The following complaints have been lodged and reviews posted.
SCL Airport to Santiago Hotel Transport
The pick up was spooky to say the least. Other than knowing our names the reps from Grayline had no paperwork to identify themselves or what they were hired to do. They also did not wear a uniform or name tag and picked us up in a standard size personal car, not a company vehicle or a vehicle with a company logo. But the guide did have the Grayline survey form.
They were to transport us from the airport to our hotel. The driver spoke no English so he was accompanied by an interpreter who spoke a smidgen of English. When I say a smidgen, I mean just that. We quickly figured out not to ask questions or attempt to confirm any information; and just let the your man who spoke a smidgen of English tell us how he was going to school to learn to be a tour guide and was due to graduate in May.
Grayline appeared to give no consideration to our safety or well-being. No vouchers were asked for from us.
Chilean Dinner Dance Show
The driver showed up, on schedule but again, without any documentation, uniform, name tag or vehicle markings. He did have the Grayline customer survey form so we considered that a good sign. The evening of the day we arrived we were to go to a Chilean dinner show. It turned out to be a Polynesian restaurant, we were served basically an American meal and the entertainment was pretty much Brazilian and Polynesian. If there was anything Chilean about the evening we missed it.
The driver did speak some broken English so was able to point out some areas in which we were driving. However, for every place we went, he emphasized “This is where I live”.
Grayline appears to give little consideration to our safety or well-being. No vouchers were requested from us.
Coastal Vina del Mar and Historical Valparaiso
This was to be a tour through the Chilean countryside and Vina del Mar, to have a Chilean lunch, tour Valparaiso and then be delivered to our hotel in Valparaiso. We had asked the Grayline tour guide Raphael (tour guide from Grayline Santiago City Tour – booked through hotel, see comments below) to confirm that we would be picked up at our hotel and what time. He did call and confirmed we would be met t 9:10 the next morning at the hotel. That next morning at 9:05, Raphael showed up and said he was our tour guide for the day. Again, he had no paperwork, no name tag, wore no uniform and the van, which had several people on it, had no Grayline identification.
Raphael spoke mostly in Spanish which coincidentally, also happened to be what most of the other passengers were. When he remembered we were on board and he could not think of how to refer to things in English, he would ask the others for help.
We had prepaid for lunch which seemed to upset everyone because neither the guide nor restaurant knew what to do with us. No one else in the group had prepaid and apparently no one typically did when with Raphael or at the restaurant. After numerous phones call with I have no idea whom, and meetings with the restaurant personnel, and a loss of about 30-40 minutes while the other passengers waited to learn what was going on, the, I think, restaurant manager finally agreed to feed us. He told us to order whatever we wanted.
However, when the waiter came to take our order, we were informed that we could choose from two starters, two entrees, and two desserts. It turns out the items we were allowed to choose from were the least expensive on the menu, costing about $18. We paid for two luncheons at $42 each. The food was poorly cooked, we were served the wrong foods and it was delivered cold when it should have been hot. They had to redo the food twice and then demanded we pay for our drinks. Oh, and no one at the restaurant spoke an iota of English.
While we were eating a gentleman approached us and identified himself as our guide from Grayline, duh! He wanted to know why we were with a guide that did not work for Grayline! As it turns out, Raphael and his driver were poaching Grayline clients. We also learned that the true Grayline driver called the hotel, confirmed he would pick us up, and left his name and number. We never got that message at the hotel.
Raphael was recommended by our Santiago hotel desk clerk at the Hotel Diego de Almagro Santiago Centro. Raphael agreed and confirmed he would complete the agreed tour.
When we got back on the tour bus, Raphael confronted me and said “his boss was demanding that he collect from us the cost of the tour, because we were with him, not Grayline. As it turns out, Raphael was telling Grayline that we went with him voluntarily and therefore the money we paid to Grayline should be turned over from Grayline to Raphael. Grayline apparently told them to take a hike so they came to us for payment. We told them flat out no!
After leaving the restaurant we made a tour stop in Vina del Mar. The guide, Raphael, approached me and demanded payment for his tour and that if we did not agree to pay, immediately, and in cash, they would have to put us out on a street corner. We refused to pay and demanded they call the police. They refused to call the police but did take us to the hotel. We did not get any of the tour or luncheon which we paid for.
Grayline definitely gave no consideration to our safety or well-being.
Cruise Port in Buenos Aires to Buenos Aires Hotel Transport
Grayline sent a driver to pick us up at the cruise port. Again, he had no documentation, no name tag, no company identification, and was driving a civilian compact passenger car with no markings. He knew our name and the name of the hotel but not the address. He had to ask a man on the street if he knew where the hotel was – the man did not. I had to give him the address.
When we tried to confirm he knew where to take us, he was unable to confirm either by speech or by producing paperwork. This is not a way to convey to a client that their safety and well-bing is important to the company.
Grayline did not give consideration to our safety or well-being. No voucher was requested from us.
Combo, Buenos Aires City Tour and Tango Lesson, Dinner and Folkloric Show and Transport from Hotel to EZE Airport
We went on a city tour of Buenos Aires. The Grayline tour guide was supposed to pick us up at our hotel. A young woman met us at the hotel and when questioned she said she had been hired by Grayline to take us on a city tour. She advised us we had to walk a distance to meet a bus, we would then drive a short distance to meet another bus and our English speaking tour guide.
Well, we walked a block and a half to a bus. After we got to the bus we drove for an hour picking up other people from their hotels. Then we were deposited on the street. After a couple of minutes another guide appeared and introduced herself and told us we had to walk a distance to another bus. We walked 2.5 blocks where we began our tour, and hour late.
Neither guide had any paperwork or identification. No voucher was requested from us.
The guide was multilingual so she would give a brief description in English very quickly and then jump right to the next language. If you did not understand, oh well. If you had a question, oh well. Her English was really below basic. By the time she got through all her descriptions the bus had moved three or four blocks down and you had no idea what you missed. Only about 25% of the tour was spoken badly in broken English. We understood we were going on a city tour with a group that spoke English and would have an English tour guide. Everyone else in the group may have been Spanish. We had no idea where we were, where we were going or what we were seeing. It was a complete waste.
Literally, no more than 20 minutes was spoken in English. When we stopped at one of the stopped we went to approach the guide to ask questions, but that was impossible. She got on her cellphone, turned her back on everyone and walked away, ignoring all the people on the tour. When we were scheduled to meet up with her again, she appeared, still on her cellphone.
Grayline definitely did not take our safety and well-being into consideration. No voucher was requested from us.
We went for tango lessons, a local fare dinner, and then a tango and folklore music show. It was entertaining but the mood was spoilt and we missed about 40 minutes of the show when the wait staff started trying to sell pix or asking for gratuities in the middle of the performance. They hounded everyone and did not understand when we told them repeatedly to go away because we were watching the show. After about 40 minutes they left us alone to continue watching the show. But the experience was distracting.
The show was over about midnight. We exited the restaurant and walked up and down the block looking for our driver from Grayline. When we got off the bus we confirmed that he would be there during the show and to pick us up. He said "yes" he would be there. After about 30 minutes we approached the restaurant personnel and asked them to call Grayline for us. They inquired as to why, we told them, and they said, not to worry they would deliver us to our hotel. Grayline has since told me that it was not their responsibility to return us to the hotel - it was up to the restaurant. Wouldn't it have been nice to know that. Otherwise we were convinced we had been abandoned on a street corner, in a foreign country.
The driver showed up, on schedule but again, without any documentation, uniform, name tag or vehicle markings and he spoke no English.
Grayline did not take into account our safety or well-being. No vouchers were requested at any time.
Santiago City Tour – After arriving in Santiago we spoke with a hotel desk clerk about a city tour for the next morning. The hotel desk clerk made the arrangement for us and we were to be picked up at 9 AM. When the tour driver and tour guide showed up to pick us up, they presented us with the Grayline customer survey so, to double check, we asked if they were from Grayline and they said yes. The guide, Raphael clearly stated he did not work for Grayline, or freelance, but was contracted with Grayline to conduct tours on request.
But they had no uniform, no name tag, and no documentation except the customer survey form; and again they were in a standard vehicle with no markings. And, unfortunately the driver spoke zero English and the guide spoke slim and none. We spent the entire morning on Google searching words, names and places that he could not figure out how to translate. We benefited very little from the tour because he was able to give us minimal information.
At the conclusion of the tour Raphael took us to a restaurant for a “local fare” luncheon. Well, no one spoke English and they had no English menu. They brought us food which I hope I never have occasion to eat again.
Grayline said they are sorry, but oh well. Sorry does not even begin to modify the fact that legally and morally Grayline or any other company has a responsibility to act “responsibly” and in good faith in the care and handling of their customers.
According to a Grayline representative, they promise only to be on time, they do not promise the drivers or guides will be able to speak English and if we have any other expectations, that is basically our problem.
Grayline has told me that our safety and well-being is not part of the arrangement.
Grayline told me that regarding the Tango dinner transportation, they were obligated to take us to the restaurant. Getting back to the hotel was the restaurants responsibility. No one told us. We were abandoned on the street at midnight in Buenos Aires. If we had not asked the restaurant people to call Grayline for us, we never would have gotten back to our hotel. The restaurant volunteered to deliver us to our hotel.
Grayline thanked us for submitting our complaints and said our comments would “help us to work on these with our suppliers in order to try to improve the services.” Wasn’t that gracious of them?
Grayline said if we had a problem or concern, we should have called the emergency number. We had our hotels call Grayline and I followed up with our concerns, in writing, via email and we were assured, in writing, in email, that our vacation and tours in Argentina would be perfect after the travesties in Chile. Not even close.
Reason of review: Bad quality.
Monetary Loss: $945.
Preferred solution: Full refund.