Pandemic has hit the travel industry hard.
And if you have already booked a summer vacation, you are
might feel the pain too.
The Better Business Bureau gets a big increase in
complaints about travel companies and their refund policy. We were told
hundreds have been filed in North Texas alone.
The misery of travel is very difficult at school and
parents who have planned an educational trip for students at the end of school
For example, Texas International Leadership, charter
a school with many locations throughout Texas, has so many students who are excited to travel
next month to places like New York, Washington, D.C. and Costa Rica for 7,
Students in grades 8 and 11.
But the pandemic destroyed the plans and parents found out how to get their money back or guaranteed that their money could be used for future school trips with the travel company, EF Educational Tours. Those who want a full refund will be able to get all their money back, minus $ 1,000 for cancellation fees.
“I don’t know anyone who has an extra thousand dollars
in their back pocket they can throw. I know of course not, and
we are a family of five, “said the parents, who did not want to reveal their names
but talked to NBC 5 about his experience. “I haven’t received anything for what
I already paid. ”
He is just one of hundreds of local parents who feel that right now. He said that he paid nearly $ 3,000 in advance for the EF Educational Tours company trip for his son’s high school trip to Costa Rica and also bought travel insurance but found a good print, legally excluding pandemic.
“I feel like I have to jump through a circle, I feel that way
even though it’s not an easy and easy process, “he said.” I feel like us
punished. Such a punishment. I have something else to do, I have
kids at home that I’m homeschooling. ”
Parents have several other options if they want to keep it
their investment in the whole trip, including getting the travel voucher
lasts two and a half years, transferring vouchers to other children for other children
travel, or transfer vouchers to other families.
However, for parents who have children to graduate later
years or who do not have other children who are eligible for travel in the next two years
over the years, the voucher might not be worth it. Vouchers are also taken into account
non-educational travel if the whole family wants to use it, but some say
Financial pressures in the economy and job loss may not be the best
Fortunately, schools say they have sought more solutions
with the company and able to cut cancellation fees by more than half.
What can travelers
The Better Business Bureau said this experience highlights the big problems facing the travel industry today.
“That is a challenge. What we say to people is to be patient and try hard to work with those companies specifically. Everyone knows that when this ends, the company will still need customers, “said Phylissia Clark, VP Public Relations for BBB Serving North Central Texas. “Be careful with the fact that businesses take this balancing act and try to do their best to make consumers happy. But it can be very, very difficult if they want the lights to remain on their doors open,” Clark said. .
Be persistent. It might take a lot of negotiation but
The company makes adjustments to respect the return of money when the situation develops.
“They might want to bend whatever the contract says
try and fix a customer service dispute, “Clark said.
If that doesn’t work, dispute the fee to your bank.
“They must give you detailed receipts for everything
that you’ve spent money if they try to charge you, “Clark said.” Worth it
ask the company to give you all the documents and have all the evidence
things have been spent. And persistently, continue to dialogue
with those companies. ”
And if all else fails, submit a complaint to the BBB or the Prosecutor’s Office
“Tell us that this company does not respect the return of their money
policy or not work with you, “Clark said.” Because in some ways it is
can be a deceptive means. ”
When it comes to travel insurance, Clark explains why many
the policy does not cover cancellations and claims are denied.
“The real problem is that it’s usually in those contracts
there is something called force majeure. It says if there is
some kind of disaster – which usually means a storm or tornado or
some weather events that will stop something happening – usually it is
will trigger that clause and you will get a refund because everyone understands
it’s out of people’s control, “Clark said.” But the difficulty is now
whether a global pandemic is one of those situations. Because
no one will write a ‘global pandemic’ orally or into terms and conditions
contract conditions are therefore not a priority for anyone. Oh, I see
debated now, legally, whether the cabinet was triggered or not. ”
In the end, Clark said that everyone struggled
across the board.
“Types of companies that provide existing services
financially canceled. In many cases this is very
reputable companies that want to work with you, but they maintain a balance
payroll for their employees, trying not to lay off people and deal
with their expenses, “he said.
EF Educational Tours says cancellation fees exist because travel companies book flight tickets, hotel and tour costs in large quantities in advance, an investment that comes with a set of own costs.
The company issued the following statement to NBC 5 with information they share with parents from school trips and other travelers at this time.
The health and safety of our travelers and staff have been our top priority for more than 55 years. We are closely monitoring the situation of COVID-19, continuing to communicate with our offices throughout the world, and actively following the guidance of all relevant authorities.
The long-term impact of the COVID-19 virus on global travel is unclear, and the situation is changing and changing every day. Given these circumstances, we now offer our tour groups with travel plans until May 31 cash refunds (less than $ 1,000 per person) as an alternative to transferable travel vouchers, which, of course, also remain an option.
We also continue to adjust our Peace of Mind program and flexible re-order options, our voucher program, and our cancellation policy by instituting a freeze on fees and an extended schedule to cancel or re-order the tour.
Specifically, we now offer our tourists the expanded options below. You can see more details about how travel vouchers work here. We also have general FAQs and special vouchers here and here.
All travelers with trips until May 31 will automatically receive travel vouchers that can be transferred in full amount paid (including all payments that are normally non-refundable) until 30 September 2022.
Travel vouchers can be used by individual travelers for EF products including tours for adults and young adults, language travel programs, and new tour packages that we have designed specifically for senior graduates.
The full amount of the travel voucher can also be transferred to other people in the family or school traveler community.
Individuals or groups can also exchange their vouchers for a cash refund of less than $ 1,000 per person. The $ 1,000 fee allows us to partially cover costs related to non-refundable payments to suppliers and staff, while funding flexible reorder options in our Peace of Mind program.
For travelers departing June 1 or newer, know that all tours remain scheduled according to plan. Depending on how the current situation develops, we are committed to offering similar options. We advise individuals and groups who have expressed interest to travel before the end of the year to postpone the cancellation for now.