I first found Bespoke Tours via a Groupon which gave me reason to investigate their website. I found that they do "custom" tours and was quite interested in shoe shopping in NYC so I called. I was told that a custom tour could definitely be created for me as I wanted to shop for Christian Louboutin's and not feel out of place in the ritzy shops in NYC. I was told on the phone that it should cost under $500 for the tour. As requested I emailed in pictures of my current shoe collection so that the stylist would get an idea of my taste. It was about a week later that I received my "custom" itinerary which was obviously very canned. It was even labeled as a Sex And The City Tour which is one of the tours they do. Knowing it was supposed to be customizable, I made changes to suit my needs and wants. Finally an itinerary was agreed upon. The day before my tour was supposed to occur, Letitia emailed (or texted) me to let me know that she hasn't received any payment and that she had emailed an invoice requiring a PayPal account to make the purchase. I explained that I don't have a PayPal account so we went through the process of setting one up. After I set up the PayPal account she instructed me to make the payment which I then found out was $675 instead of "under $500," but I was so excited to have the tour planned that I went ahead with it. I wasn't able to make the payment through PayPal and texted Letitia to let her know something was wrong. She began giving me different options to make PayPal work until we finally realized that it takes about 2-3 days to completely set up a PayPal account. I suggested just giving her my credit card number as a way of payment to which she agreed. I then (via text) gave her my credit card number to which she responded, "Oh no. You are giving me the same card. It needs to be another card." She did not take American Express. Then she suggested I just give her $675 in cash. That was not something I was prepared to do. So she gave me two options: Wait until PayPal goes through and possibly do the tour on Saturday OR Pay the stylist and the driver directly with the card and pay the tour guide by cash. She said the tour guide would be "about $200." (I finally realized that the $675 included the set-up fee "tour guide", the driver, and the stylist). She then said, "Ok great. I will take care of it for you. Which card do you prefer, the MC?" I instructed her to charge it on the MC.
Part of the tour included a little trip to Bloomingdale's on the morning of my tour to meet with Evi, a personal shopper, who would go with me to look at shoes. I asked Letitia if that was who I was supposed to pay with my credit card, then pay the driver with my credit card and then pay the tour guide later in the day with cash. She said she arranged the trip to Bloomingdale's for free. She further explained that I was to meet with the stylist at 3:00 and then the tour guide at 4:30. She said, "I will take care of the driver and the stylistic (sic) for you using the MC. The tour guide will be 249 with tax and tip."
Two hours later I received a text from Letitia telling me that Evi wouldn't be there in the morning but to ask for Joanne. The time was also changed from 9:00 to 10:30.
Then that night just after I'd gotten out of a theatre, I received a text from Letitia telling me that the chauffeur was "having trouble with the MC." She wanted to know if I could pay the chauffeur aspect by cash because the "stylist went through." I told her that wasn't an option and that I was very close to cancelling the entire tour. I asked if I could pay the chauffeur via American Express and she said, "Sure. I will try that card instead. Just needed permission. So everything is still a go!"
The next morning I arrived at Bloomingdale's and went to the shopping services department and asked for Joanne. Joanne came out informing me that she had no idea I was coming, but did say, "Aren't you lucky I am open now anyway?" I tried on a few pairs of shoes and left.
While at Bloomingdale's I received a text from Letitia giving me the time that the chauffeur would arrive at my hotel and that I was to meet Lori at the Louboutin store because "it's a bit crazy there today so she will be there early guarding your shoes!" The chauffeur did arrive on time which seems to be the only thing that was as it was supposed to be. According to Bespoke's website they have luxury vehicles that are well decorated. Marco, my driver, who barely could speak English, picked me up in an old, dirty, smelly Lincoln Town Car. He had the list of all the stores he was supposed to take me but had to GPS all of them in order to find them. He said he's been doing that job for ten years. I would think that he should have learned where to go without a GPS by then.
I arrived at the Louboutin store and went in and asked for Lori. They had no idea who Lori was. I texted Letitia and was told that Lori was outside, but before I could get back outside she found me. I find it odd that she was outside when I had been told that she was "guarding my shoes."
Lori Silverstein is a personal stylist, and she is fabulous. I have nothing negative to say about her whatsoever. She helped me pick out a pair of Louboutin's that I absolutely love. We then went to Barney's to try on more shoes.
NInety minutes into my shopping experience with Lori, I received a text from Letitia telling me to call her so I could "meet up" with her. As I was shopping with Lori, I did not have my phone out trying to send and receive text messages. At 5:09 pm I got into the car with Marco and instructed him to drive to Marc Jacobs because Lori had been in touch with Letitia and that was where she told me to go next. According to my itinerary I was supposed to go to three stores with Lori, but we ran out of time. I wasn't aware that it was my responsibility to keep track of time while on a guided tour.
Marco did not know where Marc Jacobs was so he had to call his boss to find out. In the mean time I received a call from Letitia telling me that plans had changed and that we were not going to Marc Jacobs, but to go to J. Crew instead. She gave me the cross streets. I then instructed Marco where to go and he said, "Write that down for me." So I wrote it on a piece of paper. We arrived at the address where we were told, and it was An American Girl store.
By this time my tour was scheduled to be completed within twenty minutes. I texted the Chauffeur's boss (who had called me so I had his number) and asked what the amount for the driver would be because I had previously been told to pay the driver myself. He texted back "200 flat." I instructed Marco to return me to the hotel and told him I would pay him. I completed a little form by entering my credit card number and signed it along with the amount including a tip. ($230.00)
About an hour later I got a text from the chauffeur's boss asking me what hotel room I was in. I did not tell him what room but simply said, "I already paid Marco." He responded, "Okay. Letitia will be on her way to you shortly. Which room are you staying in?" I didn't respond. Then I got another text, "Letitia and I are at the hotel. Please call me." I responded, "I'm out having dinner. What do you need? I already paid Marco." I was told that the stylist was never paid, and when I explained to him that that was supposed to be already taken care of via the MC I gave Letitia yesterday he said that I had to sign an invoice so that Lori could be paid. Letitia met my husband and me outside on the corner of the restaurant where we were eating. Letitia explained the invoice stating that the $675 was for $200 for the driver, $249 for the tour guide, and $225 for the stylist. I signed the invoice and gave Letitia $250 cash. From what I understood everything was then squared away. Not so .. read on.
When I arrived home I was then instructed by Letitia via text that Lori the stylist would be sending her invoice to me for payment. I had understood that the invoice I signed was so that Lori could be paid for her services. I paid Lori via PayPal (which was finally up and running.) At that point I knew then that all services had been paid for and I would never need to speak with this company again. Again, I was wrong.
Because of having given out my credit card number to a disorganized business I was fearful of further charges so I called MC. There was a charge for limousine services for $339.30 which I could not verify from my records. I texted Letitia and asked about the $339.30. She said that was a charge by the driver and that it would be reversed by Monday (7/18/11). On 7/19/11 it was still showing as a charge on my account so I texted and called Letitia with no response. I also texted the chauffeur company with no response. When I called the chauffeur company the man answered and knew who I was and said that he had forwarded that information on to Letitia but she would have to be the one to take the charge off. I asked if someone would call me back by the end of the day, he said that someone would. Nobody has called me since. It is now 7/21/11.
Short version of this story? Do not use this company, period.
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