Parents consider class-action lawsuit to get refunds for cancelled March break trips
Published Tuesday, October 6, 2020 8:22PM ADT Last Updated Tuesday, October 6, 2020 8:24PM ADT
HALIFAX -- COVID-19 has cancelled lots of travel plans, including school trips planned for March break earlier this year.
Some people claim they are still waiting for refunds and now, a group of parents in the Lunenburg area is considering a class-action lawsuit after months of battling the travel company and the insurer.
The Eiffel Tower in Paris and the streets of Barcelona are two attractions Sydney Keizer was supposed to explore, but her March break trip was cancelled because of COVID-19.
"Some of the parents actually received some of their money back because they cancelled before the school board cancelled," said parent Jeffrey Keizer.
But Keizer says 27 parents at Park View Educaiton Centre didn't.
The South Shore Regional Centre for Education cancelled the trip on March 6, a week before departure day.
Seven months later, parents say they are still fighting for a $4,000 refund.
"I've seen stories where both parents are out of work," said Jeffrey Keizer. "They're struggling to make ends meet."
The booking was made with a company whose website indicates it's based in Toronto.
An email to CTV News from Explorica by WorldStrides reads in part that the company "has fulfilled its portion of refunds owed to customers under our program terms."
It also says the two insurance companies involved "are attempting to use the unique circumstances around COVID-19 to redefine their rights and obligations under these travel policies and shift the losses of this pandemic back onto you."
CTV News reached out to both insurance companies, but did not hear back before our deadline.
Keizer joined a Facebook group to connect with other families also looking for a refund.
The group now includes more than 1,200 people from across Canada.
Lawyers pursuing a class-action lawsuit are aware of parents from more than 125 schools who they say are in the same situation.
Keizer believes the booking company and insurance companies blame each other. He just wants his daughter to get her money back.
"Leave the parents and the poor students out of this and they fight the fight instead of holding back our money and having us fight the fight," Jeffrey Keizer said.
The South Shore Regional Centre for Education did not book the trip. They point out it was done directly by students and parents through Explorica.
However, a spokesperson for the centre does say they also recently reached out to both the travel company and the insurers to ask them to promptly give the families back what they are owed. Any class-action lawsuit would need to be certified by a judge before proceeding.