Workshop/Tour Contract Terms and Conditions

Terms and conditions for all VTPhotoTours Workshops/Tours:

IMPORTANT NOTICE

THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS ARE A LEGALLY BINDING CONTRACT, WHETHER OR NOT SIGNED BY GUEST OR GUEST’S RESPONSIBLE ADULT. IT IS ISSUED BY CARRIER BASED ON THE GUEST’S ACCEPTANCE, INDIVIDUALLY OR THROUGH GUEST’S RESPONSIBLE ADULT, ALWAYS SUBJECT TO THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS SET OUT THEREIN.

THE GUEST AND RESPONSIBLE ADULT SHOULD PAY SPECIAL ATTENTION TO CLAUSES 18 THROUGH 20 INCLUSIVE WHICH MAY LIMIT THE RIGHTS OF GUEST AND EXCULPATE FROM LIABILITY THE CARRIER, THE VEHICLE AND ANY OF THEIR AGENTS, EMPLOYEES OR CONTRACTORS.

  1. Your Satisfaction Is Guaranteed Or Your Money Back

    Our Workshops/Tours are geared to shutterbugs and photographers of every skill level. We design each Workshop/Tour specific to each Participant’s desires, keeping in mind the light and weather conditions so Participants will have many opportunities to make memorable and breathtaking photographs of Vermont.

    We’ll work with you to help ensure you have had opportunity to capture the photographs you want. We’ll also happily provide, tips, instruction and assistance in order to meet your goals.

    If you should feel we are not meeting your expectations or if you’re not meeting your goals please let us know before the end of the Workshop/Tour so we’re able to address your concerns, further assist you, and/or make adjustments to your Workshop/Tour.

    In any event, refunds shall only be available for the VTPhotoTours Workshop/Tour Fee, less Booking Fee (50% of total Workshop/Tour fees). VTPhotoTours shall not be held responsible for the weather, strikes, your gear, or equipment failures, and will not refund lodging, airfare, travel insurance or any other expenses.

  2. Definitions and Scope of Contract

    1. The word “you”, “Participant”, “Client” or “Guest” means all persons (adult, minor or incompetent person) participating under this Agreement and each such Participant’s heirs and representatives, including a Responsible Adult.

    2. The word “we”, “us”, “Carrier” or “VTPhotoTours” means usrbingeek LLC, doing business as VTPhotoTours.com and include the Vehicle, its owners, operators, employees, agents, and charterers.

    3. The use of the masculine herein shall be deemed to include the feminine and the use of the singular shall be deemed to include the plural where the context would so require.

    4. The word “Vehicles” means car, van, minivan, bus and/or all other forms of transportation chartered, rented, leased, operated, or provided by VTPhotoTours on which the Participant is to or may be traveling or, as the case may be, against which the Participant may have a claim.

    5. The term “Property” as used hereafter means such belongings, effects and possessions, including photography equipment and/or baggage, as the Participant may bring on the Workshop/Tour or acquired during the Workshop/Tour, irrespective of whether the property is placed in the Participant’s baggage or worn by the Participant, or, stored in the Vehicle.

    6. The term “Baggage” means the camera bags, backpacks, luggage, bag(s) or suitcase(s) in or by which the Guest contains and transports that Property not worn on the person on to and off of the Vehicles.

    7. The term “Responsible Adult” means the parent or guardian of a minor child under the age of 18, any adult over the age of 18 who is authorized by the parent or guardian to have the care, custody and control of the parent or guardian’s minor child under the age of 18, or the guardian or other legal representative of a person that is not competent to contract. A Responsible Adult enters into this Agreement individually and on behalf of the Responsible Adult’s minor child or ward.

    8. Participant accepts this Agreement subject to all the terms, conditions, limitations, exceptions and provisions contained herein.

    9. The Agreement shall be deemed to be an undertaking and acknowledgement by Participant, on behalf of himself and all other persons traveling under this Agreement, and his and their heirs and representatives, that he and they accept and agree to all the terms and conditions herein.

  3. Availability

    1. Workshop Availability:

      Our workshops are strictly limited to the specified number of persons and fill fast so it’s important to reserve your place as soon as the Workshops is announced. Once fully booked, we start a waiting list in case of cancellations.

    2. Private Workshop/Tour Availability:

      We’re often fully booked during the peak seasons and cannot guarantee availability so please plan ahead and reserve your spot as soon as possible. If you were unable to pre-plan your trip, you’re welcome to Check Availability and see if we have any last minute cancellations or openings but require full payment for all Workshops/Tours starting within 90 days or less.

  4. Reservations and Booking Fee

    A Booking Fee is required to reserve and secure a space on a Workshop/Tour. For Workshops/Tours starting in 90 days or less, the Booking Fee is 50% of the total Workshop/Tour fee, is non-refundable but will be credited toward the total cost of the Workshop/Tour booked. Final payment for all Workshops/Tours is due in full 90 days prior to the start date booked. If full payment is not received 90 days prior, the reservation will be cancelled and the Booking Fee is forfeited.

    For reservations on Workshops/Tours starting within 90 days or less, the Booking Fee is full payment, is non-refundable, and is required at the time of reservation.

  5. Rescheduling Policy

    All changes are subject to availability and are not guaranteed.

    If you need to request rescheduling or make other changes to your reservation, notify us by email immediately and we will confirm receipt by email. The received time/date stamp on the email shall be deemed the time/date of the notification. If you don’t receive a confirmation from us by 8:30pm ET the day the email was sent, please resend your email and call us the following day.

    There are no penalties for transferring your reservation to another date within the same calendar year, provided you email us at least 90 days prior to the Workshop/Tour start.

    Changes within 90 days of your booked Workshop/Tour and are subject to a $100 per person administrative fee. Changes may also be subject to cancellation penalties if your booking is for four or more persons.

    When a rescheduling is granted, no person(s) from your reservation may continue to use the original date(s).

  6. Cancellation and Refund Policy

    All requests for cancellation must be received by email and we will confirm receipt by email. The received time/date stamp on the email shall be deemed the time/date of the notification. If you don’t receive a confirmation from us by 8:30pm ET the day the email was sent, please resend your email and call us the following day.

    Refunds, less the Booking Fee and any applicable Cancellation penalties, will be processed in 30-45 days.

    Cancellation penalties are calculated based upon the date of receipt of cancellation notification. Cancellations before 90 days priors to workshop/tour departure are subject to 50% cancellation fee or forfeiture of Booking fee to VTPhotoTours, whichever is greater. Cancellations 90 to 0 days prior to workshop/tour departure and no shows will be charged 100% of the purchase price. All payments made are non-refundable and are forfeited to VTPhotoTours.

    VTPhotoTours will not refund for arriving late or departing early from a Workshop/Tour, nor for any meals, services not used, or for any unused portion of your Workshop/Tour.

    There are no exception to these policies for any reason including weather or personal emergencies. We strongly encourage travel insurance coverage for all travelers.

    Changes or Cancellation by VTPhotoTours

    Routes, accommodations, and scheduled activities are subject to change at any time due to unforeseen circumstances or circumstances beyond VTPhotoTours’s control. Every effort will be made to operate workshops/tours as advertised, but we reserve the right to make changes even after the final itinerary has been issued.

    While it is rare, we may cancel any Workshop/Tour for any reason, if there are too few participants, or if the quality of the workshop/tour or the safety of participants is compromised.

    We suggest Participants refrain from purchasing airline tickets until 60 days prior to the Workshop/Tour start. VTPhotoTours does not recommend the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or non-refundable hotel and rental reservations.

    Participants agree, as there are many other wonderful things to do in Vermont, VTPhotoTours will not reimburse for any personal expenses including, but not limited, to travel costs, airfare, rental car, lodging, travel insurance, equipment purchase or rental, shipping, etc due to changes of routes, itineraries, departure times or Workshop/Tour cancellations.

    In the unlikely event of cancellation, a credit for a future Workshop/Tour or a refund of all payments made by you to VTPhotoTours, including the Booking Fee, will be sent to the Client within 30-45 days and constitutes full settlement. The Booking Fee is not refundable under any other circumstance.

  7. Payment Terms

    Workshops/Tours are subject to VT Sales Tax (6%) and South Burlington Local Option Tax (1%). Any applicable taxes will be added to any taxable service or item.

    We accept payments of US funds via:

    1. Major credit card (over the phone or in person.)
      Participants are responsible for any associated fees. (Typically 3% for each online or swiped transaction, 4% for each telephone transaction.)

    2. PayPal (in some cases.)
      Participants are responsible for any associated fees. (Typically 3% each transaction for US PayPal customers. For Non-US PayPal customers its typically 4% for each transaction plus a fixed fee based on currency received). Please contact us for more information.

    3. Personal Check drawn from a US Bank (by mail.)
      Payments by Check must be received 90 days prior to the Workshop/Tour. Please make your check payable to usrbingeek LLC and mail to:
      usrbingeek LLC
      150 Dorset St. #305
      South Burlington, VT 05403

    4. Bank wire transfer (in some cases.)
      Participants are responsible for all associated fees. Please contact us for more information.

  8. Inclusions/Exclusions

    The following is included in every Workshop/Tour:

    1. Personalized photography instruction and guidance throughout the workshop/tour by Steve Mermelstein.

    2. Specific admissions listed as included in the Workshop/Tour’s literature.

    3. Full day Workshops/Tours are approximately 8-hours long from start to finish. Half day Workshops/Tours (when available) are approximately 4-hours long from start to finish.

    The following is not included:

    1. Transportation to the Workshop/Tour’s departure location is not included. Most Workshops/Tours are priced to depart depart from (or near) Chittenden County (Burlington, VT), Lamoille County (Stowe/Waitsfield/Warren, VT), Addison County (Middlebury, VT), and Grand Isle County (North/South Hero, VT). Please inquire for pricing and more information about other Vermont counties.

    2. Unless specifically listed as included in the Workshop/Tour’s literature; Lodging, food, drinks, alcoholic beverages, personal items, souvenirs, park admission fees, private toll road admission fees, gratuity, fuel, other incidentals, and any other expense, charge or fee is not included.

    3. Fuel is not included. We’ll fill up our Vehicle(s) with the required octane fuel just prior to pick up and will stop at the gas station closest to the drop off location on the way back to it. The Vehicle(s) will then be refueled with the required octane fuel. Participants shall split this fuel cost and either pay the gas station directly or settle this expense with us (with cash or credit card).

    4. Participants must bring their own photography gear unless it’s specifically listed as included/provided in the Workshop/Tour’s literature. Use, rental, or purchase of any other photography gear is not included.

    5. Participants are personally responsible for maintaining and keeping current their prescriptions, vaccinations, health, and dietary regime. Participants should be physically fit and must not know of any medical or health reason why they should not participate in the Workshop/Tour.

    6. Participants are personally responsible for the care, safety of, transportation, repair, or replacement of their equipment and any equipment they borrow or rent from others, VTPhotoTours or other Participants. We strongly urge you to obtain equipment insurance.

    7. Subject to availability of our personnel and resources, participants may be able to extend their private Workshops/Tours within the same-day for an additional charge (plus taxes and fees). Single full day or half day Workshops/Tours cannot be extended beyond a grand total of 12 hours, starting from the original pickup time. In order to extend beyond 12 hours, another full day must be purchased and the Workshop/Tour will commence no less than 9 hours from the proceeding drop off time. We reserve the right to deny or limit any extension request for any reason. If granted, full payment may be required in advance of the start of any extension.

  9. Workshop/Tour Late Arrival Policy

    Participants who arrive late for Workshops/Tours or Workshop excursions are personally responsible for contacting the group leader and catching up with the rest of the group as it wouldn’t be fair to make the other participants wait for you to arrive. Late Participants are expected to arrange for (and pay for) any additional transportation required to catch up with the group.

  10. GPS Policy

    We’ll be fair regarding GPS devices, as long as Participants promise to be fair too!

    Participants are welcome to use cameras with built-in GPS or use GPS devices which record where an image was taken. However, Participants may not irreparably damage our business by using a GPS device to log or record VTPhotoTour’s trade secret and proprietary routes and stop locations. Participants shall not share, distribute, post or publish a log, record, listing, description or any account of our stop locations and routes or use them for any commercial purpose.

  11. Internet Service

    VTPhotoTours may, but will not be required to, make wireless access to the Internet or access to wireless telephone services (“Wireless Services”) available to Participants for an additional fee either directly or through a third party service provider. All Participants agree that use of Wireless Services is at their own risk and that VTPhotoTours shall not be liable to Participants in any manner for claims, losses or damages resulting therefrom. Participants’ use of Wireless Services is public; privacy of any information sent or received is not guaranteed. Personal data may be available to third-party service providers and VTPhotoTours is not liable under any circumstances for any lack of privacy while using Wireless Services. All Participants agree that VTPhotoTours has the right, but not the obligation to monitor, record, intercept and disclose any transmissions over or using Wireless Services, and to provide billing, account, or use records, and related information relating to all Wireless Services as it deems appropriate in its sole discretion (for example, in response to lawful process, orders, subpoenas, or warrants, or to protect VTPhotoTours’s rights, passengers or property). All Participants agree that their use of Wireless Services is governed by VTPhotoTours’s Terms and Conditions of Wireless Services [available on connection to the internet in addition to] any terms and conditions imposed by a third-party Wireless Services provider.

  12. Food and Drink Policy / Damage Policy

    Unless specifically stated, food and drinks are not included. Participants may eat and drink in our Vehicles but they may not have any open alcoholic beverages in the Vehicle at any time. Participants shall be responsible for cleaning up any messes they make. If you’re unable to fully clean any messes or if we have to clean up spills or stains, Participants will pay any professional cleaning costs ($250 minimum) and any damage fees imposed by the Vehicle leasing company, rental company, or bus service, if applicable.

  13. Restaurant Policies

    We will stop for breakfast, lunch, and supper at a local favorite restaurant or sandwich shop at the appropriate times, if applicable. If you have specific requirements please let us know a few days before your workshop so we may offer recommendations. We’ll “stop the meter” during meal times if you pay for your Instructors’ meals.

    In the United States, it’s customary to tip your server in restaurants as they are paid less than the minimum wage and earn the majority of their living through tips. A 20% gratuity is customary unless you received really awful service from the server themselves. Waitstaff should not be punished if you disliked the food. We are known by the staff at almost all the restaurants we patronize and when possible they will priority seat and serve us so you can get to the next location as soon as possible. Participants are required to leave an appropriate tip so it doesn’t reflect badly on us or endanger our relationship with them.

  14. Smoking Policy

    By law, smoking is prohibited in our Vehicles and all indoors locations in Vermont. Smoking is permitted at some outdoor stops but maybe prohibited at others. Please ask your guide before lighting up. Participants must take care to prevent forest fires by carefully and fully extinguishing all cigarettes. Smoking is banned in all natural areas during “high” or “elevated” forest fire warnings.

  15. Littering Prohibited

    Participants agree to respect our beautiful state by not leaving behind any cigarette butts or any other garbage. Participants will be required to pick up anything they drop and place it a public trash receptacle or a trash bag in our vehicle.

  16. Birding/Wildlife Policy

    Participants agree to follow the ABA Code of Ethics during all Workshops/Tours.

  17. Family/Guest Policy

    ALL additional guests are required to be booked and paid for even if they don’t plan on photographing or receiving instruction. Sorry, no exceptions.

    Unless arrangements for a van or bus have been made in advance with us, or if specifically stated otherwise in the Workshop/Tour description or literature, all private workshops/tours are limited to a maximum of six guests. Please note: The seating in our vehicle is most comfortable when the private workshop/tour is limited to a total of three guests. When there is a fifth and/or six guest, each guest will be limited to one bag as we will need to open the third row bench seat and this sacrifices some cargo room. Please also beware that the third row bench seat is best suited to fit adults or children and is a little uncomfortable for big or tall adults. It’s not recommended for any person that might encounter difficulty climbing in and out of a vehicle’s third row seat.

    We do not have any age restrictions for Private workshop/tours however we strongly recommend you leave your family at the hotel or on another activity unless they’re into photography as much as you. As you know, children get bored pretty quickly and may distract you from making all the images you want to make. VTPhotoTours cannot be held responsible for this. We’re unable to perform as a babysitter during the Workshop/Tour; you are solely responsible for the supervision and care of your children throughout the entire Workshop/Tour. You’ll also need to have an approved child restraint for each child under 8 years of age; please see Vermont Child Restraint Laws. Please note: We can only accommodate two child seats per private workshop/tour.

    Group workshops/tours are open to any individual 18 years of age or older. Talented photographers ages 8-17 may apply for special consideration by submitting photographs and participating in a telephone interview in order to verify their interest and that their participation wouldn’t be a detriment to the rest of the group.

  18. Photography/Videos of Participants

    We may make photographs/videos during the operation of any Workshop/Tour or part thereof. Participants agree that the photos/videos of themselves can be used for any purpose (except pornographic or defamatory) which may include, among others, advertising, promotion, marketing and packaging for any product or service unless we’re advised in writing of opt-out before your Workshop/Tour.

  19. Compliance With Laws (and for everyone’s safety)

    Participants must comply with all state and federal laws during the Workshop/Tour. This includes, but is not limited to:

    1. Proper travel documentation and eligibility to travel is required at the start and throughout the Workshop/Tour. It is the Participants’ sole responsibility to ensure his/her legal eligibility to travel and to bring and have available at all times all required travel documents. Participants are advised to check with their travel agent or the appropriate government authority to determine the necessary documents and travel eligibility requirements. VTPhotoTours may cancel the booking of any guest who is or becomes ineligible to travel for any reason, or who is traveling without proper documentation. Participant is responsible for all related costs and fines, including without limitation travel expenses and for proper travel documentation. Under no circumstances shall VTPhotoTours be liable for any costs, damages or expenses whatsoever incurred by any Guest as a result of such failure, cancellation or denial of participation.

    2. While in our Vehicles, Participants must wear their seatbelt and stay seated while the Vehicle is in motion.

    3. Property, cameras, and other gear must remain inside the window frame while the Vehicle is in motion; nothing may be held out a Vehicle’s window(s), moonroof, or affixed to any Vehicle.

    4. Baggage, tripods and other blunt or possibly dangerous objects must be safely stowed and secured in the trunk or cargo area.

    5. Participants may not move or take or any wildlife, plants, and/or foliage.

    6. Participants may not bring any illicit or illegal items, including but not limited to, open alcohol containers, drugs, firearms, or weapons.

  20. Baggage and Personal Property Limitation Of Liability

    Participants are fully responsible for the safety and caring for their Property and Baggage at all times.

    Do not leave any of your Property or any other items unattended at any time. Do not assume we (or other Participants) are watching it. We cannot and do not take any responsibility to protect any of your Property or any other items from damage, loss, or theft.

    At the drop off location, Participants shall carefully check that they have all their Property, Baggage, and item(s) they brought with them (or acquired during the Workshop/Tour) and shall retrieve any items left in the Vehicle(s) before we leave. Participants may request us to attempt to locate left or lost Property and other item(s) afterwards, in exchange for reimbursement of all actual costs associated plus $100.00 an hour. Participants requesting this service must pay this fee even in the event the lost Property or item(s) are valued less, not found, not recovered, or returned in partial or a broken condition.

  21. Fitness to Participate and Special Needs

    The Participant warrants that he and those traveling with him are physically and emotionally fit to travel and participate in the Workshop/Tour, and further certifies that such Guests have no medical or emotional condition that would endanger any Guest or others. Any Guest with special medical, physical or other needs requiring medical attention or special accommodation during the Workshop/Tour is requested to notify VTPhotoTours in writing at the time of booking of such special need. Upon booking the Workshop/Tour, Participants who have special needs are requested to contact VTPhotoTours to discuss the details of their special needs. VTPhotoTours recommends that any Guest who is not self-sufficient travel with a companion who shall take responsibility for any assistance needed during the Workshop/Tour and in case of emergency.

  22. Travel Insurance

    We strongly recommend that you buy comprehensive travel insurance (covering trip cancellation, trip interruption, baggage and accident/life) before traveling and taking a Workshop/Tour. We also recommend that you review your existing insurance policies to ensure you have appropriate coverage to meet your needs, particularly for the risks mentioned herein.

  23. Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

    Participants acknowledge receipt of VTPhotoTour’s applicable brochures and agrees to abide by the terms and conditions of VTPhotoTour’s brochures and web site, including but not limited to the information contained in the “FAQ”, “Frequently Asked Questions”, “Terms” sections.

    By enrolling and participating in a Workshop/Tour you must be aware that you will have to accept certain risks. All travel, wherever it may be and by whatever means, involves some inherent risk of injury, illness, death, loss, or damage to personal property, which may be caused by forces of nature, negligence or actions of others, or other agencies.

    Participants agree to assume all risk of personal injury, Property damage, and/or Property loss. Participants agree that participation is at their sole risk.

    While on a Workshop/Tour availability of medical care may be limited or delayed. Participants acknowledge that all or part of their Workshop/Tour may be in areas where medical care and evacuation may not be available. Participant agrees to indemnify and reimburse VTPhotoTours in the event VTPhotoTours elects to advance the cost of emergency medical care, transportation and/or lodging in connection therewith.

  24. Governing Law

    These Terms are governed by and controlled by the laws of the State of Vermont, applicable to contracts made and performed therein without reference to the applicable choice of law provisions. All actions, proceedings or litigation relating hereto will be instituted and prosecuted solely within the State of Vermont, Chittenden County. The parties consent to the jurisdiction of the state courts of Vermont and the federal courts located within such state and county with respect to any action, dispute or other matter pertaining to or arising out of Services offered.


  25. Acceptance of these Terms and Conditions

    Before Participants book a Workshop/Tour with VTPhotoTours they are provided with a link or URL to these Terms on all emails and correspondence. Participants are also required to complete a questionnaire which asks the Participant to read this agreement and if they fully understood this agreement.

    Participation in any Workshop/Tour constitutes acceptance of these Terms and each Participants agrees that these Terms are a binding legal contract. These Terms incorporates the entire understanding of the parties. Any modifications to the Terms must be in writing and signed by both parties.

    Participants also agree that this contract is severable, in other words, that if any part of this contract is held by a court of law to be unenforceable, the rest of the contract shall survive.