Can Overseas Adventure Travel renege on paying a cash refund for trips they cancelled?

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jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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Has anyone succeeded in getting a refund. I booked as part of a group that received an email on March 19 from Grand Circle stating that if we did nothing, a refund would be issued on May 1. This week we received a new email saying that we had been revoked on the closest tour to what we had booked (from a history bus tour of Northern Germany to Great Rivers of europe) and that refunds are no longer available.
As the travel providers start doing basic accounting, they find that they do not have adequate funds to give to their customers. This scenario is being played out around the world. Companies want to keep their customers happy, but there may be little they can do. Balancing their liabilities with retaining enough of the operation and the employees to carry on (at some unknown date) has got to be a very difficult task. All anyone can do is keep asking, keep the pressure on and hope that you get lucky. For the record, Grand Circle's "Great Rivers of Europe" is a fabulous trip, it was our first river cruise ever back in 2002. GCT's tour guides and crew are incomparable.
 
May 30, 2017
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As the travel providers start doing basic accounting, they find that they do not have adequate funds to give to their customers. This scenario is being played out around the world. Companies want to keep their customers happy, but there may be little they can do. Balancing their liabilities with retaining enough of the operation and the employees to carry on (at some unknown date) has got to be a very difficult task. All anyone can do is keep asking, keep the pressure on and hope that you get lucky. For the record, Grand Circle's "Great Rivers of Europe" is a fabulous trip, it was our first river cruise ever back in 2002. GCT's tour guides and crew are incomparable.
Great trip but done it twice already. As a close match to a land exploration of the history of Northern Germany it is not much of a match.
 
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May 30, 2017
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Revoked or rebooked? What do the terms and conditions in your contract say about this? Does it say they have the right to do this?
Should have read rebooked. What gets my goat is that they had sent an email on March 19 offering us the choice of rebooting or a full refund.
 
Apr 18, 2020
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I booked a trip through OAT with my sister, Laurie Hampton. It was their Ultimate Africa trip with a pre-trip to London The trip was to happen March 11 - April 1st). We were scheduled to leave Seattle on British Airlines on March 11th. British Airways cancelled our March 11th flight and we were rescheduled for March 12th, which meant we lost day 1 of our London pre-trip. After being in London for less than 24 hours, my sister received an email saying our trip had been cancelled. When we called OAT travel, the said we needed to book our flight home with British Airways. After being put on hold and then cut off with B.A for 5 or 6 hours., we called OAT back and they got us a flight home the next day. What was to be our trip of a lifetime ended up being our nightmare of a lifetime. In OAT's cancellation email, they said we could get a full refund, including our travel insurance through Allianz. Turns our that was a lie and they will only let us take the trip a year from now (without the pre-trip to London and at a higher cost). I'm a diabetic 72 year old and I don't know if I'll be healthy enough to take this trip in a year. Maybe, the "cancel for any reason" part of the insurance will kick in if I'm not healthy enough to travel, but I'm skeptical in light of the fact that OAT reneged on the full refund offer that they gave to us.

Help!!!!
 

Neil Maley

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This infuriates me that the suppliers are telling you to go to the insurance company when they know unless it’s a Cancel for Any Reason policy, pandemics are not covered.

How did you file your claim? This could be considered trip interruption.

This is just poor customer service on OAT’s part. Have you contacted your credit card company?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
This is a horrible story, Leanne. While I understand how chaotic that time period was, GCT's air desk behaved horribly. They should have rebooked you and paid close attention until you were safely on that plane home. I'm assuming that you purchased air with your tour, of course. For a company to tell a customer they will receive a refund and then back out of that is reprehensible. Have you filed a claim with the insurance? If the insurance doesn't take care of you, go after OAT again for that refund. You deserve a refund, that's what you were told you'd get. If a refund is not forthcoming, I think you and your sister should sit down, figure out what you want, and negotiate with them for a future trip ... you should not be corralled into travelling until YOU are ready, and you should be able to travel somewhere YOU wish to go. You may prefer a less strenuous trip than Africa.
 
Apr 23, 2020
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Same problem with Grand Circle/OAT, they canceled our trip to Spain & Portugal, we asked and they told us full refund would coming. 3 weeks after that I called and was informed that GCT had changed their policy since and now will not refund the money. And yes our travel insurance was canceled, not by us but apparently by OAT. This would been our trip with OAT/GCT and this is the way the company has acted on this.
 
Apr 1, 2018
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Is the cancelling of the trip insurance by someone other than the traveler a case of fraud? It looks like the company sold travel insurance as part of the package and then cancelled the policies, possibly getting refunds in the process. This doesn't not smell right.
 
Apr 24, 2020
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Like many other travelers, I purchased a trip with Overseas Adventure Travel that they have canceled. Thankfully, I was called before I was to leave or else I would have been quarantined at my destination. Besides the phone call, I received an email giving me my options: re-book the trip for a later date, book another trip of my choosing OR get a full refund including the Cancel for Any Reason Trip Protection Plan I purchased. Then, I heard through a friend that OAT is reneging on giving cash refunds to anyone! Next, I got a tentative booking confirmation email for a somewhat similar trip since my original trip was not going to be offered in 2021! First, I never got notification that the refund policy changed and was booked for a trip without even speaking to anyone. I asked the rep to submit a request for the refund to follow their exception process -- even though he admitted I would be told the same thing and that they were so swamped it would be at least 2 days before a supervisor.

In reading over the Terms and Conditions, I signed a one-way contract re cancellations and little liability for the company! There are parts of the Ts &Cs that talk about the company giving refunds if they cancel a pre- or post-trip extension, including the base trip if I decide to cancel within 7 days. It's coming down to booking another trip because it looks like there is no other way to cover money ($$$). If not illegal, it is certainly unethical. OAT does not use media to advertise and its business model is built on a Loyalty program and word-of-mouth. It is widely regarded, but I have lost my respect for what they are doing to their customers, especially rolling out a new policy and not being upfront about the change. A good way to lose future business.

Lastly, this experience shows the ugly under belly of travel companies and the travel industry as a whole. No need to commiserate, but I would like any suggestions on getting a refund.
Susan - Paragraph 9f of the T&C says if they postpone a trip (which they are doing under the force majeure clause) and you don’t agree to the new date you are entitled to a *refund*.
 
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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
Here is where you can file a complaint with the Massachusetts AG:


Not sure what state you are in but you can also do a search on your States government website to find the Insurance Department and file a complaint about them canceling your insurance policy.
 
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Apr 24, 2020
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This infuriates me that the suppliers are telling you to go to the insurance company when they know unless it’s a Cancel for Any Reason policy, pandemics are not covered.

How did you file your claim? This could be considered trip interruption.

This is just poor customer service on OAT’s part. Have you contacted your credit card company?
OAT’s CFAR policy is really misleading. In fact you only get a full refund if you cancel for a ”specified reason” most of whicH relate to a traveler being too sick or injured to travel. Otherwise, I.e. “any other reason” you only get a credit for future travel, which is what OAT is offering anyway. I suppose, however, it’s better to have the insurance entity offering the credit rather than OAT. Better finances.
 
Apr 24, 2020
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Any OAT folks more than 90 days out from departure are entitled to cancel and receive a full refund, less cancellation fee. Paragraph 8c of the T&C’s.

If OAT has or will “postpone” your trip to 2021 and you don’t ”agree”with the date, you are entitled to a full refund. Para.9f.

If OAT cut your trip short in March, you’re entitled to a prorated refund. Para 9h.

if OAT says otherwise and refuses to pay the refund, that’s breach of contract, plain and simple. They can’t disguise this breach by claiming its merely a change of “policy.” Their business policies can not override the T&C’s, especially when they drafted the T&C’s..
 
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Dwayne Coward

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Apr 13, 2016
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Any OAT folks more than 90 days out from departure are entitled to cancel and receive a full refund, less cancellation fee. Paragraph 8c of the T&C’s.

If OAT has or will “postpone” your trip to 2021 and you don’t ”agree”with the date, you are entitled to a full refund. Para.9f.

If OAT cut your trip short in March, you’re entitled to a prorated refund. Para 9h.

if OAT says otherwise and refuses to pay the refund, that’s breach of contract, plain and simple. They can’t disguise this breach by claiming its merely a change of “policy.” Their business policies can not override the T&C’s, especially when they drafted the T&C’s..
Unfortunately, as stated previously, the T&C does include a "force majeure" clause, which only a court can determine if it would hold up legally. We recommend that if the consumer doesn't want to accept the future credit, they continue to address a refund with the company. If the company has denied a refund, and one is due per the terms and conditions, then consumers can attempt to dispute the charge with their credit card.

At this time many travel companies have paid their suppliers for these bookings and are having difficulty obtaining refunds to reimburse consumers and probably do not have the available fund on hand or generating much revenue now. Hopefully, when current conditions improve and business can resume, they may be in a position to start providing refunds, otherwise, we may see many of these companies going into bankruptcy.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,393
23,364
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
OAT’s CFAR policy is really misleading. In fact you only get a full refund if you cancel for a ”specified reason” most of whicH relate to a traveler being too sick or injured to travel. Otherwise, I.e. “any other reason” you only get a credit for future travel, which is what OAT is offering anyway. I suppose, however, it’s better to have the insurance entity offering the credit rather than OAT. Better finances.
The credit for future travel is with OAT. So you are still stuck with hoping that they are still in business.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
OAT initially said they would refund if we wished, they later changed their policy. We have the email from them offering us the refund on March 13, 2020.
You may have to accept the reality that regardless of contacts, legalese, etc, OAT may simply have no cash flow and cannot provide a refund now or in the future.
 
Apr 24, 2020
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Try a charge back on your credit card. I had a 7 week African trip with 3 land tours, multiple air flights, and hotel reservations blow up in light of COVID. I had luck with my credit card immediately deciding to refund airfare and a tour and credit my account within 2 days. Contact your state attorney General. Try filing with your travel insurance. Write to high ups in the company. Use social media. Post on Facebook. I find it appalling when people have no jobs or limited incomes that we are given vouchers that expire in 1 year, especially when the company cancelled. If the company cancelled your travel insurance, they have standing to do so.
 
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Apr 23, 2020
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Unfortunately the company wanted a check or access to my checking account. The deposit was paid by credit card and the rest by check.