Study Abroad Programs for College Students

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Apr 27, 2020
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My daughter had her study abroad program in Italy cut short due to the virus. We prepaid in full up front for housing and excursions (and tuition, which has gone on line). The program she was with was API. They have not replied to request for a refund for services not received. They owe us more than $4000. We sent a demand letter and are going to try small claims court but hope that someone here can help or provide advice before we go that route.
 
Apr 27, 2020
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Nothing was paid on a credit card. Full program was $14,000 for the semester and all was paid in advance via check/ACH.
 
Apr 27, 2020
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I was hoping that you folks had some executive level contacts that we could appeal to. I looked at the list but could not find this company (nor any of the firms that host/arrange study abroad programs) on the site. The contract was for housing to be covered until May 15th. She was forced to leave on March 5th. The contract included 4 excursions (Rome, Venice etc). Only 1 of the 4 was provided. There are hundreds of students with the same issue. Hoping to spearhead an effort to get everyone a partial refund.
 
Feb 3, 2017
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Is this the company? Their terms and conditions are a tad confusing but it may be more clear to you - https://blog.apiabroad.com/communit...7.2077917621.1588002366-1476294860.1588002366 -- If this is them, I assume you have already read this.

You are only attempting to secure a refund for the unused housing and excursions as the courses themselves are now on-line? Correct?

If you feel they are not living up to their terms and conditions, you might (eventually) get in touch with the Texas Attorney General's office - (I'm assuming Texas as their mailing address is in Texas)

Did no one at any of the contact options here - https://apiabroad.com/covid-19/ -- respond to your request?
 
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Feb 3, 2017
321
571
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I was hoping that you folks had some executive level contacts that we could appeal to. I looked at the list but could not find this company (nor any of the firms that host/arrange study abroad programs) on the site. The contract was for housing to be covered until May 15th. She was forced to leave on March 5th. The contract included 4 excursions (Rome, Venice etc). Only 1 of the 4 was provided. There are hundreds of students with the same issue. Hoping to spearhead an effort to get everyone a partial refund.
Have there been others posting about this issue on social media? API"s Facebook or Twitter accounts?
 

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
Staff Member
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Jan 6, 2015
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We have a research request form here. They are volunteers but will do their best to find contacts for you. We also have a thread detailing how to find contacts here.
 
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weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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My daughter had her study abroad program in Italy cut short due to the virus. We prepaid in full up front for housing and excursions (and tuition, which has gone on line). The program she was with was API. They have not replied to request for a refund for services not received. They owe us more than $4000. We sent a demand letter and are going to try small claims court but hope that someone here can help or provide advice before we go that route.
Please recognize that API has likely paid out all of the funds they had received and likely has no cash flow or funds to make any refunds.
All educational programs and institutions are facing the same issue.
Small claims court might get you a judgment but with no funds to pay same, you will still have little recourse.
 
Feb 24, 2018
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May I ask you to expand on what you mean by saying they owe you $4,000? Did you calculate that, or did you receive some sort of official word that you are owed that amount?

I ask because you may or may not be due that- or any- amount based just on the information you shared here. Universities are not refunding tuition because instruction was moved online. The professors still need to be paid. Depending on the type of housing, there may be no refund due. While universities in the US are refunding on-campus housing, students who live in off-campus apartments are not getting refunds. Staff still have to be paid and the apartments cannot be rented out again. If your daughter's housing stayed open, you are not due a refund simply because she left unless the terms of your contract say otherwise. The excursions will almost certainly be paid for in advance and may or may not be refundable depending on the terms.

What information have you received about a refund?
 
Apr 27, 2020
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There was a very active fb page for API parents which was recently shut down. I think they figured out that many of us were connecting and sharing info offline.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
You can use this to try to find contacts on your own while waiting for our researcher:

 
Apr 27, 2020
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May I ask you to expand on what you mean by saying they owe you $4,000? Did you calculate that, or did you receive some sort of official word that you are owed that amount?

I ask because you may or may not be due that- or any- amount based just on the information you shared here. Universities are not refunding tuition because instruction was moved online. The professors still need to be paid. Depending on the type of housing, there may be no refund due. While universities in the US are refunding on-campus housing, students who live in off-campus apartments are not getting refunds. Staff still have to be paid and the apartments cannot be rented out again. If your daughter's housing stayed open, you are not due a refund simply because she left unless the terms of your contract say otherwise. The excursions will almost certainly be paid for in advance and may or may not be refundable depending on the terms.

What information have you received about a refund?
We did a specific calculation. Not asking for tuition reimbursement. Asking for pro-rated housing based on the number of weeks not received + the 3 excursions. They told the kids they MUST leave the housing. They were not given the option to stay. We did not contact with the excursions independently ; we paid API for them. If they did not deliver then we expect a refund. Services were not rendered for items that we paid for. API has constantly said that they are "working on" refund calculations....but have been stalling for months now.
 
Apr 27, 2020
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You can use this to try to find contacts on your own while waiting for our researcher:

I did already. Did not find anything for this company
 
Feb 3, 2017
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We did a specific calculation. Not asking for tuition reimbursement. Asking for pro-rated housing based on the number of weeks not received + the 3 excursions. They told the kids they MUST leave the housing. They were not given the option to stay. We did not contact with the excursions independently ; we paid API for them. If they did not deliver then we expect a refund. Services were not rendered for items that we paid for. API has constantly said that they are "working on" refund calculations....but have been stalling for months now.
You said she had to leave March 5 and then say API has been stalling for "months" - it has yet to be even two months and likely - if they are indeed reviewing with an eye to reimbursement of this part of your payments - to take longer yet given all that is going on. That is, if they are, in fact "working on" refund calculations.

I too think starting up some sort of social media group for parents to help share information and strategize. It just may well be that the company is unable to as of right now provide the refunds right now. They do have a Twitter account https://twitter.com/APIabroad - you might reach out there too.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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I suspect that all the monies are in Italy. Statements such as the agency has been "stalling for months" are rather counter-productive. Everyone needs to deal with the facts. I believe that this could take many, many months to unravel. A social media group is a great idea, since the agency is probably not functioning very well with this global pandemic.
 

justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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Also I saw on another thread how Italy is allowing travel providers to not pay refunds. If the people API contracted with for the excursions aren't refunding them money they likely don't have any to give back to you.
 
Apr 27, 2020
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Well everyone finally received a reply. $725 is the refund they are offering. We requested more than $4000 in reimbursement for services not provided. Again, they required my daughter to leave. She did not do so voluntarily. I remain firm in my position that they owe us for the housing and insurance not provided. The excursions are a trickier area if the Italian govt is not requiring providers to refund deposits. Is there any way Elliot team can get involved? She has had significant financial hardship as a result of them not refunding her housing money