Terumi Club refuses NJ for travel fares and tours, has cheaper fares for Japanese Only. Like H.I.S. and No.1 Travel.

mytest

Handbook for Newcomers, Migrants, and Immigrants to Japan\Foreign Residents and Naturalized Citizens Association forming NGO\「ジャパニーズ・オンリー 小樽入浴拒否問題と人種差別」(明石書店)JAPANESE ONLY:  The Otaru Hot Springs Case and Racial Discrimination in Japansourstrawberriesavatardebitopodcastthumb
UPDATES ON TWITTER: arudoudebito
DEBITO.ORG PODCASTS now on iTunes, subscribe free

Hi Blog.  Speaking of “Peter Rabbit Taxes” for Japanese tourists:  Here we have more information about Japanese travel agencies overcharging, surcharging, or refusing to sell tickets at all to NJ.  Tellmeclub.com is offering different prices based upon nationality, according to A and J below.  Contrast with H.I.S. and No.1 Travel doing the same thing back in 2006, despite their claims that they would stop.

/////////////////////////////////////////

Travel firm rapped over foreigner ticket policy
Top travel agency charges foreigners more for ‘discount’ air tickets

By VANESSA MITCHELL

Japan Times July 4 2006

The nation’s largest discount travel agency, HIS, which also runs foreigner-friendly No.1 Travel, has based the price of some air tickets from Japan on the nationality of the traveler, possibly in breach of Japanese law, The Japan Times has learned.

Foreigners trying to buy discount tickets through the company were quoted higher prices than Japanese customers purchasing discount seats on the same flight.

The policy came to light when the company offered a discount ticket to Los Angeles over the telephone to a Japanese caller, but said it was no longer available at the quoted price after finding out a Canadian was the intended traveler.

It then informed the caller that the price for the ticket would be higher for a non-Japanese customer.

However, Japanese Air Law, Article 105, Paragraph 2, clearly states that “no specific passenger or consigner will be unfairly discriminated against.”

The company, which has acknowledged the ticketing policy, has defended its actions, denying ticketing pricing discrimination and suggesting foreign customers pose a threat to profits.

Rest of the article at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/print/fl20060704zg.html

////////////////////////////////////////////

Debito.org archives on H.I.S. et.al:
http://www.debito.org/HISpricing.html
http://www.debito.org/?s=%22H.I.S.+Travel%22

Do watch yourself when dealing with travel agents in Japan.  Check pricing at the agency’s website after you get an estimate, and don’t buy on the spot.  Charging different fares by nationality, according to my investigations back in 2006, is not allowed by the Ministry of Transport.  But it happens in Japan, it seems quite unabated.  Where are you, government enforcers?  Arudou Debito in Sapporo

///////////////////////////////////////////

Apr 7, 2010

Dear Debito, First of all, lot of thanks for you daily effort to the cause of improving the living of the foreign community in Japan and arduous endeavor without any doubt.

The last two years I have been witnessing how foreigners colleagues are denied travel tours (national and international) because they are foreigners and can not speak Japanese fluently.

This time happened to my girlfriend when trying to make a reservation for a tour trip to Hong Kong for the both of us. It made her felt so bad that she automatically canceled.

I don’t want to be excessively reactionary about this but it doesn’t seem right.

I’m thinking about asking myself why are the reasons I have to extra pay, because I don’t really get it.

Any thoughts would be really appreciate it.

Please find enclose the mail.
By the way I’ve been living 12 years in Japan and I do speak, read, write fluently Japanese.

Thanks for your time. A inTokyo

///////////////////////////////////////////////////

From: yuka.tatara@tellmeclub.com
> To: ******@live.jp
> Subject:
〔てるみくらぶ〕オンライン予約受付確認 WB0119192
> Date: Fri, 2 Apr 2010 15:11:07 +0900
>
*********

>
>
この度はてるみくらぶをご利用いただき、誠にありがとうございます。
>
>
一点ご案内させて頂きたいことがありご連絡いたしました。
> 失礼ですが、お客様皆様の国籍はどちらになりますでしょうか。
>
>
大変申し訳ございませんが、こちらのコースは日本国籍のお客様対象のコースとなりますので、
> 外国籍のお客様にはお一人様¥5,000の追加料金をお願いしております。
>
>
お申込みいただいたコースの詳細(料金についての注意事項)に「日本国籍の方対象コースです。
> 外国籍のお客様は追加代金が必要になる場合があります。」と記載させていただいております。
> 現地オペレーターとの契約上観光プランに参加される外国籍のお客様は追加代金がかかってしまうのが現状です。
>
> また、外国籍のお客様はお申込み書類と一緒にパスポートのコピーもお願いしております。
> なお、国籍やお客様によってVISA、再入国の書類が必要となりますので、
> 必要でございましたらご自身でご準備願います。

>
>
今回は、請求書に外国籍のお客様の追加料金も計上してお送りしますのでご確認お願いいたします。
> また、パスポートと請求書のお名前が一文字でも
> 間違いがあると飛行機に搭乗できませんので変更ある場合は必ずご入金
> 前にお電話にてお伝えください。入金後は取り消し手数料の対象となります。
> また、混み合う時期は変更ができずチケットを確保できない可能性が
> ありますので十分ご注意ください。
>
>
それでは、何かございましたらお気軽にお問い合わせください。
>
>
てるみくらぶ 香港課 多々良
> 03-3499-4111

/////////////////////////////////////////////

Also from J:

April 7, 2010

Sorry to bother you, but a friend sent me this “gem”, and I’m itching to send them an e-mail:

■日本国籍の方対象コースです。外国籍のお客様は、追加料金が必要になる場合がございますので、別途お問合せ下さい。  (It was 5000 yen.)
http://www.tellmeclub.com/tour/detail.php?al_id=9832&tour_no=KVNAV30RA003&ym=MMMM

It gets better:
※日本国籍の方対象のコースとなります。外国籍の方のみでのご参加は承れません。
http://www.tellmeclub.com/tour/detail.php?search=on&tour_no=KFNAT01CM004&ym=201001

They don’t even bother explaining why.
ENDS

49 comments on “Terumi Club refuses NJ for travel fares and tours, has cheaper fares for Japanese Only. Like H.I.S. and No.1 Travel.

  • “…suggesting foreign customers pose a threat to profits.”

    All that’s missing now is blaming earthquakes on foreigners and we’re set.

    — Maybe if we all start jumping up and down really really hard at the same time…

    Reply
  • I have a feeling certain people and companies in Japan misunderstand the actual meaning of “[racial] discrimination”. Otherwise, I cannot begin to fathom how so many people would claim they’re not discriminating despite overwhelming evidence that they are. Maybe they associate racism with stronger feelings (hate, disgust…)? It’s quite puzzling.

    — That is the essence of my next book. Racism that is NOT associated with hate and disgust.

    Reply
  • betty boop says:

    hi – the pages of those two links to tellmeclub have been removed. so sad – really wanted to know what they said.

    — Sorry. Didn’t get this up fast enough. My bad.

    Reply
  • JTB Story

    This is slightly off topic but we recently had a run-in with JTB. A couple of weeks ago we booked 8 tickets to the UK and back but on the day we went to pay for them they told us that the price had gone up. As we had booked the tickets we weren’t OK with that so we told them. They told us that British Airways had made a mistake by not updating their site to reflect the new prices. I didn’t believe that story. We told them that if BA made a mistake that JTB should sort that out. I called BA directly to get the information but all I got was bad customer service. They said they called BA and that there was nothing that they could do about it. We told them to try harder because if BA made a mistake they are obligated to provide the tickets at the advertised price.

    I don’t know for sure but I have a feeling that BA contacted JTB about my telephone call because JTB called us up and told us that it wasn’t BA’s mistake after all but their own. But we would still have to pay the extra. (The extra came to about 100,000 yen. It just affected two of the tickets.) So from this new information it seems that JTB just lied to us by blaming BA.

    Anyway we told them that if JTB made the mistake they should pay for it, not us and they told us that they would call BA again and see what they could do. I don’t know why they they were going to call BA but I guess they forgot that we caught them in a lie for a second.

    We had to pay by that day but we were waiting for them to get back us. Just in case they didn’t get back to us that say though we contacted them and gave our credit card details and told them that we would pay the original price only but as the person in charge of us wasn’t there we were told they couldn’t do anything about it until he got back.

    A few hours later they called back and said because it was their fault that they would pay up and we got our tickets for the agreed price.

    HIS Story

    I had a similar issue with HIS a few years ago when the fuel surcharge concept was first implemented. I bought my tickets and paid for them about a month in advance but was called up about 2 days before my flight and was told I would have to pay this fuel charge that had been implemented after I purchased my tickets. I refused of course but it took me going to HIS and arguing for 1 hour after work on a Friday and 2 hours after work on a Saturday to get to New Zealand without paying the surcharge. (It was about 5000yen extra per flight and as there were 4 flights in total and 2 people it came to about 40,000yen). There is a bit more to this story but the fact that they lied about several things made it a bit easier for me to win the argument. (Not easy though.)

    The moral to these stories? Don’t let these travel agencies bully you into paying more than you agreed to.

    Reply
  • Here some links from the same Companya:

    【重要】日本国籍、在日の韓国国籍のお客様のご参加のみのコースとなります。その他外国籍のお客様のご参加はいただけないコースとなります。
    Japanese and Korean nationals only.

    http://reserve.4travel.jp/overseas/tour/detail/21646/BBGXL71KB007/?ln=&sn=&dc=TYO&dm=5

    http://mobile.tellmeclub.com/mb/proxy/m/mm/fare_caution.php?tour_no=BANAN62B1004

    日本国籍の方対象コースです。外国籍のお客様は、追加料金が必要になる場合がございますので、別途お問合せ下さい。
    Japanese national only fares, extra charge for other nationalities please inquire.

    Reply
  • Debito, you should call them on the phone and trick them into thinking you are a regular old native blood japanese and catch them in the act. That would be a sight to see.

    Also, a new book? I am excited. After reading your essays, I have wanted to read more of your writings. Good luck with your book. (If I had money I would buy all your books, but I have none right now. -_-)

    — Buy the books after you make your next million!

    Reply
  • I just sent an email to the address above asking her to explain why
    they are selling japanese only courses. I asked her if she thought
    that Japanese customers didnt like having NJ on their trip. I said if thats the case
    why would they want to leave Japan in the first place.

    I don’t expect to get a reply.

    Reply
  • amro wrote:

    > All that’s missing now is blaming earthquakes on foreigners and we’re set.

    Ah, but only the foreign women. Google for “boobquake” from a few weeks ago.

    Reply
  • I think their practice is rather reasonable. HIS is not a discount ticket vendor but a packaged tour operator, and therefore is legally liable for the safety of its tourists during the length of the tour. If its tourist gets into trouble while traveling, it has to provide help for him.
    Things get quite complicated and unpredictable for HIS if a tourist who is a citizen of X gets into trouble while traveling in country Y. In that case, HIS has to study the rights and available resources of citizens of X in country Y. That study will cost a lot of legal fees for HIS. Who knows embassy of X in Y is friendly to Japanese tour operator.
    To provide for that contingency, it is reasonable to charge small fees or to decline tour for nationals whom it is unfamiliar with.

    — Yet another spirited defense from HO, working backwards from the conclusion that Team Japan is blameless in these matters. This time it’s a safety issue? I don’t see that washing as a reason in tourist agencies abroad (and no doubt if Japanese overseas were surcharged similarly for being “unfamiliar” and “unsafe” you’d cry foul; or else tell them to book through JTB, right? Keep it in the family.)

    Pity the Transport Ministry has already said dual pricing like this is not allowed. Or have you conveniently forgotten to read the links I provided?

    Reply
  • Check any of the Hong Kong tours:

    http://www.tellmeclub.com/tour/detail.php?al_id=20634&tour_no=KANAN63LD004&bm=RRRR

    Down under the “point” section:

    “■日本国籍の方対象コースです。外国籍のお客様は、追加料金が必要になる場合がございますので、別途お問合せ下さい。”

    “This is a course for those with Japanese citizenship. Customers of foreign citizenship may be subject to additional charges, so please inquire with us.”

    So I inquired, first with the company itself. A fellow named Mr. Harino at the Asian Section explained the issue: the Hong Kong-based company that handles the tours applies this fee to non-Japanese tourists, so TellMe Club adds this fee to the price; he said he hates doing it himself, but that as a company they have no choice, and that it’s only for the Hong Kong tours; no other tours have this proviso. I responded by saying that I understand how this poses a problem in terms of business, but that as a Japanese company operating in Japan, considering HIS’s previous problems, the practice may very well be illegal. Mr. Harino said that of course, if it turned out to be an illegal practice, they would have to stop right away.

    Anyway, I just spoke with a Mr. Nakajima at the Ministry of Transport, who is checking things out. I’ll be sure to post whatever the results are here when (or if, I suppose) he gets back to me.

    — Thanks very much for the legwork!

    Reply
  • David in Fukuoka says:

    When traveling to China, Japanese do not have to apply for a tourist visa, but most non-Japanese have to (Chinese policy). For non-Japanese, there is also more paperwork involved for both the traveler and the agent. I have been to China over 10 times for work, the most recent being in 2006, and I don’t remember the exact costs, but 5,000 yen for a single-entry visa to China sounds about right. If the travel company does the visa processing/paperwork for the tourist, I would say the extra cost is justified. Otherwise you have to go to a Chinese consulate in person at a very specific time in the day and do the paperwork yourself. I had to do that a couple times and it was a pain. I also learned travel agents also get preferred treatment for visa processing over individuals. Because of this there may be restrictions for group tours that occlude non-Japanese tourist visas. If we were to point/wag fingers in this case, it should be at China’s visa policies.

    Of course this doesn’t excuse them from not being clear about the reasons for these costs, but I don’t think this pricing is discriminatory. They are charging more for the extra processing and work required for non-Japanese (by China). It seems like just bad customer relations and an unclear pricing policy, not outright discrimination.

    — Quite. For the China trip example, don’t Chinese count as foreigners in Japan? If it’s a a Chinese visa issue, that should be made clear, and the onus of making that clear is on the travel agent.

    Reply
  • It seems to be standard for them to offer tours which charge extra for foreigners (日本国籍の方対象コースです。外国籍のお客様は、追加料金が必要になる場合がございますので、別途お問合せ下さい):

    4 days in Hong Kong:
    http://www.tellmeclub.com/tour/detail.php?al_id=23108&tour_no=BANAN63D0004&bm=AATT
    or:
    http://www.tellmeclub.com/tour/detail.php?al_id=23109&tour_no=BANAN63D1004&bm=AATT

    Or 3 days in Singapore:
    http://www.tellmeclub.com/tour/detail.php?al_id=19967&tour_no=OSNNI30WH003&bm=AATT

    However, no such notice for 3 days in Seoul:
    http://www.tellmeclub.com/tour/detail.php?al_id=23170&tour_no=KNNAK60AA003&bm=AATT

    Reply
  • within the site tellmeclub.com “外国籍のお客様は、追加料金が必要になる”
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site:tellmeclub.com+%22%E5%A4%96%E5%9B%BD%E7%B1%8D%E3%81%AE%E3%81%8A%E5%AE%A2%E6%A7%98%E3%81%AF%E3%80%81%E8%BF%BD%E5%8A%A0%E6%96%99%E9%87%91%E3%81%8C%E5%BF%85%E8%A6%81%E3%81%AB%E3%81%AA%E3%82%8B%22&hl=en&filter=0
    About 130,000 results

    within the site tellmeclub.com “外国籍の方のみでのご参加は承れません”
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site:tellmeclub.com+%22%E5%A4%96%E5%9B%BD%E7%B1%8D%E3%81%AE%E6%96%B9%E3%81%AE%E3%81%BF%E3%81%A7%E3%81%AE%E3%81%94%E5%8F%82%E5%8A%A0%E3%81%AF%E6%89%BF%E3%82%8C%E3%81%BE%E3%81%9B%E3%82%93%22&hl=en&filter=0
    About 47,800 results

    within other sites: “外国籍のお客様は追加料金が必要になる”
    http://www.google.com/search?q=-site:tellmeclub.com+%22%E5%A4%96%E5%9B%BD%E7%B1%8D%E3%81%AE%E3%81%8A%E5%AE%A2%E6%A7%98%E3%81%AF%E8%BF%BD%E5%8A%A0%E6%96%99%E9%87%91%E3%81%8C%E5%BF%85%E8%A6%81%E3%81%AB%E3%81%AA%E3%82%8B%22&hl=en&filter=0
    About 21,200 results

    within other sites: “外国籍の方のみでのご参加は承れません”
    http://www.google.com/search?q=-site:tellmeclub.com+%22%E5%A4%96%E5%9B%BD%E7%B1%8D%E3%81%AE%E6%96%B9%E3%81%AE%E3%81%BF%E3%81%A7%E3%81%AE%E3%81%94%E5%8F%82%E5%8A%A0%E3%81%AF%E6%89%BF%E3%82%8C%E3%81%BE%E3%81%9B%E3%82%93%22&hl=en&filter=0
    About 19,400 results

    And even if tellmeclub.com and those other sites try to erase the evidence, the evidence of the discriminatory practice they posted is still going to be stored in Google’s cached pages for awhile.

    Reply
  • …and Mr. Nakajima called back. Apparently, this practice does not constitute unlawful behavior on the part of TellMe Club. He said that while it does seem unfair, it’s not unlawful, and that the circumstances (as related to me by Mr. Harino) are unique.

    Kind of disappointing. It’s basically saying that if a third party discriminates, then it’s OK to pass that discrimination along… Japan really needs a law on the books about equal service regardless of nationality.

    — Pity. That’s quite different than what I was told in 2006. Round One to the HOs of the world.

    Reply
  • The 在日の韓国国籍 part is also ambiguous in my opinion. Does this imply to just 在日韓国人 or does it also include 韓国籍 people whom are actually from South Korea? Unless they can make it clear as to why they are charging different prices (Instead of having HO do it for them) according to nationality I am going to assume that they want to keep Japanese tours on the surface `Japanese`. (As pretty much all zainichi pass for Japanese if they don`t say a word about their nationality)

    In that case though they might have trouble explaining why a 韓国籍 as simple as a 日本国籍 in terms of dealing with problems even though Koreans born in Japan whom only speak Japanese still have to go to the Korean embassy.

    Reply
  • Ho
    “To provide for that contingency, it is reasonable to charge small fees…” To go towards what? A hypthothetical and barely conceivable international incident involving legal fees and embassies? What utterly ridiculous logic. Even if there is some kind of diplomatic incident with someone – and I can’t believe I’m even typing this and thus giving it any credence – why wouldn’t they offer to refund the fee to all those foreigners who don’t get in trouble? There are a few of us around…

    — Ah, but you see, in HO’s trolling little world, “foreigners” and “trouble” are never too far apart.

    Reply
  • Mark in Yayoi says:

    I’m curious as to whether or not these fees can be charged to travelers who are visiting their own countries.

    When I went to Guam with a group of Japanese a few years ago, the travel agency demanded a copy of my passport so as to determine that I was eligible to enter the US visa-free like Japanese people (the default) are. I informed them that as an American, there was no reason for them to do any of that (and that I’d rather keep such a valuable personal document to myself).

    I wonder if I could have gotten a small discount for saving them that legwork!

    Reply
  • Jake:
    Thanks a million for inquiring.
    Pity even the few Japanese laws that do forbid discrimination are not enforced.

    David in Fukuoka:
    We are talking about Hong Kong, not China. As I’m sure you are very aware, Hong Kong has different immigration policies and exempts a whole lot more countries from visas, unlike mainland China. So no extra paperwork for NJ.
    http://www.immd.gov.hk/ehtml/hkvisas_4.htm#part2

    Debito:
    Really looking forward to that book about racism without hate. I hope you get a Japanese version out to try and bring the debate to the spotlight.

    Reply