BBB Business Review

BBB Accredited Business since 30/08/2013

Phone: (604) 777-4141Fax: (604) 998-4461View Additional Phone Numbers500 1112 W Pender St, VancouverBC V6E 2S1 Send email to

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ToursByLocals connects travelers with experienced local tour guides in 133 countries worldwide. Guides deliver private, fully customizable tours - everything from historical city walks to adventurous shore excursions.

BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since 30/08/2013

BBB has determined that 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.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 13 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised's rating include:

  • Length of time business has been operating.
  • Response to 2 complaint(s) filed against business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.

Customer Complaints SummaryRead complaint details

2 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 1 closed in last 12 months
Complaint TypeTotal Closed Complaints
Problems with Product / Service2
Advertising / Sales Issues0
Billing / Collection Issues0
Delivery Issues0
Guarantee / Warranty Issues0
Total Closed Complaints 2

Complaint Breakdown by ResolutionAbout Complaint Details

Complaint Resolution Log (2)BBB Closure Definitions
12/08/2014Problems with Product / Service | Read Complaint Details

Utilizing the Tours by Locals website, we contacted a vetted guide, *******, in Sochi, Russia and agreed to hire him for our tour of Sochi, Russia. All correspondence was supposed to be monitored by Tours by Locals. In accordance with their stipulations, the guide was supposed to submit a contract to us detailing the itinerary and costs associated with that itinerary. After waiting a week to hear from *******, we recontacted Tours by Locals who informed us that ******* decided to book with another party leaving us, a party of 6, stranded without a guide. Since all correspondence must go through Tours by Locals, they were not paying attention and now others have a guide and we do not. Tours by Locals did not monitor the situation and did not halt the double dealing of one of their guides. ***, *******'s account manager, acknowledged that the oversight was poor and that ******* should not have contracted with someone else when we had a confirmed date with him. This does not bode well for Tours by Locals' business practices. They are not offering to help us in any way to secure the services of a guide nor are they insisting that ******* fulfill his responsibilities to us. ***************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Desired Settlement
We are seeking a qualified English speaking guide in Sochi who can fulfill the specifics of the contract which we had worked out with ******* and which Tours by Locals has in its records.

Business Response
We've looked into the matter and found that ******* had 3 requests for a tour on the same date. As all of our tours are private, only 1 request could be accepted. In cases such as this, our standard procedure is that the first inquiry has priority. Of course we also ask the 'first inquirer' to book in a timely manner and will set a short deadline for them to commit.

******* certainly should have been more proactive in setting expectations, by telling each party that he had 2 other inquiries and stating our policy for this situation, and we have since spoken with him about this. While Mr. *******'s inquiry was the first of the 3, another party actually booked and paid for their tour while Mr. ******* and the other party were considering the offer. We understand this was a disappointment for the ********, who were not aware that other people were also trying to book the same date.

While we do read some messages, unfortunately, it's not possible for our customer support team "oversee" and read every one of the thousands of messages that go through our system each day, in real time. These messages exist as records for us to refer to and assist travelers and guides should any disputes arise after a booking is made.

Upon learning that Mr. ******* had not been able to book a tour with *******, our customer service team immediately went to work to try and find a suitable guide that could do the tour in his place. However, our three other guides in Sochi were unavailable for his date. We then made suggestions for other companies for him to work with. As Mr. *******'s travel date is 2.5 months in the future, we sincerely hope that he is able to find an alternate provider to deliver a tour for his family's trip to Sochi.

Again, we're very sorry the ******** were not able to book the tour they had hoped for and discussed with *******. To forestall a similar situation arising in the future, in addition to speaking with *******, we've messaged all of our 1700 active guides to remind them of our "first inquiry priority" policy.

Consumer Response
(The consumer indicated he/she DID NOT accept the response from the business.)
Tours by Locals realized early in the negotiations that they had a problem with ******* in that he was not operating in good faith and following their rules. ************************************************* Tours by Locals admits that he is a new guide for them. ***************************************************************** Fully a week before we finally got a response from *******, we brought his response delay to Tours by Locals attention. We were advised by **** to be patient. We were and the end result is that we lost the booking. Even now, although we were told by Tours by Locals and ******* that he is fully booked for October 18th and 19th, he has sent us a bizarre email offering to take us on a jeep tour on those dates. There is a lot of inconsistency with ******* and Tours by Locals is still allowing him to advertise his services as a guide. *****************************************************************************************************
The resolution that Tours by Locals offered by giving us the names of two other websites to find a guide was not a successful one. *******************************************************************

02/12/2013Problems with Product / Service

Industry Comparison| Chart

Sightseeing Guides/Tours, Travel Services, Travel Tours

Additional Information

BBB file opened: 07/01/2013Business started: 01/11/2008
Licensing, Bonding or Registration

This company is in an industry that may require licensing, bonding or registration in order to lawfully do business. BBB encourages you to check with the appropriate agency to be certain any requirements are currently being met.

These agencies may include:

Consumer Protection BC
PO Box 9244
Victoria, BCV8W 9J2
(888) 564-9963

Type of Entity


Incorporated: August 2000, BC

Business Management
Principal: Paul Melhus (President)Tomas Pantucek (Internet Marketing Specialist)David Vincent (Director)
Business Category

Sightseeing Guides/Tours, Travel Services, Travel Tours

Products & Services

-Private half-day and full-day tours.
-Meet a local guide in 900 cities, towns and ports of call in 133 countries around the world.
-Experienced, insightful, friendly and charming local guides.

Photos & Videos


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Map & Directions

Map & Directions

Address for

500 1112 W Pender St

Vancouver, BC V6E 2S1

To | From


1 Locations

  • 500 1112 W Pender St 

    Vancouver, BC V6E 2S1(866) 844-6783

Industry Comparison ChartX

The information in the table below represents an industry comparison of businesses which are of the same relative size. This is based on BBB's database of businesses located in the Lower Mainland, Thompson - Okanagan, Northern, Central and Southern Interior BC, and the Yukon.. Businesses may engage in more than one type of business. The percent of time the business engages in a type of business is not accounted for. There is no known industry standard for the number of complaints a business can expect. The volume of business and number of transactions may have a bearing on the number of complaints received by BBB.

* is in this range.


Types of Complaints Handled by BBB

BBB handles the following types of complaints between businesses and their customers so long as they are not, or have not been, litigated:

  • Advertising or Sales
  • Billing or Collection
  • Problems with Products or Services
  • Delivery
  • Guarantee or Warranty

We do not handle workplace disputes, discrimination claims or claims about the quality of health or legal services.


Additional Phone Numbers

  • (866) 844-6783 - General

Additional Email Addresses


BBB Complaint Process

Your complaint will be forwarded to the company within two business days. The company will be asked to respond within 14 days, and if a response is not received, a second request will be made. You will be notified of the company's response when we receive it (or notified that we received no response). Complaints are usually closed within 30 business days.


BBB began including complaint response text in BBB Business Reviews on March 4, 2014. BBB reports the complaint response text for all reportable complaints against a business that are received electronically.


Industry Tips for Sightseeing Guides/Tours


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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

BBB letter grades represent the BBB's opinion of the business. The BBB grade is based on BBB file information about the business. In some cases, a business' grade may be lowered if the BBB does not have sufficient information about the business despite BBB requests for that information from the business.

BBB Letter Grade Scale

BBB Rating Value
A+ 5
A 4.66
A- 4.33
B+ 4
B 3.66
B- 3.33
C+ 3
C 2.66
C- 2.33
D+ 2
D 1.66
D- 1.33
F 1
NR -----
Star Rating scale

  Average Score
5 stars 5.00
4.5 stars 4.50-4.99
4 stars 4.00-4.49
3.5 stars 3.50-3.99
3 stars 3.00-3.49
2.5 stars 2.50-2.99
2 stars 2.00-2.49
1.5 stars 1.50-1.99
1 star 0-1.49

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