Manawatu Standard

Tour bus outf it cans trips, keeps deposits

- John Anthony

A tour bus company has left behind a trail of unhappy customers after cancelling bookings and failing to refund deposits.

Last year Taranaki-based Incognito Nightliner­s, run by David Watt, switched from transporti­ng touring musicians to selling domestic tours and charters to large groups.

The double-decker bus features 12 beds, cooking facilities, shower and toilet facilities.

Adventure South general manager Philip Wyndham said he paid a $1500 deposit last year to hire the bus for a week-long South Island trail running tour.

But less than two weeks before the departure date Watt told him the tour would have to be cancelled because there was a mechanical problem with the bus, and he did not have the part needed to fix it, he said.

Wyndham said Watt asked him another $1500 to help buy the part.

‘‘That’s when alarm bells started going off pretty significan­tly,’’ Wyndham said. ‘‘I obviously refused to pay that.’’

Wyndham said he was left scrambling to find alternativ­e accommodat­ion to house his customers. ‘‘It’s a pretty annoying situation.’’

Months later he was still waiting for Watt to refund the $1500 deposit.

Wyndham said he had spent more time trying to recover the money than it was probably worth, but was persisting out of for principle. ‘‘I can’t let him get away with it. You just can’t take other people’s money.’’

Watt, who lists his address as being in Egmont Village, Taranaki, said there were three customers waiting for a refund, which would be paid by the end of August.

There is no company registered as Incognito Nightliner­s on the Companies Office and Watt did not say what name it was registered under.

Four customers, including Wyndham, have complained on Incognito Nightliner­s’ Facebook page of not being refunded for cancelled trips.

Kirsty Grant booked a Napier winery tour for six couples with Incognito Nightliner­s.

She paid the full amount of $3340 on March 1 and was due to leave the following week, she said.

Before the trip Watt contacted her to say the bus suspension had broken, and he was working on getting it fixed which could take six to eight weeks, she said.

He also suggested she push out the booking until October, she said. ‘‘The goal posts kept moving.’’

She asked for their payment to be refunded to which Watt agreed. But when the money was transferre­d Watt had held onto a $600 deposit required to secure the booking, she said.

After two months she asked Watt for the deposit to be refunded but was yet to receive the money, she said.

The Incognito Nightliner­s’ bus is listed for sale on Facebook marketplac­e for $135,000.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand