Refunds were not given when tour company cancelled trips.

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Apr 16, 2020
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We had two trips booked with a tour company that we have used for five years and both trips were paid in full. One to Spain 4/10/20 and one to China/Japan 10/03/20. On 2/18/20 our tour company sent an e-mail saying that they cancelled the China trip and will be refunding our money on 3/19. I waited 11 business days and called them and they said sorry we are not giving refunds and you have to take a trip either this year or next year with the money. Nothing of course in writing stating that. This company will not be running this China trip in 2021 either. They said they would send an e-mail and they didn't.
On 3/18 the tour company told us they were cancelling our Spain trip and the money would be refunded on 5/2/20. On 4/3/20 they sent an e-mail and said we decided to invoke force majere and we are moving your Spain trip to 4/2021.
When we booked these trips we also purchased insurance with the tour company and when they cancelled the trip they also cancelled our trip insurance which was cancel for any reason up to the day of the trip.
It bothers me that first they tell us they are refunding our money and they took away all options when they cancelled the insurance also. On the Spain trip they also said if you booked your own air, they would reimburse you up to 250.00 a person to cover charges. We used miles on that trip but we were charged when we put the miles back so I planned on giving the tour company the receipt for that to get that money back.
Five of my family members were also doing the China/Japan trip and they were also told they would get a refund and never did and no e-mail or letter saying they would not. One family member was doing the Spain trip with us and she was also first told she would get a refund and then sorry you have to go next April. They have also done several trips with this tour company.
 

Neil Maley

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You don’t say what tour operator you used but you need to look at their terms and conditions to see what they say about if they cancel your trip, or there is a force majeure incident, what their policy is.

What do your terms and conditions say? If there is nothing o if it says if they cancel they will provide a full refund- contact your credit card company. They can’t change their terms and conditions now- what was in effect when you booked is what they have to go by.
 
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Patina

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Dec 22, 2015
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How can a tour company cancel your insurance policy? Isn't the policy between you and the insurance company, not the tour company?
 
Apr 16, 2020
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You don’t say what tour operator you used but you need to look at their terms and conditions to see what they say about if they cancel your trip, or there is a force majeure incident, what their policy is.

What do your terms and conditions say? If there is nothing o if it says if they cancel they will provide a full refund- contact your credit card company. They can’t change their terms and conditions now- what was in effect when you booked is what they have to go by.
It was Grand Circle Tavel and to get discounts you have to pay by check. On the China trip, they said nothing about force majure, on the Spain trip they said they moved it due to force majure. I will look at terms and conditions.
 
Apr 16, 2020
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We have quite a few complaints about Grand Circle doing this. What it usually comes down to is they don’t have the funds to provide refunds.
I figured that so I guess I am just stuck either losing all the money or taking trips next year that I really don't want to do. Their lack of communication is really bad and the fact that they told us we were getting money back on China and nothing saying sorry but you are not and then Spain saying they will just move our trip. If they had just not cancelled our trip insurance at least I could have made a claim but now can't even do that.
 

Patina

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Dec 22, 2015
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Again, I want to ask how they can cancel your trip insurance. The policy should be through a third party and the agreement should be between you and the insurance company. Please go back and look at your insurance policy that was issued when you paid for it. I would then contact the insurance company and file a claim. If the tour company cancelled the policy, I would raise holy hell to understand how the tour company can do that without your approval.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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Again, I want to ask how they can cancel your trip insurance. The policy should be through a third party and the agreement should be between you and the insurance company. Please go back and look at your insurance policy that was issued when you paid for it. I would then contact the insurance company and file a claim. If the tour company cancelled the policy, I would raise holy hell to understand how the tour company can do that without your approval.
This is absolutely right. You may have purchased insurance through GCT (as a courtesy they'd like you to think), but nobody but you should be able to cancel it. The CFAR policy you bought should cover you in this case. Insurance is listed as a separate line item on your invoice, right? If not, there may be an issue, maybe Grand Circle self-insures? Answers to these questions reside in the terms & conditions for the trip you bought. GCT runs fabulous trips and has legions of satisfied customers ... but dealing with the back office may be quite a different experience.

On the subject of a refund, I was under the impression that future credits were given by Grand Circle instead of refunds in almost every case. I've used Grand Circle for several trips too, and I remember reading that while comparing several different types of coverage. I never buy trip insurance through the company, but always have independent coverage to be sure I'm covered in case of insolvency.
 
Apr 16, 2020
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When we booked the trip through GCT we paid GCT trip insurance to go with Allianz. When GCT cancelled the trip they also cancelled the insurance and were going to refund the trip insurance money along with the trip money. When GCT said we are not refunding money due to force majeure, we were told that we have to lose the money or take trips. They didn't tell us that on the China trip just the Spain trip. After GCT cancelled the trip and the insurance, Allianz sent us an e-mail saying it was cancelled. Apparently we are just out of luck if GCT does not have any money but it just does not seem right.
 

Patina

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Dec 22, 2015
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When we booked the trip through GCT we paid GCT trip insurance to go with Allianz. When GCT cancelled the trip they also cancelled the insurance and were going to refund the trip insurance money along with the trip money. When GCT said we are not refunding money due to force majeure, we were told that we have to lose the money or take trips. They didn't tell us that on the China trip just the Spain trip. After GCT cancelled the trip and the insurance, Allianz sent us an e-mail saying it was cancelled. Apparently we are just out of luck if GCT does not have any money but it just does not seem right.
You seem to be giving up a bit early. I wouldn't bother trying to get a refund from the tour company but rather contact Allianz to see why/how the tour company can cancel your trip insurance. You must have a policy number from when you purchased it, correct?
 
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Apr 16, 2020
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We do, but GCT purchased the insurance policy not us. We paid more for it so that we could get cancel for any reason up to the day of. We paid GCT for the trip and the insurance and they contacted Allianz. I am not giving up but there are not alot of options left. GCT was supposed to refund our trip money and our insurance money. I have no idea what agreement they have with Allianz. I didn't purchase directly with Allianz as they did not have a cancel for any reason.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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I would look at the contract to see if force majeure or "act of God" or similar terms are used giving them the contractual right to keep your money.

Keep in mind that if your insurer takes the position that the cruise line could cancel your insurance, you can take that up with your state insurance commissioner.
 
Apr 16, 2020
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There is the term force majeure in the contract. My question though is why didn't they say that right away instead of saying they are refunding all our money and our insurance money as they took every option away except to travel with them next year or lose our money.
 

Patina

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Dec 22, 2015
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It was the cruise line that offered CFAR, not the insurance company?

Why don't you post your policy for us to read, removing any personal information like your full name and address. None of this is making any sense regarding the insurance. As SoCal stated, if you had a legit policy in place and the cruise line cancels the policy without your approval then contact the state commissioner.

@Neil Maley when you and your wife book cruises for clients and they opt to buy a policy directly from the cruise line, who controls the policy? The passenger or the cruise line? Do cruise lines offer CFAR?
 

Neil Maley

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It was the cruise line that offered CFAR, not the insurance company?

Why don't you post your policy for us to read, removing any personal information like your full name and address. None of this is making any sense regarding the insurance. As SoCal stated, if you had a legit policy in place and the cruise line cancels the policy without your approval then contact the state commissioner.

@Neil Maley when you and your wife book cruises for clients and they opt to buy a policy directly from the cruise line, who controls the policy? The passenger or the cruise line? Do cruise lines offer CFAR?
The cruise line controls the policy. Some lines offer CFAR bit only as a future credit, not cash back. That also goes for other suppliers that offer CFAR too.
 
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Neil Maley

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There is the term force majeure in the contract. My question though is why didn't they say that right away instead of saying they are refunding all our money and our insurance money as they took every option away except to travel with them next year or lose our money.
This is such an unprecedented event that no travel supplier was prepared for it and didn’t anticipate having no new bookings coming in to offset refunds. If a supplier didn’t have a force majuere statement in their original terms, I believe it is illegal to add them after the fact.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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The cruise line controls the policy. Some lines offer CFAR bit only as a future credit, not cash back. That also goes for other suppliers that offer CFAR too.
insurance is governed in each state by the state insurance commissioners. The cruise lines are not insurance companies. The cruise lines do not even own a captive insurer. Insurance is offered by licensed insurance companies who owe a fiduciary duty to the named insured, whether or not the named insured paid for the policy. All of the terms of the insurance cotnract must be in that contract. The cruise line has never been a named insured. The cruise line has no insurable interest in the typical situation. And I would think a cruise line which "controls" the insurance policies it has arranged for its customers is asking for trouble.

The first step for OP is to determine if the insurance contract provides that the cruise line has the right to cancel insurance. I find it hard to believe that such a clause is in there. There may be provisions which provide that if the cruise cancells the cruise, x happens. But that has to be in the insurance contract. Now if the cruise line cancels the cruise and provides a full refund, and assists the customer by also arranging a refund of insurance, then the customer is presumably fine with that. But if the cruise line cancels the cruise, and refuses to refund the fare, and then cancels the insurance policy, thereby defeating the customer's right to make a claim or ask for cancellation, the cruise line may be out of line.

If there is no such provision in the insurance contract (not the cruise contract) then our OP has the option of complaing to the insurance commissioner in his state. And, of course, the cost of complaining is low compared to the possible payoff.
 
Apr 10, 2017
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This is such an unprecedented event that no travel supplier was prepared for it and didn’t anticipate having no new bookings coming in to offset refunds. If a supplier didn’t have a force majuere statement in their original terms, I believe it is illegal to add them after the fact.
Sort of like when Hurricane Andrew hit Homestead and ruined the homeowner's insurance market.
 

Patina

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Dec 22, 2015
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The cruise line controls the policy. Some lines offer CFAR bit only as a future credit, not cash back. That also goes for other suppliers that offer CFAR too.
That means the cruise line can cancel it without the passenger's approval? That doesn't make any sense. Shouldn't the insured be the one to decide if/when the policy is cancelled? If that is the case then this is yet one more reason to never buy a policy through the tour company. I would no sooner buy a policy, say for our car, through the provider if I cannot control the policy.
 

Neil Maley

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That means the cruise line can cancel it without the passenger's approval? That doesn't make any sense. Shouldn't the insured be the one to decide if/when the policy is cancelled? If that is the case then this is yet one more reason to never buy a policy through the tour company. I would no sooner buy a policy, say for our car, through the provider if I cannot control the policy.
The should not be able to do this. I should have been more clear in my response - the cruise line makes the purchase of the policy but they do not administer it.

SoCal is exactly right.