In Nov-Dec of 2007, I booked an advertised Independent FAM trip to Tahiti, with VIP ESCAPES. A FAM trip is a learning/working trip where one learns about the area and takes tours of certain hotels that are included in the trip.
Pretty much from the time this FAM trip began, it was completely stressful and there was must contention among the fellow travelers due to the itinerary not being followed.
Prior to leaving for my trip, I was given an itinerary and was told to see the desk clerk at each hotel if I encountered any problems. On more than one occasion the desk clerk called the owner and he denied the accuracy of the itinerary by merely stating that it was a typo. Something as little as a promised lunch in Tahiti that you have to end up covering can eventually add up to big bucks.
He provided a lot of hype regarding this FAM trip and stated that we would be very happy with all the extras that he was able to come up for the trip and delivered far less than what was originally advertised on paper and verbally. The mere fact that his company name was VIP Escapes should have indicated that the group as a whole would have been very well taken care of, however, it was to the contrary.
The lack of care and concern that I received under his care was confirmed by a very ugly and nasty email sent out to my home email address prior to my arrival home.
He stated that I was very unprofessional and that all I did was nag and ### from the time I set foot in Tahiti. I consider that very unprofessional and abusive language in itself. To attack ones image and self esteem shows a lack of respect for himself and the company that he represents.
Mr. Audebert was very charming up until the time he collected all of my money. During the money transfers, he indicated that he wished everybody was as professional as I was.
I encountered Mr. Audegert briefly in Bora Bora and pleasantries were exchanged. At this time, Mr. Audebert ensured us that the itinerary would be followed. However, it was not.
On our last day in Tahiti, he sent a revised itinerary to the hotel where he took out dinner. So, ours had it on there and theirs did not. The hotel was nice enough to give us a copy of it. He could not even keep a verbal contract such as a promise of his itinerary being followed.
It appears that he runs his FAM trips on a ongoing EMERGENCY basis. I have since been advised that he expected me to personally call him regarding each and every itinerary deficiency which was caused by his inability to confirm the itinerary with the hotel.
I find this attitude very counter-productive. Why on earth would he want every member of the group to pick up the phone and complain to him personally? If one of us had the problem, we all did.
In Moorea, he excluded another client and me from having overwater bungalows. Since there were only four travel agents on this trip, he excluded half of us because we supposedly did not give proper respect. By what definition of proper respect was he referring to?
When good money is paid for any trip, whether it be a FAM or otherwise, the client would expect to be treated with the same kind of respect Mr. Audebert was demanding before he even earned it.
The success of a trip is not determined until all goodbyes are made. Every person should leave that trip with much fulfillment and joy as possiblyâ€¦especially when the business wants your business.
I would never refer Mr. Audebert or his company, VIP ESCAPES to any clients. Mr. Audebert tried hard to remove any joy that we may have had there. By what right did he have to do that?
Since Mr. Audebert has refused to negotiate any refunds with me as was advised in his first letter, I have no choice but to report him as conducting unethical business practices. My Daughter has tried to negotiate with him on our behalf.
My Daughter, who also went on the trip, has tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with him. At one point, he offered her $300; however, everything would have to be taken off [redacted].com. This cannot be done since it is policy that it cannot be taken down. Also, while he was negotiating with my daughter, he sent me a check for $71.45, far less than what my daughter was negotiating for. I did not and will not cash this check.
Also, the back of the check said the following: Contractual Agreement By cashing or depositing this check, you agree to release VE Holdings, Inc, its officers, directors, shareholders and its divisions from any and future liabilities, requests for further refund, or complaints. You also agree to keep your disagreement private. Any breach of such agreement may lead to legal actions to the fullest extent of the law. If you disagree, DO NOT CASH OR DEPOSIT.
Please be advised that I would never use a person that projects such a bullying demeanor to any client regardless as to how wronged he feels he is.
Hope this write up helps you make a decisive decision regarding the credibility of this company.