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A BBB Accredited Business since
BBB has determined that World Spree/China Spree meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.
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BBB rating is based on 13 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.
Factors that raised the rating for World Spree/China Spree include:
- Length of time business has been operating
- Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size
- Response to 2 complaint(s) filed against business
- Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business
Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details
|Complaint Type||Total Closed Complaints|
|Problems with Product/Service||2|
|Total Closed Complaints||2|
Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews
|Customer Experience||Total Customer Reviews|
|Total Customer Reviews||2|
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This business is in an industry that may require professional licensing, bonding or registration. BBB encourages you to check with the appropriate agency to be certain any requirements are currently being met.
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Type of Entity
Business ManagementMr. Wilson Wu, Member
Tours - Operators & Promoters Travel Agencies & Bureaus Travel Agencies (NAICS: 561510)
Alternate Business NamesChina Spree China Spree Tours China Spree Travel China Spree, Inc. Chinaspree.com Inc IndoChina Spree Tour Beyond, Inc World Spree World Spree Travel
Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Summary
BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview
2320 130th Ave NE Ste 200
Bellevue, WA 98005 (360) 945-0809 (866) 652-5656 Directions
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BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview
BBB Customer Reviews Rating represents the customers opinions of the business. The Customer Review Rating is based on the number of positive, neutral and negative customer reviews posted that are calculated to produce a score.
|Customer Review Experience||Value|
|Positive Review||5 points per review|
|Neutral Review||3 points per review|
|Negative Review||1 point per review|
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Problems with Product/Service
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Complaint: My wife and I had longed to visit China for a number of years. When we saw the videos, brochures and posted comments provided by Chinaspree we were impressed and I sent in a check for the trip scheduled November 8, 2013. About two weeks before our trip we checked the weather report in Beijing and discovered that the American Embassy had issued a warning that the pollution levels were 'hazardous' and recommended that people stay in doors. Not wanting to expose us to that danger I contacted Chinaspree and asked if we could reschedule the trip for a later time when the pollution levels were safe. They told me to "Wear a mask." I can appreciate that the travel industry is competitive and margins are tight, but I was amazed that a company would knowingly put their customers in harm's way. Is it simply a innocent oversight that Chinaspree does not include any information about pollution health problems in it's literature, while at the same time providing very detailed preparation guidelines for the trip including a warning that the spicy coating on ********************** might be hotter than what we are used to? Or could it be that this is a very calculated omission?
Desired Settlement: I am seeking a full refund of the cost of the tripl
Business Response: Initial Business Response /* (1000, 7, 2014/01/17) */ Dear *** ******: You contacted China Spree on October 27, 2013 with the following email: "I have a long-awaited trip to Beijing scheduled for November 8. I have read that the American Embassy has warned that the pollution is a severe health hazard! I cannot take this kind of risk with my health. Please permit my wife and I to reschedule this trip at a later time when it would not be dangerous. Thank you for your consideration. **** ******" We contacted you and explained to you that to reschedule the trip so close to the departure date (within 14 days) would require us to cancel your existing tour booking and, therefore, the full penalty would apply, which means no refund. We regret that we could not make an exception for you, but our trip cancellation policy is clearly specified in our Terms and Conditions and you indicated that you had read, understood and agreed to our Terms when you booked this tour. In addition you said you would like to reschedule the trip in September, when the tour does not exist. This special promotional tour is only available from November to April and this information is clearly noted on our website. The issue of pollution and air quality in China--particularly in Beijing--came to public attention when heavy smog happened a few times between November 2012 and February 2013. Statistics show that the "bad smog" in Beijing that caught the attention of the American media did not happen every day, but only a few times in the 2013 year (the PM 2.5 value and the period of time each smog lasted varied). The Air Quality Index issued by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing--meant for American residents in Beijing, not short-term tourists--gives a current reading, but does not forecast air quality in the future. The air quality in Beijing, therefore, becomes unpredictable and beyond the control of China Spree. It should be noted here that China Spree, in its pre-trip information, strongly recommends that our clients buy travel insurance in case they have to cancel their trip. China Spree staff did mention that as a precautionary measure, we recommend that our clients take a mask on a wintertime China trip. We also told you our policy on matter of pollution of our tour destinations, which is that we would work with our tour suppliers (including the airliners, hotels and ground tour operators etc.) and try to cancel or reschedule our confirmed tours if the U.S. Department of State issues a Travel Warning to Beijing and/or China for any reason. As specified on its website, the State Department issues "a Travel Alert for short-term events we think you should know about when planning travel to a country. Examples of reasons for issuing a Travel Alert might include...an outbreak of H1N1...." There is no current travel alert or warning about China, nor has there been one since May 2013. (Please find Travel Warnings and Alerts at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/alertswarnings.html) During the telephone conversation, you threatened our staff that you would bring this issue to online travel forums if it was not resolved to your satisfaction. Apparently you then chose to be a "no show" and never officially notified China Spree that you were canceling your November 8th tour. When your early morning (around 5:00 A.M.) flight arrived in Beijing without you, the tour guides waited for more than an hour-and-a-half, worrying that you might have been held up inside Immigration or Customs. As it turned out, in fact, the November/December weather in Beijing was generally good, with blue skies. (We have a picture, which you may see, of your tour group backed by a bright blue sky.) The fact is that the "hazardous pollution" did not actually happen during the November 8 tour. The other tour participants very much enjoyed both the trip and the weather. As some participants of the November 8 tour mentioned to us: "I had a fantastic time in China, as expressed in my evaluation. I am extremely impressed by your detailed planning and the very high quality of the amenities provided. The weather was beautiful. We did not experience ANY smog, and the temperature was warm on most days. We kept on commenting on how beautiful the weather was. Some people can be so unreasonable! It clearly stated in the contract what the cancellation policy was. This money should not be refunded. If they chose to act in such an unbecoming manner, China Spree cannot be held responsible Your company does such a great job! Please do not be discouraged by this churlish behavior. In fact, the next time I travel, I will make sure that it is with China Spree. That is how strongly I feel. Keep up the good work! Bravo! ************** xxxx" "The weather for our trip was spectacular, aside from one day where it was a bit overcast in Shanghai. We couldn't have asked for any better weather, especially while we were in Beijing. We were expecting some issues with pollution because of all the attention the topic had received recently and were pleasantly surprised to find the air quality to be no worse than any other city we have traveled to anywhere in the world. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions. We look forward to using World Spree (China Spree's sister company) for a future vacation. Thank you. ------**** xxxx" "I expected it to be smoggy, after all, it has been known to be sometimes smoggy in Beijing, right? On the contrary, the weather was beautiful, clear skies, sunny and mostly warm days. I felt such outrage that these people should complain about something over which you had no control, that I have to add my comments...Under no circumstances should you refund any portion of that money. Some people believe that they should have their way at any cost. My wife and i keep telling everyone how impressed we both were at the high quality of your tours, simply "top drawer." It is very evident, that customer satisfaction is your number one priority, but please do not give in to bullies. Please keep up the good work! ****** XXXX" I hope this letter explains China Spree's position and that you will realize that it is a perfectly logical and legal position. We wish you all the best in your future travels...and hope that you and all other travelers will buy cancellation insurance (the kind that allows you to cancel for any reason if you feel the situation may be beyond the control of yourself and the tour operator) when you book a tour. Sincerely, ****** ** China Spree Travel Final Consumer Response /* (3000, 9, 2014/01/28) */ (The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.) There are a couple of clumsy inaccuracies in ** ***** response that need to be pointed out. Let's hope these are just evidence of feeling defensive and not an accurate insight into the core values driving China Spree. First off, I have been nothing but cordial in all of my dealings with China Spree. I at no time threatened anyone. I simply told the phone representative that I would leave an online message warning potential travelers that pollution can be a serious problem in Beijing and if it should happen during their vacation, no refunds will be available. Secondly, if your representatives in Beijing waited for a hour and half because they have not been informed when someone doesn't board the plane in Houston, that doesn't say much about the quality of China Spree internal communications. Thirdly, the smog index reported by the Beijing AQI was listed above 300 'hazardous' (with no expectation of eminent change). If it cleared up for your tourists, then I'm glad; but if that was a situation you were willing to submit your clients to, it wasn't a chance I was willing to take (by the way, I just saw an article in the new York times that Beijing is 'televising' the sunrise - so that people can see it). I could go on and on, but let me make this last point. Apparently you decided to inform both ********** xxxx and ****** xxxx of my request to reschedule at a time when the health hazard would be lifted because, amazingly, they both took time in their glowing endorsements to comment on my behavior: "Some people can be so unreasonable! It clearly stated in the contract what the cancellation policy was. This money should not be refunded. If they chose to act in such an unbecoming manner, China Spree cannot be held responsible. Your company does such a great job! Please do not be discouraged by this churlish behavior" and "Under no circumstances should you refund any portion of that money. Some people believe that they should have their way at any cost....don't give in to bullies." Bullies? Seriously, these ridiculous and comical fabrications don't help your credibility. To show that my heart's the right place, I'll offer you this alternative: give the amount of my refund ($2700) to the ******** ****** ******* and we'll call it even. Best regards, **** ****** Final Business Response /* (4000, 11, 2014/02/06) */ Dear *** ****** I stand by everything I said in my first response. You agreed to the terms and conditions knowing full well the consequences, as other tour participants have pointed out. Their responses were not "ridiculous and comical fabrications," but their actual statements. They responded with such indignation because China Spree treated them with respect, they followed the rules and, of course, they enjoyed their tour so very much. You, on the other hand, acted in a demanding, threatening manner, ignoring the basic rules that all travel companies operate with and did not even officially cancel your tour. You seem to believe that you should have your way at any cost. Our stance is, therefore, clear. Our charitable donations are our own business and there will be no donation on your behalf. This is my final word on this subject. Sincerely, ****** ** China Spree Travel
Problems with Product/Service
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Complaint: We paid China Spree over $20,000 for a trip to China, but as soon as we arrived in Beijing, our National guide was demanding additional money from us. I told her that we already paid China Spree, and **** said that they did not pay her. **** was ruining our vacation. Making us very uncomfortable. **** demanded money from us at the hotel, at the ******* **** ***** at the ******* **** when we came out of the bathroom, she was waiting there to ask for money. **** was constantly demanding money. We were afraid that she was going to keep our passports until we paid her. We are not satisfied with the trip, and NOT happy that China Spree did not pay their guide with the money that we paid China Spree. This was suppose to be a vacation for us but it turned out to be an extortion. I would not recommend China Spree to anyone.
Desired Settlement: I paid China Spree over $20,000 for this trip, and their tour guide ruined our vacation. I would like to at least get 25% back. $5,000.00.
Business Response: Initial Business Response /* (1000, 6, 2013/10/04) */ Attention: BBB Regarding Case # ******** Date: October 4th, 2013 Response to ********** Complaint We were sorry to receive ********** complaint to the BBB about the issue of tipping and the behavior of the National Guide on her China tour. Customer satisfaction is paramount to the success of our business. However, we find--and other participants on this same tour agree--that her complaint is a misrepresentation of the facts and is completely without merit. China Spree's tipping policy is clearly stated on our web site and in the final information booklet sent to ******** before departure. (Also attached to this letter). The issue of tipping on a package tour: the recommended amount, whether you should tip, how much you should tip and how you should do it are all explained in detail to avoid any confusion. The same information was delivered to her group again--verbally--by her National Guide and tour escort, *******, while everyone was in China. We contacted several other participants on ********** tour regarding the issues mentioned in the complaint. All were very satisfied with ****** service and with their China Spree vacation. They were shocked by ********** complaint. Anyone who has traveled with **** knows that she would not behave in such an unprofessional manner. ****, the guides and drivers know that tipping is at the discretion of the tour participants and they do not demand tips from our clients because they are experienced and service-oriented professionals. They understand that they are required to provide excellent service, regardless of how they are treated by our clients. ******** did not raise any concern or ask any questions about tipping prior to your tour departure, so we are surprised by her behavior in China. ******** did not tip any tour guide or driver on the China trip. Instead, she told some tour guides that she had already given the tips to China Spree's U.S. office, which was not true. In fact, **** tipped drivers and porters (who depend on these tips for their well-being) out of her own pocket. We investigated ********** complaints and received the following comments from other participants of her tour. (Note: Their complete emails are available.) 1) The National Guide (****) delivered the same information (as specified in our information booklet) about tipping to the entire group. Client A: **** did not even raise the issue of tips until several of us on the tour asked her during the Great Wall tour about when we could give tips to *******, our local guide, and the bus driver. **** thanked us for asking and then addressed the entire group, stating that she would collect any tips we would like to make the next day, our last morning in Beijing. Client E: In fact, I checked the booklet that night in the Beijing hotel to confirm suggested amounts, and there was no discrepancy. It was very clear in the booklet (and your website) that gratuities were not included in our tour fees, and it was purely optional. Having traveled on other tours, your practice is similar to other tour companies. 2) **** gave tipping options to the group--clients can either tip individually or have **** do it on their behalf. **** did not ask for her own tips. Client C: I never heard **** demand money at any time. She explained to the entire group at the first hotel that she could handle the suggested tipping of the local guides, bus drivers and hotel staff on our behalf to make things simpler for the tour participants (that was explained in the booklet that China Spree sent to us prior to our trip), or we could tip them ourselves. She repeated several times that we could tip more or less if we felt the service was subpar or above expectations. I had to approach **** later to give her the local tip money. She did not ask me for it again. I understood from ****** explanation at the first hotel that the appropriate time to give **** her tip was at the end of the tour in the Shanghai Airport. I almost forgot to give it to her, but remembered as I was getting in line to go through Security. It was obvious to me that **** would have let me leave without even mentioning it to me. 3) **** did not demand tips repeatedly, as ******** claimed. Client B: As for gratuities, we were asked the first night at the Beijing City Wall (hotel) if we would like to take care of gratuities for the local guides. Most people happily gave **** gratuities for the local guides at that time. It was never mentioned again. As for National Guide gratuities, **** never asked for any tips for herself. Toward the end of the trip I asked her when we could give her a gratuity and she always said, later, later, don't worry about it for now. Finally on the last day she did accept gratuities from us, but NEVER asked for anything. Client D: I'd be shocked to hear that **** was as pushy with ***** about tips as she describes in her email. I was aware of only one time when **** discussed the collection of tip money for the local guides and staff, and I was not surprised to hear her ask for this money as the pre-trip documentation specifically mentioned this would happen. Though I, too, would rather have all costs paid up-front, I have no problem with how **** handled the situation when she requested the money. I can't speak for how often she mentioned it to *****, but I myself only heard one request from her. Even when the end of the trip was near, she made no further mention of a tip for herself as the National Guide--that was only mentioned once at the beginning when she collected the money for the local guide and staff. Client A: With regard to ******** accusations that **** demanded additional money at the hotel, we were sitting in the ************************** lobby next to the complainant when the tour members offered their tip envelopes to ****. **** politely asked ******** if she or her husband had their tips. ******** said they weren't going to tip until the end of the trip. When another traveler spoke of the standard cruise/tour protocol of providing gratuities to staff who provided outstanding service, ******** stated that this was the first tour her family had ever taken and reiterated her comment that she would tip at the end of the trip. (Note that this meant most of the local guides, drivers and hotel staff would never get a tip.) **** did not demand the money in front of the group. The only money she ever asked for was for the tips and not for her, but for the local guide and bus driver. Client A was standing next to **** as she distributed passports to the entire group later that morning. There was never another mention of tipping by ****. She made no attempt to withhold passports from anyone. The idea that she was trying to "extort" money from them is ludicrous. She (****) should not in any way be harmed by this complaint, which is completely without merit. 4) **** worked very hard and always provided excellent service in a professional manner. Anyone on the tour knows how hard **** worked to please every client. Client A: With regards to ********** contention that they were not happy with the trip, we cannot see into her heart, but we can report that we never once heard ******** or ******** complain. In fact, on our last shopping that **** had written by hand and copied for our group, ******** and ******** spoke in detail about the success they had in shopping, thanks to ****** help. Your China Spree guides, ****, *******, *** and *** were extraordinarily professional and patient with our group. **** is an asset to China Spree. She is a knowledgeable guide, with a spontaeous sense of humor and genuine kindness of spirit. Several of us on the tour had special dietary requirements and ****, with our local guides assistance, was constantly arranging with the restaurants to provide dishes to accommodate our needs. **** worked tirelessly to ferry us through airports, security lines, toting luggage and rearranging seat assignments. In short, **** went above and beyond in providing superior service. Client B: Our entire family loved ****. Our trip to China would have not been the same without her leadership. Every detail was handled so we had only to enjoy the country. Every meal, every bus trip, plane trip, hotel check-in, **** was there to make sure everything went perfectly for us. In addition, she was so personable and interesting, always answering our questions with honesty and good humor. **** was wonderful in every way. If I were a teacher she would get an A+++++ from me. Please show this email to **** so she will know how much we really loved her. Client C: ****** behavior was professional and friendly to everyone at all times. I felt she was very focused on helping us enjoy our trip. **** is one of my favorite parts about my China trip. If I take another trip to China I would love to have **** as my guide again. Client D: I was very happy with **** as our National Guide. I've taken 4 or 5 guided tours and **** was one of the best guides I've had. I certainly hope she isn't held accountable for this complaint. Client E: I gave **** half the gratuity for our party in Beijing. I gave her the final portion when we said goodbye in Shanghai. She never mentioned the gratuity to me after we left Beijing. I personally found **** to be friendly and professional and she made our trip very pleasant. Attached is our Tipping Policy that explains all the tipping procedures in detail. The terms and conditions of our tour packages require customers to contact China Spree Travel directly regarding any complaints within 30 days following the completion of their trips. ******** completed her trip on August 10, 2013. We have never been contacted directly by ********. Since our reputation is important for our business and for our customers, we will not sit back and allow knowingly false and misleading statements about our tours to be made. China Spree Travel strives to offer efficient, enjoyable and educational tours with exceptional value. We hope that the people who read this complaint will also read our--and the tour participants' rebuttal--since the complaint is simply not true. Sincerely, ********* Managing Director China Spree Travel Toll free: ************ Appendix A Tipping Policy of China Spree 1) Gratuities are not part of the tour fare and the recommended tips for your specific China trip is "$8 per traveler per travel day to cover your tour guides, drivers and porters and are at your discretion". This is listed clearly at tour "Dates & Pricing" page before ******** booked this trip. The information given here is aimed to bring awareness of the extra cost on this trip, so our clients can understand what expense are not included in our tour fare so they can plan accordingly. Refer to information below (see attachment) Additional Costs: China visa processing fee, add-on airfare from your home city to Air China gateway (SFO or JFK) where applicable, optional travel insurance is additional to the tour fare. The gratuities of $10 (was $8 when she booked this tour) per traveler per travel day to cover your tour guides, drivers, and porters are recommended and are at your discretion. 2) Further, we explain this issue in more details at our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section on our website. Refer to information below (see attachment) Q: What is your policy on tipping? A: Tipping can be confusing for group travelers to China. Tips, as a prime motivator for tour guides, are their main source of income, and therefore are expected in China's booming foreign inbound travel segment. China Spree considers gratuities from our patrons to our service staff as a rewarding system. It means if you are not completely satisfied with the services you received, DON'T TIP. Furthermore, please report any services and behaviors that you think do not live up to China Spree's standard to our office immediately so we can make correction promptly. It is crucial for us to maintain a high level of quality services. We recommend USD$10 per traveler per day to cover all tour guides, bus drivers, porters and maids at hotel and restaurants. The detailed information about gratuity will be available to you in the final travel documents. This gratuity guideline is introduced solely for the convenience of our travelers so you can include it in your total travel budget. Of course, whether you tip, and how much, is always at your own discretion. 3) Our policy of tipping is included in our Terms & Conditions. ******** checked the box (on our online forms) to show her acceptance of our Terms & Conditions twice: first time when she submited the tour reservation request, and a second time when she made the online credit card payment. Refer to information below (see attachment) Gratuities The customary gratuities to the tour director, local guides, motor coach drivers, porters and wait staff are not included in the tour price. Tipping is optional and should be extended on a voluntary basis. A detailed tipping guideline will be sent to you prior to departure date. 4) In order to clear any further questions about tipping while on the tour, we explain it again in greater detail at "Know Before You Go" section of the final hardcopy booklet provided to all travelers. Refer to information below (see attachment) Gratuities & Quality Control Tipping could be confusing for group travelers to China. Tips, as a prime motivator for tour guides, are the main resource of their income and therefore are commonly expected in China's booming travel industry. The main reason why Americans are most welcome in China is based on the fact that American tourists are usually generous tippers. Nevertheless, if you are not satisfied with the services you received, DON'T TIP. Furthermore, please report any services and behaviors that you think not live up to China Spree standard to our office at your earliest convenience so we can make corrections promptly. It is crucial for us to maintain a high level of quality services. The following gratuity guideline is introduced solely for the convenience of our travelers. All tips below are quoted in U.S. dollars; tips can be converted and paid in local currency or in U.S. dollars (do not use coins, personal or traveler's check for tips). Of course, whether you tip, and how much, is always at your own discretion. $8 per person per travel day, shared between all guides, porters and drivers as below: National guide: $4 per traveler per day Local guide: $2 per traveler per day Coach driver: $1.5 per traveler per day Porters : $0.5 per traveler per day Included meals: gratuities are not expected Outside dining: service charge is included (except in Hong Kong) Total recommended gratuities for your China trip: $104 ($8 x 13 days) per traveler, namely $52 for your national guide and $52 for all local guides, drivers and porters. Your national guide will accompany you throughout the trip and is responsible directly to you. For your convenience, you are advised to give a lump sum of $52 to your national guide at the beginning of the trip, so he/she can distribute it to all local guides, drivers, porters along the tour. Before the gratuities are handed out to these service personnel, your National Guide will ask your opinion to ensure you are satisfied with the service you received. At the end of the trip, you then take care of your National Guide with the remaining $52, only if you are satisfied with the service provided by your NG. If he/she does an excellent job and has provided you with individual assistance they may deserve your kind consideration to add some extra. We are proud of our conscientious guides and their hard work guarantees the success of your China trip. As a matter of fact, the recommended standard of gratuity is lower than that of the most U.S. tour operators even though our guides are much better than theirs. This incentive approach is very important to keep our quality service staff. This based-on-satisfaction distributing system is introduced simply for your convenience because some service rendered on your China tour is done behind the scenes. For instance, the people who quietly load your luggage on and off the bus, and bring it to your room are customarily paid a gratuity for this service. You are most often with your tour guide when these services are rendered, so we have arranged for these gratuities to be paid on your behalf by the tour guide. To keep your vacation totally worry- and stress-free is China Spree's priority. We understand that in U.S. we only tip for excellent service after the service is rendered. So we respect your decision about how you handle your tips. If you prefer to tip each tour guide, driver, porter from local agency and porter from hotel individually after you receive their service, you are welcome to do so. Please notify your National guide how you would like to handle the tipping for this trip by the end of Day 3 in Beijing. China Spree service staffs become aware of that if they don't offer satisfactory service they will not receive tips from our customers. Other Tips: If your tour includes "Hutong - Beijing local community and family visit", it is customary to tip RMB10-20 to the rickshaw driver. We welcome your input on this matter. Under any circumstances, gratuities are customary and totally depend on the satisfaction of the services. ***SUPPORTING DOCUMENTS REDACTED BY BBB*** Final Consumer Response /* (4200, 22, 2013/11/08) */ (The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.) It is fraud to call something a "tip" when the tour guide says that it is required, and that is their main income. China Spree is a cheat and should advertise the full cost of the trip, and not force travelers to pay additional so called tip upon arrival that is over $640. When you demand money it is not a tip. Tour guide, ******** constant demand of money ruined our trip. Greedy! Final Business Response /* (4000, 20, 2013/11/06) */ Dear *** **** and BBB, We have responded to *** ****'s complaint regarding the BBB case number XXXXXXXX on Oct. 4th. Please refer to our response on the BBB website. We consider our response complete and reasonable based on our correspondence with all other parties from your group. Instead of wasting our life on things that are already self-evident, we consider this email is our final response to you and to BBB regarding this issue. Sincerely, Customer Service China Spree Travel