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Desert trek--ripoff or reasonable request

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Pittsburgh
posts: 21
reviews: 2
Desert trek--ripoff or reasonable request

Hello,

I have contracted a company (very well rated on this site) for a three day desert trek-Fes, Merzouga, Marrakech. The owner sent an itinerary, inclusions, exclusions and costs via email. I agreed and he asked that I wire him a 100 euro deposit to secure the reservation which I did. He wrote me telling me that he received the transfer and since his bank charged him 15 euros, I have only paid 85 euros and will have to pay the 15 euro commission in addition to the balance of the tour cost.

By my way of thinking, he shoud not be charging me the 15 euro commission. This was not included in the email which outlned the details of the trip. Also, when I wired the money, I had to pay a fee to my bank. He should have to pay the fee to his bank. That is his cost of doing business. The same way, if he accepted credit cards, he would pay any charges he has agreed to with the credit card company.

So, two questions. Am I right to think that his request out of line? If so, how should I handle this so we don't start our trip off on the wrong foot and have it affect our whole trip? (By the way, does one usually pay the balance at the beginning of the trip or the end?)

Thank you so much in advance. We leave in a day and a half.

Thornton Cleveleys...
posts: 599
reviews: 22
11. Re: Desert trek--ripoff or reasonable request

I paid a deposit for a holiday rental in Italy that was arranged via bank transfer to an Italian bank. The bank fee was £32 and they asked me if I was paying it or if the recipient would pay. I paid it as I felt that it was not the responsibility of the accommodation's owner.

The guide we booked for our desert trip had organised payment via Paypal which was much better. We also paid in advance for a hotel using Western Union.

To answer your other question, we paid in cash at the end of the trip. Hope that helps

Edited: 11:07 am, July 03, 2013
Marrakech, Morocco
Destination Expert
for Morocco
posts: 2,125
reviews: 64
12. Re: Desert trek--ripoff or reasonable request

I think the one thing that this episode shows is that the banks are ripping us all off !

as mentioned above, you are often given the option of whether you pay the recipients charges or not with international transfers - in these kind of cases I would say it is the customers responsibility to pay all charges.

Anyway rightly or wrongly, I would say it is probably better to pay the €15 extra rather than create a problem with your trip - it is quite a small amount in the grand scheme of things.

Pittsburgh
posts: 21
reviews: 2
13. Re: Desert trek--ripoff or reasonable request

LaLico,

I DID pay my bank fee. Of course, I wouldn't expect the tour operator to pay my fee. But neither I nor my bank was privy to what his bank was charging him. Why should I pay both of our fees? I would have much preferred doing this by Western Union or Paypal. It is good to know that you paid at the end. Hopefully, we won't have this discussion until then.

Well, this will all play out shortly enough. The driver has arrived while I'm sitting here eating my breakfast--45 minutes early! Better than late!

Thanks everyone!

14. Re: Desert trek--ripoff or reasonable request

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Edited: 12:10 pm, October 28, 2013
Pittsburgh
posts: 21
reviews: 2
15. Re: Desert trek--ripoff or reasonable request

Sorry for the delay reporting back. Here's what happened.

Our driver and guide picked us up and didn't mention the money so I didn't either. We drove to the desert that first day and before we left for the desert camp our guide asked for the money. I only had half because I didn't consider the ATM limits. So he took the half. On the third day I stopped at a couple of ATMs to get the balance. When we arrived in Marrakech, I showed him my calculations with the exhange rate from euros to dirhams and what I had already paid and asked if my balance total agreed with his. He seemed kind of clueless about what was owned and said it was fine. I told him that if the owner disagreed with my total that he could drop me an email. I never heard from him so I guess it was ok. My paying his service fee never came up and we had a delightful three days with our guide and driver!

Thank you all for your help!

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Morocco
posts: 5,389
reviews: 36
16. Re: Desert trek--ripoff or reasonable request

Glad it worked out OK in the end. Was it a Moroccan bank account? If so he should have asked you to send dirhams not euros, then there wouldn't have been a conversion at the Moroccan end.

I do rather get fed up with some companies in Morocco always insisting on quoting in euros, I think they do it so it seems less to those visitors from the euro zone, but this is an increasingly smaller percentage of overall visitors.

I'd be interested in knowing the name of the company.

Pittsburgh
posts: 21
reviews: 2
17. Re: Desert trek--ripoff or reasonable request

Hi,

It was a Spanish bank. He said it was easier--I guess he has a lot of European customers.

The company was Morocco Key Travel. Aside from him trying to pass the bank fee on everything was wonderful. We liked our guide and driver, they didn't take us anywhere to push fossils or oil on us. No overpriced touristy restaurants for lunch. We ate with the locals which I'm sure some people might not like but we loved. The hotel we stayed at was top notch and we were served a very elegant dinner there--fine dining all the way! It wasn't part of the tour but our driver took us to his home where we met his mom, sister and brother. We stayed about 45 minutes and had some tea and snacks. We were very honored to have been invited to his home. BTW, our guide was Ali and Abraham was our driver. I would travel with them again.

Chefchaouen, Morocco
posts: 7
18. Re: Desert trek--ripoff or reasonable request

Glad everything went well and you finally enjoyed your tour, i am sure it was just a misunderstanding. To be honest with you, i would not consider that a " rip-off", i am sure it if it was a longer tour, they would not ask for you to pay the wire fee.

As for the question why the Moroccan companies quote in Euros vs MAD or $, maybe because it is the closest famous foreign currency to Morocco and the inflation of the US dollar. i do not see any problem in that; since there plenty of currency converter websites such as XE.com , and now there is an app for the I phone.

Again glad you enjoyed Morocco.

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Morocco
posts: 5,389
reviews: 36
19. Re: Desert trek--ripoff or reasonable request

Ah, so he was salting away some of the money outside of Morocco. Quite a few companies do that.

Thanks Hajjolly but xe.com offers mid rates which isn't what a bank will give you. And I certainly don't need an iPhone app to multiply by eleven... :)

20. Re: Desert trek--ripoff or reasonable request

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