Frank Leander - A warning

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Steve Wooler
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Frank Leander - A warning

Post by Steve Wooler » Thu Dec 11, 2008 12:22 pm

It is my sad duty to warn visitors to be cautious before having anything to do with a tour guide by the name of Frank 'Frankie' Leander.

I have received a number of complaints about this guide over several years. In fact one reader warning has already appeared in this forum (see http://www.mytobago.info/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2932). For legal reasons I would prefer not to detail the allegations against this man, however let this warning suffice.

Please be warned: this man is known to pass himself off as a guide/owner of other established and reputable tour companies. He generally touts for business on the beach. Regular readers will already know my views about that!!!!

The worst thing about this warning is that this guide is a TTTIC-certified guide. In other words, he is one of the short list of guides certified by the local tourism department. It frankly makes a mockery of this certification. My understanding is that the authorities are well aware of the allegations - including official complaints to the police - against this man and yet they continue to list him as an accredited reputable tour guide. Come on Tobago - get your act together instead of living in cloud cuckoo land.
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Re: Frank Leander - A warning

Post by Paul Tallet » Thu Dec 11, 2008 6:47 pm

Is he known to frequent certain beaches to ply his trade?

Is he one of the guides that chase you half a mile from the Gilpin Trail as you drive by in your car?

Where are we likely to come across this man?

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Paul Tallet
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Re: Frank Leander - A warning

Post by Steve Wooler » Thu Dec 11, 2008 7:23 pm

Hi Paul

He seems to get around, to be honest. I've never heard of him operating at the Gilpin Trail, but I have had reports of him operating from the beach at Turtle Beach, Grafton Beach and at the Tropikist.
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Re: Frank Leander - A warning

Post by Paul Tallet » Thu Dec 11, 2008 8:06 pm

Hi Steve

I am trying to place him in my memory which is not good these days.

I am sure I have come across him ... a very muscular chap ... I actually had a beer with him and he paid his round too ... gave me the hard sell of course but I told him I had my own guides and he was OK about it.

I guess the moral of the story is to stick to the people that look after you for tours and trips ... I always use King David and I know Alibaba is highly rated too (each to their own) ... they both have their own websites ... it's difficult for people that visit Tobago for the first time though.

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Re: Frank Leander - A warning

Post by Phil Bondie » Fri Dec 12, 2008 5:41 am

Is this the Frankie of Frankies/Frankys/Franks tours?

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Re: Frank Leander - A warning

Post by Steve Wooler » Fri Dec 12, 2008 9:53 am

That's the problem, Phil - he passes himself off as others. I certainly know of cases where he has passed himself off as Frankie's Tours. There have been a number of cases where he has taken money for tours with "Frankie's Tours". He has even been seen wearing a Frankie's Tours t-shirt. The tours never take place and the genuine Frankie's Tours get the flack.
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Re: Frank Leander - A warning

Post by Phil Bondie » Sat Dec 13, 2008 5:51 am

Thanks Steve, Now I understand. I will be sure to set visitors straight if I ever hear of a problem. Phil

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Re: Frank Leander - A warning

Post by Brian Taylor » Sun Dec 14, 2008 3:59 pm

the tobago tour guide association already kickt him out for his scams. [-X
he pretends to be franky from franky tours. if you like to go with franky tours make sure the name is MICHAEL FRANK, that's the real franky!!! safest would be to just check back with the booth at the mt irvine beach facilities...
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Re: Frank Leander - A warning

Post by Paul Tallet » Sun Dec 14, 2008 6:42 pm

The safest thing, generally, is not to part company with your money with anyone that tries to flog you a trip while you are relaxing on a beach.

All the reputable Trip Operators in Tobago should accept that they will be approached by tourists that need a trip ... equally, all visitors should take the trouble of knowing who they are dealing with before parting with their money.

Tale Alibaba Tours for example, they are reputable, we know where they live and where they operate from and they have a nice website ... that's what I call a business you can trust and they will turn up to entertain you whether you pay them in advance or in arrears. Same with King David who operates from Castara as well.

On the other hand I have to say that any tourist that gives money to a random guy selling trips on the beaches needs to have his/her head checked ... to be honest.

It goes both ways as I am sure this kind of deceit happens in many places around the world ... tourists have a duty to themselves to be on their guard ... but I bet Frankies Tours will be wondering what to do about this gentleman who is obviously going to give them some difficulties if he carries on like this.

I am surprised that this little issue has not already been sorted out !!

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Re: Frank Leander - A warning

Post by Alan Wood » Wed Jan 21, 2009 10:20 pm

I came across him on Turtle Beach but luckily I'd read this forum first and I was prepared.

In all honesty having received a polite 'no thank you' he was never less than polite and didn't bother me again. I'm grateful to have been forewarned though.

Laura Wheat

Re: Frank Leander - A warning

Post by Laura Wheat » Fri Mar 06, 2009 9:35 am

It's very unfortunate that this chap 'Frankie Leander' tries to mislead tourists into thinking he is the Frankie of 'Frankie Tours.' I know Michael Frank and understand that Frankie Leander doesn't even own a boat - any tours he sells will have to fulfilled by other tour guides. He regularly doesn't follow through on his bookings and I wish the authorities would take steps to stop him from operating. Michael Frank, in contrast, is very trustworthy, reputable and takes great pride in providing good service.

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Re: Frank Leander - A warning

Post by Marion » Tue Dec 29, 2009 12:49 pm

Having read the comments about Frankie Leander, I've felt inclined to respond for some time but held back, however whilst I acknowledge that some tourists may have had a negative experience with tours sold by Frankie, my own experience was much more positive.

I visited Tobago for the first time end of October for two weeks and during that time I went on two tours sold to me by Frankie Leander. One was a round the island tour which took in all the key places like Englishmans Bay, Speyside, Rain Forest, Argyle Waterfalls etc. etc and a visit to Jemma's Kitchen and the other was boat trip to the coral reefs including a beach BBQ and visit to Nylon Pool. I considered both trips to be excellent value for money.

At no point did Frankie pretend to be anyone other than who he is and the second trip to the coral reefs was taken on a Frankie's Tours boat owned by Michael Frank, who was present and as far as I was able to ascertain there was no animosity between these two individuals whatsoever so I can only assume that either they resolved any differences that may have caused bad publicity to Frankies Tours or that they work in conjunction with one another.

As a result of stuff written here I nearly didn't go on any tours at all, which would have been a great pity. Fortunately a couple of people staying at the same hotel as me during my first week had booked a tour with Frankie having done tours with him on previous visits so I felt more reassured and booked the same tour. I'm so glad I did because I would have missed out on an excellent day.

On my second day out, two other people from my hotel had been left high and dry by a supposedly 'reputable tour operator' who had promised them a similar trip to the one I'd booked with Frankie, however he cancelled due to cancellation from others in the party because of illness. Frankie Leander came to their rescue and so we all enjoyed the coral reef day together.

I did actually confront Frankie Leander about the rumours and was given what I considered to be a plausible explanation given the experience of the two people who had been let down by their tour operator to the coral reefs. Sometimes low numbers or even more drastically the weather makes trips untenable or unsafe but as money didn't exchange hands until the day of pick up this wasn't really a problem for us.

My observation was that it's not a case of what you know, but who you know that really made a difference in these matters...you can ask for as much advice as you like, but personal friendships and family links behind the scenes will dictate the recommendations that you get and I was aware of many contradictions. Therefore my advice would be to have your wits about you, don't hand over any cash until the point of pick up if at all possible and don't buy from the guys on the streets...at least the hotels know Frankie Leander, the same probably can't be said for the street guys!

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Re: Frank Leander - A warning

Post by Steve Wooler » Tue Dec 29, 2009 1:06 pm

Hello Marion

I am delighted that your own experiences were positive.

Frankly (no pun intended) I do confess to surprise at your support for this man. Do you really think that the local tour guide association would have kicked him out without reason? I am astonished at your comment "As a result of stuff written here I nearly didn't go on any tours at all". So, you will cut your nose off to spite your face and only use a guide with a bad reputation rather than any of the many honest and reliable guides listed/mentioned on this site.

I sometimes wonder why I bother. As they say, there's one born every minute!
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Re: Frank Leander - A warning

Post by Paul Tallet » Tue Dec 29, 2009 8:00 pm

Negative feedback should be constructive ... in a sense, negative is positive and provides every positive thinking business the opportunity to address any issues.

In this case, there is an indication that Frankie Leander is aware of the old negative reports, he is still carrying on with his business and has received a positive report ... should this continue then credit is due to either him, this forum or both ... and perhaps he will get his name back on to the local tour guide if they feel the same.

May he continue to get good reviews and make more people smile.

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Re: Frank Leander - A warning

Post by Marion » Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:48 pm

Hi Steve

many thanks for your response. I was simply stating that I was fortunate not to have the bad experience that some others may have had and as Paul says maybe that is due to the fact that Frankie Leander has heard the message loud and clear and has cleaned up his act which can only be a good thing for Tobago and long may it last.

My own experience was that several of the guides who approached me claimed to be 'approved' and could show the apparent documentation to prove it, but even they were given bad reviews by some of the 'locals' which makes it very difficult for a would-be tourist to decide, but I'm not so dim as to believe everything I'm shown, read or heard and if that makes me "one born every minute" then so be it.....insulting my intelligence doesn't really help though does it?

I'm sorry, I don't have an axe to grind and I honestly didn't come here to fight, I just told it as I personally experienced it. I have no reason to promote this guy other than to say I felt I had two value for money trips through him, plain and simple as that.

If he's been a bad boy in the past well then I hope he's well and truly learned his lesson and if what I experienced was anything to go by, he has, but of course in this world there is no absolute guarantee of anything.



Kind regards

Marion

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Re: Frank Leander - A warning

Post by bob_uk » Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:29 pm

I visited Tobago for two weeks back in feb this year 2012 and booked three tours while I was there with three different companies, The Island tour being with Frank Leander.
While searching the internet in the hotel lobby I came accross your warning on this web site and started to worry even though I had only paid a small deposit I thought it may be lost !
Later in the week Frank came again to the hotel so I showed him your forum replies and asked his opinion. He gave full and concise explanation for the reasons he thinks he got a bad reputation and by this time the hotel manager had appeared and also reassured me my money was safe and he was happy for Frank to tout for business in the hotel grounds.
The day for the tour came and Frank arrived on time in a brand new fully airconditioned car, We spent the whole day touring the island and the mans knowledge of place and history is impressive. We arrived back at our hotel that evening extreamly happy with tour we had been given and even paid a little extra.
I see the last post on this matter was 2010...maybe he's trying to better his name.
I'm back to Tobago in Nov 2012,will be interested to seehow hes getting on !

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Re: Frank Leander - A warning

Post by Steve Wooler » Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:55 pm

Hi Bob

Thanks for your feedback. Let's hope you are right. It is only fair to say that I haven't had any negative reports about this guy for a year or two.
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