WorldStrides Refusing Refund

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Apr 5, 2020
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Livermore, CA
An 8th grade, spring-break trip to Washington DC was cancelled, scheduled for April 6th, 2020, flying out of San Francisco. I happened to log on to my WorldStride account and discovered it was rescheduled for June 18, 2020. This date is not an option for my family and I asked for a refund, minus the $99 non-refundable deposit. I was only offered a non-cash value credit, not a refund, since I did not purchase their insurance. Since the tour was rescheduled by WorldStrides, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, I want a refund. I did not cancel the trip and was not properly contacted about the rescheduled date decision.
Thank you for your assistance.
 
Apr 5, 2020
8
3
3
50
Livermore, CA
Per: worldstrides.com/ms-terms-conditions/
Please know, I emailed my first cancellation request on 03/07/20 to their customer service address.

CANCELLATIONS
Cancellations: All cancellations must be made in writing by or on behalf of the person listed on the registration form to [email protected] or via mail to WorldStrides, P.O. Box 9033, Charlottesville, VA 22906-9033, must be postmarked prior to the group’s departure, and must include account number, registrant’s name, and complete address. Within 24 hours following receipt of your registration confirmation or initial payment invoice (whichever is first), you may cancel your WorldStrides program and receive a full refund. After 24 hours, the Standard Cancellation Policy applies unless the Full Refund Program (FRP) option is purchased. Cancellations may be initiated by the Program Leader.

All refunds are issued using the original form of payment on the account in approximately two to three weeks. Check refunds are only issued to the primary responsible party listed on the account.

Full Refund Program (FRP) Benefits: The Full Refund Program is available for purchase at time of trip registration and up to forty-five (45) days after you register for your trip. If you, the Program Leader, school, or the school’s administration, needs to cancel beyond the 24-hour grace period, the FRP protects your payments and provides a full refund of monies and related fees paid towards your trip. The FRP enrollment fee and any merchandise purchased are non-refundable. If elected, the additional enrollment fee for the FRP will be added to the trip price on your next invoice, and your next installment payment will be applied to the FRP enrollment fee, before being applied towards your outstanding trip balance. The FRP enrollment fee cost will be included in your trip information letter.

All payments, including the optional FRP enrollment fee, are due as of the final payment due date for your program. If, as of that date, the additional amount for the FRP has not been received in full, your FRP election may be canceled and you will not be covered under the FRP.

The purchase of FRP is non-refundable after 24 hours of initial FRP purchase confirmation.

In the event that the trip is canceled as a result of or following acts of force majeure, including, without limitation, acts of God, war (whether declared or not), terrorism, or civil unrest, or in the event of WorldStrides’ bankruptcy, insolvency, or cessation of business the Full Refund Program will not make refunds and the below stated Standard Cancellation Policy will apply.

Standard Cancellation Policy:
If you do not enroll in the Full Refund Program and you, the Program Leader, school, or school administration must cancel beyond the 24-hour grace period, WorldStrides will retain

  • 25% of the base trip price (minimum charge of $120 if base trip price is $400 or more) if your cancellation letter is postmarked more than 75 days prior to the group’s departure,
  • 50% of the base trip price if your cancellation letter is postmarked 45 to 74 days prior to group’s departure, or
  • 100% of the base trip price if your cancellation letter is postmarked 44 days or fewer prior to group’s departure.
For California residents only: Upon cancellation of the transportation or travel services, where you, the customer, are not at fault and have not canceled in violation of the terms and conditions, if any, of the contract for transportation or travel services, all sums paid to WorldStrides for services not received by you will be promptly refunded by WorldStrides to you unless you otherwise advise WorldStrides in writing. This provision does not apply where WorldStrides has remitted the payment to another registered wholesale seller of travel or a carrier, without obtaining a refund, and where the wholesaler or provider defaults in providing the agreed-upon transportation or service. In this situation, WorldStrides will provide you with a written statement accompanied by bank records establishing the disbursement of the payment, and if disbursed to a wholesale seller of travel, proof of current registration of that wholesaler. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the state of California. WorldStrides’ principal office is located in Charlottesville, VA. This transaction is not covered by the California Travel Consumer Restitution Fund. You are not eligible to file a claim against that Fund in the event of WorldStrides’ default.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
This is a force majuere event. There is nothing in there that says you only get a credit and if you are a California resident it says you are to be refunded.

I would file a complaint with the Attorney General in Virginia. They can’t change their refund policy- I’m thinking they may not have money to reimburse you.

It also sounds like they may not have a Seller of Travel License. You can file a complaint here:

If it were me, I’d call them and tell them you will be filing both complaints too.

Were you traveling with the school?
 
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Apr 5, 2020
8
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50
Livermore, CA
Thank you very much for this valuable information.
I did pay with a credit card and did not buy the insurance. Will this better help dispute the credit card charge?
I will definitely file both complaints, too.
 
Apr 5, 2020
8
3
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50
Livermore, CA
Also, this is technically not a school function since the trip was scheduled during spring break and now rescheduled during summer break. A parent volunteer is the lead chaperone and no teachers are going. Unfortunately, our schools have been closed since March 16 and not opening the rest of the school year, ending June 4th, 2020.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
2,850
3,656
113
Maui Hawaii
Also, this is technically not a school function since the trip was scheduled during spring break and now rescheduled during summer break. A parent volunteer is the lead chaperone and no teachers are going. Unfortunately, our schools have been closed since March 16 and not opening the rest of the school year, ending June 4th, 2020.
The chances are good that this type of trip will not be happening in June either. Since the coronavirus will still be circulating in the population, at hopefully lower levels, this type of trip will be ill-advised.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,067
23,018
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Thank you. I will dispute the charge with the credit card company.
Before l did that, I think I’d try them one more time and tell them if they don’t refund you, you will contact the California AG and the filing a California Seller of Travel complaint.

I would send them a letter stating you are a California resident and their terms state that you are due a refund if they cancel the trip.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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Before l did that, I think I’d try them one more time and tell them if they don’t refund you, you will contact the California AG and the filing a California Seller of Travel complaint.

I would send them a letter stating you are a California resident and their terms state that you are due a refund if they cancel the trip.
Keep in mind there are deadlines to a credit card dispute.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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Thank you very much for the advice. Do you recommend a letter rather than an email?
While I always prefer e-mail, if you are making a credit card dispute read the terms of your agreement which may specify a method and address for filing a dispute. It’s in a section called “In case of Errors on Your Bill” or something like that. And you can find it on-line when you log into your account. Moreover, you can do both, or you can call, e-mail and wrote.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,067
23,018
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
SoCal is correct- if you are talking about a credit card dispute, you usually have to either complete a form or send a formal letter. Ask your credit card company what you need to send. It’s often an online form.
 
Jan 11, 2019
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Did you say you notified them first on March 7th to cancel and later found out they canceled then rescheduled your trip? I don't blame you one bit for canceling but I was wondering if the travel company is using that as an excuse to not give you a refund? I know some people in this group, way more knowledgeable than I, say sometimes it's better to wait and let the travel company, airline, cruise, etc..cancel and then they will definitely owe you a refund.
 
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Apr 5, 2020
8
3
3
50
Livermore, CA
I will double check the sequence of events. I understand your point of view. The company has not sent an official cancellation/reschedule notice. Any and all information I have gathered is by logging onto my account, through emails or my initiated phone calls. I am waiting for a reply to an email I sent Monday, April 6th, although a notice informed me they need at least 72 hours due to high volume.
 
Apr 5, 2020
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Livermore, CA
I received notice that WorldStrides will issue a refund within 6 weeks of the departure date, 4/6/20. They will withhold $271 to pay for fees they claim they can't recover. I will continue to monitor my credit card statements until I see the credit.
Thank you for your assistance so far!
 
Aug 19, 2019
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I received notice that WorldStrides will issue a refund within 6 weeks of the departure date, 4/6/20. They will withhold $271 to pay for fees they claim they can't recover. I will continue to monitor my credit card statements until I see the credit.
Thank you for your assistance so far!
That's good to hear. It's crazy to think that it was just 2 months ago that my son was on a similar Worldstrides trip, my daughter on a different trip to Canada, and my wife and I in Las Vegas. It felt then like things were going to change, but no idea how much. I remember reading the terms when we signed up and thinking they were pretty lopsided toward the company even if they canceled, but figured there was no chance of that (!).

Fortunately California provides additional protections -- you should insist on a detailed accounting of the amount they are withholding.