Update on Colonial Tours Fraud

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by gofigure, Nov 7, 2011.

  1. gofigure

    gofigure Active Member

    401
    80
    28
  2. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

    24,035
    4,390
    113
    I wonder if Patricia Winter is a member here. If so, i'm very sorry for all you went through :(
     
  3. RobinA

    RobinA Active Member

    795
    72
    28
    This is so sad. I had many a good experience with Colonial and Maria in the late '90's and early 2000s. I bailed when the 2003 Worlds packages came through at a very high price, found I could handle this stuff on my own for considerably less money. Something obviously went very wrong. I would still consider using an agency if I were going to Worlds outside the US and now don't know who to use if I were to decide to do this.
     
  4. mpal2

    mpal2 Well-Known Member

    9,282
    1,524
    113
    Very sad. :(

    It's also one good reason to pay by credit card instead of cash for purchases that large. The bank tends to take on the fraud risk and has better resources to initiate legal action.
     
  5. gofigure

    gofigure Active Member

    401
    80
    28
    Silver Blades in the U.S. or Uniworld in Canada would be my best bets.
     
  6. Marge_Simpson

    Marge_Simpson Well-Known Member

    5,390
    1,936
    113
    I see a niche that needs to be filled. Surely some people here could start the voidiest skating travel company of all.
     
  7. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

    12,997
    1,793
    113
    But also criminal.
     
  8. Frau Muller

    Frau Muller President of Dick Button Appreciation Club

    8,048
    521
    113
    What about DASH...the one led by the funny guy who sits next to Kiss n' Cry and loudly congratulates skaters? Is this a legit tour company that delivers? They seem to be more affordable than the others.
     
  9. huggermugger

    huggermugger New Member

    72
    2
    0
    have never travelled with them personally but many people are repeat clients. Company has been in business for years. I can't speak to the travel industry in particular but also Saskatchewan where company is based does have strong consumer protection laws in many areas.
     
  10. peibeck

    peibeck Letting Poje be on top

    17,257
    5,286
    113
    I have used DASH tours twice, but the last time was '03 Worlds. For a while they had all kind of "upgrade" fees, which turned me off, but I haven't noticed that in their recent offerings.

    For most events in Canada or U.S. you are more likely to be able to do things cheaper on your own than through a tour. However, the first time I used their services I made a last minute decision to go to Worlds and ended up with great seats and a fab hotel, so there are perks for what you pay for.
     
  11. cygnus

    cygnus Liberal Furry

    2,370
    858
    113
    I get the impression that Dash provides tickets, hotel and (sometimes) transportation to and from the rink.

    The other companies, while more expensive, offer the above plus city tours, dinners, welcome parties and (for extra $$$ of course) pre and/or post tours to interesting places. Air fare may or may not be included.

    So it depends what you want- if the basics are enough, then Dash should meet your needs- but if you want a bit more and are willing to pay for it, then Silver Blades or Uniworld could work.

    I used Colonial several times and always (until Turin) had good experiences with them, so this situation makes me very sad. I was able to get a full refund for Turin through my credit card, but I feel for those who lost money and hope they can get compensation of some kind.
     
  12. lurvylurker

    lurvylurker Active Member

    233
    47
    28
    I met a couple of people in Torino last year who were with Dash and they were literally on their own -- the company had not sent a representative to Italy! :eek: Their customers had to find their own way from the airport to the various hotels (they all arrived on different flights and were staying in different hotels around the city). Dash had sent them etickets for the arena. They had to figure out how to get to and from the arena on their own, and then this couple had a problem with their seats -- they were already occupied ! It took them 2 days to get it straightened out with the arena staff (which was very frustrating since the couple did not speak Italian) and during that time one of them had to be at their seats at all times so as to be able to fight off the other couple who also "owned" the seats. In the end they were moved to a worse pair of seats in another section. Also, the Dash people were scattered in clumps throughout the arena (they didn't all sit together) so unless they were seat-neighbors or talked in the hotels, they didn't know who each other were.

    Then to top it off, one night this couple got back to their hotel after a day at the arena and found the hotel maintenance staff had entered their room during the day, piled all their stuff in the center of the room, and PAINTED ALL THE WALLS. And of course the hotel was full, so they could not move to another room to get away from the odor. GAH!

    To their credit, they took it all in the best of spirits and with the attitude that they would have lots of great stories to tell when it was all over...but still, I (and many others) took it as an indicator to never go with Dash -- you might as well go on your own for all the help they give you. All Dash did was get them hotel reservations and event tickets.

    FWIW, from what I've gathered a lot of people here in Canada go through Dash for 2 reasons: 1) they advertise a LOT during televised skating events and most people don't know who else offers skating tours and 2) they buy up as many event tickets as they can and only cut off sales when they run out of event tickets...which means they take on a lot of customers (they have 100+ people in their groups).

    Not really my cup of tea at all...:(
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2011
  13. Michael O'C

    Michael O'C Member

    131
    9
    18
    I can recommend Uniworld. I have been to five worlds with them and have always been very pleased.
     
  14. sk9tingfan

    sk9tingfan Well-Known Member

    1,956
    286
    83
    Colonial all the way. At this year's SC, I felt very well taken care of. Since it was a small party, our mode of transportation to and from the arena was a white stretch limo! Of course it took me a few minutes to stop giggling when I first saw it. :lol:
     
  15. JasperBoy

    JasperBoy Heading for Helsinki

    3,125
    510
    113
    I have used DASH many times, including the 2008 Worlds in Gothenberg. I am travelling with them again this year. I have never had a problem with seats, hotel, travel.

    We are usually in a high end suite hotel, often within walking distance of the arena, and with other members of the tour group. If the hotel is over a mile from the arena, there is a bus.

    I buy my own plane tickets, that's something DASH does not attempt. And I agree, since I sometimes arrive a day early or stay later, or even travel on to another city. It is true then, that I have to find my own way from the airport to the hotel. The only time this was a problem as London, ON, which has horrible transport links into the city.

    I have never bought an upgrade, always the Bronze tickets. Our seats are always terrific, central and low. There is always a group meal provided once during the event.

    I have bought arena tickets on my own for events in Victoria but never get seats as good as the ones DASH sells.

    Short story. No problems. Satisfied customer since 2001.
     
  16. gofigure

    gofigure Active Member

    401
    80
    28
    I think you meant Skate Blades Tours or another tour company?
     
  17. sk9tingfan

    sk9tingfan Well-Known Member

    1,956
    286
    83
    Yes! I totally had a brain lapse. I must have just picked up Colonial from the title of the thread. I meant to say SilverBlade Tours. I've traveled with them a few times and have been very happy with the company from all perspectives.
     
  18. sk8pics

    sk8pics Well-Known Member

    3,547
    655
    113
    Silver Blade is great. I traveled with them a few times. Once I went with a friend with Colonial. Seats were fine, but they had messed up our hotel reservation and when we got to the hotel we didn't have a room. It was Colonial's mistake, not the hotel's. I remember that Maria and her co-host each were originally to have their own room, but they ended up sharing so we got one of the rooms. So that was nice of them, but they never owned up to their mistake and never told us they were going to share a room to fix the problem. Basically lied to us about the problem and their solution. But the hotel employee who checked us in told us. It was odd, because we'd have had more respect for them if they'd just told us they made a mistake and what they were going to do to fix it.
     
  19. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to Nationals!

    32,464
    4,843
    113
  20. overedge

    overedge Well-Known Member

    18,167
    2,721
    113
    Hmm, after looking at their website
    http://www.colonial-travelskating.com/
    I can't believe anyone would book with this company. Unless they give a lot more professional presentation of themselves somewhere else.
     
  21. Grannyfan

    Grannyfan Active Member

    901
    108
    43
    I have used Silver Blades twice and Colonial once. All three were early 2000's. Claudyne of Silver Blades is wonderful and gives personal attention to those on her tour. Although I had no problems with the Colonial tour, their representatives made no effort to even introduce themselves to newcomers like me. When I saw Claudyne a year after I had traveled with her, she spoke and called me by name.
     
  22. VanillaIce

    VanillaIce Active Member

    178
    32
    28
    Uniworld based in Toronto is excellent. Fantastic personal service. High end hotels. Transportation too and from the rink. Excellent seats. Interesting fun people. Highly recommended.
     
  23. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

    4,792
    1,168
    113
    The penalties the courts give out in fraud cases are generally laughable and obviously no deterent to the fraudsters. A couple in my town have repeatedly scammed customers through fraudlent car sales and have been indicted in three states. It took nearly 25 years to finally get the husband into jail in FL, for a total of 18 months. The excuse is that the jails are "too full" of "serious-crime offenders" to lock up the ones who merely rip off consumers.
     
  24. Gypsy

    Gypsy Watching the Leaves Change!

    4,566
    1,276
    113
    In 2003 for the Worlds, my sister and I had never gone to a large competition and decided to go with DASH. Since it was our first, we reserved the highest level they had. We were supposed to be guaranteed seats in the first 4-8 rows in the lower level.

    Well, they ended up over selling that level, so they dropped us down one level. Then, when we got our seats, we were in the last row of the lower level in the corner and to top it off, the people two rows ahead of us had purchased a lower level package than we had. We were on our own for transportation, and were NOT in walking distance. Ended up taking a cab every day (and that was expensive). The hotel was ok, but room service was very expensive ($4.00 for a half a grapefruit, $8.00 for a pitcher of ice tea, $16.00 for a hamburter...etc.) and our "view" was a scary looking school playground. We would have stopped at a grocery store but there were none close (nor were there any restaurants close unless we wanted to eat at the hotel restaurant $$$$$$).

    When we tried to find someone from DASH to complain, we couldn't. Even when we went to their private box in the arena, we always "just missed" the representative.

    So needless to say...I would not recommend them.

    I am glad to hear someone has had a good experience with them.

    We did talk to some folks who have used them for years, but they admitted to us that DASH favors their regular customers, giving them preferred seating. (even when that means giving new customers worse seats than those that paid less)
     
  25. BittyBug

    BittyBug Kiteless

    15,473
    3,788
    113
    Sounds like you have a lot of legitimate beefs with them, but I don't see how they can be held responsible for the price of room service in your hotel. Room service is ALWAYS overpriced. And considering that you were in DC, I find it hard to believe that there weren't other food options within walking distance as the district is littered with restaurants and convenience stores. Having said that, I well understand your issue with receiving lousy tickets and little to no support.
     
  26. sap5

    sap5 Well-Known Member

    7,916
    790
    113
    It depends on where in DC she was. There were, especially in 20003, quite a few neighborhoods in DC that didn't have easy access to restaurants, convenience stores, and grocery stores. Some neighborhoods are still that way.
     
  27. BittyBug

    BittyBug Kiteless

    15,473
    3,788
    113
    True, but how many of those neighborhoods have hotels with room service?
     
  28. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

    30,765
    5,026
    113
    Dash tours always seemed overpriced. In 2001, I had a friend who went with Dash tours and I booked on my own. We did share a hotel room that had been booked by Dash through her package - I split the costs of the room. I was not impressed with any of their services for her. She was responsible for her transportation to and from the arena. Many other things that were unacceptable.
    I usually book everything myself, but in 2003 my work situation was one that did not allow me to pre-plan enough to do that. I got my package through SilverBlades. IIRC SilverBlades and Colonial had been together in perhaps a different name years before (many, many years before) and the loyal customers split between the two. From what I gathered with some discussions between several people, SilverBlades was the better option.
    I hope that the people who were wronged get some compensation. But nothing will ever replace any of the memories one would have had with an Olympic experience.
     
  29. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

    20,569
    1,599
    113
    It's like a time warp back to the 90s. :D
     
  30. Gypsy

    Gypsy Watching the Leaves Change!

    4,566
    1,276
    113
    We actually didn't blame them for the hotel being expensive, and the personel at the hotel were very nice. Our problem is my sister and I are not travelers. We drive up north here in Minnesota to stay in very small towns and Washington DC was overwhelming to us. Our hotel seemed to be very much off the beaten path and in an area that was under development. There were a lot of emply lots and buildings around and in a pretty scary neighborhood.

    I think what bothered us the most is that no matter how many times we tried to talk to someone from DASH, we couldn't find them. That included after we got home. We tried many times to call them.

    As for the experience of the Worlds themself, it was amazing and we met some really wonderful other skating fans.

    I will say we learned a lot from this trip!