by Tarun November 25, 2014
Kilimanjaro Crew (John Samson Shem)
I recently got scammed by this (supposed) tour operator and I wanted to try and ensure that no one else went through the same ordeal. My review was not accepted by TripAdvisor on the grounds that they do not allow for reviews of tour operators to be posted. I find the reasoning very skeptical and I have recently read of bribes being offered to TripAdvisor employees.
Which brings me to this website. I'm hoping this information is allowed to be posted.
Before you read any further, I won’t deny that I could have done more due diligence about this company, that I could have been more prudent in my approach. But my intentions here are to hope no one else goes through the same rather than trying to justify my actions.
Last week I confirmed a trek with Kilimanjarocrew.com wherein I was headed to Kilimanjaro (Lemosho via western breach) and I sent a USD 200/ deposit via western union to John Samson Shem (owner of this company).
Shortly after emailing him (email@example.com), the money was collected on his side. He sent me an email from the above mentioned email id and I also received an sms from Western Union confirming the same.
I thought, well, that's good and we can now take things further with regards to my trek. But I was wrong...
After about 30 minutes, John contacted me from a second email ID (Johnsamson1978@gmail.com) stating that I have not yet sent him the western union MTCN number and that I should do so in order for him to collect the deposit.
I was puzzled and forwarded his earlier email in which he mentioned that he had indeed collected the money. However, he refused to accept this and mentioned that I had not sent him any details.
I then proceeded to call him on (+255768871587), a number which is listed on his website. While speaking with John, he was still sticking to his side of the story and refused to budge.
There is another contact mentioned on his website, that of a person called AMIT KUMAR YADAV. I got in touch with him the following day and asked if he could intervene.
He mentioned that he is busy running his own business (he supposedly helps John with requests for Kilimanjaro Treks and is not employed by John) and would contact John if and when he had time.
It finally dawned on me that I had in fact been conned as any further attempts to contact John proved futile.
I was still wondering about his personal email id (Johnsamson1978@gmail.com). I wanted to somehow find out if I was in fact communicating with the same person or not.
I asked my friend to write to John on the company listed email (John@kilimanjarocrew.com) inquiring about a trek to Kili.
Shortly thereafter (while I was not receiving any response from John), my friend received an email from John which was indeed from his personal gmail account.
That pretty much nailed it for me. I did eventually hear from John wherein he asked me to do business with other tour operators.
I hope this can be of some use.