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MIAMILAW1127, Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 755
Experience:  Founding Partner at Moises Law, P.A.
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I was expelled from a tour in Peru this week with Overseas

Customer Question

I was expelled from a tour in Peru this week with Overseas Adventure Travels 7 days earlier and missed going to Bolivia, because several couples did not like me (I was the only single person amongst 5 couples). The complaints they lobbed at me via the guide were bizarre. For instance I was accused of asking too many questions to the guide (which I did not, mostly my questions were on the culture, not on birds/animals/ruins which was the majority of questions). So on my last day with the group we took an 8 hour bus ride and I did not ask one question and kept quiet the entire bus ride and was ignored of course as usual from any of the laughter and conversations from the couples. I thought I was fine but the guide told me that I got many complaints that day even though I never said a peep. For one, at a quick stop along the highway to see some distant pink flamingos, I was accused of scaring the pink flamingos away (I was in the front of the group going down the hill) and then there were complains that I left the bathroom door open on the bus (sat next to it and perhaps it may have been ajar an inch or 2 by accident). He also said that the day before when we were at a sewing factory I had a complaint. It came after the Peruvian lady showed us how they freely embroider on the sewing machine and the lady encouraged one of us to try to do an embroidery design just for fun. I heard some of those couples say they knew how to sew on a machine so I just said "Oh why don't you try it". I was accused of really insinuating that they were old by asking them to try their luck on the sewing machine. I have never equated sewing machines before with old people. There were more equally bizarre complaints that are realllllly strange, and some not true. My guide told me he felt sorry for me and that they were being hostile to me. He also told me they were making faces behind my back in the bus. In 11 days with the group, not one person ever asked me a personal question and I seemed to be discriminated possibly because I was single and perhaps younger (not really sure). It was a TRAUMATIZING, ABUSIVE experience and truly in my wildest experience, I could not imagine that people could be that MEAN. Then I found out that OAT wanted me out because apparently they have a policy they can kick you out at will, even if you did nothing wrong, just simpley because people wanted you out. I was told today from the tour company today that they will look into it but likely will not get reimbursed for the week I lost due to their Terms and Conditions. I looked it up and found this line "We reserve the right to expel any passenger from a tour or disembark a passenger from a vessel if we deem this necessary for the comfort, convenience or safety of the tour or cruise participants, including if your behavior is deemed to cause or be likely to cause danger, distress or annoyance of other passengers or if we reasonably determine your condition would adversely affect your health, safety or enjoyment or that ot other passengers"
So you can simply just get thrown out on their whims even if you did nothing wrong (like in this case) when a clique forms as happened here and they don't like you. Please tell me if I have any chance of recovering my for the last week of that trip that I paid for but was told to leave. Also I did not have to right to ask questions like everyone else so maybe I have some ground on that?? Help. Thanks.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  MIAMILAW1127 replied 1 year ago.

Hello. My name is***** and I am going to address your question.

The quick answer is that, unfortunately, there is not very much you can do in this situation (legally) and, it would ultimately end up costing you much more than what you are losing for the week if you were to pursue it (between attorney's fees and costs).

Whenever you agree to Terms and Conditions for anything, you are basically entering into a contract with the other party. Most people don't read Terms and Conditions, so many times companies get away with sneaking things in them in plain sight (which is not illegal, as long as it wasn't hidden and you would have seen it if you would have read it). The reservation of rights in this instance is very clear and gives the company the right to remove your from the tour as they deem necessary. This was clearly arbitrarily used against you on your tour. However, they are granted this power in the Terms and Conditions you agreed to.

You're best bet in this situation would be to avoid litigation as it would be costly. If I was in your shoes, I would try to make as big of a fuss with the company itself and not give up until I got some sort of resolution out of it (whether it be a credit, partial or full refund, etc.). You can always go to the Better Business Bureau and write negative reviews online (which many companies dislike). Try to negotiate with them directly to see what you can get out of them. Don't just lie down and take it because that is what they are expecting.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
You don't have to respond back of course because I don't want to incur any more legal fees online - but I think at first hand what you say is correct, but if you look at Paul Cronin, lawyer for tour operators report on, there is a section about state consumer protection act, declaring unlawful any "unfair or deceptive act or practice by a business in a transaction with a consumer' and that conditions in that Terms and Policy "must be able to pass the fair and reasonable test in a court of law. When one reads that particular section in Terms and Policy you make a reasonable assumption that they mean real troublemakers because it is not reasonable to believe that it meant you could get kicked out for basically nothing. They therefore get to keep your money and then save on hotels and the food that you already paid for. This all smells like a kettle of bad fish. Wish I was rich. I'd take them on because I hate to see discrimination of any sort and I know I was discriminated because I was the only single one and younger. Now what if I was African American or in general a non-white person and that made the other passengers uncomfortable, would they still be able to kick me out. Probably not because race is a protected class. So by keeping your money and kicking you out for NO real reason - there is something very innately wrong. Thanks.
Expert:  MIAMILAW1127 replied 1 year ago.

You won't incur any additional fees beyond the $23 you valued your questions at here, should you rate me and think my answers are satisfactory.

I understand all of what you are saying. However, it will be difficult to prove that this language (which is pretty standard in most tour Terms and Policies language) falls under unfair and deceptive trade practices.

You can maybe argue that the application was unfair. However, the amount of money you would have to spend just to get to that point would not be worthwhile for you. Even then, they can come up with bogus reasons why they removed you from the trip and then it becomes your word against theirs (the other couples and the tour operators). It will be an uphill battle with significant expense involved.

Expert:  MIAMILAW1127 replied 1 year ago.

Please rate me if you are satisfied with my answers.

It was a pleasure assisting you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I gave you excellent. You are so right that they can come up with bogus reasons and it will be an uphill battle. I will find out my fate end of next week. I already told them I will put a complaint in BBB and write a blurb in the internet warning people about that particular term and condition (don't know if I really would, but at least they think I am capable of it) if I am not satisfied with their action. Thanks again.
Expert:  MIAMILAW1127 replied 1 year ago.

You're very welcome! Best of luck to you.

And thank you very much!

Expert:  MIAMILAW1127 replied 1 year ago.

I think you also may need to accept my answer, if you haven't already.

Thanks again!