Thursday, May 10, 2018

Dad's Review - Beware of Isango or Local Barcelona Tours

In preparation for our European trip in third quarter of last year, I booked a Paris Disneyland ticket through "LocalParisTours" powered by Isango. I received the booking reference immediately with a link to our entry tickets or vouchers. Surprisingly, the link to our entry vouchers wasn't working. Hence, I kept on sending emails everyday asking them about our vouchers. Finally, I got fed up and mentioned to them about my travel blog; I sent them my blog link as well. After this, I received the vouchers together with other promotional discount coupons. The vouchers were sent after more than 72 hours the receipt was issued, Philippine time.

I was damn lucky that we were still in preparation stage of our trip otherwise our Paris Disneyland trip would have gone haywire.

Isango is incredibly fast in charging your credit card and sending receipt but turtle-slow in providing the vouchers. Because of that I kept away from Isango on our following trips outside the Philippines.

Fast forward.

A few weeks ago, the wife and I returned to Europe. While in Barcelona, on April 30, I booked online "skip-the-line" ticket for Sagrada Familia  for May 3 through a local tour company, as I thought, because the name "LocalBarcelonaTours" seemed native. Unbeknownst to me, this online tour agent is powered by Isango. I learned it upon receiving the receipt with booking reference the following day on my email. As expected, they promised to send the tickets/vouchers within 72 hours.

Long story short, we never received any tickets or vouchers from them even after several emails and inquiries. We couldn't call their hotline since we didn't have local sim. We tried to enter Sagrada Familia using the receipt they have provided but we were refused entry. We tried to buy our own ticket but there were no more available tickets for that day. Instead they asked us to buy a ticket for next day entry but it was our flight back to Madrid.

I demanded a full refund and apology but Isango replied that refund wasn't possible since they have sent our tickets/vouchers on May 1, the same day they've sent the receipt. Nevertheless, they apologized for replying late to my emails. Yup, they replied after our supposed entry to Sagrada Familia has elapsed - great customer service isn't it? I explained to them that I have received the receipt only on May 1 - no entry tickets or vouchers.

Eventually, their customer support agent, Jenny, forwarded to me the "supposed" May 1 email stating that the tickets/vouchers were attached. However, they've forwarded only the email without the actual tickets/vouchers that were supposed to be attached. That is strange, isn't it, considering you wanted to prove to your clients that the actual tickets/vouchers have been sent?

Interestingly enough, the forwarded email that was supposed to have our vouchers as attachment indicates that the sender isn't "LocalBarcelonaTours" where we booked our Sagrada Familia ticket but their "support" email; see screenshot below.

Come on, any computer literate person can easily detects the fraud. They have committed a terrible blunder. In addition, May 1 is holiday in Spain so it is unbelievable for them to state that they have sent to us the tickets/vouchers right after sending our booking receipt. They have no direct access to Sagrada Familia database or system; they are merely 3rd or fourth party in tour booking.

As reference, see the screen shot below of "LocalParisTOur" email to me last year regarding our Paris Disneyland vouchers. Did you notice the sender's email address? That is authentic.

Obviously, Isango wanted to cover its ass by making it appear that their clients are stupid enough not to notice the fraud. Are they out of their mind? It never dawned on their mind that their clients could be religiously monitoring their email on those days since they could be expecting other trip vouchers from other tour agents online. Thus, when they made it appear that vouchers have been sent they are actually rubbing salts to the wounds they have inflicted to us, if I may say so.

I googled Isango review and realised that this company has countless of complaints not only on "Tripadvisor" sites but in other travel sites and forums as well.

So guys, there you have it, my story supported with evidence and attested by numerous complaints against their made up story that won't stand a chance when scrutinized.

Isango or Local Barcelona Tour has conned me 36 Euro aside from ruining our vacation. Imagine traveling from as far as Philippines just to see Gaudi's greatest achievement but on the last minute being denied entry.

You can transact with Isango at your own risk. Remember the saying "an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure."

Finally, to be on the safe side, I suggest you avoid any Isango powered tour sites such as Local Barcelona Tour, Local Paris Tour or any other supposed to be "Local" tour sites. You have been forewarned.


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