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Warn others about Marmara Tours Scam

I just wanted to warn you about Attila Kilinc, the owner of Marmara Tours.

We paid him 30% up front contingent that we would be refunded if we didn't end up going to Turkey for any reason (it's covid times so things change and quite suddenly). He agreed to this:
IN CASE OF PORT CANCELATION OR DEVIATION DUE TO PANDEMIC AND OR ANY INCONVENIENCE WILL BE CONSIDERED AS “FORCE MAJEURE” AND CLIENTS WILL BE REFUNDED IN FULL!

Attila mistakenly doubled charged us for the deposit and tried to negotiate keeping the additional 30%, though ended up refunding us. This should have been a red flag!

We paid the full balance at 60 days out and even paid for an additional day and 2 additional people (making it a group of 8 rather than 6).

At 10 days out, I informed him that our cruise ship cancelled the Turkey ports and he agreed to a refund. A few days later in the middle of my cruise, he messaged me to say he is refusing the refund because 1) of rumours that our cruise ship is too cheap to pay for the gas to Turkey (though we sailed close to Turkey), and 2) it was unfair because they didn't have much business. I felt his pain and it truly was unfair to everyone, but it's covid times, and very unprofessional that he is refusing to honour a refund for a policy that he clearly has.

Luckily we paid with a credit card that allows us to file a Regulation E claim, but I wanted to warn others. Even looking at his website, there are no links to Trip Advisor like other guides have.

Posted by
28145 posts

what does the fact that they don't advertise TripAdvisor have to do with your issue?

Posted by
9 posts

You’re right. It doesn’t have anything to do with the bad experience. Just thinking about potential red flags after the fact.

Posted by
2550 posts

When hiring guides we try to use 1) Rick recommended, 2) Tours by locals.com, or 3 recommendations from people we know and trust.

Posted by
5569 posts

Looks like this would have been an instance where signing up for a shore excursion through the cruise line would have saved you a great deal of grief.

I do understand your sense of outrage. I had this happen to me a few times at the beginning of the pandemic where places that I had purchased "free cancellation" tours were no longer giving refunds. I felt that this was not living up to the agreement. Time went on, and I learned to accept things as they were and get on with the other parts of my life.

The pleasant surprise was when both of these companies later reached out to me with credits and vouchers when I thought I was going to get nothing. It turned out that I could actually use these going forward and I felt a lot better about what had happened and these companies.

Posted by
9 posts

I found this guide in Rick Steve’s Turkey suggestions, which is why I’m shocked he is not honoring his own T&Cs.

That’s nice that other companies have offered vouchers. Even if this person would offer one, I would prefer to go with someone more professional. I will never prepay again either.

Posted by
1 posts

Thanks to Ms Cowan for her comments and feedback from her point of view...And sorry to say but what she has shared is not really very accurate to enlighten valued members of this community...
Here is what happened;
- She reached me and booked the shore excursion in Istanbul for her party.
- We designed the itinerary and sent her the terms & conditions where 30% deposit is required as well as in case of force major full refund is mentioned. She is right. By mistake we charged her card twice for deposit, but told her that it would take time and is difficult for mail orders to refund the card and offered her wire transfer to her bank account , Zelle the funds or PayPal her! She refused all and insisted in refund of her card and so we did! Should have had taken around 3 weeks...
- As she mentioned, about 10 days prior to trip, she mentioned cancelation of Port of Istanbul, but was not sure. We got in touch with ground operator of her cruise ship and asked and they said not for sure yet!
- 2 days before the trip, her cruise liner canceled Istanbul for sure WITHOUT A REASON! NO PANDEMICS, NO TERROR, NOTHING...!
- They told the passengers on-board due to pandemics, but all other cruise line(r)s kept coming to both Port of Kusadasi and Port of Istanbul!
- THERE WAS ABSOLUTELY NO FORCE MAJOUR! JUST TO SAVE FUEL, ONLY HER CRUISE LINE (!!!) CANCELED THE TURKISH PORTS! ALL OTHER CRUISE LINES KEPT COMING ON THE SAME DAY, A DAY BEFORE AND ALSO A DAY AFTER HER CRUISE LINE
- She requested her money back and we replied, "as indicated in our terms & conditions", no refund without force majour! And suggested her to claim the funds from her cruise line who canceled the Turkish Ports without a reason.
- She was upset for sure and threatened us with leaving a negative feedback at this community, which she did...
- Then she applied her bank for refund and her bank accepted (though the payment was done over 3 months ago) and I had to pay all the money back which was against our policy and terms & conditions that she already knew/had.
- After paying her money back, I stopped working with my bank and closed my accounts there.
- And now, I'm not accepting any mail order payments.
In brief this is what happened...
About myself; Attila Kilinc
- I'm a Professional Tour Guide in Turkey for 31+ years and almost all "old school" guides know me in person. Over this time, I personally guided over 20.000 Americans all around my country and haven't had a single negative feedback! I can contact many of my clients to reply to Ms Cowens accusations of "scam/fraud", but will not! Before internet era, I was on NYT, Travel & Leisure and other travel magazines many times mentioned as "top guide" (now also own my boutique company)...Rick knows me personally and he wouldn't work or recommend someone scam/fraud! If he prefers not to recommend or work with me because of Ms Cowan's feedback, I'll get it and say "okay" and will still love him...
- Folks believe me, in my 31+ years of guiding Americans in my beautiful country, I met each and every kind of people and nothing is surprising me any more...
That's all I want to say...Thx for taking time to read...
Kindest Regards,
Attila Kilinc
MarmaraTours.com
attila@marmaratours.com