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

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Apr 2, 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.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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I'd say that I'm sorry you're going through this, but that's commiseration. Whatever is stated regarding cancellations and refunds is what will dictate a refund or a credit towards a future trip. They cannot change those terms after the fact. The time to carefully review all the fine print is before you book the trip. Travel providers have thousands of customers; there's no ugly under-belly. A business' first responsibility is to stay solvent in the midst of a horrendous mess like we're facing now.
 
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Apr 2, 2020
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Contact your credit card company. It could be the company doesn’t have funds to refund you but they cannot change the terms after the fact.
Thanks, Neil. I will contact my CC company. Still, I think it may defer to the OAT Ts and Cs -- OAT really didn't specify for any liability on their part if they cancel except for the extension trips, i.e., they can change policies at any time. Just shows the vulnerability of consumers.
 
Apr 2, 2020
4
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I'd say that I'm sorry you're going through this, but that's commiseration. Whatever is stated regarding cancellations and refunds is what will dictate a refund or a credit towards a future trip. They cannot change those terms after the fact. The time to carefully review all the fine print is before you book the trip. Travel providers have thousands of customers; there's no ugly under-belly. A business' first responsibility is to stay solvent in the midst of a horrendous mess like we're facing now.
In the T and Cs, OAT waffled on the terms on cancellations of whole trips if it cancels on you, leaving them a legal way to change policies on the fly. That's what happened here. Sure, tour companies are great when things go right, but when they go wrong, the consumer is left in the lurch. That's the under belly I have experienced. Tour companies responsibilities should be for their customers, upon which their entities are built -- this is like saying for-profit company shareholders are more important than customers. As a loyal consumer of OAT tours, I am left with a bad feeling about their unethical conduct. How would you feel about being offered a full refund and then having it rescinded? I am not talking about a couple of thousand dollars here...
 
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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
This company is owner by Grand Circle Tours. They are claiming force majeure and their policy online only allows rebooking for 2021.

If you don’t want to rebook for next year, your only option I see is to contact your credit card company.

This event is really going to cause everyone to really read
booking contracts carefully to ensure a company you use
they cancels a trip doesn’t have language in it allowing the
company to keep your money if they cancel a tour. If the company should go out of business, your credit is useless and some credit card companies are sticking to their guns
by enforcing the time frames for a dispute.

From the companies website:

The worldwide threat of the spread of coronavirus constitutes a force majeure—and this unprecedented event has left us no alternative but to postpone impacted departures. We are rebooking affected 2020 travelers to the closest available departure date in 2021.

All rebooked travelers will receive a $500 per person credit, and the opportunity to save a full 10% off their trip cost with our Good Buy Plan. If a traveler wishes to move to a different departure date, they may do so under our new Flexible Booking Policy through 12/31/20, and we will waive any change fees.
 
Apr 2, 2020
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Thanks, Neil. Capital One says this about the dispute process:
"If the merchant rejects the dispute, responsibility for the disputed amount is based primarily on the merchant’s policies and terms concerning refunds or cancellations. "
Per your entry above about Grand Circle claiming force majeure and OAT is owned by them, I see no way to recover my money, even if I appeal directly to the OAT CEO for rescinding the offer for a full refund. Tripmate will not cover my "cancel for any reason" insurance either. Sadly, there is a serious lack of consumer protection when it comes to travel.


 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
22,420
22,402
113
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www.promalvacations.com
You had CFAR and they refused to honor it? Did you say it was due to Covid? If it was CFAR yo should have berm s is yo day your dog has a cold and you can’t travel and had it covered.

What was the reason the insurance didn’t cover?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,531
10,346
113
San Francisco
I hope you can negotiate a future trip with GCT so you don't lose all your money. I'm interested to know why your CFAR won't cover your loss.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,860
3,384
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I hope you can negotiate a future trip with GCT so you don't lose all your money. I'm interested to know why your CFAR won't cover your loss.
I agree, CFAR should refund you without any reason. You just won't received 100% of your money.
 
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Apr 6, 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.
I have had the same experience and am still fighting with them and now I find it next to impossible to reach them on the phone. I feel forced to re-schedule with them but now I have such a bad feeling towards them, I'd prefer to cancel and just go thru the insurance, even at the loss of the insurance premium.
This was all very deceptive. And so right you are when you say "this experience shows the ugly under belly of travel companies and the travel industry as a whole".
In the future, I would only travel on my own, hiring local quides along the way. I am so sick of Ts & Cs that really only protect the tour company. Never again!!!
 
Apr 6, 2020
2
0
0
67
In the T and Cs, OAT waffled on the terms on cancellations of whole trips if it cancels on you, leaving them a legal way to change policies on the fly. That's what happened here. Sure, tour companies are great when things go right, but when they go wrong, the consumer is left in the lurch. That's the under belly I have experienced. Tour companies responsibilities should be for their customers, upon which their entities are built -- this is like saying for-profit company shareholders are more important than customers. As a loyal consumer of OAT tours, I am left with a bad feeling about their unethical conduct. How would you feel about being offered a full refund and then having it rescinded? I am not talking about a couple of thousand dollars here...
DITTO!!!! Very Deceptive!!!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
22,420
22,402
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
I have had the same experience and am still fighting with them and now I find it next to impossible to reach them on the phone. I feel forced to re-schedule with them but now I have such a bad feeling towards them, I'd prefer to cancel and just go thru the insurance, even at the loss of the insurance premium.
This was all very deceptive. And so right you are when you say "this experience shows the ugly under belly of travel companies and the travel industry as a whole".
In the future, I would only travel on my own, hiring local quides along the way. I am so sick of Ts & Cs that really only protect the tour company. Never again!!!
When this happens it often means the supplier is having cash flow problems.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
22,420
22,402
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
My sister and I, too, were going to go on an OAT tour - the Ultimate African Safari - and flew to London on March 12th, for a three-day pre-trip extension. We arrived in London on March 13th, and got an email that night that the trip had been canceled. The email offered the same three choices, and gave us until April 12th to make our decision, after which, if they had not heard back from us, they would give the full refund. Fortunately, we were able to get a flight home on March 15th. On March 22nd, I got an email from Allianz, saying that "as per my request" they had canceled my travel insurance. I did NOT cancel my travel insurance. I immediately called OAT, and told them I wanted to go for the full refund option. On March 26th, i received an email from OAT thanking me for my reservation for the same trip in 2021. I called OAT immediately and said that was not the choice I had made. The person that I spoke with said he would have a supervisor call me within 48 hours. I told him to make a note that I am extremely upset about this. No call has come, of course. My sister called OAT on April 8th, and the message said they are extremely busy, and to call back after April 27th. This was to be the trip of a lifetime, and it ended up being the trip from hell. I have a terrible feeling that OAT will go bankrupt, and that I will be out the $6,800.00 I spent on the trip. I sure don't want to go to Africa with OAT, even if we are able to travel again in a year.
Have you contacted your credit card company?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,531
10,346
113
San Francisco
Please call Allianz right away to find out why your insurance was cancelled. You may find out that you are in line for a full refund and OAT cancelled your insurance. Why they would rebook you without your knowledge is a mystery. It sounds like your experience with OAT is a good example of why I hate making travel plans on the phone. There's always at least one thing done wrong ... if I'm the one who does it wrong, I can fix it. If someone else makes an error with my trip, I may not even know about it until it's too late.

OAT is part of Grand Circle Travel ... they're a big company that's been around for a long time and the 4 or 5 trips we've taken with GCT have been excellent. You are right to worry about your money, but there's little to be done at this point. I can't even imagine how upset you are, but it may take some time to make it all right.
 
Apr 10, 2020
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Have you contacted your credit card company?
Have you contacted your credit card company?
Have you contacted your credit card company?
Please call Allianz right away to find out why your insurance was cancelled. You may find out that you are in line for a full refund and OAT cancelled your insurance. Why they would rebook you without your knowledge is a mystery. It sounds like your experience with OAT is a good example of why I hate making travel plans on the phone. There's always at least one thing done wrong ... if I'm the one who does it wrong, I can fix it. If someone else makes an error with my trip, I may not even know about it until it's too late.

OAT is part of Grand Circle Travel ... they're a big company that's been around for a long time and the 4 or 5 trips we've taken with GCT have been excellent. You are right to worry about your money, but there's little to be done at this point. I can't even imagine how upset you are, but it may take some time to make it all right.
Yes, I called Allianz, and they told me that I have to deal with OAT on this. The person that I spoke with seemed surprised that someone other than I cancelled my insurance (as was I). Another weird thing - the email I got from Allianz said that I purchased my travel insurance on November 9th, and canceled it on November 11th.
Neil, no I haven't contacted my credit card company I just got on this forum today, and I hadn't even thought about that. Does that really work...?
 

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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,531
10,346
113
San Francisco
Yes, I called Allianz, and they told me that I have to deal with OAT on this. The person that I spoke with seemed surprised that someone other than I cancelled my insurance (as was I). Another weird thing - the email I got from Allianz said that I purchased my travel insurance on November 9th, and canceled it on November 11th.
Neil, no I haven't contacted my credit card company I just got on this forum today, and I hadn't even thought about that. Does that really work...?
mmm
 
May 30, 2017
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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.