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Warning: Unseen Travel - Bangkok

  • Rosaleen26

    Joined Travelfish
    11th May, 2010
    Posts: 1

    Hi guys,

    Just a word to the wise about Unseen Travel in Bangkok. We were fresh off the boat so to speak & thought we were going to T.A.T. Unseen Travel are a legitimate company but they charge extortionate prices & don't let them take a deposit off you because you won't get it back. It was our own fault & a pricey lesson.
    As a rule, if you're looking for a good travel agents in Bangkok, make sure they have a travel police station beside them as these are usually the most reliable or just go to the official T.A.T. office

    #1 Posted: 12/5/2010 - 13:31

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  • SBE

    Click here to learn more about SBE
    Joined Travelfish
    14th April, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 1951
    Total reviews: 5
    Places visited:
    At least 2

    Sorry to hear about your bad experience Rosaleen.

    Unfortunately I don't think many potential victims will see your warning though. All the complaints I've seen have been from newly arrived tourists who don't seem to have done much research prior to going to Thailand.

    If you do a search you'll see you aren't the first person to complain about this particular company. There have been quite a few warning posts on Travelfish too and they even get named in a travelfish feature story about scams.

    http://www.travelfish.org/feature/129

    I'm a bit curious as to why people choose the Unseen Thailand agency in the first place. As you've no doubt since discovered, Thailand is very easy and you don't actually NEED a tour agency at all, but these guys seem to be charging outrageously high prices compared to other places.

    http://www.bangkokscams.com/scams-in-bangkok/unseen-tours-scam.html

    What made you chose them rather than another agency? Are they recommended online somewhere? Did the guesthouse you were staying at tell you to go there? Did some friendly well dressed Thai speaking perfect English tell you they were a good reliable company? Where did you get the idea that they were TAT from?


    TAT isn't a travel agency and they don't sell tours and tickets

    #2 Posted: 12/5/2010 - 18:33

  • SBE

    Click here to learn more about SBE
    Joined Travelfish
    14th April, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 1951
    Total reviews: 5
    Places visited:
    At least 2

    Oops sorry. (I really need a fr***ing edit button Somtam) I wasn't paying attention and wrote "Unseen Thailand" for some reason when we are in fact talking about "Unseen Travel"

    ...or possibly "Unseen Tours".

    I wonder if it's the same company.

    #3 Posted: 12/5/2010 - 18:50

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    Some details of what actually happened would b nice - or was it all as vague as your post?

    #4 Posted: 13/5/2010 - 11:45

  • UCSBrown

    Joined Travelfish
    28th November, 2009
    Posts: 24

    There is no such thing as an Official T.A.T. office which sells tickets As explained by SBE. T.A.T is the agency that provides oversight. I don't think they set commission rates which I've heard of being several times over the actual cost of the tickets.

    You should always do a price comparison with at least one other agency if you aren't familiar with what prices should be. This can help in raising some red flags as you would have had one immediately with a crazy high price.

    Final note: Be careful of the Gem Shops. If a tuk-tuk takes you on an all-day trip for 20BHT it may be true but you're not going to like it!

    #5 Posted: 13/5/2010 - 12:44

  • neosho

    Joined Travelfish
    13th August, 2008
    Posts: 386

    That's why they call it "Unseen Travel", because they don't deliver , and you don't get to see.

    #6 Posted: 13/5/2010 - 22:23

  • erykah

    Joined Travelfish
    9th November, 2010
    Posts: 4

    2010 and unseen are still operating.

    We just got back from the holiday from hell.. also newbies to Asia, having read-up a lot about scams we were not prepared for this.

    We were taken by tuk-tuk to unseen travel in Pathumwan, Bangkok, where everything looked legit, we checked licensing etc and everything seemed fine, they even checked us into a non-insect infested hotel for a reasonable price so everything started out great.

    We paid 91,000 baht for 3 flights (2 of us) and supposedly all of our hotels, food, tours etc. The s### hit the fan when she told us to come back and get the final details after we checked into our hotel.

    We went back to get 'details' of which there were none, scribbles (I mean this literally, un-readable!) on bits of paper, no addresses no matter how much we tried, not even the name of the hotel in some cases, not even flight reservation numbers or anything. She even started to get aggressive with us when I tried pushing for details. We were very VERY lucky we managed to find an English speaking person to help us even confirm we had flights booked!! We were so scared about the reservation I canceled my credit card thinking they would try and charge it again.

    The first low-blow was our 'English speaking tour-guide' spoke NO English, not even enough for us to ask for the bathroom.

    Then, amazingly, we were actually picked up for transfers to Siem Reap, not by the 'luxury bus' we were told but a mini van that was full. The transfers were messy with no instructions of what to do, and running late (to the point others missed their next transfer).

    We get to Siem reap, again with a shared car not the private car we were told and dropped at a backpacker hostel not the 4 star hotel we were promised. Our tour guide was fantastic though which was about the best part of Cambodia. Oh she also booked our flights so we would be in cambodia 4 days and 3 nights however she only booked accommodation for 2 nights so we had to pay further.

    Amazingly our flights went without a hitch (even had checked luggage which we thought would be forgotten considering how the rest of the trip had been going).

    So we arrive in Ho Chi Minh and the hotel that had been booked didnt exist, nor did the number she gave us for our 'tour guide' so again, we had to pay more!

    Next, flights to Hanoi. once again no tour guide to pick us up so we took a stab in the dark and went to the "Hanoi View", turns our there are 2 and guess what, we were not at the right one, no we were to be staying at the disgusting 'city gate' (a sister hotel and a downgrade so unbelievable you wouldnt think it would be the same chain) which had a hole in the shower so water peed everywhere, stained sheets with holes in them, a broken computer, oh and musn't forget the cockroaches. checked out of here asap and had to pay AGAIN.

    SO, now that we are back in Australia I am going through my credit card company (EVERYONE make sure you get a gold card for amazing legal benefits etc) to try and recoup some money as we estimate we were overcharged by at LEAST $900+

    Word of advice for anyone looking to do Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam.. you DO NOT need a travel agent it can all be done easily, safely and most definitely cheaply online by yourself! Had we of known this we would have had a much easier, WAY cheaper and less stressful holiday

    #7 Posted: 9/11/2010 - 19:48

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6293
    Total reviews: 10

    Frankly, I don't know why anyone would ever use a tour guide. I don't see the point. Getting locked into a schedule, paying someone to make reservations and so forth for places you don't know... it begs for a scam. It's so easy to get around here, and find hotels and such - using an agent makes zero sense to me.

    #8 Posted: 9/11/2010 - 23:32

  • mikethediver

    Click here to learn more about mikethediver
    Joined Travelfish
    23rd March, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 205
    Total reviews: 3

    Hi,
    You should send your complaints to the TAT office. All companies that deal with tourists leave a 'deposit' with the TAT office. TAT do not regulate the prices that they charge so it's hard to complain about overcharging as you agreed to pay in the first place. However, they'd certainly be interested in non delivery or wrong and misleading services/advertising.

    If the TAT agree with you they have the power to compensate you from the 'deposit' left by the company - that's the whole purpose of the TAT licence, and even revoke the companies licence without which they shouldn't be able to operate.

    I'm not sure how it would work with services provided outside of Thailand, but you have nothing to lose by complaining. Given clear evidence I believe the TAT would do something and it's worth a try as is the whole point of the TAT licence in the first place!

    #9 Posted: 14/11/2010 - 17:04

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1592

    I would think the only possible recompensation would be for non-delivery, i.e. flights/hotels/tours you bought that didn't exist. However for things that just didn't go as promised (guide who didn't speak English, shared instead of private taxi, etc) I seriously doubt you'll get any kind of refund. Live and learn.

    "Word of advice for anyone looking to do Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam.. you DO NOT need a travel agent it can all be done easily, safely and most definitely cheaply online by yourself! Had we of known this we would have had a much easier, WAY cheaper and less stressful holiday"

    AMEN!

    #10 Posted: 15/11/2010 - 22:06

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  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 771

    While I agree with last posts it seems irrelevant here. And there is a point in organized tours if you're short on time. I can fully understand that with limited time it's easier to arrange all major things in one go.

    Anyway, why do people not use the below?
    I don't mind reading the rants/complaints but they should certainly complain officially

    http://www.tourismthailand.org/e-service/formsubmission/complaint-form/

    #11 Posted: 16/11/2010 - 09:19

  • eastwest

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 771

    While I agree with last posts it seems irrelevant here. And there is a point in organized tours if you're short on time. I can fully understand that with limited time it's easier to arrange all major things in one go.

    Anyway, why do people not use the below?
    I don't mind reading the rants/complaints but they should certainly complain officially

    http://www.tourismthailand.org/e-service/formsubmission/complaint-form/

    #12 Posted: 16/11/2010 - 09:20

  • SailorBoy

    Joined Travelfish
    26th November, 2010
    Posts: 7

    thanks to everybody for making me aware of 'unseen' .... yesterday this overly friendly tuk tuk driver offered to take me to the TAT office and a few other sights, all for 5 bahts... i asked what was in it for him.. he said he would get free gasoline coupons.... i didn't believe one bit, but was curious :) ... so i boarded... he went through alleyways and mazes... then finally in front of the 'TAT office' ... and guess what the sign inside read :) ... UNSEEN TOURS ... alarms went off in my head... still i went in ... the girl was really friendly, and kept trying to hardsell... i asked for a 3day 2night deal in kanchanaburi... the price? 5500 baht... do it yourself and you can make it for less than 2000 :) ... i told her i'd come back tomorrow(had no plans to do so) ... she said this is a government agency and closed on weekends .. i left anyway... i'm no cal lightman, but i had a gut feeling that everthing she told me was a lie :) ... the tuk tuk driver then took me to anantasamakhom and left.

    thanks again everyone for saving my behind :) ... AVOID UNSEEN LIKE THE PLAGUE... THEY ARE NOTHING BUT ROGUES.

    #13 Posted: 4/12/2010 - 10:32

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1592

    "she said this is a government agency"
    "everthing she told me was a lie"

    Absolutely! Anyone pretending to actually BE the TAT and selling anything is lying. Unfortunately this scam is one of the most rife in Thailand, especially in Bangkok near the main tourist spots. Agents must be TAT-licensed, that's all. And not to completely knock travel agents because the majority around the country are reasonably fair and honest, just make sure to compare prices and don't book too much at a time if at all. As noted you can organise most transport and accommodation on your own, and always best to buy as near the source as possible. Things like daytrips you'll probably be using an agent of some kind just compare a few to get the right price.

    #14 Posted: 4/12/2010 - 17:24

  • Dilligaf

    Joined Travelfish
    27th November, 2010
    Posts: 10

    Unfortunately, there's a sucker born every day, and don't the Thais know it!

    #15 Posted: 7/12/2010 - 12:22

  • SailorBoy

    Joined Travelfish
    26th November, 2010
    Posts: 7

    its more like a sucker born every minute :) ... as i sat in that office talking my way out of the scam, at least 5-6 clients walked in and booked ridiculously overpriced tours... and there was this young german couple at my hostel, who were very happy to have found an honest tuk tuk driver who took them to the official TAT office and helped secure a fantastic deal :) ... it broke my heart to tell them the truth, but it had to be done, or they would end up in trouble in a strange place.

    #16 Posted: 7/12/2010 - 21:28

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1592

    In the few days since my last post, I've met several people travelling up from Bangkok with similar stories here in Chiang Mai (wife is a travel agent, I lurk in the background). Same scenario - booked everything with "the TAT" in Bangkok and now how do I get out of it, or at least get some recourse for the things that have fallen short of what was promised and I paid way too much for? Unfortunately, unless there was a complete failure to deliver, and you're willing to go back to Bangkok, there's not much you can do except live and learn. The hard part is breaking the news to them without a hint of condescension. So many people fall for this sort of thing it boggles the mind.

    #17 Posted: 7/12/2010 - 23:26

  • gordon839

    Joined Travelfish
    28th September, 2011
    Posts: 1

    Unseen Travel is best left Unseen. I have similar story as the others. Tuk tuk took us there and we were suckered into buying an excursion. Unfortunately the excursion disn't cover what we wanted to see.
    The guide thought that if she shouted then we would understand her better.
    The bus had norst aid kit and when a girl became quite unwell, she was crying in pain, and wanted to chuck up the 'guide' was more interested in gettin to the next stop and was angry when we insisted that they stop for the girl to be ill.
    They suck and I strongly recommend that they remain unseen.

    #18 Posted: 28/9/2011 - 21:14

  • CunningMcFar

    Joined Travelfish
    20th August, 2004
    Posts: 163
    Total reviews: 45

    from #16 above: "were very happy to have found an honest tuk tuk driver who took them to the official TAT office and helped secure a fantastic deal"

    Perhaps it bears repeating now that the thread has resurfaced--official TAT offices do not sell tours, make hotel/flight bookings or anything else like this. They exist to promote tourism in Thailand domestically and abroad, provide info on places to visit in the country, act as licensing body for travel agents and collect tourism data, that's pretty much it. Any alleged "TAT" office that sells tours, hotel bookings, flight tix, etc is an agent unscrupulously adopting the official name to gain the business of unsuspecting visitors and should be avoided at all costs.

    #19 Posted: 29/9/2011 - 03:08

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