is what I paid. But, after looking at the paperwork they gave me, there’s no receipt or invoice in there at all, just multiple formats of the voucher. Brilliant.

    In their records, my payment is apparently 145 AUD. I explain that I actually paid 175 AUD, which is why everything is off. Now I receive an email telling me that they requested my receipt, that I wasn’t being responsive enough, and that I didn’t provide them with the information they asked for. Oh, and that I was refusing their offer of a refund. Are they bloody serious?! This is first time any mention was made of any of this.

    So did the girl in the local Wicked shop pocket my money? I don’t know. Is the head office making false claims? I don’t know. I have no recourse to be asking for anything because I have no paperwork that proves anything.

    But, I find their attitude towards me incredible. They take the tone that this is entirely my fault and that I’m the one causing problems. They also don’t seem to understand that I don’t want their refund to shut me up; I want the refund I rightfully deserved and they can keep their 15%. (Note, they offered me 22 AUD to shut up, but I should be getting around 25.50 AUD for my refund. It’s small difference, but I’m on principles with this. I’m not going to take their money to shut up, I want my rightful refund and an apology)

    Is anything going to change with them? I doubt it. Rather than learning a lesson from this experience and making sure that proper receipts and invoices are used for all transactions, I guarantee they’ve already written me off as a problem customer, even though all I wanted from them was the answer to “how did you arrive at my refund amount?”.

    Further, their attitude about the Whitsunday’s people having my money was shocking. Why should I be tracking down their money? Pick up the damn phone and figure out where your own money is. I’m a customer, it isn’t my responsibility to prove where their finances have gone.

    It’s sad to me that a business can get away with acting like this, but when travellers are rapidly in-and-out of the country, there isn’t enough word of mouth to keep people away from them. Meaning, they get to act like this towards anyone they want, and people still line up to give them money for tours. Don’t be one of them!

    So what’s the takeaway from this? Use another agency to do your bookings. Your trip might not get cancelled like mine, but if you have even the slightest issue after you’ve booked your trip, you’re going to have to deal with the same people I did. Save yourself the frustration and hassle, use someone else for your tour bookings.

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    Sorry to hear you have had problems. I looked up our ACCC site where Wicked Travel has been named. The link is http://www.accc.gov.au/search/accc-funnelback/travel

    You may be able to get some recourse through this, or at least add to Wicked Travel list of complaints by naming them yet again. I note the date on the site is 2009, so it looks like they are still operating and causing grief to customers.

    The second link:

    http://transition.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/892691

    The site is currently being upgraded so if the link is gone by the time you get this, please just check www.accc.gov.au/search.

    There are shady dealers all over the world and they give the country they are in a bad name and I think backpackers and non-local-language speaking travellers are at risk pretty much everywhere.

    Good luck with it.

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    My goodness - we knew they were bad and that the authorities are on to them, but didn't know they were blatantly continuing to operate.

    Hope you get your money back, but also hope they can be wiped out of business soon. Every complaint to the ACCC helps - they have shut down a lot of businesses.

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