Warning: do not book with Sunquest!

Apr 29th, 2009, 12:23 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 33
Warning: do not book with Sunquest!

Mexico great, but DON’T BOOK WITH SUNQUEST! They took my money, booked my vacation at prices I could have got on my own, left me stranded, and provided absolutely no customer “service”.
I booked a Mexico tour, air, transfers and hotel with Sunquest in March. I went on short notice because I was just diagnosed with breast cancer. I booked at the Riu Caribe after the tour for a simple and luxurious treat as I had never stayed in an all-inclusive before. I was looking forward to a worry-free last few days before I had to come back to major surgery (mastectomy), three reconstruction surgeries and cancer treatments. Even though the way I usually travel I do not book transfers, I had especially paid for a departure transfer so I would not have to worry about making it to the airport on time as I had a critical appointment the next day.
Other than my arrival transfer being an hour late, everything went fine until the morning I was to leave. My flight was not until 9:20pm, but I became concerned that I had not heard from the transfer company which I found unusual. I had not received any messages. Reception referred me to the Sunquest desk. The clerk showed me a binder which showed my flight number, day of departure and destination and it indicated pickup would be 6:15pm at the hotel. Not content with this, I thought I should check with the Sunquest representative. It was 9:50am and I was informed she would be in between 10am-12pm.
At 11:50am I found “Camelia” in the lobby and she confirmed that my transfer would pick me up at 6:15pm. I showed her my written confirmation/voucher but she did not check me on any list. I found this disturbing so attempted to call the Mexico number provided on the voucher (011 52 998 848 9999). When I called it said the number was not able to be completed.
I then called the 001 800 514 4937 number on the voucher, which I gather was specifically designed to deal with these kinds of problems. The idiot woman who answered put me on hold before asking my name or problem. I had to hang up after being on hold for 8 minutes, because my cell cost me $3US/minute, which was amounting to the cost of paying for a taxi to the airport anyway.
I figured I had done all I could to prepare for the transfer, so enjoyed my last day then showed up at 6:10pm in the lobby with my luggage. At 6:15pm, a driver came from Viajes Caribe Maya, which was the company who was to take me to the airport. The driver could not find my name on his list but put my luggage in the van anyway while he called it in. I was sure it was a misunderstanding but he kept pointing to the list which did not have my name on it. Ironically, as this was happening, I was on the phone with a friend I’d met who worked for a transfer company. He had offered to take me to the airport but since I’d paid for a transfer I thought I’d save him the trouble and declined. My phone ran out of minutes and I hung up.
By 6:30, I was arguing with the van driver, stating I had to get going to the airport, as it was already less than 3 hours before the plane left and I prefer to BE at the airport 3 hours before. At 6:45 I was desperately speaking to him and the radio clerk who insisted that since my name was not on the list they were not to take me. I was flabbergasted, since I had a voucher in my hand with their name on it. In English and Spanish, I described how I had booked, paid, had written voucher and verbal confirmation by Camelia that morning that they were to take me. Nevertheless, they kicked me out of the van, and to my great embarrassment left me standing on the roadside at 6:50pm.
I went to reception to see if they could raise someone from Viajes Caribe Maya. The reception clerk kindly tried several times but no one answered. He then called Camelia on her cell at 044 998 147 0644. She was blunt and rude and said there was nothing she could do for me. The reception clerk then called the Sunquest desk at the airport and we spoke to Luis Sardonata at 998 147 0644. He also was blunt and said that it was Viajes Caribe Maya’s problem and I had to call them. I said we had tried and he assured me if I tried again they would for sure answer. Reception called their number again, no answer, and we called Luis back. He said my only choice was to take a taxi to the airport and deal with Sunquest later. The problem was I had not reserved enough cash to pay for a taxi because I did not think I needed it!
I said Sunquest should pay for the taxi but Luis said there was nothing he could do for me. I asked if he suggested I should take a cab and then grab my bag and run for it and get arrested? He again refused to pay for the transfer though I had proof I had paid Sunquest. By this time I was in tears and told him I was going to call the police.
An American couple who saw me crying offered me some money. I eventually took a taxi to the airport because I was afraid to miss my flight. The driver took me to the wrong terminal. By the time I got to the Air Transat counter, I was physically and emotionally worn out, and the female clerk told me seriously, “You are the LAST to check in.” She called on the radio for the luggage people to advise mine was coming.
To add further insult to injury, I had a seat in the last row by the bathrooms, which did not recline, which meant I was served food and drinks last, and the crew seemed perturbed I was in a seat usually reserved for their things. There was a blast of cold air coming down from above the whole time which necessitated my using two blankets and sitting with my sweater and jacket on and both hoods over my head and caused me to catch a cold. I was last off the plane and so was last getting through customs and got home at 4am.
The next day, I told my travel agent what had happened. After some effort, he got through to Sunquest Customer Service, who told me I had to fax or email my complaint. I sent it off 2 days later and got a generic email reply that it would be looked at in 30 days. In my letter I explicitly warned that I wanted a cheque for the price of the taxi I had paid, at my house within 14 days, or I would advertise Sunquest’s lousy customer service to everyone I knew.
I heard nothing. 14 days later, I called their Customer Service (what a laugh) number, 1 800 387 8438. I was told my letter had gone to Katarina Detopoulos, a legal assistant. Her voicemail said she was away for 2 weeks. I asked to speak to the manager and got the voicemail of Linda Wright, Director of Customer Service. I asked to speak to a live person and got the voicemail of Robert Lambert, Customer Service Manager. After having spent an hour on the phone on hold by this time, I gave up and left a message. He did call me back to advise that a cheque for $24 had been “requisitioned” and I should get it the next week.
That was 12 days ago. I again called yesterday and Katarina was still away and as far as the receptionist knew, the cheque had not been done and would not be until she was back. I asked how else I was to be compensated, as I had specifically advised in my letter that more was necessary (ie even an offer to pay for my cell calls and apology would have been nice!) Today (after Katarina was supposed to be back at work), I again left a message for her and Robert Lambert and have heard nothing.
Accordingly, I will be telling everyone I know, the Automobile Associations, the Better Business Bureau, the Canadian Bar Association travel organizers, travel forums, local papers, travel magazines, newsletters and websites, my friends, family, associates, etc, to avoid Sunquest like the plague.
liltravlr is offline  
Apr 29th, 2009, 01:44 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 2,032
Molehill ---> Mountain.
Sympathy quotient = 20%
Proper forum for post = 0
Multiple posting penalty, 3 whacks

Anyway, without question there was a definite minor problem resting totally on your tour operator. Stuff happens. But once that happened your own actions escalated the situation to the point where you almost missed your flight.

If you had stopped your arguing, police calling (as if they would do anything in such a matter), had a source of funds (no sympathy for travelling without backup funds), and gotten into a taxi in a timely manner, you would have made it to the airport on time. As a corollary, going to the wrong terminal and having a bad seat are irrelevant. You made it home on time. Minor harm, minor foul.

By your own account, upon request (admittedly difficult due to phone and vacation problems) Sunquest promised resolution in 30 days and got as far as requisitioning what appears to be a proper refund. You probably have a bit of an issue with their bookkeeping procedures but you got your compensation.

You are only at day 26 of the promised 30. Nothing here goes to avoiding Sunquest nor to ranting around the internets. Just hope they don't retaliate against you for defamation.
NoFlyZone is offline  
Apr 29th, 2009, 02:13 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
No empty line between paragraphs = No reading.
rkkwan is offline  
Apr 29th, 2009, 03:53 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 286
agree with above poster - a bit of problem with the company - but the real problem was you weren't prepared for Plan B...
illnative is offline  
Apr 29th, 2009, 06:37 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 2,881
So much for Canadians being easy-going and non-confrontational.
MikeT is offline  
Apr 30th, 2009, 08:25 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,666
NoFlyZone pretty much sums up the reply - sorry for your trouble, but one should always have a plan B and one should always have some cash left to cover plan B. I have to think that a lot of your anxiety has to come from your upcoming surgeries, and I do wish you the best for a good medical outcome. Sunquest was at some fault for the communication problem, but we had a bit of a transfer problem last summer in Cabo from the resort when one member of our party had to change plans mid-trip and they didn't put her on their return transfer list - they have a big security thing with these shuttles, which should make us all feel better.

I certainly wouldn't be making internet threats over this, either, no sympathy there.
socaltraveler is offline  
Apr 30th, 2009, 08:49 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,274
You are plastering this all over (three times just on Fodors). If it was me , I'd e-mail katie at [email protected] and ask her to remove your threads. I know you are under stress - totally understandable - but your posts make you look ridiculous.

They are practically unreadable rants and show as much error on your part as by SunQuest. You have spread the names/phone numbers of people all over, but are able to stay anonymous yourself. I just think this will go nowhere and do you no good.

Have Fodors nuke it and get back to what you need to do to get well.
janisj is online now  
May 1st, 2009, 04:02 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,601
I can't imagine being at the end of a trip with no cash to get home. That said, you could have accepted the ride your friend offered or the money the nice Americans offered and this whole problem would have been solved.

I'm sorry for the health worries you are facing, but this rant is just that. And a situation that could have VERY easily been avoided. Never travel without funds and a "Plan B".
suze is offline  
May 3rd, 2009, 12:02 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,420
1. The seat on the plane is NOT relevant. I am hoping you have not mentioned it to ANYONE during the rant!

2. Sunquest was wrong. Enough said

3. You have MUCH MUCH MUCH more important things to worry about then this. Let it go and focus your energy where it will do you GOOD! This $24 is not material. What happend is honestly not that bad and probably the fact that you are posting this story all over the internet (I have found it in two places) won't drive business away anymore then the rant on CO on here did...Sorry, but in most cases 1 instance is not going to change folks minds!

4. Lesson learned. Don't get down to your last dollars before the airport.
CarolA is offline  
May 8th, 2009, 07:55 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 11
Sunquest is very very wrong for the no live person only voice mail type of customer service and refusal of taking you to their taxi. This part is really frustrating, I totally understand why you are so upset about it.

The $24 isn't material. Just don't focus on it too much and cost yourself more aggrevation. Lesson learned, always have plan B and have extra cash in your pocket.

Last, best wish for your health recovery.
jess123 is offline  

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