COVID-19: Montreal family finally gets long-awaited refund for cancelled trip – Montreal

Members of a Montreal-area family say they’re relieved.

Nearly 24 hours after Global News started making inquiries, the family was promised a nearly $13,000 refund for a trip they cancelled.

The saga started last fall when Chateauguay, Que., resident Jennifer Muir paid for an all-inclusive family vacation with Air Canada vacations through travel agency for January 2022.

“Because we figured by then COVID would potentially be over,” she explained.

But she cancelled the trip weeks later when the Omicron wave hit and, according to her, the contract made her eligible for a full refund.

“We were told that the refund would take six to eight weeks,” she told Global News.

Eleven months later, however, they hadn’t seen any of the cash.

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According to Muir’s husband, Karl Stamp, after multiple emails and phone calls to both the travel agency and the airline, their patience wore thin.

“You start to question whether there’s something that’s wrong, are we not being told the entire story,” he pointed out.

Dr. Gabor Lukacs, president of Air Passenger Rights, an advocacy group, said refund delays are common.

“Partially because certain companies just don’t want to give refunds, or partially because they even dispute whether refund is owed,” he noted., which booked the trip for Muir, blames airline refund systems and noted that other clients are also waiting to get money back.

“The systems that go to cancel bookings are complicated,” claimed Richard Vanderlubbe, company president.  “The refund process is complicated, and it’s something that as a travel agency business we don’t directly control.”

According to a receipt obtained by Global News, Muir cancelled the trip on Dec. 20, 2021.

Click to play video: 'COVID-19 air travel restrictions lifted in Canada'

COVID-19 air travel restrictions lifted in Canada

But in an email to Global News, Air Canada Vacations said they only got written notification of the cancellation in October 2022, months after the scheduled trip.

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It’s not clear if the travel agency failed to notify Air Canada Vacations about the cancellation or if the latter is at fault.  But the travel agency blames the airline’s refund system.

In cases like this, travellers can complain to the Canadian Transportaion Agency (CTA).

“For example, the agency could order a refund to be paid or compensation to be paid,” explained Tom Oommen, CTA analysis and outreach director general.

Lukacs suggests another option.

“Take both the travel agency and the airline company to small claims court and then the judge will have to sort out who’s at fault,” he pointed out.

On Wednesday, decided to refund the Muir family and work out the details with Air Canada Vacations.

&copy 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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