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Reviews for US Travel Agency used for Spain travel

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Reviews for US Travel Agency used for Spain travel

Old May 29th, 2013, 05:45 AM
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Reviews for US Travel Agency used for Spain travel

I just got back from a 8 day anniversary trip to Spain in which I booked some of the travel with Frosch Travel Agency located in Deerfield, IL. The trip was amazing and many thanks to all the people in the Spain forum who gave me great advice on where to go and what to see. My only complaints have to do with the travel agency and the rep who booked the trip. I will first say that the rep. I worked with, Kathleen, was very nice. Unfortunately I think she is very inexperienced and does not pay attention to details, which led to all the missteps along the way. I first contacted Frosch travel because one of the travel magazines had listed Judith Wolfe as a recommended agent for travel to Spain. There is a fee they charge to book travel, in addition to the commissions they receive for what they book. After speaking to Judy, she stated she was busy with other travel plans but her associate is highly capable of taking care of me and Judy can answer any of her questions if needed.
For starters, when I received my travel documents, one of the cities we were visiting was listed wrong-this was the least of my problems. Our trip consisted of visiting Madrid, Sevilla and Cordoba. Kathleen suggested flying to Sevilla from Madrid instead of taking a train. She told us that she upgraded us to first class and this was stated on the documents. When we went to check in the night before, we were booked in the last row of the plane. I am not a big fan of flying and I definitely will not fly in the back of the plane. After speaking to Kathleen, she said it must be a computer glitch and she will change our seats but we couldn't get first class. When we got to the Madrid airport, we had to argue with the not-to-friendly Iberia Airline staff to change our seats because they were never changed int the system. Gratefully we were moved to the rows up front (no first class though). Next Kathleen booked us a wine tour excursion in Cordoba. She told us the tour was 3 hours and we would be picked up at the hotel. This was the only excursion she booked for us and the only one we really wanted to go on. After arriving at our hotel, we were informed that the pick up point for this tour was over 40 kilometers away at the winery and we would need to hire a car for the day at a cost of over $200! When we mentioned this to Kathleen, she apologized for not realizing that the street address was not in the same town! We canceled the tour and forfeited our money. Finally, Kathleen booked (what she told us) a private shuttle from the hotel to the airport for $55. This was a great price for a private shuttle and she said we would be splitting it with another couple. When the hotel reviewed this document, they informed us that it is not a private shuttle but a regular hotel shuttle that picks everyone up. The problem is that we would be stuck on this shuttle for up to an hour versus hiring a cab for $33 and being at the airport in 20 minutes! Kathleen again apologized for the miscommunication and said she would work on a solution. Her solution? Kathleen canceled the shuttle service without telling us and then informed us that our refund was not guaranteed! I was floored. Im trying to enjoy my trip and now I have to make new arrangements to get to the airport as well as potentially losing our money for the shuttle.
Ironically, when I complained to Judy, I was told to just enjoy my trip and not worry about the money we are losing because it wasn't that much... True, in the grand scheme of it , it wasn't that much, however, it was stressful being in Spain and having to deal with all these mistakes. The agency also never once offered to reimburse us for their mistakes. When it came to the wine tour, Judy's response was "she did give you the name of the street for pick up and were sorry it happened to be in the wrong town but the street name is correct".

We are planning a trip to Europe next year and unfortunately they will not earn our business...
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Old May 29th, 2013, 07:04 AM
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For a trip that simply ended up bing Madrid, Sevilla and cordoba I wouldn't have even used a travel agency. This isn't a complex or highly individualized itinerary.
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Old May 29th, 2013, 07:10 AM
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I didn;t think that I was heavily relying on one given the amount of research I had done but I'm learning for my next trip!
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Old May 29th, 2013, 07:17 AM
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>

Sounds like very poor service from the TA. I would demand a refund for all services not provided properly. There is no reason you should be paying for their mistakes.

Good luck!
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Old May 29th, 2013, 07:24 AM
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This is why I never use travel agents. Years ago I had an experience like this only a hotel was booked for wrong dates. With such a simple itinerary, it would have been very easy to make your own arrangements.
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Old May 29th, 2013, 08:34 AM
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They muffed it. They owe you the money due to their errors. They say the amount wasn't too much, so why are they keeping the money. I hear a credit card dispute or a small claims court case coming!
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Old May 29th, 2013, 08:44 AM
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Since the "specialist" was too busy, and passed you off to Kathleen, you should have asked the Tourist Office of Spain in Chicago for their recommendations. They maintain their own list of Spain specialists. Most travel planners are not as lame as Kathleen appears to be. Some actually know what they are doing.
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Old May 29th, 2013, 09:09 AM
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All great advice. I disputed the charges with my cc company and should get a refund. Live and learn, right? Im just amazed that the TA didnt offer a refund based on professional purposes. They lose so much more by not correcting their mistakes.
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Old May 29th, 2013, 11:07 AM
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I don't think TAs care about this type of trip. It is too much work with too little fees. From time to time, I have talked to TAs for more complicated itinerary where several disjoint reservations must be synchronized or none at all. Their response had been they would look at it between other "important" projects. What they had produced had been least thought out itineraries. The only interests to TAs I have dealt with were reselling third-party packaged tours, promoting their own packages, and booking business trips.
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Old May 29th, 2013, 11:21 AM
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I believe there are some very good travel agencies that specialize in Spain. They would be great to use if a specialized tour was needed, very specific areas of interest, a long tour of several stops or out of the way areas, or there were travel limitations within the group or special requests. In this case the 3 cities visited were very simple and on one rail line. The only specialized request would have been the wine tour excursion from Cordoba (which the poster never got to do anyways). This was likely to a sherry bodega in Montilla given the description of the location. This could have been done by bus easily from Cordoba or even easier a visit to Jerez from Sevilla.
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Old May 30th, 2013, 06:51 AM
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I stopped having any need for a travel agency 25 years ago....

You receive deplorable service and the fee charged should be waived.
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Old May 30th, 2013, 07:22 AM
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File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
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Old Jun 13th, 2013, 09:29 AM
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How frustrating for you Cindder! I can understand why it would be difficult to trust any travel service after your experience. When traveling to Japan last fall, we used Global Basecamps as we found it very difficult to book lodging in out-of-the way places in Japan. Global Basecamps did an amazing job and contributed greatly to our overall experience. I would use them again when we visit "exotic" places that are difficult to book on line.
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Old Nov 18th, 2014, 12:22 PM
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This is astounding. I have also come to this website after doing a search for owner contact information for this agency branch and this travel agent. I worked with Judith Wolf to book a trip to Barcelona. She quoted me a rate that was a wonderful deal, commiserate with some expedia rates for other similar-sized properties. I was delighted, asked her to make the booking, and sent her a check for her $300 planning fee. I then booked several thousand dollars of non-refundable plane tickets based on her advice.

Several days later, Judith Wolf called me to tell me that she had read the hotel's email wrong and that the rate was per NIGHT and not per week!

In a phone conversation, she declined to apologize or expend very much energy at all in helping me to find another alternative. She said that she was sorry for the "misunderstanding" but that she had simply received an email that wasn't clear to her, and there was nothing she could do. She gave me one alternative suggestion for a hotel which was a higher rate than could be booked on Expedia.

I am frankly appalled at the way that Judith Wolf and Frosch Travel do business, and I advise anyone to beware. Her advice is not to be relied upon.
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Old Nov 18th, 2014, 01:00 PM
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I wonder how much she paid for that recommendation in a travel magazine.
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Old Nov 18th, 2014, 05:41 PM
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An interesting question, but all of the travel magazines I'm familiar with will not accept a paid recommendation unless it's listed as an advertisement. Getting covered, noted, by any magazine is worth thousands.
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 08:35 AM
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In the Uk we have Trading Standards, to whom you would complain in a case like this. Don't you have something similar in the States? Better Business Bureau?
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 09:01 AM
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Depending on the financial losses - I would demand a refund and - i not received - take the agency to small claims court.

This is the problem with TAs in general - they want commission so only book the more expensive places that provide them - and many of the more junior people have no experience/have never enve been to the places they are booking you at.

MUCH better to do it yourself and know what you are getting - never mind paying less.
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Old Nov 19th, 2014, 08:19 PM
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Getting commissions are difficult for most bookings, and meager at best, 10% if the TA is lucky. The OP did have a problem with the agent, and should have persued a refund, but the vast majority of agents are hard working and honest.

And yes, of course it's much better to do it yourself, if you have the knowledge and experience, which most first time travelers lack.
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 01:13 AM
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"I was told to just enjoy my trip and not worry about the money we are losing because it wasn't that much."

If it was so little money the TA should have picked up the cost
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