The information below is information taken from Desert Detours and Ray Monteith Smith's emails, it is ALL based in FACT !
I of course have added, where necessary, my comments!
The thinking at the time was probably in the lazy mode and it sort of sound good that we meet Desert Detours in Spain, Desert Detours make all the arrangements for the boat, Desert Detours would see us through immigration at the border and arrange for our vehicles to be imported into Morocco and then Desert Detours would guide us and look after us for the tour. Desert Detours,13 page brochure seemed to be indicating that the tour would be interesting, the price was such that if the tour was useless we could afford to loose it, and it would possibly get us to places that we would not otherwise get to, so we signed on, paid the deposit, and were told to be at a car park on 2 May by 3:30 PM.
A added fact was Ray Monteith Smith claimed he had 37 years experience at running tours in Morocco, so you sort of figure that he will have all the bugs ironed out and the level of guiding will have been perfected.
Well Desert Detours lost us within a few minutes arriving on the African continent.
Lost is when you lose the tour leader, or take a wrong turning through lack of information.
No, one other motorhome was with me and we represented 50% of those on the Desert Detours tour
According to Steve the tour leader, often people on Desert Detours often turn right instead of the left......
To change nothing, but he does a tape recording of the Desert Detours briefing the previous night to prove that he told everybody what to do, and has placed a GPS locating signal on the tour guides vehicle to prove that the Desert Detours guide was at the meeting spot when he should have been.
Well if I was starting out as a tour guide leading tours to Morocco or anywhere else and on my first trip some people took the wrong road for any reason whatsoever, I would look at everything that I did, and keep changing the information and the briefing and till I did not lose anybody.
I would do this in the first year and certainly by year 37 I would have had all of the issues sorted out and not resorted to tape recordings and GPS locators.
There are no maps at all, and the Desert Detours workbook has only written instructions, and in today's age with GPS being almost standard equipment in motorhomes, no GPS settings.
One of the instructions to get to a campsite reads …… the campsite location remains the same, but the signs have gone/moved. There have also been a number of recent road changes and constructions i.e. the unmarried road is now surfaced, who needs a map with precise instructions like this!
In another Ray Monteith Smith suggests "If in doubt hail and follow a taxi" Hell !!! Is this the result of 37 years experience?
Why cann't Ray Monteith Smith not make simple maps and also supply GPS settings, much easier and cheaper that following a taxi!
The tour we did across Russia with a German company and 18 motorhomes had extensive workbooks, extensive instructions and many, many maps that have being copied and a highlighted, with route drawn where we were to go, there was also a briefing every morning to let us know where we were going.
Did you stay with the
Desert Detours tour?
After a lot of finger-pointing from both sides Ray Monteith Smith sent me this e-mail in the evening:- Tuesday, May 03, 2011 7:32 PM
It would seem that at this early stage you are unhappy with both our verbal and written instructions and possibly the style of the tour.
If this is the case please feel free, without prejudice, to leave the tour at this point.......before the tour moves into much more difficult areas. We will of course forward a refund .
Now what did I do? When I met Ray Monteith Smith the first time in Spain at the Desert Detours briefing at the beginning of the trip I formed a impression of him based on my 30+ years in business so I replied....Now you suggest I should leave the Desert Detours tour ............ if you were here and gave me the money back NOW I probably would, but for a refund to be sent at a later time.... no thank you
Now it would appear that perhaps I have refused his offer, if this was the case Ray Monteith Smith could have just said the offer is closed but he said :- Tuesday, May 03, 2011 10:09 PM
I hope you are not suggesting that we would withhold funds due to yourselves should you leave the tour at this point. Our agent [or myself] would meet you at Ceuta for such a transaction should you so wish
Note the words " should you leave the tour at this point" so the offer is still open
Before we left the campground the following day, I e-mailed my acceptance to Ray Monteith Smith of his offer! Wednesday, May 04, 2011 11:50 AM
At no point did Ray Monteith Smith withdraw his offer and the only condition was that I left the Desert Detours, tour at that point, which I indicated I was prepared to do.
So what happened
Well I guess the knee jerk reaction was to loose his
as another tour attendee says he does often because he forgot his offer, probably thought "How dare he leave
the tour" :-
Wednesday, May 04, 2011 2:22 PM
I refer you to our Terms and Condition under the heading of "Cancellation" and have to inform you that from the date and time of this email we have formally withdrawn you from the current tour.
Any refund you may feel you are entitled to can be negotiated via email or telephone should you so wish.
Do you detect a slight change of tone? Or is that just me?
It was Ray Monteith Smith, that offered a refund and I the one that accepted, it is over to Ray Monteith Smith to say HOW MUCH Desert Detours is prepared to refund, Ray Monteith Smith after all know his costs to date, I do not!
So what happens next
I guess we'll have to see whether Ray Monteith Smith makes good and his word on his offer or whether we will have too go into a protracted negotiation to get what Ray Monteith Smith and Desert Detours has offered us.
His sectretary's response today Thursday, May 12, 2011 9:33 AM is
You have also failed to provide us with a claim figure. There was no "Full Refund" offered by ourselves.
NO full refund was asked for, I just stated on this web page what I would have done in the simular situation.
and she added
All correspondence will now be forwarded to our legal representative
So we will just wait and see ......
Again what would I do in his situation?
I have always been taught that when you say farewell to a client under unpleasant circumstances you should do nothing more to make the circumstances worse and in this case (and I have done this in my business) I would give a complete refund without any questions asked, this disarms the leaving client and they wonder if they did the right thing in leaving!
When I was taught this, obviously in America, we were given the example of a major high-class department store that had an unconditional money back guarantee, no questions were ever asked, and I always figured that it worked for them it would work for me, and of course it did, the two clients that I lost came back within 6 months!
Raymond Smith of Desert Detours comments on these statements
on the 18/5/12 I sent a email...Hello Ray,
Of course No Reply!
So where do things stand?
I paid almost €2000, was guranteed a refund, and got nothing!
Did Ray Smith Lie, does he keep his word? Read the above and see what you think!
Can Ray Smith be trusted? Read the above and see what you think!
Should you travel on a tour organized by Desert Detours ? Read this and the other articles and see what you think!
Why so you see no other bad articles about Desert Detours? There are only very few forums that you can tell of your bad experiences, Motorhome Facts, Ray Smith owns the Morocco section, place a bad article in there and it will be gone within 24 hours! So when you look for people who have been on one of his tours all you can read is "Good News" If you do not believe me try placing this link on their Morocco forum and see how long it lasts " Information about how easy travelling thro Morocco by motorhome information "