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Bamboo Tours: Beware of This No Refund for Covid Company

The Trip to Thailand That Never Happened

Over the years, I've only posted one other time to warn people about a company. I love to promote travel, good hosts, good hotels, good places to go, restaurants, and friendly tour groups such as Rabbies in Scotland and Gate 1, two of my favorites. Unfortunately, I have had my worst experience ever with a group called Bamboo Tours. To be clear, I still haven’t traveled with this company. I write this to warn other travelers to be aware that if you book with them you risk losing your money. Their policy is NO REFUNDS even if they cancel for Covid 19 as they did with my tour, twice. While travel bans are not in anyone’s control, the way a company handles cancellations certainly is. They not only won’t refund my money, they are deliberately hiding a no refund policy despite displaying a public image as a warm and fuzzy company. They are mean-spirited and non-responsive. Here’s what happened.

We can all agree this was quite a year. Like most of the readers here, I had multiple trips planned for 2020. All of them were cancelled due to Covid 19. I received refunds from everyone except Bamboo. My refunds came from companies big and small: United Airlines, small airlines, hotels, and Gate 1. Bamboo refuses to refund until 2023. I should have known better than to pay in full, but the price was right for a week retreat in Thailand. It was going to be my first stop on a three-week trip to southeast Asia. Here’s their pitch:

“We are proud to introduce the first official Young@Heart global RETREAT 2020! And you are personally invited, after all, is it a young@heart event without you? The time has come for us to create a platform for our Young@Heart family to meet up, share ideas, have bonding experiences, and most importantly share some adventure and fun! As we have always stated we're not old, we're just getting started!
This is not a tour, this is a collective Young@Heart movement! Welcome to THE RETREAT 2020!
Join us in Thailand, the bustle of Bangkok & sandy beaches of Hua Hin ocean resort between April 21st - 27th 2020.”

Sounded lovely. But by February of 2020, Covid 19 was already moving through southeast Asia, so the tour group cancelled and rebooked the tour for 2021 which was reasonable. Here we are a year later and Covid 19 is still rampant, which is not the company’s fault. They rescheduled again for 2022. This time, I requested a refund. I was told I have a credit and if I couldn’t travel by 2023 they would refund my money. They stated it’s in their contract. I asked for a copy and never received it. Keeping my money may be legal, but it sure isn’t ethical. Bamboo Tours will have my money in their account for FOUR years when they were the ones who cancelled the trip. There’s more.

Many people post their Bamboo trip plans on Facebook in one of Bamboo’s groups. I posted comments on Bamboo 50+ and stated that the company does not give refunds. In light of Covid 19, I suggested that the travelers be aware of the policy before they take the risk and book. Due to my warnings, which are factual, I was banned from the site. I messaged the administrator (see below) and received the following messages from Bamboo:

You sent Yesterday at 9:52 AM. (From me):
If you are comfortable with your policy, why have you blocked any comments on the post? You cancelled my trip last February and I rebooked. Since that trip is not happening, I fail to understand the ethics of keeping my money until 2023. It may be legal, but I am from the US and am not permitted in any country you travel to. Besides, the only trip I was interested in was the retreat which is not happening. Isn't it better to refund my money than to have a disgruntled customer for life?

Their reply: Dani Bamboo

Dani Bamboo sent :
Hi Tina! I have blocked the comments and have blocked you from the group. Our group is made for positivity and people excited about their upcoming tours. This is an extremely stressful time for everyone and most people only have their tours to look forward to.

I am also from the US and although we are not able to travel right now we will be. We have tour dates all throughout 2021-2023. This is why the refund policy ends in 2023 because you can rebook a tour anytime between 2021-2023.

Lastly we do have a new retreat date. It is for April 18th 2022. We also have many Thailand tours you could choose from as well.

If you have any questions you can be sure to contact the team at [email protected].

I find her replay ironic and funny. The group is “made for positivity” so for telling the truth about the policy, she kicked me out. I wrote back and told her I would be blogging about my experience and received this reply.

Dani sent Yesterday at 3:18 PM
As I have mentioned above I had to remove you from the group as you were being disruptive to those excited for their adventure.

You are welcomed to join the group again but you do have to follow our groups guidelines of being kind and courteous.

You cannot comment on every persons post saying beware of no refunds. What you are saying causes confusion. Especially to those who had to move their tour dates due to covid.

Again if you have any questions or concerns be sure to email the team at [email protected]

So truth is not "kind and courteous." She had to remove me. I cannot comment and tell people their policy. I am causing confusion. Here is the mission statement of the company:

“Wherever we go, whatever we do, let's make it the best it can be for everyone. Simple. A founding principle of Bamboo.
Karma means action, work or deed;[1] it also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect where intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual.
Bamboo Karma means our actions, experiences, tours, and deeds have only a positive cause and effect! Our intent and action influence our world for the betterment of all humanity!”

Wow. "Simple," huh? Not simple if you want a refund for a trip that has been cancelled by the tour group twice. Karma. That’s amusing. I too believe in Karma. They blocked me on Facebook from warning others of their no refund policy. They refuse to give me a refund. We’ll see how long it takes for Karma to kick in.

I did write to “the team at [email protected]" as Dani suggested. After several weeks, I received no reply.
So there you have it. No where on their website does the "no refund" policy appear. I have no written statement that verifies this. The company seems to operate under multiple names. Bamboo is active on Facebook under several names: Bamboo, Young at Heart , Bamboo 50+, Bamboo Travel, Bamboo Travel Club, Bamboo EcoTours, We Are Bamboo.

There are many positive reviews of the past trips with Bamboo. But if you book, be aware you will lose your money if they cancel. And if you try to warn customers, you will be considered unkind and discourteous.

UPDATE: It is two years since they cancelled my trip due to Covid in Thailand. They have blocked me from their site on Facebook and refuse to refund my money. What is worse, they are advertising and still taking people's money although travel is still not allowed in Thailand. Buyer beware!!!!

Posted by teethetrav 13:51 Archived in Thailand Tagged bamboo do_not_use_bamboo_tours young_at_heart bamboo_50+ bamboo_travel

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Fingers crossed, Tina! Keep safe!

by Vic_IV

Thank you Vic!

by teethetrav

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