Warning - Cook Islands

Old Oct 18th, 2002, 02:55 AM
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Warning - Cook Islands

I wanted to post this warning to anyone considering a holiday in the Cook Islands. My husband and I visited the Cooks last summer and are still disputing not one, but four repeat, unauthorised charges to our credit cards by three different merchants. After noticing a series of strange repeat charges on our statements, we contacted the shop owners to notify them of the problem. Not one has been cooperative and as a result we've had to cancel our cards. Additionally, be very, very wary of renting property. On our last night on Rarotanga, the phone rang. It was the owner, informing us of a sudden 'rate increase.' My husband was kept on the phone for nearly an hour trying to point out the terms they had sent months before, as well as the rate we agreed upon originally, which was in writing. None of it mattered. He ended up giving us the 'bottom line,' which was that we would 'not be leaving the island' if we didn't pay what amounted to nearly twice the amount. He also said he 'wouldnt want to have to get the police involved' and implied that the island didnt take kindly to guests 'not paying.' We are shocked and saddened this happened. Never before have we come across anything of this nature, and we've travelled extensively, including much of the South Pacific. I would strongly recommend other island chains, where the locals have been wonderful and where we have had nothing short of a perfect holiday.
Old Oct 18th, 2002, 06:34 AM
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and you paid him????
Have you ever travelled before?
He intimidated your husband and your husband let him. You should warn us against you, and against going anywhere that you have been before us.
When people like you do not put your foot down (completely) on principle, it makes it harder for the rest of us travelling after you because theives like this man, think we are all soft!
What do I mean? Let him call the police, let them arrest you and see what your consulate has to say about that - there is no way the police would have arrested you. Tourists have unbelievable rights in any tourist destination.
Old Oct 18th, 2002, 12:42 PM
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I have spent several weeks in the Cooks, on 4 different islands, and I have never heard of anything like this.
Old Oct 18th, 2002, 01:20 PM
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Thank you for the warning. You were very discreet by not naming the merchants, which is what convinced me you were on the level. I would disregard the above insulting posting. He sounds like one of the merchants you mentioned.
Old Oct 18th, 2002, 02:16 PM
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I'm sorry, but I find your story a little difficult to believe. For one thing, the part about the house doesn't make any sense to me. In my experience, EVERYONE I've had contact with who was renting a house out expected FULL payment for the rental period IN ADVANCE - not right before you leave. As I understand it, that's pretty much standard operating policy - not just in the Cooks, but most everywhere. Any arguement that you owe them more money on the night before your departure would sound pretty stupid to the local police as they know how typical rentals work. In short, it's unlikely that the owner would not have already been paid - and the police know that. So if this story is true, you were exceptionally foolish to buy into the owners arguement - especially as you say you had written documents as proof. I also find the credit card story a little unlikely as well. Putting some charges into dispute is not likely to result in you having to cancel your cards. In total, Your story sounds way too strange to me. Maybe it's the truth, but I'm sorry, I just don't buy it.


PS: And I am not a Cook Islands merchant - just someone who likes to travel and LOVED the Cook Islands.

Old Oct 18th, 2002, 06:09 PM
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I too find this hard to believe of the Cook Islands. No I am not a mechant, I live in one of the cold spots of Canada. My husband and I spent 3 weeks there a couple of years ago and can not say enough good about the Islands. Lord Balfor is very well traveled in these parts and helped us alot on our planning. The Cook Islanders are a wonder group of people and even though I am sure there are a few bad apples I can not believe that any one who has traveled would be taken in this scam. If everything is above board what would you have to lose by calling the police? The Cooks are wonderful and I recommend it to one and all. Wendy
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