When Bruce Shickmanter’s tour of Greece and Turkey is canceled during the pandemic, his tour operator simply reschedules him for 2021. But what if he doesn’t want to go? What do you do when Overseas Adventure Travel rebooked you instead of refunding?
Earlier this year, my wife and I booked a trip with Overseas Adventure Travel to Greece and Turkey in late spring. When travel started to get restricted due to the coronavirus, we contacted Overseas Adventure Travel to inquire as to the status of our trip.
An Overseas Adventure Travel representative said that the trip was going to be canceled. She advised us to wait for notification of this because when the company cancels a trip the customer is due a full refund of all expenses. This had been specified in Overseas Adventure Travel’s terms and conditions when we booked the trip as well.
A couple of weeks later, we received a notice from Overseas Adventure Travel that they had rebooked us on a trip to the same destination in June 2021. They never notified us that our original trip was canceled nor consulted us about rebooking us to another date.
When we contacted Overseas Adventure Travel customer service, a representative told us that they “changed” their policy regarding refunds and would not be honoring the refund policy that was in effect when we booked our original trip. We told them that we do not want our $21,157 withheld by them and we don’t want to plan a future trip in these uncertain times. Can you help us get a refund? — Bruce Shickmanter, Lenox, Mass.
Overseas Adventure Travel should have refunded you for several reasons. First, because it promised it would. And also because your state’s laws require a refund. More on that in a minute.
Why would Overseas Adventure Travel rebook you the way it did? Easy. It wants you to keep your travel plans. That benefits the tour operator and all of its suppliers. So, of course it’s going to do everything it can to prevent a refund.
How to contact Overseas Adventure Travel
Travel can’t renege on its refund offer. You could have reached out to someone higher up at Overseas Adventure Travel to appeal your case. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the executives at Grand Circle Travel, which owns Overseas Adventure Travel, on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org.
But there’s also the legality of the tour operator’s actions. Under Massachusetts state law, a tour operator must offer a refund when it cancels a trip. You could have complained to the Attorney General as well. Here’s the form.
What if that doesn’t work? Contact your credit card company. Overseas Adventure Travel’s email offering a refund would have made your credit card dispute an easy win. You can also try these proven strategies for fixing any trip.
I contacted Overseas Adventure Travel on your behalf. It refunded the $21,157, as promised.
Should companies keep your money?
Many businesses claim that “extenuating circumstances” means they should keep your money? Do you think that under certain conditions, the government should allow that? And if so, what are those circumstances?