on July 13, 2010
My girlfriend and I booked a tour through Happy Camel for April this year. We arrived from China one day before our tour. Chez Bernard is no longer there, none of the phone numbers worked. We found their office near the train station by some miracle as it wasn't even sign posted. The woman we had been dealing with didn't even live in Mongolia, but lives in Germany. Our tour was to do 11 days camping. It had been -18 degrees celcius two days before. Slightly concerned, we asked the "logisitcs manager" and her response was "of course you can't camp, you will have to pay an extra US$60 a day". When we asked why we hadn't been informed and if we can change our itinerary, we were told we need to talk with the woman in Germany via email. They were not at all interested in helping us (Bernard the CEO included as he was sitting next to us and did nothing). We were trying to find a compromise but they came back with $40 extra a day instead of $60 on a tour that was already relatively expensive (more than any other tours organised by hostels). We decided to cancel the tour as we simply could not afford the extra US$660. But seen as it was the day before our tour that we cancelled they decided to keep our deposit of US$450. Eight days of arguing resulted in the response from Happy Camel Tours: We cannot predict the weather so do what you want, it is not my problem anymore. You will not get your deposit back. Had they have informed us of the change of plans even 2 days in advance we would have had our deposit back. It is obvious that the weather is not going to go from -18 to +20 degrees in two days. They chose not to tell us.
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