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Stay away from "Napa Valley Bike Tours"



 
 
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  #1  
Old December 21st 03, 05:11 PM
Happy Russ
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Stay away from "Napa Valley Bike Tours"

Let me begin by saying that if you are considering a bicycle tour of the
Napa Valley, I highly DO NOT recommend that you go through John Hilderbrand'
s "Napa Valley Bike Tours." If the numerous unresolved complaints on the
Better Business Bureau's web site don't convince you, perhaps this post
will.

I've been meaning to post a review of our California vacation, including the
Napa Valley, for about a month now. However, we had an unresolved issue that
FINALLY got resolved a few days ago (though not to our satisfaction, I've
reached the point of giving up).

Back in September, my wife and I decided that we wanted to take a bicycle
tour of the Napa Valley. We surfed the web and found NVBT. We called, and
the owner, John, answered the phone. I was impressed that we were able to
deal with the owner, and felt that perhaps we might receive some "personal
touch" based off of our first few conversations. We were interested in what
the site posted as the "romantic getaway" tour. It was a 3 day tour that
included a bunch of extras. The site lists the price as $750/pp weekday and
$850/pp weekend. We were arriving on a Tuesday and departing on a Thursday.
John said that he was doing a big tour (called the "Terry tour") that week;
however, he would definitely be able to work something special out for the
two of us.


A few days later, he charged our account the weekend rate (even though it
was on the weekdays). I let it slide (stupid me), assuming that he meant it
when he said it would be "really special." In the weeks following, I
contacted him for the details of when we were to show up. He said 8:30 am
Tuesday morning. He also said he would call me a few days before to confirm
everything. No calls. A day before we were to arrive, I called the shop and
spoke with the guy working there, Harper. He confirmed an 8:30 am start
time. The web site said that the first day wasn't really a tour, and we were
to show up later in the day. However, I figured this is why he charged us
the extra amount, and as John and Harper said, we were to show up at 8:30 am
for our first tour.

We arrived at the shop at 8:45, and witnessed Harper in the first of many
near-nervous-breakdowns. It turns out, they forgot about us, and didn't have
a tour lined up after all. Instead, they gave us two rental bikes and a map
and were forced to fend for ourselves. No tour; no van support.

Fortunately, we are relatively young and in shape. We made the best of it
(actually, we had a great time, no thanks to NVBT). We are relatively novice
bicyclists, going about 5-10 miles when we ride here at home. That day, we
rode about 30 miles:

We started at the corner of Trower and Solano Road. We rode north on Solano
until we got to Yountville. We were going to eat lunch there, but it was
kind of early for lunch, so we went east on Yountville Cross road to S.
Anderson winery. We did the morning tour there, and it was pretty
interesting. We went in the caves and did some tastings inside. There, they
showed us where they aged their sparkling wine. They still do it in the
Champaign tradition:
Step 1: Ferment
Step 2: Rack/Age
Step 3: Bottle with an old-school bottlecap.
Step 4: Add some sugar
Step 5: Yeast eats sugar, splits (basically) in half producing alcohol and
carbon dioxide (bubbles)
Step 6: As the yeast finishes, it settles to the bottom of the neck (the
bottle is almost upside down). The bottle is rotated Ľ turn several times
over 10 years.
Step 7: Dip top of bottle in liquid nitrogen (or the like) and the sediment
(and some champagne) will freeze.
Step 8: Open bottle (pressure will shoot the frozen cap out)
Step 9: Add sugar for residual flavor.
Step 8: cork it.
Our tour guide there recommended we stop at Oakville grocery for lunch. It
was a bit out of the way, but we rode to it, and indeed, it was a good lunch
(the Napa Valley Bike tour site claimed that they would include a lunch from
there as part of the day 3 tour. Since they totally forgot about us on day
3, I am glad we stopped when we did. more on that later).

After lunch, we rode back to the Silverado trail, and throughout the
afternoon, stopped at various wineries along the way south back to the bike
shop. We managed to stay relatively sober, due to all of the biking and
extra water intake required because of it. Also, the actual drinking was
pretty well spaced out because it isn't like driving, where it takes you 2
minutes to get to the next winery.

We ended up back at the shop and drove to our B & B, McClelland Priest.
Lodgings there were part of our "tour" through NVBT. This place is the
quintessential B&B with the personal touch. The owner/operator, Celeste,
very much made you feel like a friend, rather than a hotel guest. Our room
was out of sight, with a hot-tub that felt really good after a long day's
ride.

After John's forgetting about us, he said he would get us a "special" bottle
of wine and have it waiting in our room. Mysteriously, none ever showed up.
Fortunately, Celeste was on top of things, with wine and cheese set out for
the guests as they arrive in the evening.

As part of the package, John gave us a gift certificate to Zuzu's, a "tapas"
restaurant that basically specializes in serving appetizers. It was pretty
interesting. We drank some pretty good Cider. We haven't had that stuff
since we were in London.

The next morning, NVBT was actually ready for us as they had promised (sort
of). John had hired someone (named Dave) to give my wife and me a personal
tour. Dave's original plan was to have Harper drive us up to Calistoga,
where Dave was going to take some readings on his Pinot Noir (he is a wine
maker, and it was harvest season). Then, we would ride back, stopping along
the way. Unfortunately, Harper refused, as he had loaded up the front seats
of his truck with a bunch of crap that he had to take to the Terry Tour.
Once again, we were going to have another day without the promised "van
support." Good thing we are young and in shape.

Anyway, Dave's tour was great. Dave knew many of the vintners whose wineries
at which we stopped. We didn't have to pay for any tastings because Dave
knew the owners (and for the guys he didn't know, he nicely bull****ted our
way in). There were two very notable stops. The first was at Del Grotto. We
tasted the same Cabernet out of two different barrels-Minnesota Oak and
French Oak. We personally liked that from the Minnesota Oak better. However,
the trend in the Napa Valley is definitely toward the French oak. My guess
is probably because it is more expensive. Granted, the wine is smoother from
the French Oak, but I think that status has a lot more to do with it than
one might guess. I wouldn't be surprised if they preferred American oak in
France.

The second memorable stop was at John Caldwell's. This is a very small
winery that makes some really great wine. Dave was knocking on doors and
making himself at home, when we finally found John Caldwell in the back room
titrating some wine. He gave us a taste of it. Fantastic!

At about 3:15, we ended up back at the B&B. The night before, we were told
that we had reservations on the "Napa Valley Wine Train" for this evening. I
recalled on the NVBT we site, it said (in fact, this is a quote from what is
STILL on the web site):

Then the van picks you up at 3 PM so you can freshen up in your room or get
a massage or spa treatment. In the evening the McClelland Priest B&B will
serve hors d'oeuvres and wine while you visit with the other guests. Finally
a fine dining experience awaits you on the Wine Train. Our Rickshaaw will
deliver you there and the limo service will pick you up.

We attempted to call John Hilderbrand's cell phone MANY MANY times after we
drove to the B&B (van? Yeah right!). We were anticipating a late night of
drinking fine wine on the train, and were looking forward to getting a ride
to and from. However, the guy never called us back! We didn't even know
where the place was or if it was already paid for. Fortunately, our Hertz
rental car had "never lost" which got us there and back, but we were QUITE
disappointed to have to drive (especially under those conditions. I hear
that the Napa Valley cops are always looking for some tourist DUIs;
fortunately, I managed to make it back intact).

The wine train was kind of a misnomer as well. Wine isn't even included in
the tour! Then, they charge you the usual restaurant-inflated prices for
relatively mediocre table wine. Oh well. Supposedly, this is one of THE
things to do in Napa Valley, so we had to try it.

The next morning, we went back to the shop for what was supposed to be our
3rd day of touring. Here is what the web site says you will see on day 3:
Our tour guide arrives to start you on a scenic trip up the Napa Valley. We
will stop for a tasting at Havens Winery, known for its fabulous Merlots. A
fun next stop is Oakville Grocery where you can taste just about everything
in the store; then on to Silver Oak and their fine Cabernets, Plumpjack
Winery and lunch at Caymus accompanied with a glass of their award winning
Cabernet. Afternoon takes you for a short jaunt to Mumm Cuvče Napa and a
beautiful flute glass of their sparkling wine. At 3 PM, the van then whisks
you back to your car so you can start your journey home.
Total day's bike mileage: 18

Instead, we got to the shop to see Harper again. This time, he was even
closer to the nervous-breakdown. He called John over their wireless
walkie-talkies. Much to nobody's delight, John's reply over the
walkie-talkie was "****, I forgot about them." He then offered to refund us
$400 and told us to leave our address with Harper so he could send us some
wine for his poor treatment.

Not letting it spoil our vacation, we accepted and took the bikes ourselves
again. This time, we went for a ride through the hilly south Napa Valley. We
actually only did a half day tour on this day. Our legs were tired, and we
were going to head south to Santa Cruz to catch Skerik's Syncopated Taint
Septet that evening.

After it was all said and done, I did the math. It turns out, we could have
spent $627 less if we had never met John Hilderbrand. On top of that, if we
went that route, we wouldn't have been EXPECTING stuff we didn't receive.
Here is the breakdown, if you are interested. Our credit card was charged
$1831.75.

$1831.75 - taxes = $1700
$1700 - $120 = $1580 (day 1 "bike rental" at $60 per day/per bike)
that evening, we were presented with a $90 certificate for Zuzu's:
$1580 - $90 = $1490
the next day, the Dave tour was given (Dave told us, and John said on the
phone that John gave him $100)
$1490- $100 - $120 (bikes for day 2) = $1270
McClelland Priest lists two night packages of their "Master Suite" (not sure
if that was us, but it was a very nice suite) at $419: $1270 - $419 = $851
The wine train is listed at $85 per person: $851 - $170 = $681
We "rented" our bikes the next morning from the time we arrived at about
10:30 until we departed the Napa Valley at 12:30. The site lists rentals at
$8/hour: $691 - $64 = $617

He offered a refund of $400: $627 - $400 = $227.

We figured $227 would nicely cover "some wine." We bought a case from
Montecello at $400 shipped.

Only, our refund never came. One week went by. I called him. I left
messages. I left emails. Nothing. Two weeks. I spoke with his underling,
Andre. Andre learned from the master, "Oh, yeah, we are in the process. I
will talk to John and get it straightened out by the end of the day." Three
weeks. I talked to John on the phone. He pulled some "oh, this is a cell
phone" bull and hung up on me (never calling me back). I was skeptical that
we would see ANY sort of refund from him after that incident. Feeling
helpless, I wrote a message to Celeste, the B&B owner (who I know is a real
person with values, unlike Hilderbrand). She said she would talk with John
and straighten things out. More time passed. I spoke with And "Your
paperwork is out, I think he will be taking care of it today."

Finally, I called John's cell phone last week and didn't get voicemail He
answered. I am sure he was bummed that it was me, but he said once again "I
will be crediting your account today. If you don't see anything in a week,
call me." I said, "I will; I just hope you'll call me back."

Indeed, a week later, $400 was credited. However, no wine. He isn't going to
send wine. He simply lied (as is his specialty) to tell us what we wanted to
hear. He said that he was going to send me his list of "costs" to show that
a $400 credit is fair. I guess it is more expensive for him as a local Napa
business man to line up these efforts than it is for me, a tourist. He is
full of ****. No "cost list" has come (nor will it).

The bottom line is that as a businessman, if you expect to keep your
business and clientele, when you screw up, you need to make it up to your
customers. This guy expects us to pay full price for what we did receive,
even though it wasn't what was originally promised. In fact, he expects not
only for us to pay full price, but for him to take a nifty $227 profit on
top of it.

Bottom line: if you want to do a Napa Valley bicycle tour, go elsewhere. If
you need to work with Hilderbrand, rent bikes from him only. Call Celeste
for lodging. If you REALLY want to screw yourself and pay Hilderbrand for
the package deal, at least make him itemize each item instead of charging
you a lump sum so he can screw you over later.

If you still aren't convinced, check the Better Business Bureau. You will
see that he has had multiple complaints, and he handles them all the same
way, "Ignore it and it will go away." It doesn't ALWAYS work that way...


Ads
  #2  
Old December 22nd 03, 05:50 AM
GWB
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Stay away from "Napa Valley Bike Tours"

You're lucky some idiot drunk tourists didn't run you over with their car.


"Happy Russ" wrote in message
news:[email protected]
Let me begin by saying that if you are considering a bicycle tour of the
Napa Valley, I highly DO NOT recommend that you go through John

Hilderbrand'
s "Napa Valley Bike Tours." If the numerous unresolved complaints on the
Better Business Bureau's web site don't convince you, perhaps this post
will.

I've been meaning to post a review of our California vacation, including

the
Napa Valley, for about a month now. However, we had an unresolved issue

that
FINALLY got resolved a few days ago (though not to our satisfaction, I've
reached the point of giving up).

Back in September, my wife and I decided that we wanted to take a bicycle
tour of the Napa Valley. We surfed the web and found NVBT. We called, and
the owner, John, answered the phone. I was impressed that we were able to
deal with the owner, and felt that perhaps we might receive some

"personal
touch" based off of our first few conversations. We were interested in

what
the site posted as the "romantic getaway" tour. It was a 3 day tour that
included a bunch of extras. The site lists the price as $750/pp weekday

and
$850/pp weekend. We were arriving on a Tuesday and departing on a

Thursday.
John said that he was doing a big tour (called the "Terry tour") that

week;
however, he would definitely be able to work something special out for

the
two of us.


A few days later, he charged our account the weekend rate (even though it
was on the weekdays). I let it slide (stupid me), assuming that he meant

it
when he said it would be "really special." In the weeks following, I
contacted him for the details of when we were to show up. He said 8:30 am
Tuesday morning. He also said he would call me a few days before to

confirm
everything. No calls. A day before we were to arrive, I called the shop

and
spoke with the guy working there, Harper. He confirmed an 8:30 am start
time. The web site said that the first day wasn't really a tour, and we

were
to show up later in the day. However, I figured this is why he charged us
the extra amount, and as John and Harper said, we were to show up at 8:30

am
for our first tour.

We arrived at the shop at 8:45, and witnessed Harper in the first of many
near-nervous-breakdowns. It turns out, they forgot about us, and didn't

have
a tour lined up after all. Instead, they gave us two rental bikes and a

map
and were forced to fend for ourselves. No tour; no van support.

Fortunately, we are relatively young and in shape. We made the best of it
(actually, we had a great time, no thanks to NVBT). We are relatively

novice
bicyclists, going about 5-10 miles when we ride here at home. That day,

we
rode about 30 miles:

We started at the corner of Trower and Solano Road. We rode north on

Solano
until we got to Yountville. We were going to eat lunch there, but it was
kind of early for lunch, so we went east on Yountville Cross road to S.
Anderson winery. We did the morning tour there, and it was pretty
interesting. We went in the caves and did some tastings inside. There,

they
showed us where they aged their sparkling wine. They still do it in the
Champaign tradition:
Step 1: Ferment
Step 2: Rack/Age
Step 3: Bottle with an old-school bottlecap.
Step 4: Add some sugar
Step 5: Yeast eats sugar, splits (basically) in half producing alcohol

and
carbon dioxide (bubbles)
Step 6: As the yeast finishes, it settles to the bottom of the neck (the
bottle is almost upside down). The bottle is rotated Ľ turn several times
over 10 years.
Step 7: Dip top of bottle in liquid nitrogen (or the like) and the

sediment
(and some champagne) will freeze.
Step 8: Open bottle (pressure will shoot the frozen cap out)
Step 9: Add sugar for residual flavor.
Step 8: cork it.
Our tour guide there recommended we stop at Oakville grocery for lunch.

It
was a bit out of the way, but we rode to it, and indeed, it was a good

lunch
(the Napa Valley Bike tour site claimed that they would include a lunch

from
there as part of the day 3 tour. Since they totally forgot about us on

day
3, I am glad we stopped when we did. more on that later).

After lunch, we rode back to the Silverado trail, and throughout the
afternoon, stopped at various wineries along the way south back to the

bike
shop. We managed to stay relatively sober, due to all of the biking and
extra water intake required because of it. Also, the actual drinking was
pretty well spaced out because it isn't like driving, where it takes you

2
minutes to get to the next winery.

We ended up back at the shop and drove to our B & B, McClelland Priest.
Lodgings there were part of our "tour" through NVBT. This place is the
quintessential B&B with the personal touch. The owner/operator, Celeste,
very much made you feel like a friend, rather than a hotel guest. Our

room
was out of sight, with a hot-tub that felt really good after a long day's
ride.

After John's forgetting about us, he said he would get us a "special"

bottle
of wine and have it waiting in our room. Mysteriously, none ever showed

up.
Fortunately, Celeste was on top of things, with wine and cheese set out

for
the guests as they arrive in the evening.

As part of the package, John gave us a gift certificate to Zuzu's, a

"tapas"
restaurant that basically specializes in serving appetizers. It was

pretty
interesting. We drank some pretty good Cider. We haven't had that stuff
since we were in London.

The next morning, NVBT was actually ready for us as they had promised

(sort
of). John had hired someone (named Dave) to give my wife and me a

personal
tour. Dave's original plan was to have Harper drive us up to Calistoga,
where Dave was going to take some readings on his Pinot Noir (he is a

wine
maker, and it was harvest season). Then, we would ride back, stopping

along
the way. Unfortunately, Harper refused, as he had loaded up the front

seats
of his truck with a bunch of crap that he had to take to the Terry Tour.
Once again, we were going to have another day without the promised "van
support." Good thing we are young and in shape.

Anyway, Dave's tour was great. Dave knew many of the vintners whose

wineries
at which we stopped. We didn't have to pay for any tastings because Dave
knew the owners (and for the guys he didn't know, he nicely bull****ted

our
way in). There were two very notable stops. The first was at Del Grotto.

We
tasted the same Cabernet out of two different barrels-Minnesota Oak and
French Oak. We personally liked that from the Minnesota Oak better.

However,
the trend in the Napa Valley is definitely toward the French oak. My

guess
is probably because it is more expensive. Granted, the wine is smoother

from
the French Oak, but I think that status has a lot more to do with it than
one might guess. I wouldn't be surprised if they preferred American oak

in
France.

The second memorable stop was at John Caldwell's. This is a very small
winery that makes some really great wine. Dave was knocking on doors and
making himself at home, when we finally found John Caldwell in the back

room
titrating some wine. He gave us a taste of it. Fantastic!

At about 3:15, we ended up back at the B&B. The night before, we were

told
that we had reservations on the "Napa Valley Wine Train" for this

evening. I
recalled on the NVBT we site, it said (in fact, this is a quote from what

is
STILL on the web site):

Then the van picks you up at 3 PM so you can freshen up in your room or

get
a massage or spa treatment. In the evening the McClelland Priest B&B will
serve hors d'oeuvres and wine while you visit with the other guests.

Finally
a fine dining experience awaits you on the Wine Train. Our Rickshaaw will
deliver you there and the limo service will pick you up.

We attempted to call John Hilderbrand's cell phone MANY MANY times after

we
drove to the B&B (van? Yeah right!). We were anticipating a late night of
drinking fine wine on the train, and were looking forward to getting a

ride
to and from. However, the guy never called us back! We didn't even know
where the place was or if it was already paid for. Fortunately, our Hertz
rental car had "never lost" which got us there and back, but we were

QUITE
disappointed to have to drive (especially under those conditions. I hear
that the Napa Valley cops are always looking for some tourist DUIs;
fortunately, I managed to make it back intact).

The wine train was kind of a misnomer as well. Wine isn't even included

in
the tour! Then, they charge you the usual restaurant-inflated prices for
relatively mediocre table wine. Oh well. Supposedly, this is one of THE
things to do in Napa Valley, so we had to try it.

The next morning, we went back to the shop for what was supposed to be

our
3rd day of touring. Here is what the web site says you will see on day 3:
Our tour guide arrives to start you on a scenic trip up the Napa Valley.

We
will stop for a tasting at Havens Winery, known for its fabulous Merlots.

A
fun next stop is Oakville Grocery where you can taste just about

everything
in the store; then on to Silver Oak and their fine Cabernets, Plumpjack
Winery and lunch at Caymus accompanied with a glass of their award

winning
Cabernet. Afternoon takes you for a short jaunt to Mumm Cuvče Napa and a
beautiful flute glass of their sparkling wine. At 3 PM, the van then

whisks
you back to your car so you can start your journey home.
Total day's bike mileage: 18

Instead, we got to the shop to see Harper again. This time, he was even
closer to the nervous-breakdown. He called John over their wireless
walkie-talkies. Much to nobody's delight, John's reply over the
walkie-talkie was "****, I forgot about them." He then offered to refund

us
$400 and told us to leave our address with Harper so he could send us

some
wine for his poor treatment.

Not letting it spoil our vacation, we accepted and took the bikes

ourselves
again. This time, we went for a ride through the hilly south Napa Valley.

We
actually only did a half day tour on this day. Our legs were tired, and

we
were going to head south to Santa Cruz to catch Skerik's Syncopated Taint
Septet that evening.

After it was all said and done, I did the math. It turns out, we could

have
spent $627 less if we had never met John Hilderbrand. On top of that, if

we
went that route, we wouldn't have been EXPECTING stuff we didn't receive.
Here is the breakdown, if you are interested. Our credit card was charged
$1831.75.

$1831.75 - taxes = $1700
$1700 - $120 = $1580 (day 1 "bike rental" at $60 per day/per bike)
that evening, we were presented with a $90 certificate for Zuzu's:
$1580 - $90 = $1490
the next day, the Dave tour was given (Dave told us, and John said on the
phone that John gave him $100)
$1490- $100 - $120 (bikes for day 2) = $1270
McClelland Priest lists two night packages of their "Master Suite" (not

sure
if that was us, but it was a very nice suite) at $419: $1270 - $419 =

$851
The wine train is listed at $85 per person: $851 - $170 = $681
We "rented" our bikes the next morning from the time we arrived at about
10:30 until we departed the Napa Valley at 12:30. The site lists rentals

at
$8/hour: $691 - $64 = $617

He offered a refund of $400: $627 - $400 = $227.

We figured $227 would nicely cover "some wine." We bought a case from
Montecello at $400 shipped.

Only, our refund never came. One week went by. I called him. I left
messages. I left emails. Nothing. Two weeks. I spoke with his underling,
Andre. Andre learned from the master, "Oh, yeah, we are in the process. I
will talk to John and get it straightened out by the end of the day."

Three
weeks. I talked to John on the phone. He pulled some "oh, this is a cell
phone" bull and hung up on me (never calling me back). I was skeptical

that
we would see ANY sort of refund from him after that incident. Feeling
helpless, I wrote a message to Celeste, the B&B owner (who I know is a

real
person with values, unlike Hilderbrand). She said she would talk with

John
and straighten things out. More time passed. I spoke with And "Your
paperwork is out, I think he will be taking care of it today."

Finally, I called John's cell phone last week and didn't get voicemail He
answered. I am sure he was bummed that it was me, but he said once again

"I
will be crediting your account today. If you don't see anything in a

week,
call me." I said, "I will; I just hope you'll call me back."

Indeed, a week later, $400 was credited. However, no wine. He isn't going

to
send wine. He simply lied (as is his specialty) to tell us what we wanted

to
hear. He said that he was going to send me his list of "costs" to show

that
a $400 credit is fair. I guess it is more expensive for him as a local

Napa
business man to line up these efforts than it is for me, a tourist. He is
full of ****. No "cost list" has come (nor will it).

The bottom line is that as a businessman, if you expect to keep your
business and clientele, when you screw up, you need to make it up to your
customers. This guy expects us to pay full price for what we did receive,
even though it wasn't what was originally promised. In fact, he expects

not
only for us to pay full price, but for him to take a nifty $227 profit on
top of it.

Bottom line: if you want to do a Napa Valley bicycle tour, go elsewhere.

If
you need to work with Hilderbrand, rent bikes from him only. Call Celeste
for lodging. If you REALLY want to screw yourself and pay Hilderbrand for
the package deal, at least make him itemize each item instead of charging
you a lump sum so he can screw you over later.

If you still aren't convinced, check the Better Business Bureau. You will
see that he has had multiple complaints, and he handles them all the same
way, "Ignore it and it will go away." It doesn't ALWAYS work that way...





  #3  
Old December 22nd 03, 07:20 PM
Peter
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Stay away from "Napa Valley Bike Tours"

Nomen Nescio wrote:

On Sun, 21 Dec 2003 11:11:05 -0500, "Happy Russ"
wrote:


If the numerous unresolved complaints on the
Better Business Bureau's web site don't convince you, perhaps this post
will.



You haven't convinced me. According to the BBB, there is ONE complaint:

"Napa Valley Bike Tours has had 1 complaint which was closed as No
Response."


Which means that there is one complaint where the company refused to make
any response explaining the situation to the BBB. There may well be
multiple other complaints where NVBT gave some explanation to the BBB. In
general I've seen evidence in other cases that the BBBs are very willing to
take the business owner's side of any dispute, so if there is any possible
interpretation that is favorable to the business they'll close the
complaint as being resolved (which may have happened to some complaints
since the time that 'Happy Russ' checked their site).

The BBB report on NVBT begins with "Based on BBB complaint files, this
company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau" based on the
complaint to which NVBT failed to respond with any explanation.

As a pseudo-random check of typical SF Bay Area BBB business reports, I
checked the 16 other businesses listed in their membership as starting with
the word "Napa." All 16 were shown as having a "satisfactory record" and
as having "no complaints."

  #4  
Old December 22nd 03, 08:16 PM
Steve Juniper
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Stay away from "Napa Valley Bike Tours"

Some people are difficult to "convince." I'd like to see them take one of
the tours to test it out, rather than 'simply' relying on the experience of
others.
--

Steve Juniper
"The problem with Texas Baptists is that they should have had their
heads held under longer."
-- Quoted by
Molly Ivins --

"Nomen Nescio" wrote in message
...
On Sun, 21 Dec 2003 11:11:05 -0500, "Happy Russ"
wrote:

If the numerous unresolved complaints on the
Better Business Bureau's web site don't convince you, perhaps this post
will.


You haven't convinced me. According to the BBB, there is ONE complaint:

"Napa Valley Bike Tours has had 1 complaint which was closed as No
Response."


  #5  
Old December 23rd 03, 03:22 AM
Tom Kunich
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Stay away from "Napa Valley Bike Tours"

"GWB" wrote in message
. ..
You're lucky some idiot drunk tourists didn't run you over with

their car.

So you were up there driving around pretending to be someone else huh?
It's always the anonymous cowards making smart assed comments. Maybe
we'll tell your mother you've been playing on the computer instead of
minding your potty training.



  #6  
Old December 24th 03, 02:04 AM
Bob Perlman
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Stay away from "Napa Valley Bike Tours"

On Mon, 22 Dec 2003 18:20:02 +0100 (CET), Nomen Nescio
wrote:

On Sun, 21 Dec 2003 11:11:05 -0500, "Happy Russ"
wrote:

If the numerous unresolved complaints on the
Better Business Bureau's web site don't convince you, perhaps this post
will.


You haven't convinced me. According to the BBB, there is ONE complaint:

"Napa Valley Bike Tours has had 1 complaint which was closed as No
Response."


He convinced me, by telling a solid story with lots of details about
just what went wrong.

Most Usenet complaint posts are vague to the point of being useless:
lots of whining, but few facts. This post was a good model for those
who have a gripe.

Bob


  #7  
Old December 24th 03, 03:17 AM
GWB
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Stay away from "Napa Valley Bike Tours"


"Bob Perlman" wrote in message
...
On Mon, 22 Dec 2003 18:20:02 +0100 (CET), Nomen Nescio
wrote:


He convinced me, by telling a solid story with lots of details about
just what went wrong.

Most Usenet complaint posts are vague to the point of being useless:
lots of whining, but few facts. This post was a good model for those
who have a gripe.

Bob


I had the exact opposite reaction. He starts the topic with a complaint
then proceeds to go on and on about boring and irrelevant details about
wine, drinking, being drunk and avoiding the horrible local law enforcement
that wants to prevent him from driving while drunk. He outlines that he
actually had a good time, got $400 refunded, accounts for every penny of
the money spent except for $227, which he complains should have been spent
on more wine for him. I don't doubt that the tour operator/operation was
not up to par. But he got bicycles, a place to say that he totally loved,
a train ride event that he also loved and directions of where to go on a
bicycle. Maybe if he stopped drinking so much he wouldn't think 30 miles
is a long scary ride to have without someone following behind in a car.





  #8  
Old December 25th 03, 06:37 AM
Ryan Cousineau
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Stay away from "Napa Valley Bike Tours"

In article ,
"GWB" wrote:

"Bob Perlman" wrote in message
...
On Mon, 22 Dec 2003 18:20:02 +0100 (CET), Nomen Nescio
wrote:


He convinced me, by telling a solid story with lots of details about
just what went wrong.

Most Usenet complaint posts are vague to the point of being useless:
lots of whining, but few facts. This post was a good model for those
who have a gripe.

Bob


I had the exact opposite reaction. He starts the topic with a complaint
then proceeds to go on and on about boring and irrelevant details about
wine, drinking, being drunk and avoiding the horrible local law enforcement
that wants to prevent him from driving while drunk. He outlines that he
actually had a good time, got $400 refunded, accounts for every penny of
the money spent except for $227, which he complains should have been spent
on more wine for him. I don't doubt that the tour operator/operation was
not up to par. But he got bicycles, a place to say that he totally loved,
a train ride event that he also loved and directions of where to go on a
bicycle. Maybe if he stopped drinking so much he wouldn't think 30 miles
is a long scary ride to have without someone following behind in a car.


Oh sure, and to his credit, he described what was good and what was bad
about his trip. But it's one thing to take an unsupported bike tour
through wine country (something I'd happily do), and another to pay for
a supported bike tour and not get it.

A $400 refund is a good start (though the poor guy had to hound the
company for it), but he did a pretty reasonable cost accounting that
sounds like he didn't get what he paid for (that said, his accounting is
semi-reasonable: in theory a package tour is a value-added situation,
because you're paying the tour operator to vet and arrange the services,
and to deal with problems that crop up. The two counters to this are
that the operator should get some volume discounts by buying the
services in a wholesale fashion, and in this case it appears the tour
operator was the primary problem).

--
Ryan Cousineau, http://www.sfu.ca/~rcousine
President, Fabrizio Mazzoleni Fan Club
  #9  
Old December 27th 03, 02:05 AM
Bob Perlman
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Stay away from "Napa Valley Bike Tours"

On Wed, 24 Dec 2003 02:17:33 GMT, "GWB"
wrote:


"Bob Perlman" wrote in message
.. .
On Mon, 22 Dec 2003 18:20:02 +0100 (CET), Nomen Nescio
wrote:


He convinced me, by telling a solid story with lots of details about
just what went wrong.

Most Usenet complaint posts are vague to the point of being useless:
lots of whining, but few facts. This post was a good model for those
who have a gripe.

Bob


I had the exact opposite reaction. He starts the topic with a complaint
then proceeds to go on and on about boring and irrelevant details about
wine, drinking, being drunk and avoiding the horrible local law enforcement
that wants to prevent him from driving while drunk. He outlines that he
actually had a good time, got $400 refunded, accounts for every penny of
the money spent except for $227, which he complains should have been spent
on more wine for him. I don't doubt that the tour operator/operation was
not up to par. But he got bicycles, a place to say that he totally loved,
a train ride event that he also loved and directions of where to go on a
bicycle. Maybe if he stopped drinking so much he wouldn't think 30 miles
is a long scary ride to have without someone following behind in a car.

If I read his post correctly, what he *didn't* get, for two of three
days, was a tour, which is what he paid for. Not a kit of parts.

Bob

  #10  
Old December 28th 03, 12:09 AM
Tom Kunich
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Stay away from "Napa Valley Bike Tours"

"Bob Perlman" wrote in message
...

If I read his post correctly, what he *didn't* get, for two of three
days, was a tour, which is what he paid for. Not a kit of parts.


Indeed. what troubles me is people here complaining about his posting
apparently because he didn't included enough details or because he
included too many. What sort of whackoes can't read this and take it
for what it's worth?




 




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