Event: Celiac/GF Awareness Tour: Buyer Beware

Several months ago I was contacted by this tour asking if I wanted to be an official blogger for them. I was excited, as I had just been removed as a blogger for the GFAFExpo after questioning their anti-autistic-people sponsors. But it seems I traded one bad tour for another.

I made several posts for them, advertising their events. Shortly after the first one, I started to receive messages that this tour was prone to cancelling events at the last minute. I did some searching, and didn’t find anything at the time, so I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes things just happen.

But getting information (from the tour people) was a bit like pulling teeth, and then one of the stops I’d advertised cancelled last minute (Cincinnati, OH). On their FB page they said it was due to lack of interest. . . . You are an awareness tour, are you not? Perhaps there is low interest because that area needs awareness. At least one commenter told them that was the exact reason they shouldn’t have cancelled. Did this group lose sight of that along the way?

So I updated my post about the tour saying it was cancelled at the last minute, no reason or notification was provided to me. I’d posted the info on Sept 29th and updated the post about the cancellation as soon as I heard about it, which was the day of the event (October 5). I was one of the people that tried to get clarification about them cancelling.

I thought it was wrong on their part not to send out an email to their bloggers, because we’re trying to put helpful, accurate information out there. If you don’t tell us what’s going on, we end up misleading people; the last thing we want to do!

I never heard from anyone involved with the tour again. In the meantime I heard more about last minute cancellations from past tours, for various reasons, including vendors being told the tour didn’t get the right permits. Shouldn’t a vendor tour know about that?

I was supposed to be blogging for the Mount Laurel, NJ, stop on November 9th, which, by my understanding, was the replacement for the abruptly cancelled (“relocated”) Philly tour from earlier this year. As it is getting closer to our departure day, I thought I’d better ask them if they were mailing out the blogger tickets or would the people manning the door know what blog names to admit free?

I sent an email asking about this, allowing for about two weeks for them to drop tickets in the mail and for the tickets to arrive, as we were planning to leave a few days ahead of time. Didn’t get a response. (Not through email. Not through Twitter. Not through Facebook.)

Didn’t get any information about advertising for the NJ stop either, which seemed suspicious.

So on the 25th, I called the hotel it’s supposed to be held at. Sales team told me the tour had been cancelled a week ago.


The tour is still advertised on their website. There’s no hint that it has been cancelled (or ‘relocated’ again). Were they planning to spring this on vendors and attendees at the last minute too, even though they’ve known for awhile? That’s bad business, folks.

So I e-mailed the tour again. Two different people this time. Asked if it was true.

If someone contacted you about an event you were putting on, hearing that it had been cancelled and whether it was true or not, wouldn’t you make an effort to get right back to them and confirm or deny? Immediately?

No response.

Maybe their other tours weren’t cancelled last minute either. Just announced last minute.


At 11:22 this morning (EST), I received a reply to the message I sent the tour on FB, asking about tickets. This is what followed:

    • Amanda  Yeah, I think so. I called the hotel that the event in NJ is supposed to be at and their sales department told me you all cancelled about a week ago.

    • Amanda What do you mean what area? Virginia. Blogger. What? As far as I know there’s only one New Jersey.

    • Celiac Awareness Tour We work with bloggers in different cities and since I am not familiar with your blog or location I just wanted to find out what stop you were near so I can help you.

    • Amanda I’m not near any stop. I registered as an official tour blogger through Megan Taylor to come up to the Philly one which then became the New Jersey (in Mount Laurel) tour stop. Either way, the hotel says you all cancelled the stop. No one seems to want to confirm or deny that. I had submitted my question about tickets on here, Twitter, and in email. I called the hotel after not getting a response at any point.
      And you guys invited me to be a blogger in the first place.

The FB people seemed to know who I was prior to today, so have they changed staff (which I hear has happened before)? What difference does it matter where I live if that’s the tour I registered to attend?

And why, still, are they refusing to confirm or deny that the event stop in Mount Laurel, NJ, was cancelled a week (more, now) ago?

It’s about an hour since I sent my last message to them. Still waiting on a response.  Will update as I can.

The Mount Laurel, NJ stop is NO LONGER listed on the Celiac Awareness Tour website. (10/30/2013)


Later on 10/31, I took a screenshot from their FB page:


Sent it to them in email, asked them to tell me again why they don’t know who I am.

Their response:

Celiac Awareness Tour

 I just sent you a message via your Facebook page.

My response:


No, I don’t believe that you did. Neither of my FB pages have any new messages, and my personal timeline is private so you couldn’t post there. What’s wrong with sending a reply here?

I don’t know where you sent your message, but it wasn’t to me. 

What I didn’t realize at the time, was that the message I’d received from a Lou Reyes that morning was from the tour. He didn’t bother to tell me who he was, and seeing that the only person I’d dealt with was Megan Taylor, how was I to know?

11/1 Lou Reyes I read your post on the celiac awareness tour Facebook page and would like to call you to discuss your questions. May I have your phone number?

11/1, 12:26pm Amanda

I’m sorry, but telephone is very hard for me. Is there any way we can do it over IM (I have Yahoo IM but also Pidgin that’s supposed to let me chat with people on many different programs) or e-mail? Would be happy to talk with you though!

Although which message are you referring to? The last thing I remember posting *on* the Celiac Awareness Tour page was asking why they cancelled Cincinnati. Or are you referring to what I wrote on my blog?

Seen on 4:05pm

He has yet to reply. Because of this blog post, I’d assumed he was a vendor or attendee until I looked into it further. Why couldn’t he tell me who he was to start off with? Now, knowing who he is, I’m not sure “happy” is the right word, but I would be very interested to speak with him!

Read what Gluten Dude had to say about this mess here.

Were you a vendor or attendee at a canceled event?

I’d love to hear from you.

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