Where do I start....! It's long but worth reading. I have been on and organized more wine yours than I can count but I have never had this happen before!
I used bums on seats tours to do a wine tour to mclaren vale. I hired the 24 seater bus as the 13 seater wasn't available on my requested date.
I was wary of the large group size at the start and I only wanted the 13 seater bus but as it was unavailable on my requested date I upsized to the larger bus. I did ask if the group size would be a problem and I was assured it wouldn't be, which obviously it was in the end. I am an event manager and I have a very good understanding of the industry so the way the tour was handled was disgraceful.
Before they would give me any real information I was required to pay a $200 deposit which I payed over the phone by credit card, I never received a receipt of payment.
Once I paid the deposit phone calls and emails took days to be responded to if they were at all, and when they were the manager who's name starts with a P didn't know what group booking I was which was very annoying or he would confuse my booking with other bookings by continually emailing me with other groups emails which obviously were not meant for me to see.
When booking I was told I could visit 6 wineries including somewhere for lunch. When I chose my 5 wineries and restaurant for lunch I was then told I needed to cut it down to 4, which I did.
Of the 4 I chose I was then told we could only go to 2 of so I asked for recommendations on which wineries to go to. I decided on another 2 and I thought that was that but it wasn't. I was then told again I would need to choose other wineries. By this time I was getting fed up as this was weeks of emails and calls back and forward and all the wineries I wanted to go to were not available. When I asked why he said they don't take groups of my size!
Numerous emails and calls probably more than 20 I finally had the 4 wineries and Camels for lunch booked in.
I asked on booking if it was possible to drink on the bus and was told that wasn't a problem but a liquor license had to be purchased. I paid the extra fifty odd dollars for the license over the phone and was under the impression that it was all taken care of.
On the day the bus turned up early which was great and the lady driver was lovely. When we boarded the bus we were abruptly stopped and told there was no drinking on the bus. I explained to her I paid the extra for the liquor license and was then told it was my responsibility to get one which is not what was explained to me. After speaking to driver she called the manager on the phone who was away in Perth. With the time difference he got woken up very early which he wasn't happy with and clearly took it out on me. He verbally abused me when I told him I was under the impression the license was organized by him which is why I paid him the extra money and he got even angrier. I was almost reduced to tears when he told me he was going to cancel the tour. Obviously I was upset as it was for my birthday. Eventually after almost an hour I was told we could drink on the bus and they would use an old license. He obviously realized he wasn't clear enough about the license and after all the stuffing around decided he would be missing out on more than $600 the remainder being paid in cash on the day.
Finally we got going but there is more! We had 2 tour guides as the gentleman was learning the ropes. They introduced themselves to everyone and were told the rules and the schedule for the day.
When being told the schedule the wineries we had finalized had been changed and I had not been informed! This really annoyed me because we ended up having to go to shingleback as the last stop which I am not a fan of and we didn't go to my favourite wirra wirra which I had specifically requested from the beginning.
When we got to lunch at Carmel's they didn't have our booking and being a nice day they were very busy so we had to wait for a table to be set up for us. This took over half an hour. This was not Carmel's fault bums on seats tried to pass the blame and say they had booked us in on the wrong day but they hadn't because I looked in the Carmel's table booking book myself and there was no booking anywhere!
Then just to top it all off the guide who was learning the ropes purchased boxes of wines and tasted during the day. Extremely unprofessional....!
In the end I paid almost $900 for the day and overall the whole experience was horrible, completely unorganized and just generally unprofessional! The manager is clueless when it comes to customer service and how to run a business!
I would not recommend bums on seats tours to anyone, EVER!
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