Going Against Regulator UK Company Says Refunds Not Due For Pandemic-Hit Trips

A company offering volunteer travel to young people has refused to refund some trips cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic, customers claim. 

The BBC has learned of 51 people who have said the Exeter-based company GVI told them they would only offer rebooking for pandemic-hit trips.

Sam Bardestani, from Canada, said he felt “foolish” after finding out nearly £6,000 he paid would not be returned.

GVI stated all customers who paid for flexible bookings had been refunded. CEO Andrew Valentine said staff were working “tirelessly” to rebook all other trips. But the Package Travel Regulations on refunds did not apply to the type of travel they provided, he said.

Mr Bardestani’s family set up a Facebook group for people trying to get their money back, after finding dealing with GVI a “frustrating” experience.

Its 51 members live in places as far flung as Devon, Tanzania, Australia, Scotland, and Hawaii, some of whom paid more than £7,000.

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