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11 May 2020

Jack Patterson

DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH THIS COMPANY!!! Our facts: 1. We booked our BBT Tour May 2019 with a contract that provides 100% refund (within 14 days) if BBT cancels the tour. 2. Tour was cancelled last month by BBT as it should have been with C-19. 3. Despite several requests, Laurens Winkel, BBT owner REFUSES to honor the deposit contract and WILL NOT RETURN our money! 4. We told BBT that health issues prevent us using a worthless-to-us “voucher” he offered! He still refuses to refund our deposit, weeks after the cancellation! 5. Is the reality that a company ignoring customer service, and that breaks both verbal and written contracts so they can “steal” my money, may not be in business much longer???

Reply from Boat Bike Tours 12 May 2020

Dear Mr Patterson, We are very sorry you are so disappointed. We believe that we have made you a reasonable proposal: A guaranteed Corona Voucher for the full value of your deposit with the possibility to book a trip in the future (including the 2022 season) with a 10% discount. Moreover, we promised you a reimbursement of the value of this travel credit in case - after a period of 365 days - you did not use the travel credit of your Corona Voucher. Issueing vouchers instead of cash refunds is common practise of the entire European travel in this pandemic crisis. This is basically to avoid the whole travel industry going bankrupt and in Europe it is widely accepted by governmental authorities overseeing these commercial practices. We also receive a lot of support and positive reactions from our guests looking forward to traveling with us later this season or next seasons. Also my team and I explained to you that this voucher is not “worthless” because it is fully guaranteed by the highly respected Dutch Travel Guarantee Fund SGR. As a team we truly internalized our company values in our hearts and, like I told you, some people in the office were quite impressed (to tears…) by the insults and threats we received in several of your e-mails. For me personally, I was also a bit shocked by your tone-of-voice that I never experienced before in my 20 years operating in this industry, also not in this Corona-crisis. Furthermore you threatened to start with a negative campaign on social media. I quote your text: “I would rather NOT go thru this negative media campaign about your company, but if your choice is to ignore our needs, and *your obligations*, and to be non-responsive to customer service, I will have no choice! I will start my media campaign May 12 unless I hear positively from you.” But maybe I just have to accept that Boat Bike Tours is very good in running beautiful highly valued cycling cruises in Europe and not very good in managing a crisis on this scale. We could have communicated better, I apologized for this. In this crisis the travel industry receives a ‘direct hit’ hence all the billions of dollars of support that big (airline) companies receive. Boat Bike Tours, as a relatively small boutique tour operator, will not receive that level of support. And although we are a financially stable/healthy company (our financial reports are publicly available) we are working hard to survive as a community of ship owners, tour guides, bike specialists, nautical team, chefs, service team and office team (more than 300 families depend on Boat Bike Tours). Mr. Patterson, I am very sorry we are in this situation and that we could not reach agreement. You can expect your money back in due time as described on the Corona Voucher you received, Laurens Winkel Director/owner Boat Bike Tours

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