Colorado Travel Company Must Refund $665K in ‘Cancellation Fees’ to Minnesota Students
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison’s office has secured full refunds for students and families after a summer trip to Europe was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Colorado-based travel company Voyageurs International Ltd. has to pay $664,835 to provide full refunds to 344 Minnesota music students who had signed up for its 2020 “Ambassadors of Music” tour to Europe.
Participants paid $6,345 to $9,010 to Voyageurs for the trip, which was to have taken place last summer. The fees were to cover “airfare, lodging, meals, event and concert itinerary, guides, transportation and other services.”
Voyageurs cancelled the trip on March 17 due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The company provided partial refunds to participants who had booked the trip but kept a $1,900 “cancellation fee” for each student.
According to the settlement agreement:
Voyageurs communicated to participants that the cancellation fees were necessary because the company “made payments for travel arrangements that [it] w[ould] not be able to recoup” and Voyageurs’ Participant Application/Contract stated that the cancellation fee was “necessary due to non-refundable deposits made on [Participants’] behalf to airlines, hotels, other vendors, administrative costs and general costs of business.”
Ellison’s office opened an investigation after receiving “several dozens of complaints” about the issue. The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office announced the settlement last Friday.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard on businesses and consumers alike — but that doesn’t give businesses the right to treat consumers unfairly,” said Ellison in a statement. “Minnesota students and their families paid hard-earned money for these travel packages. I’m pleased that Voyageurs is finally making things right and refunding them for services they never received. I hope these refunds help repair some of the strain and disappointment they have felt while trying to afford their lives and get through this difficult time.”