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Parents frustrated with EF Tours not giving full refunds for student trips canceled due to COVID-19

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Posted at 12:00 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 12:02:09-04

With the economy in turmoil, most of us watching every dollar, the last thing you need is a travel company refusing to return 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. The ten-day EF Tours trip to Spain 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. It was over $8,300," Hignite said.

But COVID-19 canceled those plans.

So, Hignite and other parents contacted EF Tours to learn they could get only vouchers, or pay the penalty to cancel.

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

Hignite says it would have been one thing had this been a mid-summer trip, but this was a spring break trip. And the bus was supposed to leave in a week.

Sarah says she will never be able to reschedule.

So, we contacted EF Tours, where a spokeswoman told us they would not give refunds, minus a $1,000 fee per person for nonrefundable 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," Hignite said.

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