This report documents the bad handling and misrepresentation of the tour organiser Chimu Adventures on the Visions of Antarctica Cruise departing from Ushuaia on the 24th March 2016 on the MV Ushuaia.
The report highlights 3 classes of issue:
1. The downgrading of the cabin booking in a less than transparent way by Chimu
2. The misrepresentation of an allocated cabin having an unobstructed view as a function of that cabin being refurbished last year so that it no longer has an obstructed view.
3. That Chimu would vilify, abuse, threaten and defame a customer for actually expecting some equity and fairness for being treated so badly.
Chimu has offered to refund the difference in cost of the downgrade but apparently considers it fine to misrepresent the status of a cabin and then denigrate and defame a customer for a few bucks.
Bottom line … we will never go within a million miles of Chimu adventures and advise potential customers to be very wary when dealing with this company.
Recently we had the great pleasure of visiting the great continent of Antarctica. Antarctica is a special place, unfortunately our cruise was not. The ship the Ushuaia was owned and run by a company called Antarpply while the financial arrangements were administered by an Australian company called Chimu Adventures. Neither company does a great service to the unique experience of visiting Antarctica. We will report on Antarpply in another place, but here we will report on the activities of Chimu Adventures.
Chimu has sold us a twin Superior Cabin on 22nd July of 2015 [I have put a hold on the superior cabin for you and I have put in a request for your chosen cabin numbers (to be confirmed at a later date)], except that on 11th February 2016 they have downgraded us from a Superior cabin to the lesser Premium cabin. Chimu has given us a “ticket” with cabin number on it and there is no clarification that we have gone from a Superior down to a Premium cabin. But they say they have communicated this to us many times, except they have not. It is only after we query the cabin allocation on 11th Feb 2016 that they tell us, after the event – that they have … actually configured the ship a little differently for this cruise and all cabins on your deck are classed as ‘Superior’ for this voyage. This post hoc reconfiguration is very convenient for Chimu, but the fact and process has not been communicated. It is also the case that all cabins on this deck are not classified as Superior, some folks actually bought Premium cabins only and also there are some other cabins classified as suites which incurred other rates. A convenient classification system, for Chimu.
So the first misrepresentation by Chimu is that they have sold us a Superior Cabin and then dumped us into a lesser cabin without any explanation, until we pointed out the downgrading, where they proceeded to concoct a facile excuse.
The second misrepresentation is much more explicit and serious. When we point out that the allocated cabin might be obscured by a lifeboat. The agent responds to us that … There are cabins that are obstructed views, however, they are cabin numbers 214 and 215 which are different cabin categories than the one you have, and is definitely not cabin 212. There was a refurbishment on the ship last year and 212 no longer has an obstructed view.
On arriving at the ship, the ship owner has witnessed this statement and confirmed to us and a number of witnesses that the statement that … There was a refurbishment on the ship last year and 212 no longer has an obstructed view. Is not true. In fact the cabin in question has a view which is almost totally obstructed (and there never was any stated refurbishment).
When this misrepresentation is pointed out to Chimu they conveniently ignore the two clear points of their agents statement;
- 1. There was a refurbishment on the ship last year (there was not)
And apparently as a consequence of the refurbishment …
- 2. Cabin 212 no longer has an obstructed view
Meaning that the cabins view was previously obstructed!
Chimu goes completely off topic, evading and changing the subject, stating that … as mentioned on several occasions the ship operator does call this cabin unobstructed as per their website and ship information, which is the same information that we based our correspondence with you in good faith. In fact Chimu/Antarpply resort to trick photos to justify a myth that the obstructed cabin is somehow unobstructed and we will post details of this scam elsewhere shortly.
In typical grandiose Chimu style, they claim to have mentioned on several occasions … when they did not, preferring to misrepresent and hide behind obscure information held by the ship owner, which they have never shown us. The Chimu agent has made the misrepresentation and the Chimu response never deals with false claims of refurbishment last year and cabin 212 no longer having an unobstructed view, these are both untrue.
Chimu has offered to pay the differential down from Superior to Premium, since other passengers have been caught in the same scam and have complained. But they seem to think it is cool that they can get away with dumping us in a cabin with an obscured view. We are going to Antarctica, we want to see the landscape from our cabin. We paid the premium for the view and would not have gone on the trip if we knew we were to be in a room without a view.
But it gets worse. Chimu will not refund the downgrade unless we admit that we are some sort of review scammers. They have abused us, denigrated us, and besmirched us … for asking too many questions on apparently sensitive issues. They accuse us of behaving badly on the ship when never once has crew or staff approached us on any concerning matter on the cruise. Easy to concoct trash after the event if you wish to bully someone.
The worst of it all though is that Chimu would stoop so low as to impugn and defame a customer for a few bucks.
Chimu claims that we use our … profile on trip advisor as a bargaining chip in order to get your demands. … to get a “free” trip. And then most stunningly Chimu claim that … we are aware from several sources that this is often the way you go about things.
Here the Chimu lie is quite clear. They have constructed a lie where several sources have confirmed to them that we get free trips as a consequence of our Tripadvisor profile.
The truth is that over more than 4 decades of travel we have never ever had a free trip or in fact asked or received any form of gratuity from anyone in the travel or associated industries in relation to our Tripadvisor profile as Chimu has claimed. Chimu has created a lie.
So the bottom line is that Chimu can prevaricate about downgrading and obscured view cabins but to go to the extent of defaming customers on the basis of lies is disgusting.
It has been suggested by our lawyers that maybe Chimu is attempting to block us from suing them for the recovery of our travel funds which they have extracted with misinformation and by false pretences, but this seems bizarre. In their assertions that they … are aware from several sources that this is often the way you go about things, they seem to be warning us that … Admittedly, you have not raised this with us as yet. Suggesting that somehow we will prove their claim if we do sue them.
Well the Chimu claim, the lie, stands before the court case. They say they are already aware from several sources. This is their lie.
Subsequently, we have instructed lawyers and we have already initiated legal proceedings. We would have hoped to negotiate, but how is this possible in the setting of the defamation? In the context of the lies which Chimu has constructed to defame us, the matters of downgrades and obscure views worry us little. What is of concern and is exceedingly worrying is that a company such as Chimu, which takes some of us to natural places for ethical travel, would stoop so low as to construct a lie to besmirch and defame a client for a few dollars more.