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Manu Expeditions, Cusco, Peru

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Old Friday 8th May 2020, 00:34   #1
Michael Potter
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Manu Expeditions, Cusco, Peru

This company cancelled a trip in April 2020 that I had paid in full. According to their own Terms & Conditions, they should have given a full refund. However, they chose to withhold $600 US, saying it was a non-refundable deposit. As above, if they cancelled they were to repay fully. Second, I did not actually make any deposit since I booked the trip less than 45 days before departure and paid in full. Therefore no deposit to hold a spot or in case of my cancellation.

Barry Walker of Manu Expeditions has said they are liquidating the business, but I would not be surprised if they re-open under a different name. If you see the name Barry Walker associated with any outfit in the future, steer clear!
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Old Friday 8th May 2020, 00:58   #2
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This company cancelled a trip in April 2020 that I had paid in full. According to their own Terms & Conditions, they should have given a full refund. However, they chose to withhold $600 US, saying it was a non-refundable deposit. As above, if they cancelled they were to repay fully. Second, I did not actually make any deposit since I booked the trip less than 45 days before departure and paid in full. Therefore no deposit to hold a spot or in case of my cancellation.

Barry Walker of Manu Expeditions has said they are liquidating the business, but I would not be surprised if they re-open under a different name. If you see the name Barry Walker associated with any outfit in the future, steer clear!
Don't know the details of these tours, but did find Barry very knowledgeable about the birds of Peru. I'd be happy to have him as my guide in the area.

His sidekick Silverio Dury however is a gem, superbly skilled and very articulate, with better woodcraft than any non native could muster.
He'd be my clear pick if ever I can make it back to Peru.
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Old Friday 8th May 2020, 05:46   #3
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Don't know the details of these tours, but did find Barry very knowledgeable about the birds of Peru. I'd be happy to have him as my guide in the area.

His sidekick Silverio Dury however is a gem, superbly skilled and very articulate, with better woodcraft than any non native could muster.
He'd be my clear pick if ever I can make it back to Peru.
Good guides aren't always good people, a stain against your name will follow any subsequent business.

I did try in the past to contact BW with regard to a potential trip and got no joy, perhaps what I was requiring, didn't pay enough, I don't know but for me, I always thought they were very expensive despite his undoubted expertise. I think this largesse, is probably born of the fact that he has little, real competition in Peru that I'm aware of?

He also owns a pub in the area in which he lives in Peru, go and rack up a $600 dollar bill and then walk out

I don't suppose he's ATOL registered, could you claim it back on your credit card Michael?
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Old Friday 8th May 2020, 08:13   #4
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As Andy says, try claiming it back through your creditcard!
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Old Friday 8th May 2020, 08:24   #5
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BW has actually posted here in the past in response to negative comments if I remember right?
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Old Friday 8th May 2020, 08:25   #6
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As Andy suggests, if you paid by credit card, you may have some redress depending on your jurisdiction. In the UK you would absolutely be entitled to full reimbursement by your cc issuer, if this is a breach of contract.
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Old Friday 8th May 2020, 10:01   #7
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He also owns a pub in the area in which he lives in Peru, go and rack up a $600 dollar bill and then walk out
He bought me a drink in there the night of my fortieth birthday, I'll say that much for the man*. But yeah, the OP does have a rightful grievance, I would say.

And yes, I can confirm BW did appear on here 4-5 years ago to address a grievance, but AFAIK that was the only time he ever posted.Seem to recall him being pretty reasonable and had set his account up specifically to address the problem? If I had time to do some detective work I think I'd start by finding Pete Morris's posts. Think he was involved in the discussion, too? I think Pete simply posts under his own name, one word, lower case letters?

*(After a 10-day jaunt down the Manu Road sleeping by the side of the road, got back to the Cross Keys Inn just in time to see the Copa America football Cup Final between Brazil and Argentina, packed with fans from both countries. Memorable occasion.)
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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 19:42   #8
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[quote=Barrywalker;4000935]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Potter View Post
This company cancelled a trip in April 2020 that I had paid in full. According to their own Terms & Conditions, they should have given a full refund. However, they chose to withhold $600 US, saying it was a non-refundable deposit. As above, if they cancelled they were to repay fully. Second, I did not actually make any deposit since I booked the trip less than 45 days before departure and paid in full. Therefore no deposit to hold a spot or in case of my cancellation.

Barry Walker of Manu Expeditions has said they are liquidating the business, but I would not be surprised if they re-open under a different name. If you see the name Barry Walker associated with any outfit in the future, steer clear![/QUOTE
Hello there Bird Forum : i do not normally follow this site much as there are so many other obligations I have such as countrywide eBird reviewer and Peru rare Birds Committee member but my friend Gunnar Engblom pointed this post out to me. So here is some clarification on this thread just to put the record straight. Mr Potter is not telling the truth or conveniently leaving things out

1. Manu expeditions did not cancel any trip in April 2020 - the country closed its frontiers on March 28th and all international flights were cancelled so this 6 person tour could not run - note not cancelled by Manu Expeditions but impossible to run due to the pandemic.

2. On booking a tour with Manu Expeditions our standard payment request is
"To assure your space we require a non-refundable deposit of $600USD per person and the balance 45 days before departure (or if less than 45 days before departure or if it’s convenient – the full amount)."

3. Due to the circumstances ( although this was not our obligation) we recouped what we could from lodges etc in Manu ( some would not refund) and returned all monies paid except the $600 non refundable deposit which did not cover all our losses. As stated to guests " As a travel company we are finding it increasingly unlikely that we will be able to provide tour services as planned in Peru, this uncertainty forces us to cancel all operational services in 2020.". 5 of the 6 guests thanked us for our effort in recouping what we could minus the $600 deposit and were grateful as they were not expecting a refund.

4. Mr Potter was a difficult customer from the outset and the General Manager suggested we do not take his booking but I did to my regret.

5. As a result of sending the refund to Mr Potter minus the $600 non refundable refund he sent an insulting email which consisted amongst other things of stating "You bloody petty *****" ( the swear word that is camouflaged refers to the male sexual organ) and "I will be posting negative reviews to TripAdvisor, Birdforum, and the World Bird Traveler Global Birding Resource" and "This from a former Honorary British Consul... I'm disappointed, to put it mildly. What a bastard you are! " We'll I am not a former British Consul I am an active one and according to my birth certificate not a Bastard.

6.Mr Potter said "the website still says both you and your wife are owners, contrary to your statement that you are not an owner. Last time I looked my wife and I were owners." Where did he get this from?

7. Mr Potter states "You seem also to have forgotten to make current the references to being Honorary Consul in Cusco, which obviously is no longer the case...basking in past glories it seems." There is no glory in being the British Honorary Consul in Cusco just lots of volunteer work and I am still Consul and have no intentions of leaving that post.

8. Yes i did run a pub called the Cross Keys for for almost 40 years but closed it down several years ago -it is sadly no more!

9. I have posted on Bird Forum before but nothing negative only a warning about a scammer called Omar Diaz which was posted with other well known birders

10 Due to a long wish to get out of the bird tour business the Manu Expeditions Birding company is closed as of today ( yes by chance today!) - the virus thing was the last straw but Mr Potter was a last push! However the website is paid up until the end of 2020 so it will still be out there till the end of the year so apologies if you see it until then

11. This issue was discussed amongst my colleagues on my Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/barry.walke...09438945860109
Take a look! Also anyone who wants can see genuine customer comments at https://www.birding-in-peru.com/clie...timonials.html


12. Finally I apologize for this on what should be a bird forum and not a forum for squabbles - i do not know Mr Potter personally but I doubt he would be a good traveler on a bird tour but there again maybe he would it may be the $600 that is upsetting him but his reaction is astounding as are some comments associate with this post - i do not know him.

13. At 65 years old I'll take this philosophically and I know I did no wrong. Time to retire and go birding methinks! You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

Last edited by Barrywalker : Friday 15th May 2020 at 20:26.
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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 20:20   #9
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Well done, Barry. Best of luck in your retirement

Funnily enough, a White-crowned Sparrow turned up on Shetland today. Didn't you find the first?
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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 20:20   #10
Barrywalker
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Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
Good guides aren't always good people, a stain against your name will follow any subsequent business.

I did try in the past to contact BW with regard to a potential trip and got no joy, perhaps what I was requiring, didn't pay enough, I don't know but for me, I always thought they were very expensive despite his undoubted expertise. I think this largesse, is probably born of the fact that he has little, real competition in Peru that I'm aware of?

He also owns a pub in the area in which he lives in Peru, go and rack up a $600 dollar bill and then walk out

I don't suppose he's ATOL registered, could you claim it back on your credit card Michael?
Dear Andy: No not ATOL registered as there is no ATOL in Peru and we are a Peruvian registered company. I don't recal you sending a mail to me but we always responded if we got one
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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 20:22   #11
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Well done, Barry. Best of luck in your retirement

Funnily enough, a White-crowned Sparrow turned up on Shetland today. Didn't you find the first?
Not me I never found a first for UK on Shetland but was in on the kill for the first Tennessee Warbler on Fair Isle. best I ever did on Shetland was a Dusky Thrush
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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 20:36   #12
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Not me I never found a first for UK on Shetland but was in on the kill for the first Tennessee Warbler on Fair Isle. best I ever did on Shetland was a Dusky Thrush
Ha! Maybe it was the triple strength Pisco Sour you bought me on my birthday killed off my brain cells that night. Thought it had come up in conversation, but then I didn't even recall me and my mate having a Lasagne at the end of the night until I found a bit of mince in my teeth next morning!

All the best
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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 20:40   #13
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Ha! Maybe it was the triple strength Pisco Sour you bought me on my birthday killed off my brain cells that night. Thought it had come up in conversation, but then I didn't even recall me and my mate having a Lasagne at the end of the night until I found a bit of mince in my teeth next morning!

All the best
Historic Photo thanks for that
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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 21:55   #14
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I think Pete simply posts under his own name, one word, lower case letters?
Bit harsh perhaps. I'm sure Pete's posted whole sentences on occasion, and uses capitals where necessary.
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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 22:39   #15
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Well stated, Barry.

I enjoyed our tour to Trinidad & Guyana a few years ago, so it's a shame to see Manu folding up shop. But I'm sure you'll enjoy not having to deal with all of us clients.

Enjoy your retirement.
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Old Saturday 16th May 2020, 14:11   #16
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4. Mr Potter was a difficult customer from the outset and the General Manager suggested we do not take his booking but I did to my regret.
Next time, listen to your wife (oh I mean the general manager)!
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Old Saturday 16th May 2020, 14:30   #17
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Setting a non-refundable deposit in case of a person decides not to go makes perfect sense, because if the person did not book, the company could have arranged for another customer, so the deposit exists to make sure the plans are binding. I would have no qualms about that. Not refunding said deposit when the tour is impossible to run though? I am sorry but that's a shitty business practice no matter how you package it. There is no product, so how can you charge for it? Maybe it's even legally possible, but it's still shitty and I don't understand why the general consensus here seems to be that it's alright. The demeanor of the customer in question is irrelevant and the fact that they are a "difficult customer" should not have ever been brought up by the vendor - that is for sure yet another red flag for me about the company in question.

Once again we see the outcome of the long-term position that many people here push, that someone providing tour services for money is doing you a favor. No, it's still business and the customer is the side that deserves protection.
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Old Saturday 16th May 2020, 15:19   #18
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https://www.birdforum.net/showthread...36#post3971436

Post 450: Opisska said QUOTE "It may give you a glimpse of the terrible person I actually am but to some extent I am looking forward to travelling after this is over - well, if this is ever over - and most of the tourist infrastructure (which I mostly not use) is in shambles. Obviously, this can be a double-edged sword because it's hard to say whether the decay exactly leads to ... but there are definitely places where "all local guides going bust and having to do something else for living" is the dream for me." END QUOTE
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Old Saturday 16th May 2020, 16:48   #19
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Setting a non-refundable deposit in case of a person decides not to go makes perfect sense, because if the person did not book, the company could have arranged for another customer, so the deposit exists to make sure the plans are binding. I would have no qualms about that. Not refunding said deposit when the tour is impossible to run though? I am sorry but that's a shitty business practice no matter how you package it. There is no product, so how can you charge for it? Maybe it's even legally possible, but it's still shitty and I don't understand why the general consensus here seems to be that it's alright. The demeanor of the customer in question is irrelevant and the fact that they are a "difficult customer" should not have ever been brought up by the vendor - that is for sure yet another red flag for me about the company in question.

Once again we see the outcome of the long-term position that many people here push, that someone providing tour services for money is doing you a favor. No, it's still business and the customer is the side that deserves protection.
Sure its a valid point of view and yet the customer has the choice of accepting the terms of a non-refundable deposit or not at inception in fact no funds were deemed refundable under law but we choose to do what was right and return the balance despite hotels and lodges not returning to us. I think the demeanor of the customer is of importance if a person cannot write a concise communication without insults where are we becoming ? Even you sir had to use an insult in your post but I see what you are saying.
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Old Saturday 16th May 2020, 16:49   #20
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Next time, listen to your wife (oh I mean the general manager)!
You are not the first to say that - sigh!
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Old Saturday 16th May 2020, 17:04   #21
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Sure its a valid point of view and yet the customer has the choice of accepting the terms of a non-refundable deposit or not at inception in fact no funds were deemed refundable under law but we choose to do what was right and return the balance despite hotels and lodges not returning to us. I think the demeanor of the customer is of importance if a person cannot write a concise communication without insults where are we becoming ? Even you sir had to use an insult in your post but I see what you are saying.
Well that's then shitty business from the hotels and lodges and thus you are just possibly a victim of "second hand shittiness" so to speak. Maybe it's an insulting term, but to me this idea that when something like this happens, the customer is to bear the financial burden, is not acceptable - but I see how this is a problem beyond your company in itself. On one hand, this makes blaming it in your company unfair, on the other hand, by accepting to work with hotels and lodges who act like that, you facilitate the problem.

And people wonder, why I want to have nothing to do with this kind of tourism business. Yes, I have said what Britseye quoted and this kinds if situations only reinforce my view that the current state if worldwide nature tourism is utterly broken.
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Old Saturday 16th May 2020, 17:28   #22
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Well stated, Barry.

I enjoyed our tour to Trinidad & Guyana a few years ago, so it's a shame to see Manu folding up shop. But I'm sure you'll enjoy not having to deal with all of us clients.

Enjoy your retirement.
Thanks Jeff - that was a good trip! Closing is a thing that had been in my mind for a few years but others will take our place I am sure in the future. This darn virus was just the final straw and an excuse for us to do what we had been putting off for several years. I have been offered a consultancy job with an outdoors company wanting to break into birding tours and I might do that part time in 2021 but birding and education is my main focus now and getting those articles written I have been putting off !! I can't see the Birdtour business being viable until 2021 and it will put many companies under pressure but for us it was the final straw. We were planning to close end of 2021. God bless all in these times of plague and lets hope we all come through it well - however I just found out a Peru birding pioneer Wim ten Have who founded Tanager Tours sadly passed away yesterday.
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Old Saturday 16th May 2020, 17:37   #23
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Well that's then shitty business from the hotels and lodges and thus you are just possibly a victim of "second hand shittiness" so to speak. Maybe it's an insulting term, but to me this idea that when something like this happens, the customer is to bear the financial burden, is not acceptable - but I see how this is a problem beyond your company in itself. On one hand, this makes blaming it in your company unfair, on the other hand, by accepting to work with hotels and lodges who act like that, you facilitate the problem.

And people wonder, why I want to have nothing to do with this kind of tourism business. Yes, I have said what Britseye quoted and this kinds if situations only reinforce my view that the current state if worldwide nature tourism is utterly broken.
Thanks for taking the time to reply - I think one of the great problems is that third world nature tour and in fact any tour company are not monitored properly by the relevant governments - many are informal and work under the radar and there are no control or checks in place. However I do appreciate your comments and do see what your point is
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Old Saturday 16th May 2020, 17:38   #24
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I think I'll sign off on this topic and focus on birds I do not think there is anything more I can usefully say but if anyone needs to contact me B[email protected] will work till the years end
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Old Saturday 16th May 2020, 18:46   #25
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I just found out a Peru birding pioneer Wim ten Have who founded Tanager Tours sadly passed away yesterday.
So sad to hear this. RIP Wim!
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