Major RV travel company withholding deposits for cancelled trip due to covid-19 pandemic

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I don't want to name names as I want to see how this plays out and this is not affecting me personally but I've heard this from someone else that was planning to take a major trip with this company. I have used this company once in the past so I'm shocked and saddened to hear this. This company does cold call a lot which is very annoying so I never answer their calls after finally putting the number in my contacts so I know who it is.

The moral of this story is obviously due to the covid-19 pandemic that this long trip to Canada cannot go. Customers, from my understanding, are not getting their deposit back (a lot of money) but instead are allowed to use it towards future travel with this company. I think this is beyond wrong. The company says, from what I've heard, they are having a problem getting their money back from some of the reservations such as US based events. In my opinion and my guess what would be the legal stance is that if you cannot provide the service as advertised then the money must be refunded. This is the risk of planning events such as this and that risk should be the burden of the company and not the potential travelers. If you're in financial turmoil that's your problem and that's what Bankruptcy is for. But holding the money of your customers and forcing them to use this towards future travel is beyond wrong.

What are your thoughts and how should this be handled?
 

ARD

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I'll name names. Fantasy RV Tours cancelled my 61 day Maritime Tour and will not refund my money. They will only give a travel credit. Their comeback to me is that they have paid money out to vendors who will not refund them (namely Kentucky Derby) so they cannot. I told them I was glad I didn't give them my final payment of around $10k and was told...oh we would have returned that to you. Hmmm. So it looks like the $1,800 that they have been holding for over a year will remain in their possession until I take a trip with them and/or die, then they will be the happy beneficiaries.
 
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There has to be some way to legally challenge this. Not sure how that works out of state but I would imagine some legal/court challenge would be welcome in this situation and others for companies not refunding money. This sounds like my recent stay at Auburn RV park where they told me I could leave early and would refund my money and then I had to fight and threaten to get the money. A week of high blood pressure and stress dealing with lies.
 
Joined
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@ARD was Kentucky Derby even part of your trip? Or was that some other trip they were dealing with? In other words was that situation even related to your trip?
 

ARD

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@ARD was Kentucky Derby even part of your trip? Or was that some other trip they were dealing with? In other words was that situation even related to your trip?
No. The Kentucky Derby had nothing to do with my trip. I was meeting up in Montreal and then we were going to Quebec, Nova Scotia, PEI and Newfoundland.
 

ARD

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For me, it's not worth the aggravation to fight with them. I'll use or not use my travel credit with them, but I am very unlikely to book a tour with them ever again.
 
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This is why most states have a consumer affairs/protection/fraud section in the office of theIr Attorney General. From personal experience, I can tell you it is pretty easy to file a complaint. And...trust me...a call/letter to the offending company that comes from the Attorney General's office gets a lot more attention than a call from an individual consumer.

Since RV Fantasy Tours appears to be headquartered in Las Vegas, the Nevada Attorney General would be the place to start. Here's a link with more information: File Complaint

TJ
 
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Does your contract expressly indicate that the deposit was refundable or nonrefundable?
 

ARD

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Does your contract expressly indicate that the deposit was refundable or nonrefundable?

Good question. It provides language in the event I have to cancel; however, they do not include language in the event they have to cancel. They mention they are not liable if they have to alter your trip whether it be regarding food, activites, but not if they have to flat out cancel the trip. I will review it again to make sure I did not miss anything. Thanks.
 
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Does your contract expressly indicate that the deposit was refundable or nonrefundable?
Florida rental business is facing this new challenge. Rentals are generally non refundable deposits. But when the owner cannot provide the property for any reason, then they must refund.

Many owners are trying to not refund rentals during covid, but when the government restricted rentals, there is clearly no legal means for the owner to hold the money. Still many are...things are going to get interesting.

Owners need the money to make mortgage payments, renters need money returned as they don't want to travel and may not do so anytime soon.

The law is on the side of the renter (consumer) in both my example and @ARD Situation. I recommend taking swift action to collect money, and use all means that are freely available. The attorney generals office, the BBB, sending a certified letter with a demand.
 

ARD

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Thanks @redbaron. I think I'll do just that.
 
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I tend to agree. In these situations, I tend to write up a stern letter indicating that I would pursue legal remedies should they fail to return my deposit within n-days, typically 30.
Personally, I’ve never had much luck with the BBB. AG might be worth a short. If no refund within 30 days, ask a local lawyer to send them a nice letter. Those tend to work 99% of the time. A lawyer could find all of the other customers in the same situation and have a field day.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 27, 2019
Messages
3,669
Location
Midlothian, VA
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2017
RV Make
Newmar
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Ventana 4037
RV Length
40' 10"
TOW/TOAD
2017 Chevy Colorado
Fulltimer
No
In my opinion this is something that must be fought, not only for yourself but for others. Companies will use this tactic, in my opinion, knowing some people will never come back and they'll get free money in the end. Who knows if they'll even be in business next year for anyone to have the opportunity to book another trip with them. And of course after this kind of treatment who wants to give them any business. I consider this like a Trademark, you are supposed to defend it. This situation is not one that a company like this and of this size, presumably, should be allowed to get away with this. This is a lot of money to most, I hope you will not let this go simply to avoid the confrontation. I know you had a different situation a year or so ago at Mountain Falls RV Resort and as a result they should be boycotted but this one is cut and dry, they offered a service, they cancelled the service, the money is due back to you no questions asked and in full. Heck, they should probably even be charged interest for the year they've held your money in that amount. Please go after them, not only for you but everyone else affected in your group and beyond.
 
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One thing that is going to change for the travel industry is the deposit holds. AirBNB, VRBO, Homeaway, and others are having cash flow issues now due to the deposits, or in many cases, fully paid rentals that are now to be refunded.

I have 3 rental homes that where affected. IN the month of March, we had VRBO/Homeaway rentals booked totaling over $42,000.00. This is money my guests had paid in full, for the use of my homes, and being held by VRBO/Homeaway until the guest checked in. The policy of VRBO/HA is that they will not deposit the money into the my (the owners) bank account until the guest checks in, for the security of the guests.

We also have a no refund policy on all of our rental proprieties. Clearly stated, clearly acknowledged by the guest before booking.

What happened is the Governor, by executive order, revoked our license and ability to rent to the guests due to COVID 19. The executive order still has not ended.

This order was signed into law on Mar 27, 2020. It allowed for guests to arrive on March 28, but not afterwards. The Florida rental business is typically Saturday to Saturday, and the governor did this intentionally knowing this.

We had guests arriving Mar 29, who found out on Friday that they could not come the next day. Some where already in their cars driving, and one family actually arrived on Saturday not knowing. In each case, the guests where not allowed to stay, and in one case, the guests where met by over zealous hoa card carrying neighbors that would not allow the guest to turn into the road...but thats another story.

My response was the only obvious one...we can either refund your stay, or give you a future credit. The future credit had value, as the rate would be locked in, and our prices increase 5% annually. Most chose the future credit..win for all.

For those that chose to get a refund, the fun began, and is still ongoing.

Remember, I am the owner, but I do not have their money. VRBO/HA has the money, as VRBO/HA is the one that collected.

Thru the owners portal, I refund the guest, choosing the COVID19 reason. This reason removes the penalty for me the owner, the guest, and also refunds the VRBO/HA fees.

In a typical situation, the refund is processed in minutes.

As of 5/11/2020, the guests that I canceled on 3/28/2020 still have not received their money back. The web portal has a notice that the payments are delayed due to volume..but that should say due to short cash flow.

Also, the guests that have chosen future credit, they did not cancel in VRBO/HA. As far as VRBO/HA is concerend, the guest stayed, and I should have my money. I still do not have my money from them either.

This background explains why deposit holds are going to change. Middle men like VRBO/HA/AirBNB have been the thorn in my side, but a necessary evil. Once we establish a relationship with a guest, we try to rebook them directly, saving them the fees that VRBO/HA charge (5-15%). The problem has been the marketing of VRBO/HA is so great, they are just too simple to deal with...until now. Owners are mad, guests are mad, and everyone is realizing that the middle men are not worth dealing with.

I believe the future is going to be credit card companies or banks setting up true escrow systems for these payments and deposits, and those will become the new norm for travel. As long as everyone abides by their obligations, money is exchanged for a nominal percentage, equal to or less than those that AirBNB/HA/VRBO charge.

The same model is most likley going to take place with Cruise and resort packages. Sadly, Airlines will never allow this, and they will continue the way they always have.
 
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