A major provider of student and educational group tours is offering additional refund options, after reaching an agreement with the Massachusetts Attorney General.
Several families contacted NBC Bay Area with complaints concerning EF Tours. The Massachusetts-based company canceled most student trips scheduled for this spring and summer, over pandemic safety concerns. But some customers say they couldn't all get full refunds for the pre-paid cancelled tour packages.
Maribel Ureno, a San Jose mother, paid to send her daughter to Washington, D.C. with her eighth-grade classmates. When the trip was cancelled, Ureno said she was initially only offered a voucher for a future trip, instead of a full refund.
“My husband lost his job to the pandemic," Ureno said. So, you know, that’s almost $1,600 that you can use.”
Ureno said she later received a partial refund from EF Tours, but it was hundreds of dollars less than she paid for the trip that won't happen. Using it toward a future trip wasn't a good option, Ureno said, because her daughter wanted to go with her classmates, and they're headed off to high school in the fall.
NBC Responds teams around the U.S. are also fielding complaints from unhappy EF Tours customers. The Massachusetts Attorney General began looking into the cancellations after it received complaints. This week, the AG and EF Tours announced an agreement, in which the company will offer additional options for cash refunds nationwide.
An EF Tours spokesperson told NBC Bay Area: “We are pleased that our collaboration with the Massachusetts Attorney General helped identify a path forward that further supports our current customers as well as our future travelers during this difficult time.”
EF Tours has set up new micro-sites to help students and parents see their options: one for international trips, the other for domestic tours. Click the appropriate links shown here to learn more. You can also call 800-665-5364 to request a refund on an international tour; for bookings of domestic trips through EF Explore America, call 888-333-9756.
If you're seeking an EF Tours refund, be sure to read everything carefully. In some cases, you may not get all your money back. For example: EF tours says it will deduct as much as $565 from funds paid on international tours, because it already paid some vendors and it can't get that money back.