You are of course right, ripping off the guides would gain nothing, but make things difficult for ourselves in the future.
From my personal experience though, I do feel that the agenices which I dealt with need some bringing into line.
My visa through 'United Travel Agency' in London (recommended by the Libyan Embassy) cost me £200,
which was meant to include:
arabic translation in passport
a guide to meet me at the border and get me through all formalities
Upon reaching the border, I discovered that the guide had been prepaid to get only me through the border.
I was charged another 100US to get my bike through. (For the time it took and the simplicity of the task I find it hard to justify that amount of money. esp. as I had completed part of the procedures myself)
As far as the guiding company was concerned:
I was on a bike, so I had to pay 100US/day for the guide and his vehicle.
This vehicle was the guide's clapped out car and it would have been the same price for a 4X4, surely a 2 wheel drive rust bucket should be cheaper?
The guide was of no use at all except to get me through the roadblocks.
Perhaps, the answer would be to set up some information page where a traveller could get an idea of what to expect for their money
and also an indication of which travel agencies and guides are the most efficient/service oriented.
If others feel similarly, I would be happy to help to compile such a page, as I know I will be going back to Libya again and would hopefully
have a smoother trip the next time around.
Stuart, I was in LIbya in March,
more details on my website.