Tour companies

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1. Posted by ludditeanne (Budding Member 5 posts) 27w Star this if you like it!

We are booked into a tour of Japan leaving in 10 days. Due to the coronavirus issue and our age we are trying to negotiate a deferral or cancellation. Is anyone else having issues with trying to get a deferral or part refund?

2. Posted by Stefmuts (Respected Member 184 posts) 27w Star this if you like it!

Might help to tell where you are from! Rules on things like that are different for every country, in the Netherlands tour operators have to give you another option or refund in the case the government gives a negative travel advice for a certain place but thats not the case in other countries and only for fully organized trips

3. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1507 posts) 27w Star this if you like it!

As above: both consumer laws and regulations vary from country to country.

In the UK companies (including airlines) only have to offer refunds outside their normal refund policy if the UK government advises against all, or all but essential, travel to a particular country. The cancellation element of travel insurance policies is the same. There are obvious reasons why this should be the case.

If you're from the UK and choose not to travel because you are concerned about Covid-19, it is entirely up to your travel company as to whether you can defer the dates or get any sort of refund. You'll find that details of refunds and cancellation policies are clearly set out in the company's t&c documentation, which you will have received.

If, especially so close to your departure date, your company decides to do more than its refund policy states then it deserves praise. There are certainly no grounds for criticism, even if neither refund nor a change of date is offered.

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Mar-2020, 17:06 GMT by leics2 ]

4. Posted by ludditeanne (Budding Member 5 posts) 27w Star this if you like it!

Sorry about that. I'm new to this. We are in Australia. Decided to go with a tour when we booked this ten months ago. Won't do it again. We could have possibly negotiated our airline tickets and cancelled accommodation if we arranged it ourselves. Lost some funds but not all. As it is, we lose the lot.

5. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2092 posts) 27w Star this if you like it!

As far as I can tell, the Australian government is currently just advising caution. Keep an eye on that as the situation progresses - often it needs there to be government advice to avoid travel in order for your travel insurance to kick in.

Do check your travel insurance and see what their terms are for paying you out if you choose not to travel. It may be worth having a conversation with them?

I think this is the official advice page - https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/asia/japan

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Mar-2020, 22:02 GMT by AndyF ]

6. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 1507 posts) 27w Star this if you like it!

Sadly you are one amongst many, many thousands in the same situation.

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Mar-2020, 22:03 GMT by leics2 ]

7. Posted by Peter (Admin 6923 posts) 27w Star this if you like it!

It may not be in the "Do Not Travel" category yet, but I think tour companies have a duty of care to their customers as well and it's pretty clear that the tour company is not providing that. They are leaving themselves wide open to law suits by not cancelling the tour at this point. I think your suggestion of a deferral is very reasonable.

I'd put it back on them and ask what they consider to be a high degree of caution? Do they consider group travel to be a high degree of caution for example? Will any of the planned activities not be going ahead as a result of the virus? Get it all in writing.

Also, with 10 days to go and things changing very rapidly, you might find that they will eventually be forced to cancel.

[ Edit: Edited on 11-Mar-2020, 22:44 GMT by Peter ]

Post 8 was removed by a moderator
9. Posted by ludditeanne (Budding Member 5 posts) 27w Star this if you like it!

We've tried negotiation. They are not interested. Unfortunately, we've learnt that the cards are always stacked in their favour.

10. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2092 posts) 27w 1 Star this if you like it!

Quoting ludditeanne

We've tried negotiation. They are not interested.

So they're saying the tour is proceeding unchanged?

It sounds to me that they're depending on you folding. I wonder if you said okay you'll turn up and travel whether they'd back down at the last minute. I suggest you don't tell them that you have decided for yourself not to travel, because if they are refusing to cancel the tour I think you have two bits of hope. 1) The government advice may change before the travel date and your travel insurance may kick in. 2) The tour company may give in and decide to cancel prior to departure, and refund you. You could harm your chances of getting paid out in either of these cases if the company have a record that you have chosen to cancel.