Don't Waste Your Money: Student tours refund frustration

School art history shelved
Posted at 1:39 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 14:39:35-04

With the economy in turmoil, and most of us watching every dollar, the last thing you need is a travel company refusing to refund an upcoming trip.

With travelers canceling their spring travel plans by the millions, airlines and tour companies are swamped with calls.

And when you finally get through, many people are then frustrated to learn they may not be getting a refund.

Sarah Hignite and her high school daughter had been looking forward to a school trip to Europe.

"My daughter and I had signed up with her high school." Highnite said. "Her art history class to go to Spain."

The 10-day EF tour was expensive, but would be the trip of a lifetime.

"My husband and I worked extra shifts and picked up extra jobs to make the payments for this spain trip," she said. " It was over $8,300."

But COVID-19 and President Trump's travel ban ended those plans.

So Sarah and other parents contacted EF tours to learn they could get only vouchers, or pay a penalty to cancel.

"You can accept a travel voucher with no penalties, or you can accept a refund minus $1,000 per person," she said. "We'll, that's . Well that is $2,000 in our case, that’s a lot of money."

Sarah says it would have one thing had this been a mid-summer trip. And maybe flights would have been back in the air by then.

But this was a spring break trip, and the bus to the airport was supposed to leave in another week.

Sarah says she will never be able to reschedule.

So we contacted EF tours, where a spokeswoman told us they will now give refund minus a $1,000 fee per person for non-refundable charges.

Sarah says that's better than nothing, but still a hit in this uncertain time.

"Some families have paid over $20,000, depending on how many family members were going to go on these trips," she said.

Policies are changing by the day. So if your travel company is holding onto your deposit right now, check back in another week.

So you don’t waste your money.