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Description

EF Institute for Cultural Exchange, Inc. provides education travel, cultural exchange and academic programs.


BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since

BBB has determined that EF Institute for Cultural Exchange, Inc. meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.


Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 13 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised the rating for EF Institute for Cultural Exchange, Inc. include:

  • Length of time business has been operating
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size
  • Response to 64 complaint(s) filed against business
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business

Industry Ratings Comparison | Chart


Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

64 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 39 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 10
Billing/Collection Issues 8
Delivery Issues 1
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 2
Problems with Product/Service 43
Total Closed Complaints 64

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

9 Customer Reviews on EF Institute for Cultural Exchange, Inc.
Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience 1
Neutral Experience 1
Negative Experience 7
Total Customer Reviews 9

Additional Information

BBB file opened: February 06, 1991 Business started: 01/01/1965 in CA Business started locally: 07/03/1990 Business incorporated 02/07/1978 in CA
Type of Entity

Corporation

Business Management
Ms. Jennifer Conlin, Director of Customer Relations
Contact Information
Customer Contact: Mr. Jeremy Bomba, Director of Customer Service
Principal: Ms. Jennifer Conlin, Director of Customer Relations
Related Businesses
Cultural Care, Inc. Go Ahead Tours
Number of Employees

400

Business Category

TRAVEL AGENCIES & BUREAUS EDUCATIONAL CONSULTANTS Travel Agencies (NAICS: 561510)

Hours of Operation
M: 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
T: 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
W: 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Th: 8:00 AM - 9:00 PM
F: 8:00 AM - 5:30 PM
S: Closed
Su: Closed
Alternate Business Names
EF College Break EF College Study Tours EF Educational Tours EF Explore America EF Tours
BBB Program Participation

BBB Community Patrons
BBB Community Patrons are like-minded businesses that see ethics as the key factor in creating a stronger, healthier business community.

BBB Community Patrons' additional financial support enables BBB to pursue distinctive, mission-based programs focused on ethics that would not be possible if not for the generous backing from BBB Community Patron Sponsors.

Industry Tips
Educational Consultants Finding a Travel Agency - 5 Tips - Video Hiring a Tutor Hiring a Tutor - 5 Tips - Video Travel Agencies

Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Summary

EF Institute for Cultural Exchange, Inc. has received 0 out of 5 stars based on 0 Customer Reviews and a BBB Rating of A+.

BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview

Additional Locations

  • 8 Educational St.

    Cambridge, MA 02141

  • EF Ctr Boston 1 Education Street

    Cambridge, MA 02141

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BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview


BBB Customer Reviews Rating represents the customers opinions of the business. The Customer Review Rating is based on the number of positive, neutral and negative customer reviews posted that are calculated to produce a score.

Customer Review Experience Value
Positive Review 5 points per review
Neutral Review 3 points per review
Negative Review 1 point per review

BBB letter grades represent the BBB's opinion of the business. The BBB grade is based on BBB file information about the business. In some cases, a business' grade may be lowered if the BBB does not have sufficient information about the business despite BBB requests for that information from the business.
Details

BBB Letter Grade Scale

BBB Rating Value
A+ 5
A 4.66
A- 4.33
B+ 4
B 3.66
B- 3.33
C+ 3
C 2.66
C- 2.33
D+ 2
D 1.66
D- 1.33
F 1
NR -----
Star Rating scale

  Average Score
5 stars 5.00
4.5 stars 4.50-4.99
4 stars 4.00-4.49
3.5 stars 3.50-3.99
3 stars 3.00-3.49
2.5 stars 2.50-2.99
2 stars 2.00-2.49
1.5 stars 1.50-1.99
1 star 0-1.49

BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating is not a guarantee of a business' reliability or performance, and BBB recommends that consumers consider a business' BBB Rating and Customer Review Rating in addition to all other available information about the business. If the BBB Rating is NR then only Customer Reviews are used for the Star Rating.

Complaint Detail(s)

5/4/2016 Billing/Collection Issues
5/2/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: My husband and I signed our daughter up for a trip with EF Tours leaving in August for 9 days to Italy. We started to have problems when the tour leader, a teacher from the school, sent an email stating they were in need of additional students to go or additional costs could be incurred. We were not willing to pay more and inquired about cancellation at that time since that was not the price we had contracted for initially. The tour leader emailed and said not to worry, we would surely get additional people and it wouldn't be a problem. About 2 weeks ago, we were emailed and then received a phone call from another tour leader about a different tour they wanted to switch to that would be less money and add an additional city to the tour. Our problem was the dates were in July and our daughter would not be available to travel on those dates. She emailed the tour leader and told him she would not be able to travel on those dates. He then contacted EF Tours and unbeknownst to us changed to the July tour. We contacted EF tours and said at this point we would need to cancel since our daughter could not travel on those dates. They still charged us a $500 cancellation fee even though it was not our choice to cancel and we did not get what we had paid for. The other tour we had signed our daughter up for was no longer available plus we were unwilling to send our 13 year old to Italy alone. EF Tours stated because the tour leader had given the go ahead, we were not eligible for an additional refund of the cancellation fee. We argue our contract was with EF Tours not the tour leader and we did not contract with the tour leader in any fashion. We feel defrauded by EF Tours. We are not asking for the non-refundable deposit or the insurance fees or the fee for the payment schedule we opted for, though we would never have signed up for this tour had we known they could change dates of the tour at will and conduct business in such a disreputable manner. We paid in total $1250 and received $450 back as a refund. We are asking for the $500 cancellation fee to be refunded since it was in no way our choice to cancel. We were offered a travel voucher in lieu of the refund but frankly would never use their services given how we have been treated thus far.

Desired Settlement: We would like to be refunded our $500 from EF Tours since it was not our choice to cancel the trip but that of the tour leader and the tour leader is not an employee of EF Tours or of ours and did not contract with him but with EF Tours.

Business Response: Thank you for contacting us.  We understand your frustration regarding the change to the dates.  Ultimately, the group leader has the ability to change aspects of the tour on behalf of the travelers in order to satisfy the needs of everyone in the group.  Our understanding originally was the group leader presented options to the group and everyone was in agreement with the change in dates.  We then offered a fully transferable travel voucher for all cancellation fees, which is valid until the travel year of 2017 due to the change dates.  We are again sorry that ***** is unable to travel on these dates, but hope she is able to in the future.  Best, EF Tours 

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.    I understand it is your standing that the tour leader can make changes to the dates but our contract is not with the tour leader but with EF Tours.  Furthermore the tour leader is not an employee of EF Tours and therefore was not hired or contracted with us either.  We have communications between the tour leader and our daughter clearly stating she would not be able to travel on those dates.  Given the amount of issues we have had with this particular tour, it should be understood our reluctance to plan a different tour through this company.  We have also done further research about EF Tours and have found a history of fraud against other participants in your "so-called" tours.  The cancellation of our part was because the original tour we had contracted for was no longer available and our daughter was unable to travel on the new dates.  How is any of that our fault?  Why should we be held responsible for the incompetence or poor communication of the tour leader of which you blame for this mistake?  Where is the consumer being protected in this situation?  Since the tour leader is supposed to be our contact and liason with EF Tours, but this liason failed to communicate our daughter's inability to travel on the new dates and his interests were better served to change the dates and reap the benefits provided by EF Tours for his own gain.  This is fraud.  We did not get what we contracted for and I was trying to be reasonable in not asking for the deposit or insurance fees back as well. Regards, ******** ******    

4/30/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: In September of 2015, I purchased a trip with insurance to Europe for my 14 year old son ******* to depart in June of 2016. I purchased the insurance under the pretense that we could cancel at anytime. Due to the terrorist attacks in Europe and the travel alert the government has issued my husband and I decided it is best that he not travel. I contacted EF tours and the initial rep told me we could not get a refund, but that we could transfer the funds to a trip next year. I called back and was place on hold for 38 minutes and the second girl I spoke with blatantly told me they do not refund, amd thryansfer funds to another trip next year but that I could transfer it to a trip this year. I was upset by the fact that they have no regard for the fact that this is my son's life not just a plane ticket. I asked her to have a supervisor call me and never received a call so I called back again and was on hold for over 45 minutes. I spoke with ****** in CS this time and he told me he had listened to the phone calls and he is not sure why the reps told me I could transfer but that is not an option. I have paid them 4235.00 and will lose 2800.00 to cancel a trip because I want my son to be safe. I paid for insurance. I have filed a claim with the insurance fraud unit in my state and am waiting to hear from them. I just think that it is fraudulent practice to tell a customer that the insurance policy will cover something and then not stand behind their word. We are dealing with children's lives here. Not just money.

Desired Settlement: I want my money back! I am willing to pay minimal fees, but not the excessive fees that EF is trying to rob me off. I also want to prevent this from happening to other parents in the future.

Business Response: Thank you for contacting us.  We are sorry to hear that you want to cancel *******'s trip.  It seems like your teacher and the other travelers are still going on the current tour.  We feel confident as a company that we can run our tours safely and that if issues do arise before the tour departs, we can make changes to your groups itinerary as needed.  The cancellation fees take into account the tremendous amount of planning that goes into these tours well before they depart.  The insurance unfortunately does not cover and has never covered issues that arise overseas.  It covers individual emergencies before the trip departs or while a traveler is touring.  If you would like to review our full insurance coverage, please visit our website at www.eftours.com/coverage.  Please contact us with any further questions should they come up at **************.   Best, EF Tours 

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  [I was just on the phone with the insurance company when I received this email. The rep with ***** **** stated that they have in the past refunded tours due to Terrorist attacks. I will allow the claims process. I have been told I have until May 3rd to cancel and receive a fraction of my payment back. The rep with the insurance company stated that even after the refund, that if the insurance company opts to pay I will then receive the remainder of my money. I have involved the state attorney general insurance fraud department, and also my attorney will be in touch with both the Ef tours and the insurance company if we can't come to a reasonable agreement. We aren't just talking about airline tickets here. We are talking about my child's life. The representatives with your company have told me several different options, none of them have been upheld. I am very disappointed and will not rest until I make sure this doesn't happen to other families. Regards, ***** *********    

Business Response: Thank you for your response.  As stated previously, we feel confident we can run our tours safely with students and teachers.  We are very sorry that ******* will not be traveling with us.  Please note that your account is still active in EF's system so if you would like to cancel the account, file an insurance claim, and receive your current refund amount.  Please contact us at ***************   Best, EF Tours 

4/27/2016 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: My daughter signed up for a trip that was cancelled by her school, due to the Paris attacks. They refuse to give her a full refund. They want to charge her $95 deposit, $155 for insurance and a $300 cancellation fee. That's $550 because a trip was cancelled. She didn't cancel it, it was cancelled on her. The put in a different trip, but it's not the one she signed up for and none of her friends are going on it either. I also read on their booking conditions page that. "if the applicant cancels from the waitlist, the $95 deposit will be refunded" My daughter is on the waitlist but has paid $1425. I want a complete refund for her. My daughter took on dog walking, plant watering and selling of chips and candy to raise money for this trip and now they want to steal $550 from her!

Desired Settlement: A complete refund of $1425.

Business Response: Thank you for being in touch about your account.  Here is a copy of our booking conditions which include our cancellation fees. eftours.com/bc Please feel free to contact our Traveler Support Specialist team with any other questions.  

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  Page 9 of your booking conditions states that if you cancel while on the waitlist your deposit will be refunded. My daughter's status according to your website is "waitlisted"  Refund my money or I will be forced to take you to small claims court. Regards, **** *******    

Business Response: Thank you for contacting us. Your daughters account has been cancelled with EF.  All standard cancellation fees apply.Please see a detailed list of our policies and cancellation fees at eftours.com/bcSincerely,EF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  Unless I receive a full refund, I will see you in court. Regards, **** *******    

Business Response: Thank you for being in touch.  After futher investigation of the circumstances of your stituation, EF tours will offer a full refund, less the $95 and insurance fees. A refund of $1080 will be sent to you in the form of a check in the coming weeks.  We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused. Please feel free to contact us with any other questions or concerns. Sincerely, EF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does satisfy my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint #********. I understand that by choosing to accept the business response that my complaint will be closed as resolved.  Regards, **** *******

4/27/2016 Delivery Issues
4/19/2016 Billing/Collection Issues
4/8/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Ef tours was selected for our school trip. however the European tour has vecome increasingly dangerous with the terror attacks. These began happening AFTER we booked. In Nov of 2015, I contacted EF TOURS with my concern, and was told that if the issues continue and we felt unsafe, ef would either change our tour at no extra charge or refund it less the 95 file fee and insurance of 155. TO ME THAT SEEMED REASONABLE. as of this week europe is now of a high terror alert, and warning against un necessary travel. Our of fear fir safety I contacted them to discuss me options, and was told now they would refund but we're keeping 1000, and if it is changed they were talking 1000 also. This is theft and I want the option to either cancel my tour or change it with out being extorted for a $1000. I read the previous complain ts and see this is a common problem. My concern is they are willing to endanger our families and take $ from these kids rather than do the right thing.

Desired Settlement: I want the option to cancel our 4 tours with min penalty 95 fee & insurance are reasonable)... NOT AN ADDITIONAL $1000 or ability to change tour to a safer situation without penalty for our entire 21 person group. Which is what I was promised in NOV 2015, after the first terror attack in london and paris.

Business Response: Thank you for your message.  We spoke with Ms. ****** at length on March 23rd regarding her concerns.  We explained to her at that time that we are working with the school about their options.  Under normal circumstances, when a group is 8 days away from a trip, we are unable to offer any options when it comes to changing the trip or refunding.  These are laid out within our booking conditions which were signed for all participants traveling.  These can be found at www.eftours.com/BC.  Due to the recent events in Brussels EF has decided to alter its policies to offer as much flexibility as possible for all groups traveling.  We have made it clear to this group that even if they are 8 days away from the trip; we are still going to offer to modify their existing itinerary to make them feel more comfortable with the trip.  We have also stated that if they decide to completely change their tours date or destination, we are able to do so by offering a fully transferrable future travel voucher less any non-refundable items and $1000.  This amount represents just a portion of the cost associated with this tour.  This voucher option is available to the group or to any individual on the group who wants to take it.  If there are any other questions they are more than welcome to contact EF’s customer service department at **************.   Sincerely,   EF Tours 

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below. I am not rejecting, but wondering why I had to go tjis route to get a reasonable response. The type response from EF, SOUNDS LIKE THEY were being reasonable, but that was not the tone of the conversation. All I wanted was a reasonable alternative. I was del with very condasendingly,  and treated like a chicken for being afraid and proactive in making sure my family was safe.  NOW they have issued a statement suspending all travel in/thru Brussels. As I originally requested. Instead I was to to bad so sad, not really our problem, we can't afford to lose the money, so u pay either was, in amounts listed in their response.  Then all travelers in our group got the update, but not me. So my issue again goes back to substandard customer service, and the way I was treated. I simply asked fir them to be reasonable in light of the dangers. The response here sounds so genuine and reasonable, but that is not how I was spoken to. I expect human decency. And if my request was so inreasonable, why was thete a press release on removing Brussels.  Thank you for coming to your senses.*** Regards, ******** ******    

Business Response: Thank you for your response and thank you for your understanding.  We appreciate your flexibility in light of these changes and if you have any further questions for us please call **************. Best,  EF Tours 

3/26/2016 Problems with Product/Service
3/25/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: 11/09/2014 enrolled my daughter with Educational Tours for a French Promenade 03/14/2016. Made payments of 1750.00. To include: Global Travel Protection Plan from "***** *******, Inc." from Educational Tours. The first week in January I called Educational tours to cancel Makanna tour, due to that she is pregnant and or be with her new born child. At that time they said I would only get 35.00 $ back I waited to see if i could find someone else to go in her place, I did ,Educational tours, said they can not do that. Finnal cancel 02/03/2016. tour #*********. I did not see any policy exclusions.

Desired Settlement: Refund Money:

Business Response: Thank you for contacting us.  We are extremely sorry that you had to cancel Makanna’s trip.  The cancellation fees take into account the large amount of planning that goes into our tours well before they ever leave.  You are required to read and agree to EF's standard booking conditions upon enrollment, which you signed on 11/19/2014.  These booking conditions include our standard cancellation fees.  These can be found at www.eftours.com/BC.  Please review all the general exclusions regarding the emergency cancellation insurance at www.eftours.com/coverage.  If you have any other general questions, please contact our customer service department at **************  Sincerely, EF Tours.  

Business Response: Thank you for contacting us.  We are extremely sorry that you had to cancel Makanna’s trip.  The cancellation fees take into account the large amount of planning that goes into our tours well before they ever leave.  You are required to read and agree to EF's standard booking conditions upon enrollment, which you signed on 11/19/2014.  These booking conditions include our standard cancellation fees.  These can be found at www.eftours.com/BC.  Please review all the general exclusions regarding the emergency cancellation insurance at www.eftours.com/coverage.  If you have any other general questions, please contact our customer service department at **************  Sincerely, EF Tours.  

3/24/2016 Problems with Product/Service
3/1/2016 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: My 17 year old granddaughter registered for a tour to Costa Rica leaving June 22 2016. Invoice dated June 2015. At the time she was working part time but it was seasonal work on Boardwalk and she went back to school. She was looking forward to trip but two reasons came about as to why she can't go. Couldn't come up with remainder of monies and mainly because her sister's husband joined the Navy and her sister and nephew are joining him in June at designated base. Her sister asked if she could accompany her and stay from June to end July to help family to get settled. I feel it is a great opportunity for kids to go on these tours but I feel cancellation fee is excessive as well as two other 50.00 fees and insurance fee. I can understand losing deposit but not an extra $555.00 especially since she gave notice 5 months before trip. Things happen in life and for a 17 year old to be penalized for this much money i feel is not fair. Is unfair.

Business Response: Thank you for contacting us.  We are extremely sorry that you had to cancel ********’s trip.  The cancellation fees take into account the large amount of planning that goes into our tours well before they ever leave.  If things change for ******** and she is available again for the tour, we would love to have her rejoin.  You are required to read and agree to EF's standard booking conditions upon enrollment, which you signed on 08/14/2015  These booking conditions include our standard cancellation fees.  These can be found at www.eftours.com/BC.  If you have any other general questions, please contact our customer service department at **************,  Sincerely, EF Tours.  

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  ******** ******** I don't agree with them but now I found out Costa Rica is on the list for the Zika virus. If trip is cancelled whereby I wouldn't send my child there I feel ******** should then get a full refund if other students do. Thank you  

2/22/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: We purchased a trip with EF Tours through our child's middle school. My child was to attend with other 7th- 8th graders. After the recent terrorist attacks, the school board opted to delete Paris from the trip itinerary and worked with EF Tours to substitute it with Venice. Parents were not notified about the itinerary change until about Dec 29. Parents were not given an option to vote/speak with school board. We signed up for trip because our child specifically wanted to go to Paris. Cancellation fees are not viewed in a separate plain-to-see window, nor do they appear in a 'pop-up' where it is mandatory to view them. The fees are buried in the fine print that is only brought up by clicking on a hyper-link to them on their registration page. Basically, by checking the box that "you agree to terms of this agreement", you agree to pay a minimum of $550 for cancelling from anywhere from a day after booking, to up until 150 days before. Since we have booked trips through ******, *******, and other internet venues, I thought the MANDATORY trip insurance would shield us from the additional fee of cancelling 150 days prior (once I discovered the fee structure). So, now we are out the $95 registration fee, the $150 trip insurance and the additional fee of $300 for cancelling 150 days (5 months) before the trip. These fees account for 18%! (This is twice the amount changed if one decides to invest money in a fixed annuity, which typically has a 9% surrender charge in the first year). We understand not being refunded the registration fee, as that is the amount to hold our spot. We also understand the Trip Insurance fee, as that is what is supposed to cover changes to the trip. However, we feel that we should not be assessed a $300 cancelation fee because our mandatory trip insurance should have covered this and because EF tours changed the nature of the contract; not just changing a one-day or side-trip excursion, but by axing an entire city (Paris) off the itinerary. Lastly, the cancellation fee structure is not obviously shown on the screen--the online registration process should not let one proceed to the next registration window without reading through, and ACKNOWLEDGING the fee structure for cancelling ANY days out. We called EF Tours 1-800 number on two occasions and on both were denied speaking with a manager or someone 'higher up'. The second time we were told that speaking to someone higher up wouldn't matter. We initially put a large deposit down on 4/28/2015, and thereafter had monthly amounts auto debited from our checking account. After receiving the itinerary change from the school on/about Dec 29 2015, we discussed withdrawing from the trip with our child, and then contacted the school; as I thought they may be able to assist. It wasn't until after that, that we started with our initial contact with EF tours in late Jan 2016.

Desired Settlement: Be refunded all our paid monies except the registration fee of $95 and the trip insurance of $150. We should be refunded the $300 cancellation fee.

Business Response: Thank you for contacting us.  We are extremely sorry that ******* trip had to be cancelled.  The teacher, in this case, felt it would be in everyone's best interests to change one of the locations from Paris to Venice.  The trip is still scheduled and travelling to the 3 other cities within the original itinerary.  You are required to read and agree to EF's standard booking conditions upon enrollment, which you signed on 04/23/2015.  These booking conditions include our standard cancellation fees.  These can be found at www.eftours.com/BC.  If you would like to reinstate ***** back onto the trip or if you have any other general questions, please contact our customer service department at **************.  Sincerely, EF Tours.  

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********.  While yes, the company does disclose the cancellation fee in their agreement form, however, it is embedded in a lengthy agreement statement that is hidden behind a hyperlink.  The consumer must navigate away from the registration page to the agreement page; instead of being plainly stated, such as at the bottom of the registration page.  By accessing these fees through an "agree to these terms checkbox"  generic-type statement, and embedding the fees in several lines of text, the company makes no effort to protect the consumer by making them abundantly clear of their (the consumer's) obligations.  Furthermore, after trying to resolve this amicably with EF Tours, we question that the amount in cancellation fees truly reflects the amount of effort they claim was made on our daughter's behalf; in other words, we question whether they have done $550 worth of 'scheduling', especially 6 months ahead of time!After encountering this issue with EF Tours, I quarried the internet and found that ours is not an isolated occurrence  Other consumers have felt taken as well by their hidden and exorbitant fees.Regards, **** ******    

2/5/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Soon after the school year started in the fall of 2015, my family decided that the trip to France with my son’s teacher would be a great opportunity. My mother would chaperone. Since signing up, we have never received any form of communication from the EF organization, other than a notification that our payment was due. We had been told that we would have input on airlines, receive updates on plans, and that our price included travel insurance. Again, nothing other than verbal communication was ever sent to us. Of course, soon after this, the horrible terrorist attacks happened in Paris. Immediately, my children didn’t want to go to France. We called to cancel the trip, which had been booked for only a month, and we were informed that it would be $750 for each of our three travelers to cancel, totaling $2250. Keep in mind, we still have NO confirmation that anything has been planned at this point. Because of this astronomical fee, we held off. We finally convinced our very fearful children to move forward with the trip to France, if I came along. So, with much hesitation, because of the ethics of EF thus far, we decided to book another person on the trip. When we called to do that, after many extensive conversations, I was told they would need payment in full to be put on a wait list because the bus was “full”. We had never been told there was a deadline to sign up, nor were we ever told of a confirmed bus trip. This was close to the end of the year, at which time, I could no longer cancel the other three travelers’ trip. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. We Canceled. I either had to force my children to travel without me where they fear for their life because of recent terrorism. OR I had to pay $2250 to cancel the rest of the travelers. I do, however, feel like we should be refunded for part of this huge fee. We tried to go. They couldn’t accommodate us. I was willing to spend $14,000+ to go on this trip, but I wasn’t given that opportunity.

Desired Settlement: Refund the $2250 that we paid to cancel, even though it was canceled four months prior to travel and had only been booked for one month.

Business Response: Thank you for being in contact. We are disapointed that you cancelled your tour with EF. EF is student travel and our groups do not have input on the airline schedules as we work with group airlines contracts. There was communication sent to you via email on several occasions after enrollment, it was sent to the email address we have on file from the enrollment form. Here is a link to EF's booking conditions, which include the cancellation fees and all of our policies: eftours.com/bc If you have other questions or concerns, please contact our Traveler Support Team. Sincerely, EF Educaiton

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below. These se statements are simply untrue.  There are communications from you regarding billing and a contest to win a *****: nothing about policy.Please point out where the small print you referenced by the link says there will be $750 per person cancellation fee. It isn't there. Why is there no link to the travel insurance that we paid for  I should be refunded by them also.Finally, we shouldn't have been told that we could choose our airline and upgrades.  We wouldn't have booked.  Please get me the info requested.  Our teacher has had issues with communication as well. Maybe you should look internally instead of assuming I was sent the appropriate documentation.  I have all the emails from you....unless they were sent by someone else. Regards, ***** ********    

Business Response: Thank you for being in contact with EF Education. Here is a copy of our cancellation policy.  This policy must be agreed to before a traveler can register for a tour. eftours.com/bc Please feel free to contact our Traveler Support Team with any other questions. Sincerely, EF Education

1/23/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Account numbers: *******, *******. I booked an Educational Trip to Paris, the Rivera and Rome, through ************ **** ******. After the terrorist attack in France, ************ Superintendent, Mr. ******* ****, decided to cancel around mid-December, and we have to pay the cancellation fee $395.00 for each student, mine will be around $800.00. I know according to the contract there will be a cancellation fee and I'm willing to abide by it, if I cancelled, but now I’m forced either to cancel or pick other offers, which are not what I signed for in the first place and agreed upon in the contract. Now, if I don't cancel before 15th of January the cancellation fee will increase substantially! I called the company more than once trying to reach a solution about the cancellation fee, but they kept saying the same offers, which I do not agree with; I tried to call ************ superintendent more than once and left him voice messages but he never returned my calls. I called Better Business Bureau on 01/07/2016, and Consumer Affairs 01/08/2016 and they advised me to file a complaint online. The Consumer Affairs added even if I am forced to cancel now they will try to meditate and might help getting my cancellation fee, accordingly I will forcefully follow ************ Superintendent's cancelling the France trip and I hope to get my cancellation fee back.

Desired Settlement: I’m forced either to cancel or pick other offers, which are not what I signed for in the first place and agreed upon in the contract.Accordingly I will forcefully follow ************ Superintendent's cancelling the France trip and I hope to get my cancellation fee back.

Business Response: Hello.  We are sorry your school cancelled your trip.  After looking into everything, it seems as though there are still two trips available to you.  One is going to Ecuador and one is traveling to Paris, The Loire Valley, and the Riviera (almost identical to your previous trip).  Both ***** ******* and ***** ******** have tried to contact you several times to go over these two tour options.  We would be happy to reinstate both ******* and ****** on either of those trips if that is agreeable to you.  It seems as though the school has enacted our Peace of Mind policy for this situations.  The policy provides three options up until 45 days prior to your scheduled departure:  Change the departure date of your tour, Work with EF to amend your existing itinerary or Cancel your tour and each member of your group will receive a future travel voucher for all monies paid (less the $95 enrollment fee and other non-refundable items).  They chose to amend the existing itinerary.  Again, we are sorry to hear that the school has canceled the tour but hope that this information provides more clarity around the options that are available. Best, ****** EF Tours 

1/20/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: When I signed my child up for a trip to Paris, I was informed as long as I canceled 5 months prior to the trip I would ONLY be responsible for a $95 cancelation fee. I chose to cancel after the attacks in Paris, as I felt it was not safe to travel at this given time. They have kept $550, stating there were booking fees & insurance...insurance on a trip not taken? Really? I feel this company is taking advantage of a tragedy. They did state the trip will now being visiting other areas, however the main reason I was wanting her to experience this trip was because she is in her 4th year of French.

Desired Settlement: I would like my money returned.

Business Response: Hello, Thank you for being in contact.  We are disapointed that you want to cancel your tour with EF. Here is a link to our booking conditions and cancellation fees. http://www.eftours.com/eliterature/BookingConditions_ETUS_16.pdf Please feel free to contact our Traveler Support Team with any other questions or concerns. thank you EF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  I have already canceled the trip.  That is not the problem the problem is the company is keeping $550 dollars.  I was originally told when signing up the cancelation fee would be $95, if canceled in time.  I canceled this trip 5 month prior.  Because of attacks in Paris.   Regards, ***** ******    

Business Response: Hello,All customers sign that they agree to EF's terms and conditions when they register for a tour. These terms and conditions outline our cancellation policies.http://www.eftours.com/eliterature/BookingConditions_ETUS_16.pdfthank youEF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below  It states 150 days or more prior to departure.  Full refund less $95 non refundable deposit, all non refundable fees, and $300 cancelation fee. No mention what non refundable fee is.  Regardless I did not expect Paris to have attacks on tourists and there is no guarantee the safety of my child, you laid out NO monies for this trip and therefore you should be ashamed of yourselves for taking advantage of a tradgy.  I will never book anything like this again and will be more then happy to share my experience with other parents. Regards, ***** ******    

1/16/2016 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: After the terrorist attack in Paris a few months back our family of 4 decided that we no longer felt comfortable traveling with the tour over to Europ. I contacted them well in advance of our June 2016 travel date. When our group signed up we signed up for travel insurance and were told by the company, "If your child or family is unable to go on the tour for any reason, our Anytime Protection Plan provides you with a full refund." (Found under their coverage plan and policies as well as being told this in person.) Our own country has a warning against traveling to Europe and considering the gravity of the terrorist attack and perceived threats we figured we would explain this to EF and they would understand. I figured we would be out the $95 per-person enrollment fee and of course the $150.00 per person insurance fee. We were charged an amazing $2200.00 fee! It's completely fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation stating of you pay for the $150 insurance you can cancel at anytime! Another Lady in the group found out she was pregnant and die during the trip she also got stuck with the $550.00 fee for both her and her husband. I feel like EF has put me in a terrible position, losing a significant amount of money for simply being afraid to travel to a place that I don't feel safe going let alone taking my child, husband, and sister.

Desired Settlement: I am requesting that instead of the $2200.00 fee we were told we have to pay that they do what they said they would do and only charge us the $95 enrollment fee + $150 insurance fee we originally signed up for, equalling $305 per person not $550. It's not right to send out representatives that say one thing and then change the fees.

Business Response: Tell us why here... Thank you for contacting us about your concerns.  We were disappointed that you cancelled your trip to Europe. Our traveler protection plan  does not cover cancellation of your tour for any reason, it covers the following situations: http://www.eftours.com/coverage When you and your family members registered for you EF tour, you signed the following booking conditions which outline our cancellation policy. http://www.eftours.com/eliterature/BookingConditions_ETUS_16.pdf Please feel free to contact our Traveler Support Team with any questions or concerns. Sincerely, EF Education

1/11/2016 Guarantee/Warranty Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I had signed my 14 year old to go on a trip to France, Italy, Spain, prior to the terrorist attacks. Upon the events that took place in France, I immediately called to get a refund for the trip i had signed my son up for, being i was with in the time frame i didn't think it was a issue. I had spoke to several reps that EF tours with in the next few days all assuring me that they would not let children go to a place that was not safe. I spoke to the chaparone at our school and several other moms had the same concern, so i called ef back and told them i would like a refund they told me it was ok to cancel but it was going to cost me $750 dollars. I asked why seeing the trip was not scheduled till march and was not booked yet what did they need my money for. The Rep told me that they needed the money for other people who were booking trips, i said your using my money for their trips, what bout their own money, the rep told me he used that for other trips. At this point in time i want a full refund of my money i had paid for insurance i am well with in the time frame seeing EF tours held the date till dec 31st, there is no reason why ef tours needs to hold my money hostage to pay for other peoples trips.

Desired Settlement: I would like a full refund of all my money paid to this company, due to the terrorist acts that occurred in France. I do not feel safe sending my 14 year old abroad with out a adult.

Business Response: Hello, Thank you for reaching out to us. I apologize for your frustrations. We are deeply saddened by the events in Paris. We have offered all of groups options if they are not feeling comfortable with their existing travel plans. If groups were not comfortable traveling on their itinerary the group leader was offered the option to amend existing itinerary and travel on the same tour and date as scheduled, with the opportunity to revise specific cities visited or postpone the existing itinerary and travel later in 2016. In addition, we also offered to switch the group to a new itinerary that they were more comfortable with if that worked better for the group. If the group preferred to cancel the tour, all travelers were offered a full refund ( minus a $95 nonrefundable deposit and any insurance that they pay have purchased)  in the form of a transferable travel voucher. This voucher can be used by the traveler, a member of their family or school community and can be used on an Educational Tour, College Break Tour, Go Ahead Vacation, Explore America US tour or College Study tour. We are confident in the options that we have provided our groups and hope that you are able to take advantage of the voucher. Best, EF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.    Regards, ********* ******  

1/11/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I booked a tour for my child to travel with his school over to France in March 2016. I felt as his parent I did not feel it was safe for him to travel over there months after the terrorist attack on their country or for my child to leave the country. I would not leave the country with my three children with me to head over there and my son decided he did not feel safe going now, so I decided to cancel his trip. I cancelled his trip due to serious concerns which are legitimate parental concerns. This company will not refund my $800 because they say they are cancellation fees which can not be refunded and they were pressuring me to wait and still have him come over there because it was months away. This is a serious parental concern which I made for the safety of my child. I am disgusted that a company who works with schools and children has refused to refund my money given this serious situation. There are a lot of complaints with this company on social media and the internet for unethical and sneaky practices with not refunding money. I have had discussions with employees regarding this case including ******** ****** and **** ****** and they have just continued to make me feel like its is not that big of a deal because it was months away and maybe they will travel to a different part. First, I booked for him to go to Paris and other parts so even if that was the case that was not the original deal and second there is still no way my child is leaving the country due to terrorism over there.

Desired Settlement: I would like a full refund which includes them refunding $800 I paid which they refuse to send me after numerous phone calls for discussion. I did not cancel because I changed my mind but I cancelled due to safety concerns due to terrorism. This should be understanding for a program who works with schools and children. This circumstance is a serious situation and for a company to think its acceptable to keep $800 regarding this case is really upsetting.

Business Response: Tell us why here... Hello, Thank you for reaching out to us. I apologize for your frustrations. We are deeply saddened by the events in Paris. We have offered all of our travelers options if they are not feeling comfortable with their existing travel plans. If groups were not comfortable traveling on their itinerary the group leader was offered the option to amend existing itinerary and travel on the same tour and date as scheduled, with the opportunity to revise specific cities visited or postpone the existing itinerary and travel later in 2016. In addition, we also offered to switch the group to a new itinerary that they were more comfortable with if that worked better for the group. If the group preferred to cancel the tour, all travelers were offered a full refund ( minus a $95 nonrefundable deposit and any insurance that they pay have purchased) in the form of a transferable travel voucher. This voucher can be used by the traveler, a member of their family or school community and can be used on an Educational Tour, College Break Tour, Go Ahead Vacation, Explore America US tour or College Study tour. We are confident in the options that we have provided our groups during this difficult time.  Best, EF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.    Regards, ********* ******** Please read again what I wrote as you seemed to not accept what I  already said about a few things, just like when I was spoken to on the phone.  This company did try to explain the group thing to me, but I told them it does not matter what anyone else is doing this is about safety precautions for my child regarding an untypical  yet serious situation about terrorism.  France's TERROR ALERT is currently still elevated which means it is significant risk of terror attacks as of today which is a little more than  2 months away from the day my son (a child) would be leaving for that country. It is irresponsible and not a smart decision as a parent for me to send my child over to France during this time and for a school tour company who works with students, I would think there would be more understanding for refunds if a parent decides to pull their child from the trip because a terror attack happened. I would like my $800 refund and if I can not get this resolved I will take further action with other complaints. Thank you    

Business Response: Hi There,We apologize for your frustrations. Please feel free to call ************** if you would like to review these options again. We will review this with our customer service rep to ensure that all options are communicated.Best,EF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.    Regards, ********* ******** Hello, I called the number above on 1/8 at 2:32 they gave me the option for a call back because the lines were busy.  ***** called me at 2:53 and told me the message was an automated response to BBB and there was nothing else to discuss because it had already been discussed. Therefore, I am not sure why this message was sent to call them.  Thanks, ********* ********    

1/8/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I am requesting a full refund for tour ********* (England/France) departing March 29, 2016 and returning on April 5, 2016, due to recent world events, to include France (Paris attack November 13, 2015), and the actions of EF tours. Based off of these recent events I feel this trip is not a necessity in comparison to my minor daughter’s safety, and our anxieties, in her attending this trip. We had a meeting concerning this trip at the school immediately following the attacks, and no one represented EF tours at this meeting to answer any concerns or questions. The teacher provided no additional information, and could answer no questions. No one from EF tours deemed it necessary to be represented at the meeting, to discuss options or other necessary facts. This was a fact brought up at the meeting because everyone had concerns, so it would have been appropriate for someone to be present, even if via phone (teleconferencing). I received nothing via email or mail. I also called to express my concerns/views and to cancel this trip for my daughter and it was business as usual. I was rudely told I would be charged a cancellation fee of $500, the insurance fee of $135, and the $95 enrollment fee and when I requested to speak to someone in higher management, I was told No they would give me the same answer, I felt helpless. Being rude and nonchalant does not help with my reservations of sending my daughter hundreds of miles away, when the company that is sponsoring the trip, shows no compassion nor professionalism, because this is a serious matter, to our family. A travel alert has been issued by the State Department until the end of February. These children/students are travelling far away (often this is their first trip, as in our case), and at this age they are fully away of the dangers. I do not feel it is right to force my daughter to go under these circumstances, when she is no longer excited, and feels fearful. It is also unfair to keep so much money under these circumstances. We are not cancelling due to buyer remorse, we have legitimate concerns and no one from EF tours felt it necessary to address them!!

Desired Settlement: I would also like to add that customer service issues are also part of my complaint. Please note that that the purchase price is $2945.00 and I have been making on-time payments since May and have a balance due of $559.00 - I am seeking a full refund. Thanks in advance for your attention to this matter.

Business Response: Hello, Thank you for reaching out. I apolgize for your frustrations with our customer service team. Our travel support specialists aim to answer all questions and I apogilize that you didnt feel as if your concerns were addressed. I see thay you spoke with one repersentiva on 12/10. We will address your concerns with her. Given the events in Paris, we amended our policies to offer options for all schools. All of our groups were offered the following options -Amend existing itinerary: Travel on the same tour and date as scheduled, with theopportunity to revise specific cities visited. Subject to availability. -Postpone travel: Travel on the same tour later in 2016. Travelers are responsible foradditional costs based on the new departure date. Subject to availability. -Change destination: Travel to a different destination in 2016. Travelers are responsiblefor additional costs based on new departure date and destination. Subject to availability. -Future Travel Voucher: Receive a future travel voucher for all monies paid, less the$95 non-refundable deposit and any non-refundable fees (such as insurance, late fees,etc). Travel vouchers are valid for the current and following travel year and aretransferable at face value to members of the traveler’s immediate family or to studentsand faculty of the traveler’s school. We are happy to have another repersentative to reach out to explain these options. Best, ***** EF

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.   Rejection - please add my comment to my complaint. Thanks!  As stated in my initial complaint we are only interested in a refund - your suggestions and amendments at this time do not interest us. As stated before your representative (as you stated one who I talked to on December 10th) was unprofessional and unknowledgeable, and no none of my concerns were addressed. Please note that we expressed our reservations at the meeting called by the teacher/group leader of the school in November, after the attack (stated in my initial complaint), and no representation from EFT tours was present then, or options provided, so I'm not sure when this amendment to your policies, came into play since even your own representative knew nothing about it, teacher/group leader, and its not noted on the website. We are not a travelling family and this was going to be a trip for my daughter to attend, and she now has anxieties, so putting her on a plane at this time, or near future, hundreds of miles away from her family is not option for us. And what purpose does it serve EFT tours to force us/her into going on this trip? Regards, ******* ******    

Business Response: Hello, Thank you again for sharing this feedback. I apologize that the representative did not review this options. These options were created immediately following the tragic events in Paris and were available to travelers beginning November 16, 2015. We are confident that these options leave flexibility for future travel or to sell the voucher to a member of you school community. Best, *****

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  I will be forwarding this complaint to the Board of Education and anyone else who will listen, in reference to your unreasonable practices. The tragic event that has happened in Paris is not an everyday occurrence, but you making it so.. and evidently are not reading the contents of my correspondences to you. I am not going to state our reasons again because they are being overlooked. I will state again that no one affiliated with this tour knew or conveyed your suggestions/amendments  that you stated went to effect after the attacks, so we do not trust what you are stating. We are not concerned with what the group has decided but are only interested what is best for our child. We request that this matter be sent further up in your chain to discuss further.     

1/1/2016 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I am a parent of a junior at **** ****** **** ****** in ****** ****** **. Our AP European History students as well as model congress students were offered an opportunity to go on a trip to Paris, ******** and ******** over the winter break In February 2016. After the recent terror attacks in Paris, the administration of our district decided to ban all international trips for the remainder of the school year due to safety concerns. The issue is that EF educational Tours is refusing to issue refunds stating that it is not in line with their cancellation policy. They are offering the possibility of a replacement trip to California which of course is not the same. Here was their correspondence with another parent: "If you did not wish to do the California tour or receive a Future Travel Voucher, you would be refunded what you have paid in over the cancellation fees. At this time that would be the $95 deposit, the $155 for the Global Travel Protection, and one-half of the program price which is $1347.50. You can find the cancellation policy at www.eftours.com/bc." With a travel alert issued, the Paris terror attacks occurring less than 110 days prior to travel, the district making a decision in the best interest of the safety of the students, and the fact that all the parents paid for insurance on top of the trip price, this is ridiculous and Unacceptable. Any assistance in getting refunds Would be greatly appreciated

Desired Settlement: Full refund from the company issued

Business Response: Hello, Thank you for your message. We are deeply saddened by the events in Paris and have beens working with *********** ********** to offer options to all of the students. All of the schools traveling in 2016 and 2017 were offered the option to change their tour itinerary, postpone travel dates, alter exisiting interanries to avoid Paris and/or recieve future travel vouchers worth all monies paid minus the non refunable $95 deposit and the global protection plan. The school took the decision that California would be a better fit for their students given the events in Europe. Students of **** ****** are being offered to option to travel to Califonia or recieve the voucher for future travel. the voucher can be used with EF college break, Explore America tour, Go Ahead Vacations and College study tours. This offers the options for high school senior to travel in. We are conident in the 4 options that have been shared with all groups.   Best, ***** EF Education    

12/20/2015 Problems with Product/Service
12/13/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I was supposed to go on a trip in Ireland in April 2016 though through the warning on international travel and national travel is a serious issue and the superintendent of ***** will not let anyone go as she said multiple times. Ef tours in fact wants to charge us $750 as a cancellation but we didn't do it by choice and they should be more understanding in this matter.

Desired Settlement: I would like my $750 back along with my other money which I do need.

Business Response: Hello, Our top priority at all times is the safety and security of our travelers. When any concerns over traveling arise we always encourage our travelers to work together as a group to decide their best course of action. To help facilitate these discussions we amended our policies so that any fees associated with cancellation would not increase between November 13, 2015 and December 31, 2015. The goal was to allow parents more time to consider their plans without fear of losing additional money. We have also issued amended deadlines for groups making decisions under our Peace of Mind policy (www.eftours.com/bc) . The many options offered through these policies reflect our investment in providing as much flexibility as possible for our teachers and students. All of the schools that we partner with have been offered 4 options in the event that they do not want to travel on their scheduled Tour. Districts were given the option to amend the existing itinerary, change the tour destination, postpone travel to 2017 or take a fully transferable voucher that may be redeemed for travel with EF Educational Tours, EF College Study Tours, EF College Break, EF Explore America, or Go Ahead Tours. We are sorry to hear that the district has canceled the tour but hope that this information provides more clarity around the options that are available. Best, ***** EF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  I honestly just want my money back along with no cancellation fee Regards, ****** *******    

12/10/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I booked a trip with EF college break to Europe, during the trip I was called a " ***** by one of the male travelers, I yelled at this traveler for calling me such a degrading word and then I was later physically attacked by another traveler that is friends with the boy that called me " ***** I had already booked another trip with EF college break to Asia prior to my travels to Europe but after my my experience, I didn't feel safe or comfortable going on another trip. I paid a total of $1,075 towards the Asia trip and I asked that I be refunded. EF college break said they couldn't pay me $150 of the amount I paid because it is a travel protection fee and it has already been sent to the travel agency and was not retrievable. I asked that they pay me the remaining $925 but they only paid me $475. I would ask that EF College break pay me the rest of the money I am owed. Also during my Europe vacation, the rooms EF College break booked for us were infested with bed bugs and often dirty and unsanitary. I just want my money back. EF College break did nothing to reprimand anyone that was involved in the situation. While I do admit that before the physical altercation, I didn't diffuse the situation, I verbally insulted the other travel as she was verbally insulting me but never did I physically attack anyone.

Desired Settlement: I would just like a balance of the $450 that I am owed. I will escalate this to the U.S. commission of civil rights and the attorney general's office if necessary but I would like to start with BBB because I feel this is a place to work consumer issues out amicably.

Business Response: We are a company that truly values what our customers have to say, and we are so appreciative that ****** brought her experience to our attention. Her important feedback will be applied to promote ongoing learning for our staff and Tour Directors, to further foster respectful group dynamics on-tour, and to ensure that we continue to deliver our own high quality standards.Upon learning of ******’s feedback, our Vice President of Customer Experience reached out directly to ****** to discuss her experience and express our sincere apologies.  It is our pleasure to fully refund ****** for the value of all payments and credits remaining on her account.  Following our most recent conversations, we therefore refunded ****** $750; ****** reviewed this amount with her records and confirmed its accuracy. She is very welcome to contact our Vice President of Customer Experience at any time should she have any additional questions or like to share additional feedback. We would be happy to continue the conversation at any time.Thank you******** ******

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does satisfy my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint #********. I understand that by choosing to accept the business response that my complaint will be closed as resolved.  Regards, ********* *******

12/3/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: My 2 children signed up to go on a Paris trip with their school through EF tours on Nov 8, 2015. Since the terrorist attacks and subsequent world wide unrest and US travel alert, the school felt that it could not put the students lives at risk, so they cancelled the trip. EF tours has made no offer of a refund other than a travel voucher to the families (not possible to use) contrary to a conversation I had with ******* of EF tours on Nov 17, who clearly reported that cancellation fees would be waived through the end of December so that families could make informed decisions. Having since spoken with ******* ******** on several occasions, who informed me that not only must I pay cancellation fees for both children at $300 per child, but I must also pay the $95 registration fee for each child as well as the insurance fee of $155 for each child. I have currently paid a total of $1500 when I signed up. I have never had any contact whatsoever with any EF travel or tour guide, never received any service from EF tours and had only signed up 5 days before the terrorist attacks.

Desired Settlement: I would like the $300 cancellation fee for each child waived in addition to a refund of the remaining money for a total refund of $1000

Business Response: Hello,Thank for your message. EF has been working closely with **** **** **** ** High School regarding their 2016 tour to Paris. We are deeply saddened by the events in Paris and have been working through options with Ms. ********.All of our groups have been given the following options - Amend existing itinerary: Travel on the same tour and date as scheduled, with the opportunity to revise specific cities visited. Subject to availability.-Postpone travel: Travel on the same tour later in 2016. Travelers are responsible for additional costs based on the new departure date. Subject to availability.-Change destination: Travel to a different destination in 2016.-Future Travel Voucher: Receive a future travel voucher for all monies paid, less the $95 nonrefundabledeposit and any non-refundable fees (such as insurance, late fees, etc). Travel vouchers are valid for the current and following travel year and are transferable at face value to members of the traveler’s immediate family or to students and faculty of the traveler’s school.Vouchers may be redeemed for travel with EF Education. We provide groups with a variety of choices when it comes to their travel plans- even if that means we have to move destinations or departure dates at the last minute. Our Peace of Mind policy allows us to provide groups the option to change their tour, change their date or receive a future travel voucher. If an individual traveler does not wish to follow the group’s decision they may choose to receive a standard refund as outlined in our cancellation policy (www.eftours.com/bc). In an effort to give families more time to make the decision without worrying about cancellation fee timeline brackets- we froze the cancellation period from November 13 to December 31 so families would not be penalized if they chose to take the time to think about the decision. These options have been provided to all groups.  Best,***** EF Education  

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below. The school has cancelled the trip and have made it clear they will NEVER do business with EF tours again due to their unethical and unreasonable response to the situation. These options provided by EF tours are NOT acceptable. I clearly want a waiver of cancellation fee of $300 per student.   Regards, **** *******    

Business Response: Hello,Thank you for your response. We are confident in the options that we have provided travelers. The voucher offers the option to redeem with Go Ahead Tours, College Study Tours, College Break Tours and explore america student tours. These divisions give options for families to travel at any age regardless of the connection to a school. Go Ahead tours offers adult experiences both within the US and abroad, College Break and Study tours offer travel opportunities for 18-28 year olds and Explore America provides an educational experience within the US. The vouchers are transferable between all of these divisions and can be used by another family or community member offering the chance to sell the vouchersBest,***** 

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.   And I repeat...we will NEVER use EF again! I am asking the waiver of $300 as was CLEARLY promised to me by ******* of EF tours on November 17, 2015. I will not be satisfied until the waiver is given. There is precedent in providing this refund as clearly seen on several resolved BBB cases. I am prepared to continue to request this until it is provided. Regards, **** *******    

12/1/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint: I signed up for a trip with EF Tours to go to Costa Rica at the end of September. Plans have changed and I can no longer go on this tour. I called the customer service line today and was told that they will cancel my reservation but cannot refund any of the $498.00 that I have paid for the trip so far. The initial deposit of $98.00 is non-refundable. I get that. The customer service representative stated that there is a $300.00 cancellation fee that applies. I don't remember reading this in the documentation when I signed up. Nor is there any mention of it on my account page or anywhere on their site that I can see this for myself. The customer service representative stated that the cancellation fee was in a pop up at the initial sign in. Like many others, pop ups are ignored. I can however save myself $250.00 if I can find a replacement for the tour by December 20th. I find that unreasonable and the whole contract with this company unreasonable if you have to cancel. I realize that they have to make reservations ahead of time, but these fees are outrageous.

Desired Settlement: I would like a refund of $400.00. This would exclude the deposit.

Business Response: Thank you for reaching out and expressing your concerns.   We apologize if you are unsatisfied with our cancellation policy. Upon enrollment online on September 30th, 2015, you agreed to our booking conditions which clearly outline our cancellation policy as follows. EF' Standard cancellation states that 150 days or more prior to departure you will receive a full refund, less the $95 non-refudnable deposit, all non-refundable fees and a $300 cancellation fee. Another option is EF's cancellation with replacement option that if another individual replaces you on tour, at 150 days or more prior to departure, you receive a full refund, less the $95 deposit and all other non-refundable fees. EF's Booking conditions are also available for your reference on your online account found under "forms and resources."  It states next to the booking conditions link " These terms and conditions must be read by every traveler on an EF College Study Tour."  We do not allow individuals to travel unless they have signed our booking conditions. The Traveler Support Team spoke with you on November 16th, 2015 and reviewed our standard cancellation and cancellation with replacement options and sent you a follow up email including our booking conditions. The cancellation fee should have been $550 ( $95 non-refundable deposit, $155 for our Global Travel Protection and $300 cancellation fee.)  Since you have paid $496 towards the program, we have made the exception to waive the additional $54 and offered you the opportunity to find someone to take your spot.  This option would reduce your cancellation fee to $250. If you have further concerns, please contact EF College Study. Best, EF College Study Tours

12/1/2015 Problems with Product/Service
11/29/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint: I purchase a travel tour for me and my daughter. At the time of sign up I was told we could get our money back before 110 before departure. With the terror attacks in Paris I am not comfortable traveling overseas. They said it wouldn't be a problem returning my money if it was a safety issue.

Desired Settlement: Refund my money for me and my daughter's trip a total of $1000.

Business Response: Hello,Thank you for reaching out. We are saddened by the tragic events in Paris and understand your concerns.  A traveler support specialist will be in touch today to review your options. The consultant that works with **** ******** Middle school will be speaking with Ms. ******* this afternoon to review the options that will be offered to your group which include changing the departure date, destination or receiving a voucher for future travel if the group is not comfortable moving forward.Thank you for reaching out.Best,EF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  I do not want a voucher, I want my money back. I am not traveling outside of the U.S. until this I.S.I.S thing is over. Changing the destination is not an option. I am very displeased with this company and do not trust to go anywhere with them. Regards, ***** ******  

11/29/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint: I was charged 1500.00 for a cancellation fee that I had purchased a warranty on against the exact situation that caused me to cancel. I was later told that I had signed an agreement on-line that allowed for this fee to be charged if I cancelled for the reason I cancelled. I was miss-informed by my sons teacher and led to believe if a situation were to occur prohibiting travel to our destination by buying this insurance I would be protected. Later was told that I signed something to the contrary. The warranty was for if I had a family emergency not if an event prohibited travel to my destination. This is miss-leading and I believe a sells tactic to miss-lead potential future travelers into a falls since of protection. Why would you sell insurance with the belief you are protected against possible catastrophic events but later have that individual sign something outlining what it does not protect contradicting the original sale pitch by the teacher. I have heard this from more then one parent and I believe the teachers are miss-informed purposefully to deceive parents into a falls security that can later be used to charge exceptionally high cancellation fees for profit on behalf of the company.

Desired Settlement: I want a full or reasonable refund. I want the teachers to be well informed about what happens if a flight to the destination is not possible or the company to provide proper insurance for individual wishing to cancel within a reasonable amount of time.

Business Response: Thank you for being in touch about your concerns.  I see from our records that you spoke with a member of our Traveler Support Team on 11/19/2015, however the reason for yoru cancellation was not indicated in our internal notes.  Reasons for cancellation that may be covered include the following: serious injury or illness requiring hospitalization, financial hardhsip due to unexpected job loss, jury duty, military call to active duty or severe damage to the home.  You would need to file a claim with the insurance company to obtain this refund, providing the requested documentation. Here is a copy of the travel coverage plan www.eftours.com/coverage. Please contact the Traveler Support team if you have any other questions or concerns. Sincerely, EF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  I was missinformed about the insurance.  I was told by purchasing the insurance I would be covered if we could not go to our destination due to an unforeseen event like a terrorist attack.  This was told to me by the teacher. I was later told that I signed an on-line agreement stating I would pay five hundred dollars if I cancelled.  I feel this was a sales tactic used to falsely lure me into a since of security in order to purchase my tickets.  Who charges 500.00 to cancel a trip five months away.  Nobody.  This company is making profit off of its cancellations and using teachers that have ulterior motives to pitch their sales.  I feel this is unfair sales tactics with hidden fees.  I would bet this company has huge profits just from the cancellations and high fees. Regards, ******* ********    

Business Response: Thank you for being in contact about your concerns. All travelers must sign that they agree to our booking conditions before they can register for a tour with EF Education.  You agreed to EF's terms and conditons on 05/27/2015 when you registered. A copy of this policy can be found at www.eftours.com/BC Please contact EF Traveler Support with any questions or concerns. Sincerely, EF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  This was a hidden cost I do not remember signing any agreement to pay a five hundred dollar cancellation fee five months prior to leaving.  My son has anxieties due to the attacks in France and will not travel.  This is why I cancelled and not able to go on tours.  I was told the trip would be covered if I bought insurance.  You charged me for insurance and then told me I could not use them over my sons anxieties.  Anxieties is considered a medical emergency.  My PTSD was also triggered.  This is why we cant travel.  I told the agent this on 11/19/15 and was ignored. Even after I told her my son was crying and scared.  EF only cares about profit and chooses what they will insure or not insure. I also left a message on 11/24/15 asking for a return call.  I was not called back.  EF has 1500 dollars from me an no longer needs to respond to my concerns.  Other then saying I signed a contract.  Thats fine but I still feel I have been deceived.  I bought insurance.  The attacks in France caused fear and anxiety to the point my son was crying and my ptsd was triggered.  I had to cancel due to undo distress and told I needed to stay with the group if I didn't want to loose my money.  This is cruel and continues to cause me sever anxiety and trigger my ptsd, Regards, ******* ********    

11/29/2015 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint: I signed up in November 2014 to go on a trip July 2016. Since that time I have made several payments to my own trip as well as given donations to my daughters for their trips (nearly 70 transactions total). From the beginning EF Tours has mishandled. misapplied and completely mismanaged my funds. It appears that they have just arbitrarily been applying my money where ever they see fit which in my opinion is a terrible way to handle your customer's money. I have been in contact with EF Tours since early September of this year simply requesting that they provide me a complete accounting of where my funds are. To date after hours of conversations with four customer service members including their customer service manager I have been unable to get anyone to seriously listen and or respond to my needs. The majority of my countless conversations with their team have been spent hearing that the mishandling of my money by EF Tours is completely my fault due to me making electronic payments and donation links for my daughters rather than calling them directly since there is an apparent glitch in their online payment tool. I fail to see how it is the consumers responsibility to know that when we give them money via any payment avenue they will in turn mishandle it. Further I have become so disgusted with their lack of accepting responsibility for their actions that I have requested that they simply cancel our trip and give us a complete refund of every penny they have taken. I have been informed that if I do that I will have to forfeit $600 for each account for a total of $1,800 of the total collected so far despite the policy outlined on their website that cancellation more than 150 days prior to travel will result in a $300 total fee. I am certain that the difference is punitive since I have complained repeatedly about this trip. I further feel that the level of my personal dissatisfaction warrants a 100% refund of my money regardless of their policy for the simple fact that we have been talking about this issue for nearly three months, nothing has been corrected and they continue to REFUSE to give me what I am asking for. My last communication has been that the customer service manager provide me contact information for their superior so I may get in contact with that person to go through this mess yet again. Most likely just to be told that I should not have made payments and donations on-line like the rest of their folks have told me. This group is extremely difficult to deal with and nobody seems to have any authority to make things right with customers when things go wrong. It seems as if the people you are able to contact in their office are just members of a call center rather than actual customer service representatives who are empowered to deliver what EVERY customer wants, world class service. They just completely miss the mark each and every time.

Desired Settlement: I would like to cancel the trip for me and my two daughters and be given a 100% refund of our money due to our continued dis-satisfaction with the actions of this firm.

Business Response:  Thank you for being in touch about your concerns, on behlaf of EF, we would like to apologize that you have felt frustrated with our Customer Service Department.  We understand there has been some confusions in regards to payments on your account and your family members accounts.  Our Customer Service Manager has been in touch to rectify this situation.  At this time, if you wanted to cancel your account, our standard cancellation fees would apply, as per EF's booking conditions.Our booking conditions can be found at the following link: www.eftours.com/BC Sincerely, EF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  That's just not good enough you have still refused to give me a complete accounting of everything paid and applied to all three accounts. It does not appear that you will be complying to my repeated request anytime soon. You need to offer some compensation for the trouble you have caused us and $1800 in cancellation fees just isn't fair. Regards, **** ******    

Business Response: Thanks for being in contact.  The Traveler Support Manager has been in touch with you today to give a complete record of the payments you have made to EF. Please contact EF Traveler Support with any further questions or concerns. thank you EF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  Still unacceptable not to offer any compensation for their continuous blunders. Not very good customer service at all they could care less about your time and dissatisfaction. Not a customer friendly group at all! Beware of this group!! Regards, **** ******    

11/18/2015 Guarantee/Warranty Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I paid for my child to take a trip to Paris / Europe 3 weeks ago. I purchased non refundable trip insurance and deposit. This trip was to take place at the end of March 2016. Nothing has been purchased in his name. As a reluctant of recent terror attacks I inquired about a refund and was alarmed to learn that they would withhold a additional $500 Total of $750 This is a very sad case of this company taking advantage of a horrible situation.

Desired Settlement: I want my money refunded less the non refundable deposits that were agreed to.

Business Response: Hello, Thank you for reaching out. We are saddened by the events in Paris and have been working directly with Mr. ***** at ********* **** ****** about redesigning the groups itinerary to avoid a stop in Paris.We have a Peace of Mind policy for these types of situations that arise both internationally and abroad.  The policy provides three options up until 45 days prior to your scheduled departure:Change the departure date of your tour,Work with EF to amend your existing itinerary or Cancel your tour and each member of your group will receive a future travel voucher for all monies paid (less the $95 enrollment fee and other non-refundable items). In this case Mr. ***** is working with a consultant to revise the itinerary. In addition, we have revised our cancellation policy to offer you the option to extend the current cancellation fee policy through December 31 to offer more time to make a decision.Please feel free to speak with customer service at ************** if you have any questions.Best,*****

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does satisfy my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint #********. I understand that by choosing to accept the business response that my complaint will be closed as resolved. I was in contact with a representative today whom did not explain any extension. However the situation really does not give me many options. My son is a high school senior who has no intention of traveling in the future while he is in college. So the voucher would be of little use. I hate that I am not able to exercise caution and safety on behalf of my student and choose not to travel to Europe considering the circumstances. I feel that EF has put me in a terrible position of loosing significant money if i were to choose to cancel. Considering the gravity of the terrorist attack and perceived threats, EF should really put parents concern for their children ahead of their financial gain. I still feel it is a unscrupulous act and as a result would never recommend this tour company to anyone. I pray that my son is able to travel safely with Mr. ***** and his group.But I must reiterate, it is very disheartening that this is all that you are willing to offer considering no part of the trip has been planed as of yet and there was no loss of money to EF tours. ******* *****

10/27/2015 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I enrolled on to Amsterdam, Paris & London - New Year's for the date 12/28/2016 - 1/7/2017 i wanted to spend my 23rd birthday in Amsterdam considering this was a birthday present to myself since my birthday is new years eve. On 9/15/15 made 1 payment of the $150.00 Made a second payment to EF college break of $243.00 on 9/21/15 to put me a total of $393 dollars. I have 470 days until my trip. Today because of complications in my personal life i needed to cancel the tour. On 10/5/15 i made a call to Ef college tour on how i needed to cancel my tour. To my surprise i didnt get a refund. which would make any 21 year old very upset. considering how hard i worked to even save $393 dollars. When i asked why i couldnt get a refund simply told me they booked rooms and already started booking hotels and flights when on the website it says you wont know the flight or hotel room 2 weeks prior to the trip. Which is baffling because i have 470 days until my set tour that 1 year 3 months and 1 week. Also on the phone i kept asking to speak to a person higher up because the lady was simply not understanding my request. She kept explaining to me there was nothing she could do for me.

Desired Settlement: Refund of $393.00

Business Response: Hello,This message  has reached ** *********** *****. This should be direccted to EF College Break Tours. I will reach out to a collleague and ask that they be in touch.Thank you

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  All i ask is to get a refund of my money. Not to be toyed around and wait for one of you to call me. I would like a full refund $393 dollars. i was only signed up for less than a month. i only made 2 payments. I would like to have a full Refund.  Regards ********* *****  

Business Response: Hello, This message has been directed to the wrong company. As mentioned, I will direct this to the division that manages student tours. I am not able to process refunds on behalf of college break groups. I will ask that they reach out to the customer.Thank you!*****

10/25/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: On September 18, 2014 we signed up for our daughter to take a Costa Rica trip offered by EF with her Spanish teacher as one of the leaders The trip departure date was scheduled for March 14, 2015. Tour ID #*********. Our confirmation # was ********.Total cost of the trip including fees was $2630. This included optional trip cancellation insurance of $155. Due to my daughter's medical condition of severe menorrhagia, we had to cancel her participation the Friday prior the departure date. We notified EF by phone at 1:15 pm on March 13 that she was unable to travel. EF said that a claim form from their insurer, ***** ******* insurance would be sent to us. We received the claim form. On March 23, 2015 we submitted the claim to ***** *******. On March 31,2015 we received a letter from ***** ******* asking that our daughter's physician complete the form which we had mailed on March 23. The one item not completed on the form as a result of taking her for treatment the following week was, "Please have your physician complete the physician statement indicating when travel was prohibited." Of course the doctor could not state that as she was seeing our daughter the week following the departure date. We were never advised or received an electronic or hard copy of the trip cancellation "rule" or "rules." If we had known that a physician would have to see our daughter prior to the trip and advise her not to travel we would have done so. As responsible parents it was obvious that due to our daughter's severe menorrhagia she could not travel: we didn't need her doctor to tell us that. Again, if we had ever been advised of this stipulation we would have complied. From our standpoint, we bought the trip, paid for travel insurance and never received the contents of the policy. We trusted that with the "All Inclusive Coverage Plan" we would be covered in the very unlikely event our daughter would have to cancel. As an aside and this is not EF's responsibility, in addition to paying for the trip we had the expense of securing a passport and we had our daughter get a recommended malaria vaccination for $150 the same week as she had to cancel. In summary, we purchased a trip from EF and in good faith bought a trip cancellation policy of which we never received a copy. We would have complied with our daughter being examined by her doctor a few days prior to the trip if we had known.

Desired Settlement: Receive a net refund of $2540 which was the cost of the trip ($2630) less an alleged "late fee" of $90 which we were unaware of.

Business Response: Thank you for contacting EF.  We will contact the insurance company on your behalf to see if they can revisit this claim and ask them to give you a refund.As soon as we have more information, we will be in touch.Sincerely,EF Education.

9/20/2015 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Our daughter was signed up for a tour through EF Tours to ***** **** scheduled for 6/24/2015. We cancelled the tour on January 23, 2015, within the 150 days cancellation policy. This can be verified through notes and phone records. EF Tours did not confirm the cancellation until 1/28/2015, but we were verbally told we did meet the cancellation date. We had paid $656.00 by 12/10/2015. Over the course of many months we have been given differing directions as to how to obtain our over payment refund of $106.00, minus the nonrefundable $95.00 deposit, the $155.00 insurance, and the $300.00 cancellation fee. We were directed by EF Tours to go through the insurance agency, ***** *******. Eventually, ***** ******* told us we had to deal directly with EF Tours. Now, after an extended length of time, EF Tours is telling us we did not meet the cancellation date and that we will not be receiving any refund. In fact, they told us we actually owed them money, but they didn't bother to collect it! Either due to poorly trained employees (answering the phones), inaccurate bookkeeping, or deliberate altering of records, EF Tours has provided inaccurate information to us.

Desired Settlement: We would like to have the $106.00 over payment refunded to us.

Business Response: Hello,Thank you for being in touch about your concerns.  I would like to apologize for the miscommunication which occurred.We have adjusted your daughter's account and a arefund of $106 will be sent back to you in the form of a check.Please feel free to contact EF with any other questions or concerns.Sincerely,EF Education.

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does satisfy my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint #********. When I receive the check in the amount of $106.00, at that point I understand that by choosing to accept the business response that my complaint will be closed as resolved.  Regards, ********* ******

9/20/2015 Problems with Product/Service
8/6/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: On 7/20/2015 I phoned to inform EF Tours that I had a medical bill that was half the cost of the trip and did not see how I could pay off the trip. The rep. (******) deferred my next payment until August 28th. On 7/23/2015 I phoned again and was withdrawn from the tour. I was charged $500.00 with withdrawing from the Greece trip due to an unforeseen dental emergency. I understand EF Tours has a cancellation policy; however, the out of pocket medical expense forced me into a financial position that left only the options to withdraw from the tour or take out a loan. As I do dont wish to incur any more debt, I grudgingly choose to withdraw from the trip. I would understand forfeiting the initial $95.00 deposit, but I cant see being charged the $500.00 penalty when I cancelled due to the cost of a dental emergency.As a teacher, I do not make enough money to be able to lose $500.00 and wrote a letter asking that they reconsider and refund at least $405.00 of the funds sequestered. I can provide the doctors bill as well as a letter from him to prove that I only withdrew from the trip because of the out of pocket expense that my insurance failed to cover for the procedure. A dental/medical emergency is not the same as someone merely changing his or her mind and does not deserve the same penalty. I sent an email with the above plea for a release of my funds; I have not yet received a response.

Desired Settlement: I would like $405 credited back to my bank account

Business Response: Hello, I am sorry ******, we have not recieved your message. Due to your unexpected complications, we will refund half of the $500 cancellation fee. Please view the booking conditions at www.eftours.com/bcThanks,*****Customer Relations

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does partially satisfy my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint #********. I would like to be given a date that I can expect the refund before the complaint is closed. I understand that by choosing to accept the business response that my complaint will be closed as resolved.  Regards, ****** *****

Business Response: Hello ******, The refund will be received in the next 14 days.Thank you.*****

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below. After seeing the doctor again yesterday for a 3 hour procedure and making another appointment to finish the work, I realized that my medical emergency and ensuing bill that is preventing me from making the Greece trip is serious enough that EF Tours should refund the $405.00 as initially requested. This medical problem occurred far enough in advance of Greece trip that it is not causing them any financial loss. I do not mind forfeiting the $95 deposit, but for them to keep more than that is mere greed on the their part and not good customer relations. Regards, ****** *****    

8/4/2015 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: When my husband and I were approached about the tour we were told, when we asked, that if we cancelled before six months before departure that we would get a full refund of what we paid with the exception of ninety five dollar deposit. This was a great concern because of my daughter's health. We were also told that if we did not pay after the third consecutive payment a refund would be automatic. None of this happened. They have been paid nine hundred forty three dollars. When I called to see where our refund was I was told they would not refund all the money, they would only refund two hundred eighty eight dollars. An explanation would be emailed to me, which was not. They refunded two hundred eighty eight dollars, and told me they would keep my daughter on the list for another month, against my wish. There is a waiting list for others who wanted to go on this trip, that were placed on the waiting list . I feel that we were deceived as to how this business works and operates.

Desired Settlement: I am requesting a refund of five hundred sixty dollars which is what we were told we would get if we cancelled before the six month departure. We paid nine hundred forty three dollars, we received two hundred eighty eight back, minus the ninety five dollars that we were told we would not get back, leaves a total due us of five hundred sixty dollars.

Business Response:   Hello, Thank you for your message. We will make an exception and refund the insurance cost and cancellation fee. You will receive a check in the next 2-3 weeks.   Thank you, ***** ******* Loyalty Manager

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  I am requesting that my complaint #******** be reopened due to I have not received the refund that they had stated on February 23, 2015 they would be refunding. Our records show they owe us $560.00. My current address is: **** ******* *****, *********, IN *****. Regards, ******* *****  

Business Response: Hello, A check was issued to ******** ***** ********* *********** * ***** ***** **************, IN***** USThe check was issued on 02/26. If the check was not cashed by ******** we will issue a new one.Thanks,EF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  We did not receive the check that was mailed on 2/26. It was not mailed to the correct address. Our address is**** ******* ***, ********* IN *****. I am wondering however since ******** is a minor, should this check be made out to me since I am her mother? Regards, ******* *****  

Business Response: Hello *******,Thank you for your message.  I have cancelled your previous check from 2/26 and reissued a refund check to the new address you have provided - **** ******* *****, *********, IN *****.  This check will be printed within the next 5 businesss days.  Thank you.Best,*****

8/1/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Before our daughter left on the tour we called EF Tours with a concern about the first hotel, which had very bad reviews online. I advised EF Tour the hotel was bad and I wanted the students moved. I was assured the hotel would be just fine over and over, I did not believe that to be true. I was being lied to. I told EF Tour if the hotel was an issue I would want immediate action and the children moved asap to another hotel. I talked to several people, and a supervisor, and told them they better have a back up plan. I was assured 100% the hotel was great and never an issue, big mistake! Our daughter checked in after an 18 hour flight in the night and no water, no toilets NOTHING until mid morning! This was unacceptable. I called E Tour and was told nothing they could do? No back up plan? Our daughter had to buy her own bottled water to drink and wash her face and was told my hotel staff to buy enough bottled water to wash her hair and take a shower? Are you kidding me? she could not flush her toilet and the hotel had no plans for this type of emergency and neither did EF Tours? If you could not handle a simple water issue how would you ever handle an actual emergency? I am demanding a $1000 refund on the tour immediately. This is a problem that could have been avoided if you would have taken my complaint prior to the trip seriously, instead you chose to ignore the warning and took a chance. I expect a $1000 refund

Desired Settlement: $1000 refund

Business Response: Thank you for your email. On behalf of EF, I would like to apologize for any inconvenience your daughter  experienced due to water issues at the hotel in ****.The entire district was in ***** was out of water that evening. Water service was restored promptly once the initial issue was resolved.  EF staff in ****** and ****** were in contact with the Tour Guide, the Group Leader and Our Operations team during this incident.Had this lack of water issue not been resolved in a timely manner, we would have looked at alternatives for the group.As a gesture to compensate the group EF Education paid for an excursion for the group to go to the ***** *********.Sincerely, EF Education ?

7/4/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint: My daughter booked a trip with EF tours in 10/2014. She planned to pay for this trip herself and lined up summer employment to fund the trip entirely. We just found out in 6/2015 that her summer employer will not need her this summer and she is forced to cancel her trip. After speaking with EF tours, the total amount it will cost her to cancel this trip is $550.00. This includes a $95.00 initial fee, a $155.00 insurance coverage fee, and a $300 cancelation fee. My complaint is this...1, why is she being charged for a $155.00 insurance fee for coverage that she will not be using and 2, if she is forced to pay for this "insurance", why wont EF tours honor their policy about cancelations due to "financial hardships", as stated in the original agreement? To charge a 15 year old girl $550.00 in fees that contradict each other seems very unethical to me. I understand the initial $95.00 and can live with the $155.00 (although paying for coverage that will not be used doesn't seem right either) but only if it actually covers what it states it does. My daughter has a "financial hardship due to unplanned job loss", as stated in EF tours policy. I believe at a minuimum, the $300.00 cancelation fee should be covered and then returned to her.

Desired Settlement: I would like the $300 cancelation fee being charged by EF Tours to be refunded, due to coverage under their Global Travel Protection plan, which has been paid for.

Business Response: Thank you for your message. The application for the EF tour referenced in the complaint was received on our website, www.eftours.com.In order to complete an application, the parent or guardian must agree to the EF booking conditions, which include our cancellation policy. They may be reviewed at www.eftours.com/BC.EF's cancellation policy states that any cancellation received prior to 150 days before departure, will receive a full refund, less the $95 deposit, all non-refundable fees and a $300 cancellation fee. EF has a cancellation with replacement option, that allows for a greater refund, if another traveler takes the place of the cancelled traveler.EF will honor this option if another traveler enrols on the tour and adjust the refund.Sincerely,EF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  My daughter expectantly lost her summer employment.  According to the cancelation coverage provided by EF Tours, which was paid for initially, the $300 cancelation fee should be covered under "unexpected loss of employment". Please revisit this complaint and request for refund. Regards, ***** ******  

Business Response: The traveler may make an insurance claim to cover the cancellation fees if they have purchased the all-inclusive coverage.thank youEF Education.

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  Please provide instruction to file a claim. Regards, ***** ******  

Business Response: Thank you for email.  We would be happy to help facilitate an insurance claim to get a greater refund.Sincerely, EF Education.

6/29/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint: Last fall I booked two tours with EF Tours. One for my son and one for myself to go as a chaperone. At some point the registration must have asked for my maiden name as I have not used my maiden name in nearly 20 years and would not have given it without a prompt. Long story short, EF Tours booked my flight under my maiden name. I have a screen shot proving the system has me listed with my married name. When I called about the mistake they said they would call me back. I received a call back after 5:00 (my time) which meant I could not go to my local passport office at my local post office to educate myself about my options. EF Tours told I had to make the decision by 5:30 or the fees would go up the next day. The fee was 958 dollars! They pretended to be doing me a favor by saying they would charge me "just" 758 dollars of the fee. I was trapped. I had to either agree to that amount or be charged more the next day. I asked if I could just bring my wedding license to get back in. They said I could try it but *** may not let me back in. I feel like this company 1. made the mistake 2. pressured me into paying for that mistake by playing on my fears that I would either be charged more money or not allowed back into my country. They knew I had too much money invested to cancel at this point. I feel scammed.

Desired Settlement: I feel like EF tours should have to pay the full 958 dollars to cover the fees (not just cover 200 dollars of it).

Business Response: Thank you for contacting EF Education.  Our online registration form requests that an individuals name is entered as it appears on their passport.  We do not specifically request a maiden name, the individual enrolling is responsible for typing in their own name online. I looked at your account and your name that was entered was your maiden name. It was on 06/15 that you contacted EF to make a name change. The airlines are very strict about making sure the name on the airline ticket matches the passport name exactly.Once we book an airline ticket and a name change needs to be made, it often results in a fee from the airlines or the purchase of a brand new airline ticket, which is why you were charged a fee.All passengers receive invoices and have an on-line account where they can verify their name and travel details. If a name change needs to be made, the cost is the passenger's responsibility. Sincerely,EF Education

4/9/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint: I am writing on behalf of myself and my sister. Jan 2014, we booked a group tour to ***** in March 2015 with EF Tours through my workplace. On 2/17/15 I received an email from our trip coordinator stating that our flight confirmation numbers were available and we could contact ********* Airlines for seat assignments. Upon contacting *********, we were told that our seats could be selected but there was an additional charge of $100 for the round-trip seat selection. This took us by surprise but we proceeded with the seat assignments. Upon advising our trip coordinator, he was rather surprised since others in our group we were able to select seats at no charge. I contacted ********* to see what the issue was and was told that our tickets were purchased by EF Tours as individual and subject to advance seat selection charges, whereas the rest of the group was ticketed as a group with no fee for advance seat selection. Upon contacting EF Tours/***** ******* the reason given was that my sister and I were traveling to ***** only (as the tour was advertised)and the others had opted to take an extended excursion to ********. Neither at the time we purchased the tour or any time after were we advised that by not opting to extend our trip our airline tickets would be classified/ticketed differently which would in turn incur additional cost to us. When emailing ***** for the name of her supervisor she did not respond but I later received a call from ********* who recited the same explanation. When I asked ********* for her last name, her response was Im the only *********. Dont know if she was a supervisor able to make a decision or just another co-worker. I feel that by not purchasing the additional excursion to ********, EF Tours has penalized us by classifying us as individual in airline ticketing rather than part of the group. I feel this is a very questionable business practiceI was either intentionally misled or not communicated with appropriately.

Desired Settlement: My attempts to resolve this issue prior to the travel were unsuccessful which is why I am resuming the issue now. As to resolution, I am requesting EF Tours reimburse us for the fees incurred for seat selection at a cost of $100 per person

Business Response: Tell us why here...   In this case, because everything was handled through the airline with whom the traveler elected to choose a seat valued at $100, EF doesn’t have the ability to issue a refund. Costs associated with upgraded seating, baggage, and other airline fees are the responsibility of the travelers. Thank you,******** ******Customer Relations, EF College Study Tours

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  EF's response that everything was handled through the airline - yes, EF made the reservation!  We did not elect to upgrade our seat - we just wanted a seat like the rest of our group at no charge (what we purchased for $100 ea was a standard coach seat). I don't know how EF can justify why some in our group were able to select their seats in advance with no charge.  They do not address the fact we were misled, or at best not communicated with effectively.  EF's statement that they do not have the ability to issue a refund is ridiculous - of course they do if they cared anything about customer satisfaction.  Regards, ***** ******    

Business Response: *****, thank you for your response. Tickets are often booked differently depending on the contracts that we’ve agreed upon with different airlines. That’s why in this case, the larger portion of the group was booked on a ‘group reservation’ and you and your husband were booked as individual travelers. Because our contracts differ both by airline and by ticket type, we specify in our booking conditions that seat assignments will be provided upon check-in. That helps travelers avoid situations where they may be responsible for fees associated with seating.   For a closer look at our booking conditions, you can find them here: http://www.eftours.com/eliterature/BookingConditions_ETUS_15.pdf

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does satisfy my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint #********. I understand that by choosing to accept the business response that my complaint will be closed as resolved. (Additional Comments)Although I have accepted EF Tours response, I am not a satisfied customer.  This information was not made available to me - only the promotional brochure was made available to me.  I guess it was my responsibility to seek out this information although I didn't know it existed.  Very disappointing experience which I hope the BBB will share with EF Tours. Regards, ***** ******

3/10/2015 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint: E.F Tours had scheduled a tour with Dunlap High School in Dunlap Illinois for a trip to France and to Italy. My daughter ****** ****** has been taking French language classes for the past three years of High School in hopes of traveling to France and using her language skills. The trip also included a visit to Italy, which was an added bonus for the overall trip. I recently learned E.F. Tours cancelled the trip to France, and the deposit of $250.00 I paid for the trip to France and Italy, is now only for Italy. My daughter no longer wants to go on the trip since the trip to France was cancelled. I have spoken with Customer service at E.F. Tours, and instead of refunding the $250.00, I have been given the proverbial run around with no resolution. I would simply like my $250.00 dollar deposit credited back to my credit card, with a receipt forwarded. I did not change the trip or the contract, E.F. tours did.

Desired Settlement: Refund of my $250.00 deposit for a trip that no longer exist.

Business Response: Thank you for your email. It was the school that made the change to the itinerary, not EF.  As a goodwill gesture, we have reimbursed all money that was paid for this account.The refund will come back in the form of a check in 2-3 weeks.Please feel free to contact us with any other questions or concerns.EF Education?

2/11/2015 Advertising/Sales Issues
2/11/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint: I signed up through my son's school for a trip to Rome to take place in March 2015. Account. It was my understanding that if I cancelled the trip 90 days or greater out that I'd get all funds paid refunded to me except insurance and small administrative fees. When I called to express concerns about traveling to Rome given the instability with extremist attacks, we were concerned for our personal safety and wanted to cancel. I was told that because the school's trip was still scheduled that I would be charged a cancellation fee of $600 ($300 each for me and my son). I asked for a supervisor and the representative on the phone was rude and said that there was no recourse. I made contact with my son's school representative and she said that there was nothing that she could do. I explained that my son was fearful of traveling due to **** and other extremist attacks in that part of the world and she said that she would see what she could do without success. I'm ask

Desired Settlement: $600 convenience fee refunded to me.

Business Response: EF has a standard cancellation policy whic takes in consideration the costs EF incurs long before groups depart. At 150 days or more prior to departure, the standard cancellation is a full refund, less the $95 deposit and non-refundable fees, and a $300 deposit.This is policy that the individual falls under.The refund has issued by EF.If a formal travel is issued by the US Department of State stating that Americans should not travel to any location or locations on the groups tour itinerary, the entire group can use EF's Peace of Mind Program.EF's Peace of Mind Program allows groups at 45 days prior to departure or more to do the following:- Change the travel dates.- Work with EF to modify the current tour, or find a new tour.-Cancel the tour and all travelers will receive a transferable travel voucher from EF.Sincerly,EF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below. Regards, ****** *******  

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  This approach is an unfair business practice that impacts the customer negatively.  The information presented in print and online from this company minimizes the cancellation process. in fact I cannot find it on the website. EF Tours does not make the cancellation process clear. On the payment options page, there is no mention of cancelation policy. This approach is unfair marketing and they are hiding behind state dept or other non legal means to keep someone's money. I equate this to stealing.  Regards, ****** *******  

2/5/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint: I purchased an EF Tour for my daughter with a payment plan starting on 2/11/14 for a school trip scheduled for 6/5/2015. My husband was offered a new position with a different company in a different state, so we moved from TX to CO. Of course our daughter who is only 12 years old didn't have much of a choice and moved with us. She's now in a different school 1,145 miles away. My husband and I tried to work out a plan to get my daughter to TX in time for the tour but our schedules wouldn't permit (she'll be in school when the tour leaves) I called to speak to someone at EF tours about getting a refund and they told me to call Efekta Insurance company directly (we purchased the insurance plan the day we signed up almost a year ago). I was told by Efekta Insurance (based out of Bermuda!) that my situation isn't covered under the insurance plan, but they would send me a form I could fill out to possibly try to get a refund but they doubt it's covered. The form would take 2-3 WEEKS to be mailed! Understand that as time passes and I'm waiting for a form to arrive in the mail (they cannot/will not send electronically and I was told it's not online) the amount of the refund I MIGHT get is less and less. I get the feeling they are using delay tactics to ensure my refund is as small as possible - if I get one at all. I have already paid $1605.00 and with the EF Tours/Efekta 'refund' policies I MIGHT receive half of what I've paid, if they feel that moving across the country is a valid reason to cancel the trip. It doesn't matter my daughter no longer goes to a different school, in a different state 1,200 miles away. I would not recommend EF Tours to anyone after reading the fine print of the 3rd party insurance company -- based in BERMUDA! That seems shady enough... At almost 4.5 months out from the trip, I should be able to get a refund due to moving out of state/different school. I will also try to get a refund through my credit card company as well.

Desired Settlement: Full refund minus the $95 non-refundable fee

Business Response: Thank you for contacting us. We will make an exception and give a full refund, less the $95 deposit and $155 insurance fee.The remainder of the money paid will be sent back in the form of a check.Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.thank youEF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does satisfy my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint #********. I understand that by choosing to accept the business response that my complaint will be closed as resolved.  Regards, **** ******

1/30/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint: When your child is approached in their classroom and told them can go on an overseas trip with their class, it’s very compelling. Few teenagers are travel-wise enough to realize the nature of the expense associated with an overseas trip. The teachers make it seem easy and it sounds fantastic - so the whole family agrees to make sacrifices in order for two children and one parent to go to Asia. We decided to pay the extra money associated with going with a tour company. Why? Because we wanted our flights booked so that our family would always be seated together. So that the restaurants we dined in were vetted. Because we wanted to make sure that the hotels we stayed in were of average cost while located close enough to the city centre to avoid lengthy bus rides. So that the activities planned were age appropriate and put together by a company with direct knowledge and access to local resources. I guess you could say that one out of four is better than none, but each of those four issues is huge on an overseas trip. The sheer cost alone sets a certain expectation of service from a tour company. Having already experienced a reasonably priced trip to France/Spain with another high-school educational tour company, one that offered an extremely high level of service, I was appalled at the low level of service at EF Tours. I would have never thought that a company with such low regard for essential travel logistics could stay in business. And then I remembered - captive audience. They offer teachers free travel in exchange for X number of students signing up for a trip (hence the sales pitches that the teacher gave my daughter and her fellow students). You have to commit and start paying for the trip SO far in advance and once you’ve paid in, you are absolutely stuck with whatever changes the company chooses to make. In our case, they dropped a country. Because of unrest in the city of Bangkok, EF Tours chose to remove Thailand altogether. I shared the opinion of others that they could have selected a different city to visit. Instead, they changed our itinerary to spend time in Northern Vietnam and then South Vietnam (to make up the extra days on the trip). Did they fly us directly to N. Vietnam? No! They flew us into S. Vietnam, we got to a hotel at midnight and had to report downstairs to leave for the airport at 5am to fly to N. Vietnam. This after a very long journey just to make it to Vietnam. This represents just one example of a disregard for their travelers. Yes, it may have cost the tour company a little more to get us directly to N. Vietnam, but shouldn’t they at least offer, especially since they took Thailand, THE most popular country on our itinerary, away? Surely they saved money by not having to put our group into hotels in Bangkok and on the flights to S. Vietnam. Now, that alone wouldn’t have been so bad. It was the fact that NONE of our seats had been assigned together on our flights. We were spread all over the place. Imagine, a parent NOT being able to sit with her daughters on a 13 hour flight? I don’t think so. The result? We sat in the next to last row on the way there (right next to the galley, and the bathrooms, no sleeping was possible). And on the way home, in the last row, after specifically requesting that we be seated in seats that reclined because we had already been up for over a day and we wanted to sleep. No reclining, no quiet, no sleep. Why? Because the flight was overbooked and because the TOUR COMPANY hadn’t made the seat assignments. Incidentally, on the return flights, these seats, as well as those in the middle (not an aisle or a window) were described as “cheap” seats and we were told an upgrade fee had to be paid to avoid these seats. Which is essentially confirming our suspicion that the cheapest seats were purchased for our group. EF Tours set up an itinerary that took us 35 hours to get home. It could have been closer to 27. And since we flew out at midnight, we were all up for FIFTY hours straight. Unbelievable. No seat assignments, no arrangements for vegetarian or vegan meals on the flights - these are things that any parent is happy to take care of, but since you are traveling with a group, you can’t touch an individual reservation, so unless the tour company makes the arrangements, they don’t get done. So you’re hands are tied and you’re completely dependent on the tour company to take care of this business. Which goes to the restaurants - we knew the company picked the restaurants, but what they don’t tell you is that it is a fixed menu. For every single lunch and dinner, for 10 days. If you have issues with the cuisine, you’re in trouble. You can only eat so many protein bars. And you’ve paid for the food - but you can’t just order a simple bahn mi sandwich or a bowl of pho or bun. Something easy on the stomach. We actually had to leave the group, arrange local transportation into town so we could get something to eat that wasn’t the same thing we had been eating every day, or was too heavily spiced. My daughters and I were put together in a triple room. Not only would they have appreciated the break from me, I would have appreciated the break from them. Other parents traveling with the group and of course, the teacher who traveled with her students, got a private room. We were often in the front of the hotel where it is too loud to sleep. Saigon and Hanoi are busy, 24/7. Our group numbered nine - so we were put with a larger group from ******. Apparently, no one thought to tell them that. They were told we would be joining them on the boat in ****** ***, but they were not told we would be with them for the entire trip. They took over the front of the bus, which put them first in line for all activities, and bathroom breaks. They made no effort to be friendly. They stayed separate from our group and even the adults who were with them - they always sat with their group. They had meetings and made it a point to tell us that we weren’t part of their group if we walked out on a balcony where they were having a meeting. They were quite combative - particularly after they realized we weren’t going anywhere. Combining groups from two high schools, from two completely different regions of the US, without giving both groups the SAME information. What is that? We all sat on a bus for an hour, waiting for the ****** group to get their Cambodian visas, which they obtained, btw, for $20US in the airport. We paid hundreds. Same story for the Vietnam airport. We were told completely different things about the trip and both groups had differing priorities. By the end of the trip, the adults from ****** were shoving past adults from our group. Their behavior, as group leaders, was inexcusable. We weren’t sure if the ****** pushed the tour in this direction or not, but it our Asia tour was heavily weighted on the Vietnam War. Which I do not dispute, is an important part of their history, but it by no means IS their history. I did not appreciate our high school students going through the War Museum in Ho Chi Minh City, which displayed extremely graphic and stomach-turning photographs of the effects of Agent Orange. I hope some of them can forget what they saw, because I never will. After contacting EF Tours directly, and speaking AT LENGTH to a representative, she gently assured me that those tiny logistical details I was referring to were merely part of travel. Wow. They did refund me $400, the difference, they said in my triple room vs a single room. Hmmm. I also raised the issue that I paid almost $3000 total for three of us to get visas for Vietnam and Cambodia. Imagine how I felt when I found out the ****** group purchased theirs for approx. $60US and $20US respectively. They did find that we were overcharged by VisaCentral and refunded approx. $380. So, for a family that invested close to $20,000 so one parent and two children could make this trip, they feel as though that is adequate compensation. I beg to differ. I’m filing a formal complaint with the BBB in hopes of a partial refund of our fees. I feel very strongly, having experienced the top-level of service we rec’d when traveling with ACIS, that this tour company cut corners and tried to save money at every turn, regardless of the effect on the traveler. This is not why parents make sacrifices so that their children can experience life outside of the United States.

Desired Settlement: We feel that we are owed a partial refund of our fees. We spent over $20,000 on a trip that unfortunately was managed by a tour company that did not provide essential and expected services.

Business Response: Thank you for your letter.  We were disapointed that to hear that the tour you took was not up to your expectations.We provide written material to all of our travelers and have details on our website to help prepare for the tour.  We would like to apologize if you did not receive this information.Unfortunately, we are not able to do airline seating assignments in advance. Seating assignments may be done directly with the airline in advance or at check-in.For special in-flight meals, we recommend our travelers contact the airlines directly, no later than 48 hours prior to their flight.EF is group travel and unless your group is private, you will be travelling with other students and teachers from the United States or Canada.In regards to meals, you should expect food and portion size to be different from what you are accustomed to at home. Included dinners will be from a set menu, either at a local restaurant or at your hotel.I understand that you have been reimbursed your visa fees and the amount for your single room which you did not receive.  At this time, we are not able to provide any additional reimbursement.Sincerely,EF Education.

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  I reject this explanation. I cannot imagine that a tour company would NOT make seat arrangements on flights. Particularly for the unaccompanied minors, we had to beg to get them together for very long flights. You say that group leaders are supposed to take care of those details and also ordering specific meals in-flight, but we don't pay the group leaders, we pay you. And if a group leader doesn't take care of these things, and the parents/students can't do it, then what? Suffer? What about traveler's with food allergies? Are you not willing to make allowances for them or is it more important to "immerse" travelers in the country they are visiting. Because we certainly WERE NOT told the meals were from a fixed menu. We were told that the tour company chose the restaurants, but not every single lunch and dinner for 10 DAYS. I wrote a very comprehensive explanation of our experiences to the company president, among others. I am attaching that now. There were many other situations that contributed to the unpleasantness of this trip. We all knew we would be combined with a larger group, and we had no problem with that, but they were hostile from the very beginning and made us feel inferior to their group. Is that the kind of experience EF Tours wants students to have? Not to mention being in the middle of the ****** ***** in the midst of a huge storm. Every single adult on the boat thought we were all going in. I sat there in a total panic trying to figure out how I could save both my daughters from drowning. I'm not kidding and I'm not exaggerating. I've been on plenty of boats on open water and I've never been as terrified as I was that day.I refuse to accept that you provide the lowest-level of service possible, while charging a rate that was slightly higher than your competitors, and that you will not take responsibility for that. It's completely unacceptable. Regards, ***** ******    

Business Response: Individual travelers are responsible for contacting the airlines about seating assignments and special meal requests.  Unfortunately, this is not something EF can do.A member of our Customer Relations team would be happy to contact you over the phone to discuss your experience with the other group you were matched with and the experience on the boat.Please let us know if you would like someone to contact you over the phone.Sincerely,EF Education

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  That's just it - we COULDN'T. When I contacted the airlines, I was told that because we were traveling in a group, individuals couldn't make special requests, nor could they do seat assignments. Have I not been clear? I'm attaching the file I meant to attach during our last exchange. Our hands were tied in so many ways! Why would a family go with a tour company like EF when they could just go with a company like Destination Asia? Why else would someone spend the extra money to go with a US tour company? So that all of the flights would be smooth (especially considering the length of the journey). So that we WOULD have assigned seats so we could sleep on the long flight. So we wouldn't have to beg at the last minute to sit together with our unaccompanied minors. I could go on and on about why we thought we should spend so much money to go with a tour company instead of just doing it ourselves. We felt as though our expectations were reasonable. We were disappointed over and over again, even being told by an airline rep that our tickets were for cheapest seats. The logistics were maddening - I could have made better arrangements myself.I reject the notion that you do not have any responsibility to provide basic services to a traveler. I paid my money to EF Tours but you seem to want to deflect blame onto group leaders. But you don't "vet" your group leaders. You have no idea if a leader is competent or responsible enough to travel with unaccompanied minors. In our case, our group leader was NOT competent. Having her on the trip was like having an additional teenager to take care of. And her trip was free? Hmmmm.Regards, ***** ******    

1/18/2015 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: On 10/02/14 I booked a trip through EF Tours for my daughter, ***** ****. I enrolled in automatic payment out of good faith. The following payments were drafted from my account; 10/03/14 $95.00, 10/10/14 $471.00, and 11/10/14 $471.00. On 11/26/14 I contacted EF Tours to request cancellation. I explained my reason in detail. I was laid off from my job due to disability. My employment was terminated on 07/21/14 with eligibility for rehire with seniority by 10/21/14. Due to complications with my recovery (revision shoulder surgery), I was unable to return to work and may be on permanent disability. Furthermore, Social Security denied my claim for benefits. The EF Rep processed my cancellation and immediately issued a refund for $481.00. I was advised to file a claim with Seven Corners, Inc. for the remaining refund. According to Seven Corners, Inc. I do not qualify for a refund because my employment ended prior to my enrollment, although they had the incorrect date. I contacted EF Tours again and was told there is nothing they can do! There was no mention of Seven Corners, Inc in the paperwork I completed. In addition, the policy is under ***** **** who is a minor. Lastly, this is very poor practice. I gave seven month notice and should be entitled to a full refund. I am on disability and didn't forecast permanent disability. I provided doctor notes, social security benefits verification and employment release form. This is fraud!

Desired Settlement: Receive a refund for the remaining amount of $471.00. I understand $95.00 processing fee and that's because I'm a fair consumer.

Business Response: Hello,Our Customer Service Manager spoke with the customer today over the phone.We believe we have resolved this issue to her satisfaction.Please feel free to contact me with any questions.Sincerely,******** ******Director of Customer Relations.

11/21/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I purchased a trip to Rome for my daughter's senior year of high-school through EF Tours and due to a medical emergency we had no choice but to cancel. The original sales representation depicted that if there were any issues in the tour it could be canceled for a $95 fee. This was falsely advertised because now we have to pay a $95 with an additional cost of $500 leaving the total cancelation at $595. I have spoken to an attorney about these false claims and have desired to direct action. This false propaganda has caused frustration in which all I would like is my money back. This is a scam that provides incorrect information to the consumer and is too late to recover any funds no matter what the date is, I am loosing hard earned money. I have called customer service and been advised to the $500 claim. They stated that the fee would be used to pay their vendors and I have never heard of such a thing. I have emails showing that my claim has been submitted to my attorney. I have never been so frustrated with a company, their poor customer service, and false representation. This is false advertising at its best.

Desired Settlement: I would desire to receive all of my money back or desire a enormous decrease in my cancelation fee.

Business Response: Dear Mr ***** Thank you for reaching out to us. The $500 cancellation fee is what is agreed upon in our booking conditions. However, EF has a strong partnership with **** ******* **** ******, so we have decided upon a one time $500 refund to you. A refund in the form of a check will be sent to you. Sincerely, ******** ******

Consumer Response: Better Business Bureau: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does satisfy my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint #********. I understand that by choosing to accept the business response that my complaint will be closed as resolved.  Regards, ******* *****

11/18/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Tours were purchased through EF Tours and due to a medical condition and the request of the doctor the tours have been canceled. The original sales presentation indicated that if there were any issues the tour(s) could be cancled for a $95 fee. This false advertisement has led to the student and parent tours being cancled at at cost of $500+ per person. At the direction of the tour company claims were filed with the tour insurance in attempts to recoup $300 for each party. Claim forms have been sent to two different insurance companies due to inconsistent information. Neither insurance company is accepting responsiblity. I have been passed back and forth in attempts that are causing frustration. This is a scam that provides incorrect information to the consumer, passes them back and forth until it is too late to recover any funds. I have called customer service and been advised that I must contact both insurance companies to see who is handling my claim. I have emails showing that my claim has been submitted to two different companies with a signed statement from the doctor requesting the cancel.. I have never been so frustrated with a company, their poor customer service, and false representation.

Desired Settlement: I would like to be refunded the excess funds. Being relieved from the stress and contstant back and forth from this companies attempts to derail customer refunds would be sufficient. I am not asking for an apology just a right to the wrong.

Business Response: Thank you for your email. I was very disapointed to hear about your experiences with EF. This is not the type of experience we would like any customer to have. I did some further research today into this issue, and I understand that the insurance company has approved your claim and mailed out refund checks earlier this week. If you do not receive these checks in the next 10 days, please free to contact me. Sincerely, ******** ****** Director of Customer Relations EF Denver.

10/15/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: My daughter and grandfather planned a trip with Ef tours. The school provided only 1 meeting after the booking. My grandfather is 82 and in good health. Nothing in Ef tours information nor any of the conversations held with the tour salespeople could have prepared us for the sometimes 1-2 mile walk (uphill) to public transportation that was required in order to participate in the tour. After booking, I decided I would go along to accompany my grandfather. We were given the impression that all the day tours would happen by bus. I planned on accompanying because if he became tired I could go back to the bus with him should he tire at a lengthy stay at a museum. I told my reasoning to all the staff I spoke with regarding the tour. No one mentioned that rarely would transportation be by bus, and when it was you were dumped off at the site, so you could never return to the bus.They just took the 3rd mass sum of money. The company took all our money with the full knowledge that this is in no way a tour for someone 82 years old. Later on in a short meet up with the local teacher to give her 300 dollars "tip money" she mentioned that EF tours would have 2 additional staff people on the tour training, this meant should my grandfather need to return to the hotel, they could assist him. It seemed strange that it would be mentioned. I knew my grandfather would never be so tired he needed to return to the hotel,he is in excellent health, and usually walks a half mile, daily. The bus would be enough if he tired, and it would give us precious time together. I booked later than them and found out that I would not be able to travel on their flights. I was not sure about this but the agent assured me I would arrive with in 15 min. of them, they explained that they would be safe with in the group, I would meet up at the airport in London. I was never given my flight information. I requested several times the hotel information, looking back I see the reason this was not handled was because I would have become irate if given the chance in advance to see the unsafe conditions, at some of the hotels booked for us.When I arrived at the airport I learned I was booked on a flight that would require a 40 min. INTERNATIONAL connection. This is not possible by the most seasoned traveler. When I called stranded from Chicago late in the evening the EF Tours 24 hour support line was awful. They said I could get a hotel if I wanted but I should read the fine print carefully of the insurance policy they had sold me, because it had limitations. I missed 2 days of the tour because of this. My luggage was lost. My bag with cash was stollen at the airport, while waiting in line to try to arrange a flight. The agent at the airport was FURIOUS at me, saying that a 40 min. international connection was impossible, and should never have been booked and ticketed.The biggest nightmare had just begun. Just prior to finally boarding a plane I received a text from the tour director , he stated no one would meet me at the airport, as per the agreement, I would need to take a taxi which could be upward of 300 American dollars. He advised I find one that would take a credit card if I hoped to get my money back. At this point I had no money and I was exhausted. I quickly called the Tour help line. This time I got a much friendlier agent who seemed to understand the horrible things that had happened. She promised to get word to my family I was safe let them know my arrival time and promised she would move heaven and earth and someone would absolutely meet me in London. When I got off the airplane after waiting over an hour, and twice that long to file a lost luggage claim, I realized no one was coming after me. At the suggestion of the staff, I had not purchased an international plan, so I had no way to contact anyone. We had never traveled internationally, and were told tour staff would always be with us so there was no need to waste money on this expensive communication, if we would only plan to use it in emergency. Our money would be much better spent with extra excursions with EF tours. This may have been some of the worst advice they gave. I was unable to find a cab that would take a credit card for several hours and eventually tearfully approached a female police officer. When I gave her the address of the hotel I was going to, she quickly told me that I could not do that, this hotel was located in a part of London that was not safe for a female to be in. After much anguish I explained that I was on a tour and this was the only place I could go. She called and got me a cab, and instructed him not to leave me until I was locked in my room. With out being to lengthy I need to tell you the motel was in a dangerous and horrible city away from London. Our bathroom was filled with unhealthy mold. When I was finally united with my daughter she cried and was so upset, she explained that they had walked miles to the train after arriving, having traveled almost 24 hours straight, and my grandfather was exhausted. The tour refused to slow down and it was to dangerous to stop. My grandfather had no choice, he had to return to the hotel. When she requested they return (because spending a few quiet min. in the bus wasn't an option) they gave my daughter a few directions and sent my 16 year old daughter and exhausted 82 year old grandfather ALONE on public trasportation. They were walking alone in danger at night. The trip was the scariest and most awful experience of our lives. Instead of the dream come true we had hoped and saved and planned for it was a nightmare. We were able to eat few meals paid in advance because they involved miles of near running that was impossible for many of the students and adults let alone someone 82. In advance they had sold us pricey tours that we could not go on because of the face pace walking to public transportation. When I asked for our public transportation tickets to try to do some things at a slower pace, taking advantage of very expensive cabs, I was always given things that in all but a few times were essentially used passes. This would usually meant we would call a taxi to come to the remote hotel we were staying in. We would wait often 1 or more hours for a cab, ride a mile or two to the train, and then learn the furnished ticket would not work.I would have to exchange money and buy tickets. One tour we could attend because the bus came to the hotel, was not what we had purchased. We went to a complete different town because the bus was' late'. Another show that we payed over one hundred dollars to attend, my daughter and I left my grandfather and got transportation into the city, only to learn upon arrival that we could not go into the show until all ef tour groups were there. This caused us to be 15 min late. We could not see anything. Essentially we sat in a dark room. We learned when exiting that we could have attended the show independently for 15 dollars. Some of the late arriving students had to sit in the floor. The ef tours employees sat in chairs, while students whose parents paid 100 or more dollars for the show sat in the floor. Each of the three hotels that were listed as London, Paris, and Barcelona, were actually remote far removed towns, that had none of the cities listed in their address. Our transportation tickets did not work, we were unable to attend meals we paid for as well as tours. Our Louvre tickets did not work and we had to purchase additional ones in each case. Our tour director was unbelievable, he seemed to never care about my grandfather or any of the unhappy travelers. He did not offer insightful or EDUCATIONAL information about the places we traveled to. Many of the travelers told me over and over that they could not believe how we were being treated.Many people were appalled at how my grandfather was treated.None of the staff would check or slow for him, but other passengers would always try to help. It always seemed the directors biggest goal was to meet up in each city with his friends so he could drink in the pubs and watch the games of the World Cup.The train we took overnight required that we disembark with our luggage.THE ENTIRE group had to be off in under 3 mins we were told. This meant some of the kids threw our bags off as we almost had to throw my grandfather off . They tried to put my daughter in a train car away from us. When I reminded the director and teacher we had paid ADDITIONAL to be together, and I feared for her safety alone in a dark train car at night I was treated horrible and told the trip wasn't about only us. Later other passengers told me they cursed my name. Every single aspect of the trip was misrepresented, and awful. STAFF, FLIGHTS, FOOD, and LODGING. As soon as I returned from the trip I began the process of trying to get our money back.It was my deepest desire, to as quickly as possible plan another experience for my grandfather and daughter. I talked to several staff members. Each listened and promised something could be done. As I checked back, I was given every excuse imaginable. People were out of the office, someone dropped the ball, people were traveling out of the country, on it went. Finally after 6 weeks I was sent a check for $500 dollars. This amount did not even cover the amount of the taxi and the meals I ate while trapped at the airport as a result of the impossible flight connection. I had been given a verbal agreement they would pay. I was supposed to be refunded the meals they were unable to provide to travelers because of tour issues. I never received the check.Others received small checks. After we returned we were sent on line surveys to feel out regarding the tour. Our group of three, and several others filled out very unfavorable reviews. You are told all reviews are posted on their sight, by a 3rd party. This is a selling point they use. You can read what thousands of other people reported about the trip.There is not a single review from our trip and so I am convinced that is another dishonest practice. What is shown is either, corrected or they only post certain ones. If at any time from Day 3 that I arrived I could have safely exited the trip and gotten us home I would have. Because we were traveling separate from each other our only choice was to ride it out, so my 16 year old daughter and 82 year old grandfather would not be traveling from Europe alone. I ask that EF tours return our money immediately. I ask that they change their policy and when anyone over 40 signs up for this trip they be given information that is much more specific, detailing how this travel experience may not be safe or appropriate.

Desired Settlement: EF TOURS, please return the cost of the trip to myself, my 82 year old grandfather, and my daughter. I would love to replace this nightmare memory with a pleasant educational one.

Business Response: Dear *******,

Thank you for taking the time to write a detailed letter to the Better Business Bureau about your experiences with EF.

I spoke with you earlier this year about some of your concerns and was disapointed to hear that you were unhappy.

EF Education is the worlds largest education company, and we all of our itineraries are educational,featuring experiential learning activities, visits to the best sites and expert local guides with add in-depth knowledge along the way.

Groups typically travel by motorcoach between destinations and on sightseeing tours and excursions. When travelling to local activities or free time options, public transportation is the preferred option to experience the local culture.  The best way to explore a destination is by foot, so our travelers should be prepared for a healthy amount of walking.

With regards to our hotels, we inspect every hotel personally and the hotels are clean, comfortable with private bathrooms. Hotel rooms may be smaller and may not have air conditionng or televisions.

It is customary to tip your Tour Director and bus driver as a token of appreciation at the end of the tour. Many Group Leaders collect the tips at the start of the tour.

I can understand your frustration with missing your flight in Chicago. I would be happy to help you file an insurance claim for the day you missed due to the flight delay. 


After our conversation this summer, I sent you a refund check to compensate you for the taxi and some meals that were missed.

I sent you a refund check of $500 to cover the cost of your taxi and other expenses while on tour.

Please let me know if you did not receive this check, or if I can help with the insurance claim.

Sincerely,
******** ******
Director of Customer Relations.
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Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below. 

It is so disappointing that EF tours would not choose to make the situation right with all the travelers and especially an 82 year old man. If nothing else I hope this process will help to warn other travelers, of the danger of traveling with EF Tours. Beware! 

Regards,

******* ******  

 

9/1/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: This complaint is against EF Educational Tours and one of their tour directors, ******* **** ****. My daughter ****** ********* high school, ** ********* High School in ****** ** organized the trip for the students. Aside from the fact that the tour group did not leave on departure day to Europe due to weather issues in ******* ** all went well for my daughter until the group was scheduled to depart for home on June 23, 1014. The students were asked to be in the lobby by 3:30 am. My daughter was all packed and ready to go and she even slept with her traveling clothes on so that she could be ready for departure. My daughter did not hear the alarm clock and overslept. Apparently everyone was running lated. At 4:12 am, the tour director, ******* **** **** came into the hotel room and advised my daughter that they were running very late and that she would have to take a taxi to the airport because they were leaving her behind. ** **** **** walked out of the room and did not give my daughter the opportunity to tell her that she was ready to go. At 4:13 am, my daughter grabbed her luggage and ran out of the room and down the stairs from the second floor of the hotel. The rooms and the lobby of the *** ****** *** ***, ****** ********* are separated by quite a distance One needs to walk through the resort grounds and cross over a small bridge to get to the lobby. At 4:15 am, one of the students from the other group ran towards my daughter, grabbed one of the suitcase and helped her run across the grounds and the bridge to get to the lobby. My daughter sent a text to one of her roommates to tell her that she was running to the bus. The roommate sent a text back that they hadn’t left yet. At 4:19 am, my daughter made it to the lobby and the bus was taking off. The hotel desk clerk saw that my daughter was sobbing uncontrollably and called for a taxi. The taxi arrived at 4:47 am and after a frantic ride, delivered my daughter ot the airport in Nice at 5:15 am. The tour group, including ******* **** **** and the group chaperone *********, were sitting in the airport lobby. The chaperone feigned concerned and told my daughter that “they were not worried about her”. A roommate told my daughter that the chaperone was not worried and had even commented that my daughter was late and she had to take a taxi. Such lack of concern for an inexperienced traveling student is deplorable n a tour guide and a chaperone. That ******* **** ****, the tour guide and *********, the chaperone, placed my daughter in this frightful situation is beyond my comprehension. How can a tour guide who works for a company that leads tours for high school students leave an 18 year old to fend for herself in these difficult circumstances? I had every reasonable expectation that the school sanctioned tour company and its guides would be responsible enough for the safety and well-being of the students. My daughter went through every imaginable negative emotion; shock, fear, dismay and anxiety at being left alone. The taxi fare from Cannes to Nice was 130 euros, equating to approximately $177.00 US dollars. I am asking that EF Educational Tours or their tour guide, ******* **** **** reimburse me for the expense of my daughter’s taxi fare. That’s not even taking into account the horrific experience that my daughter was subjected to merely because ** **** **** decided that she wouldn't wait for my daughter. No amount of money could ever compensate my daughter for the traumatic experience she had to endure. Ms ******* **** **** should be reprimanded, placed on probation due to her extreme negligence. She should not be leading tours due to her irresponsibility. The taxi fare from Cannes to Nice was 130 euros, equating to approximately $177.00 US dollars. I am asking that EF Educational Tours or their tour guide, ******* **** **** reimburse me for the expense of my daughter’s taxi fare. That’s .** ****** **** **** should be reprimanded, placed on probation due to her extreme negligence. She should not be leading tours due to her irresponsibility. EF Tours should establish stricter guidelines, implement a roll call system to ensure all members of the tour are present. A lot of time elapsed before one of the students noticed my daughter missing from the group. ** **** **** and chaperone were unaware that my daughter was missing not even taking into account the horrific experience that my daughter was subjected to merely because ** **** **** decided that she wouldn’t wait for my daughter. No amount of money could ever compensate my daughter for the traumatic experience she had to endure.

Desired Settlement: I would like to be reimbursed for $177.00 for taxi fare listed in the complaint. I would like for ** **** **** to be placed on probation for her extreme negligence

Business Response: I was very disapointed to read your letter and discover that your daughter accidentally overslept, missed her bus and had to take a taxi to the Nice airport on the departure day of her tour.

It is the Tour Directors *******'s role to handle all of the logistics of the tour.  For example, leading the group on the metro to activities, reconrfirming buses, meals, hotel accomodations.

It is the Group Leader and Chaperones responsibility to supervise all of the students.  They must make sure everyone is accounted for during all aspects of the tour.

EF Educational Tours will reimburse your daughter the $177 that was paid for the taxi from Cannes to Nice on the departure day.
This refund will come back in the form of a check in 4-6 weeks.

Please feel free to contact me with any other questions or concerns.
Sincerely,
******** ******
Director of Customer Relations
EF Center Denver
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7/17/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: In April, 2014, I signed my daughter and myself up for a trip to Spain in June, 2015, with her school. I paid the required $95 non-refundable deposit for both of our trips. I called up needing to cancel both trips on July 1, 2014, due to financial hardship. The customer service person said she would cancel both trips and send me a refund of $344. She said she would not refund the $95 non-refundable deposit, a $300 charge, and a $155 charge for both trips. I asked her how much we paid total. She said $731 and $713 for a total of $1,444 and she is going to refund us $181 and $163, respectively. The company is keeping $1,100 for a trip 1 year away. When I asked her about the $300 and $155 charges for both trips, she said that it is the cancellation fee and the insurance fee and it is ON ALL TOUR LITERATURE. Unfortunately, the only literature I received is the EF Tours- Madrid & Andalusia Tour Booklet (which my duaghter's teacher gave me) and the EF Tours - Tour Handbook that was mailed to me after enrollment. That's it. I read both of these booklets cover to cover and never once saw the cancellation fees. It does mention the All-Inclusive Coverage Plan, which states is insurance for something happening en route or during the tour, but that is it.

Desired Settlement: I would like a refund of all money made towards this trip for both my daughter and myself minus the two $95 non-refundable deposits.

Business Response:     Thank You for your message. I apologize for delayed response. The BBB notifications were not pushing through to my email.   I’ve reviewed both ****** and ******* ******** accounts. ****** and ******* were enrolled via the internet on 04/17/2014. In order to complete EF’s online application the traveler must agree to EF’s booking conditions. EF’s booking conditions outline our cancellation policy. This can be viewed at www.eftours.com/bc . In order to enroll both travelers the terms and conditions were agreed to twice – once for each ****** and once for *******.   I apologize for the confusion.       ***** ******* Loyalty Manager, Educational Tours EF Center Boston EF Education First 8 Education Street, Cambridge, MA 02141 Office: ************ eftours.com

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection comments below.  After doing further research online, I also found out there was an insurance option that allows for cancellations.   Why was this not offered to us?   Instead, your company automatically enrolled us in this substandard insurance so when cancellations do happen, they make money...a lot of money.   Its a wonderful "business" to take advantage of high school students and their parents looking for an opportunity.       

Business Response: Thank you for your quick response. I do see that the ** **** ********* plan was purchased. You can absolutely file a claim. I don't see the exact reason for cancellation in our communication logs but please review the list of covered reasons provided by US fire. We are happy to assist in filing an insurance claim if this applies to you. Please call me directly at ************ and I will be happy to connect with you customer service who can assist you to with the claim. I apologize that this wasn’t conveyed to your earlier. Covered reasons: A refund of the Program Price will be issued should you be forced to cancel your trip due to: 1) Your or a family member’s death, which occurs before departure on your trip; 2) Your or a family member’s covered sickness or injury, which: a) occurs before departure on your trip, b) requires medical treatment at the time of cancellation resulting in medically imposed restrictions, as certified by a legally qualified physician, and c) and prevents your participation in the trip; 3) You being hijacked, quarantined, required to serve on a jury (notice of jury duty must be received after your effective date), served with a court order to appear as a witness in a legal action in which you or your traveling companion is not a party (except law enforcement officers); 4) Your primary place of residence or destination being rendered uninhabitable and remaining uninhabitable during your scheduled trip, by fire, flood, burglary or other natural disaster; 5) A documented theft of passports or visas; 6) You being directly involved in a traffic accident, substantiated by a police report, while en route to your scheduled point of departure; 7) You are in the military and called to emergency duty for a national disaster other than war; 8) Involuntary employer termination or layoff which occurs 30 days or more after your effective date of affecting you or a traveling companion. Employment must have been with the same employer for at least 1 continuous year. You will receive benefits up to 100% of the non-refundable prepaid travel expenses.Covered reasons: A refund of the Program Price will be issued should you be forced to cancel your trip due to: 1) Your or a family member’s death, which occurs before departure on your trip; 2) Your or a family member’s covered sickness or injury, which: a) occurs before departure on your trip, b) requires medical treatment at the time of cancellation resulting in medically imposed restrictions, as certified by a legally qualified physician, and c) and prevents your participation in the trip; 3) You being hijacked, quarantined, required to serve on a jury (notice of jury duty must be received after your effective date), served with a court order to appear as a witness in a legal action in which you or your traveling companion is not a party (except law enforcement officers); 4) Your primary place of residence or destination being rendered uninhabitable and remaining uninhabitable during your scheduled trip, by fire, flood, burglary or other natural disaster; 5) A documented theft of passports or visas; 6) You being directly involved in a traffic accident, substantiated by a police report, while en route to your scheduled point of departure; 7) You are in the military and called to emergency duty for a national disaster other than war; 8) Involuntary employer termination or layoff which occurs 30 days or more after your effective date of affecting you or a traveling companion. Employment must have been with the same employer for at least 1 continuous year. You will receive benefits up to 100% of the non-refundable prepaid travel expenses.

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint # ********. Please add your rejection . My reason for canceling was financial hardship.   That's my issue.   It was a hardship and you are keeping $1100...do nothing.   You have another insurance policy that apparently allows cancellations for any reason whatsoever.   It was never offered.   Instead the only policy which I was automatically enrolled in was this other policy which says you keep a crazy amount of money for doing nothing one year out from the trip.    

7/6/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: On June 11, 2014 after realizing all travelers had received a welcome packet with emergency instructions should my child become lost, injured on her upcoming trip to Costa Rica. I called EF tours on June 11 to inform them I had still not received said card for my child and was told by "****" it was vital to my child's safety should she become lost/etc. It is now June 24 & 3 days prior to my child's departure and now "****" is stating he has "no idea" what the red emergency card even is - let alone ordered it. I am livid at their lack of response, in addition to them not following through on what they say they will do.

Desired Settlement: I expect an apology, in addition to **** (said representative) being reprimanded for his conduct. I feel very uncomfortable with the quality of their services & will be looking into my other options as well

Business Response: Dear Ms *****, On behalf of EF, I would like to apologize that you have not been able to get the information you are looking for in regards to your daughters upcoming tour to Costa Rica. I have spoken with **** and his supervisor about this situation and the supervisor is aware. The correct phone number for your daughter to call if there is an emergency situation in Costa Rica is **###-###-####. Should you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

Sincerely,
J******* ******
Director of Customer Relations
EF Denver
********.******@**.com

5/30/2014 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Paid for trip $3475 which included insurance of $145 Had to cancel EF kept $2118 Returned only $1357 Started paying monthly since May 30th 2013. based on insurance explanation on EF website. Expected full refund as can be found at http://www.efexploreamerica.com/teachers/frequently-asked-questions/travel-coverage-and-refund-policy.aspx Spoke with 5 reps and customer service department and manager ****** *****. EF Tours * ********* ******, ******, MA, ***** They said my insurance (purchased from EF) was from third party and that advertized insurance was not available for my sons trip.

Desired Settlement: More money refunded

Business Response: Hello and thank you for your message.  Mr. ****** enrolled on an EF Educational Tour on May 30th 2013.  During this time Mr. ****** was required to read and agree to EF Educational Tour’s booking conditions, which he signed electronically.  He was also given the opportunity to review the insurance information and chose to purchase EF Tour’s all inclusive insurance plan.  Mr. ****** called in on May, 2nd 2014 to cancel his son’s trip due a date conflict which is not a covered reason under EF Tours all-inclusive insurance plan.  Mr. ****** asked if he was covered under Explore America’s insurance plan, which he is not.  We then explained to Mr. ****** that EF Explore America is the domestic travel provider and is a completely separate company from Educational Tours.  The two companies have very different insurance plans and they cannot be used interchangeably. At this time, EF Tours has gone over the cancellation fees with Mr. ****** which are $95, $145, $1,843.  This falls in line with the booking conditions that Mr. ****** has signed and agreed to.  Customer service is happy to connect with Mr. ****** moving forward if he has any further questions. 

Best,
****** *****
Manager of Customer Service EF Educational Tours

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint.

EF's main argument is that the insurance plans are from two different companies and two different insurance policies and the difference should have been obvious prior to entering into the agreement. It is still difficult to see that EF is two different companies 1)    Form the above sentence it sure looks like one company to me. EF Explore America has the same address EF Explore America EF Center *** ********* ****** *********, MA *****    2)      The two different insurance policies argument that EF made was not discoverable on their website prior to my complaint. Since my complaint EF has changed their website to some extent where they have made the insurance description that I attached in my initial complaint hard to find (can't find) and have replaced it with the insurance description that they are claiming that I purchased. It is still not clear.   3)    From their update website (since complaint):     4)    http://www.eftours.ca/student-tours/educational-travel/ef-advantages/travel-coverage.aspx   5)    “EF’s recommended All-Inclusive Travel Protection Plan gives you all the coverage below at one great price. The plan is automatically added to your account upon enrolment. The plan is only $119 for North American tours and $149 for International tours”   6)    From:  http://www.efexploreamerica.com/parents/get-started/payment-and-coverage-information.aspx   7)    “Choose to protect your investment with the Anytime Protection Plan. When you take advantage of this plan, a $149 charge ($79 for bus groups) will appear on your first invoice. What's included? Cancellation refund . Should your child not be able to make it on tour for any reason: common cold, cheerleading tryouts, family obligations and more–the Anytime Protection Plan provides them with a full refund.*•Cancel at any time for a full refund* •Cancel for any reason for a full refund*•Protect the money you put into your child’s tour   8)      I thought that the paper that was signed was to authorize monthly payment from my card to be held in escrow by EF tours to build up to the tour cost as a service to Students since the trip was a school trip advertized via the public school environment. I was not aware that the students were signing away a majority of their investment in the event the student decided he/she we did not want to do business with EF tours prior to trip departure.   9)      Any company claim the right to keep over 50% of the investment after the customer decides to reject the travel produce in advance and not having to deliver the product, seem to be in or near the “predatory company category” don’t you think?   10)   EF should explain how Parents should expect same seemingly predatory company to be doing business with the confined of our public school system.   11)   I don’t remember being told that I should have an attorney look over the contract, however I think that would be simple public service for the school system to consider.   

Business Response: Thank you again for your email.  EF is the world leader in international education.  We have over 460 offices and schools in over 50 countries.  Our North American Headquarters is located at *** ********* **, ********* MA *****.  Within our North American Headquarters we have many different products that all work within their own business units.  Explore America and Educational Tours are two separate business units under the EF umbrella.  Mr. ****** agreed to Educational Tours booking conditions which clearly state the insurance he was purchasing.  The only insurance that is mentioned is the ET Insurance policy.    The link Mr. ****** posted and the description he used is from our Canada product.  It should be noted that the ET Canada insurance plan does not offer any sort of “refund for any reason” policy.  The Anytime protection plan that Mr. ****** continues to refer to is again for our domestic product which is in no way affiliated with our international product.  We understand that Mr. ****** is upset about EF’s policies and we feel badly that he was unaware of them.  The insurance information and cancellation fees are 100% transparent during the enrollment process.  We also understand that there is a lot of information about these tours which is why we have a dedicated customer service department here to answer questions that parents may have prior to enrollment.  Mr. ****** enrolled his son on May 30th, 2013 using our website, agreed to EF’s terms and conditions, and we received no correspondence from him until he wanted to cancel his son’s tour, which was May 2nd 2014.      Thank you again for your response.  

******** ******
EF Educational Tours

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint.

Yes,  EF tours is a company of 37000, employees in 54 countries. And after much research, I have found, I am not alone in being caught by EF carefully crafted business model. By carefully crafted, the definition is that EF sell products that are advertized using words that sound like the typical products meeting the cultural norms of the day where the customer expects a typical certain level of business treatment but in fact the EF fine print results in a much more negative outcome for the customer. After extensive research into past customers, teachers and employees of EF tours I have found the business is based on the following five pillars: 1)      Contact the most well respected, trusted, and   liked teachers in the schools systems arrange that they offer a trip with EF Tours as the handler where in turn the Teacher receives compensation in reduced trip costs or even a free trip in some cases, and in some cases money for each student attending per day. Basically EF tours with a poor record reference in review themselves conceal themselves behind the respectability of the teachers and school systems.   2)      Online contracts with an abundance of fine print which reduced the value of the product they sell enormously such as to offer a trip plan insurance with very limited functionality using words like “All-Inclusive Coverage Plan” which is not to be confused by their “Anytime Protection Plan”, which leads one to believe that the expected cultural norms of buying insurance is just that, only to find that the fine print covers only the rarest of circumstances. I even found case where the insurance was denied because the child had engage in dangerous activity such as “skateboarding” resulting in broken bones and thus denied.   3)      Hire an abundance of youth workers and manage them outside the cultural norms of a respected company as follows in the employees  online entries:   a)      “Mar 20, 2014   Anonymous Employee (Current Employee)  I have been working at EF Education First North America    “ Working long hours is a regular occurrence that often feels thankless” b)      Apr 3, 2014 Compliance Intern (Former Employee) ******, MA , I worked at EF Education First North America as an intern for less than a year “A lot of hard work that requires late hours” c)       Mar 13, 2014 Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)  I worked at EF Education First North America for more than 3 years    “sales team lies to customers” d)      Dec 10, 2013 Local Leader (Current Employee) Long Beach, CA , I have been working at EF Education First North America as a contractor for less than a year  “Employees were not paid on time, Some employees were not paid the correct amount, Many employees were not reimbursed for their own out-of-pocket expenses, as promised., Many employees were not given their days off.,  Senior management was severely unprofessional and verbally abusive. Students were given false advertising about the EF Long Beach site location as well as activities for a program which costed them roughly 5,000 euros. Students, the clients, were often disciplined by being forced to sit on the floor while they were yelled at and embarrassed by senior staff. Senior staff never had any preparations on time in terms of events, bus information, tickets, or other necessary documents and often made groups of 50+ students wait 30-60minutes. “shady dealings ran high” . $46,000 was stolen from the site in a safe that was only accessible to senior staff. e)      Jul 30, 2013 Housing Coordinator (Former Employee)Honolulu, HI , I worked at EF Education First North America full-time for less than a year “Overworked (80+ hours/week)”  Worked 80+ hours a week (one week was over 90). When I approached management and upper management about this, I was told this was the company-wide expectation during the summer months. Typical hours were maybe 8:00am-9:00pm. Weekend work was expected and required.” f)       Apr 4, 2013 Anonymous Employee (Former Employee), I worked at EF Education First North America as a contractor “Low pay - I received a much lower pay/stipend for same job I did previous summer. And there is NO work-life balance. In months preparing for start of programs/arrival of students, you are expected to perform regular 10-12+ hour days with no overtime pay. When you have to leave "early" (i.e., normal quitting time around 5) because of a mandatory appointment or to catch the last bus home, you get hell for it. One of my managers always looked catatonic, and my office mate actually fainted in the shower and had to be rushed to the hospital, both due to working too much.” g)      Mar 18, 2013 Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)I worked at EF Education First North America “Not unionized and needs to be desperately, No backup support for teachers when students create trouble, Unsanitary conditions for students and teachers” h)      Nov 30, 2012 Tour Consultant (Former Employee)Denver, CO , I worked at EF Education First North America full-time for less than a year “EF hires people straight out of college with the intent of paying very little and working you into the ground with little or no appreciation. If you're on time, you're late. If you leave on time, you're leaving early. Weekends are expected of you. You must make arbitrary goals to keep your weekends. I was shocked when a manager tried to band-aid working late hours by actually buying alcohol to have at the office to drink while on the clock and talking to clients (yet they preach professionalism and management skills). They describe the position as a glorified teaching job with travel incentives. In reality, you work for a calling center and spend most of your day begging secretaries to let you talk to a teacher. i)        Sep 17, 2012 Tour Consultant (Current Employee)Denver, CO , I have been working at EF Education First North America full-time for less than a year” They expect you to work 10+ hours a day with no over time, take no lunch breaks and come in on weekends. “ j)        Jun 7, 2012  Travel Operations Coordinator (Current Employee) *********, MA , I have been working at EF Education First North America full-time for more than a year “Not paid over time, long hours, low salary” k)      Mar 16, 2010 Summer Intern (Former Employee)Tarrytown, NY , I worked at EF Education First North America “Everyone is expected to work overtime almost every day with no special pay, No consideration for work/life balance, especially if you live on-campus, Full-time positions are very underpaid, Will be fired if you object to any corporate policies or refuse to work 60 - 80 hrs/wk” l)        Mar 26, 2011 Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)*********, MA , I worked at EF Education First North America  “Work-life balance is a joke. They encourage you to travel and have a life outside of work, but they under staff and overwork so that is not possible. There is a culture of mistreatment; people are disposable.” m)    Oct 4, 2010 Tour Consultant (Former Employee)Denver, CO , I worked at EF Education First North America  “You are just asked to stay late or come in on saturday till you get it done.” n)      Jul 22, 2010 Tour Consultant (Former Employee)*********, MA , I worked at EF Education First North America “promise of making significant bonuses is just a ruse to get underpaid, non-overtime eligible employees to work until 9pm at night and come in on Saturdays” o)      Jan 28, 2013 Program Coordinator (Former Employee)I worked at EF Education First North America full-time for less than a year. “ Everything seemed fly-by-night, we were figuring out host families at the absolute last second, higher-ups were not too concerned with how things worked out in the field. They also pressured exchange students into paying for extra trips once they were already out of their home countries. These expenses were additional to the various other expenses they had been charged pre-trip, and it made the students who didn't pay them feel so left-out that every student ended up paying.” p)      Jan 8, 2013 Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)I worked at EF Education First North America full-time for more than 3 years “highly unreasonable demands are thus placed on the staff who are expected to regularly work 14-hour+ days”   4)      A well supported legal document which offers many advantages for EF but which renders customer experiences like the following: a)      2011-03-07 My daughter booked a trip and then due to an emergency, called to cancel the next day. They told her that she needed to speak with a specific person and that person was not in. They would not let her talk with a person to cancel her trip, so she emailed them. She never received a response (this was the same email address in which they promptly replied to her questions about the trip before she signed up). She called multiple times every day but the call would not be answered or she would get a voice portal to leave a message. These attempts were all made outside the No Refund time period. However, when she was finally able to speak with the person she needed to talk with, she was told that she was outside the cancellation window and would receive no refund.  This appears to be a common theme with this company. Never have I have read so many negative complaints from parents about a company that caters to students. I hope that our problems with this company will alert others as to how this company does business. b)      3/25/2012 Sounded great - booked and paid for tour with our school however when they didn't have enough people sign up and we didn't want to go with people we didn't know we lost $1400 and then it's taken them over 6 weeks to mail refund check to us. Claimed mailed to wrong address when I called after a month to see where the funds were - then said have to cancel, reissue, etc - still have not received our refund. Would not recommend using them unless you have money to lose. Sounds great - experience awful! c)       5/30/2013 We paid $2000 towards my step daughters tour to France. She couldn't go on the tour due to her father not paying the second half of the fee. EF tours would only refund $600. They claimed that the remaining money was being kept as a cancellation fee. We would not recommend this company d)        11th of Jul, 2009: It looks like we wasted about $5000. I guess EF hasn't improved in eleven years. If anything, it seems to be worse. e)        21st of Sep, 2009 Parents and teachers ought to have travel and legal professionals go over every contract from student tour companies and question the prices and fees. School boards and district superintendents should be more involved. f)        19th of Mar, 2010 I just found out today that my daughter's tour was cancelled 2 weeks ago, however, EF Tours just collected $1, 200 from me yesterday! Now they are refusing to give me back my money.   5)      The fifth pillar is the general “abuse of power” exhibited by the size of this company and the strength of the fine print of its legal documents.  It is telling that a company of this size would sell such a product such a contractual product through our school system and teachers, to kids basically? As one can see by their correspondence they were more than happy to sell to the kids through the teachers, leveraging the kid increasing independence and growth and taking advantage of the parent longstanding trust in the schools, teacher and their own kids. Collect money interest free through a website application filled with small print, however when cancellation time arrives, it all falls on the parent who were insufficiently warned of what pitfalls were involved. This “abuse of power” works only through the combination of selling or offering a product cloaked with the trusted entity of our teachers and schools, then when its time for money to go in the other direction back to the student, wham, out comes the fine print and the contracts finely honed over many years and  revised over time to the student and parent disadvantage.   In summary, The fact remains that EF tours accepted over $3475 from me and after attempting to cancel and obtain a refund with over 30 day advance notice of trip departure, EF is claiming that all but approximately $1300 is “legally” theirs to keep via the contract signed.  Ill regardless of the strength of their legal fine print and their clever use of advertizing and wording, that is what it is. A large company of several billion dollars of annual income with 37,000 employees in 54 countries whereby after a customer decides they don’t want their product, it feels entitled to keep the majority of $3475 and return only approximately $1300. When you look at the total body of evidence available on the web, it is becoming obvious that EF will continue to do business in their current manner.  The only action that will counter EF is legislation specifically crafted to stop EF in what I consider an abuse of their power as a large well funded company. It is obvious that this large company has grown into an abusive entity and refuses to self police. I would like to thank BBB for an opportunity to share my experience and what I have learned along the way and the opportunity to express my feeling of victimization and thus provide some therapy for myself and the victims. I realize now that my current and future efforts will not result in a refund, however for the sake of the many kids whose first experience with legal contracts of negative detail may in fact be an EF contract, I feel that there is still work to be done. I would also like to thank the EF employees, in which in order to earn a living, must comply with their companies instructions in their reply’s to my concerns. After what I have learned from my research, I feel sorry for you all now. The $2000 or so is a small amount compared to what you have to deal with on a day to day basis. I can tell you there are better companies out there to work for. Who will refund their customers, ill regardless of the many contracts that allow them to avoid reimbursing a customer if they so chose. Many will refund the customer after the product is found wanting after receipt. They realize that both parties entered into the agreement in good faith and in the end it did not work out. I would say that most don’t do business the way EF does internally or externally. And for the ones that do, we are slowly crafting the legislation to corral them to a better treatment of customers.  It has not been an all bad experience with EF. I do like the music they play when you are on hold.   Thanks to all!

5/11/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: On 4/3 I phoned EF tours to inquire if it was still possible for me to get on the same tour that my granddaughter had booked through school. They informed me that it was late and they were unsure that they could get me same exact tour but they might be able to get me one with options. She told me there would be a $95.00 non refundable fee to look into the tour. She asked if I wanted same excursions and I stated I did. She stated that she would be contacting me with what she finds out and if I was unhappy with the options I could say no. She told me what the total price of current tour would be for me and asked how I would pay. I did state I would pay the entire amount on my credit card. I believed this would only happen after they contacted me with their results and gave me booking information etc. She asked for my credit card info for the $95.00 non refundable fee. I never once believed they would book me without giving me pertinent information or booking information. I never thought they would not contact me first as they said they would. Instead they immediately billed my credit card in full. ON 4/4 they sent me an e-mail which I read on 4/5. The letter stated "Ooops in all the excitement of enrolling you for your tour it looks like you forgot to agree to our release and booking conditions." I attempted to get on the web site but was unable to. As it was a weekend I was unable to phone until 4/7. I phoned on 4/7 opened the web site and was not happy with booking conditions or the fact they never informed me of a huge cancellation fee and policy. THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME I READ, SEEN OR HEARD THE BOOKING CONDITIONS, RELEASE AND APPLICATION. I HAD NEVER BEEN TOLD ABOUT THEIR CANCELLATION FEES. IDID NOT SIGN APPLICATION NOR DID I AGREE TO BOOKING AGREEMENT. I TOLD THEM I DID NOT WISH TO BOOK AT WHICH TIME THEY STATED THEY HAD ALREADY BOOKED ME. I complained that I did not understand how a company like theirs could book someone without disclosing cancellation fees, booking agreements and travel

Desired Settlement: I would like a refund however I am willing to pay the $95.00 fee for the search which was the only fee I had agreed to at this point. I would like the remaining money returned. They plan to take $1,707.50 for trip fee, $150.00 for insurance and the $95.00 non refundable fee. I disagree however they refuse to reconsider. I never signed any application or agreement, I called to cancel immediately upon receiving needed info. I have medical conditions and the trip accommodations would not work.

Business Response: Hello, Thank You for your message. ***** has been in touch with our customer service and explained that she is no longer is interested in traveling on the tour. Upon enrolling our customer service representative ****** **** explained that due to *****’s late enrollment (deadline to enroll was March 26)  that she was not guaranteed a spot on the group flight arrangements or in the hotels. Upon enrollment ***** provided her credit card number and authorized EF to charge the card in full. EF moved forward with booking all of the components of the tour and was able to do so in a way that guaranteed  ***** accommodations and flights with the group.  Upon receiving confirmation that she had been enrolled ***** was upset that she had not had a chance to view the EF booking conditions (www.eftours.com/BC) She expressed that was concerned about our general rooming policy which would result in ***** rooming with another adult traveler of the same gender. She didn’t feel comfortable doing so. At this point, customer service made the gesture of offering a free rooming upgrade ($320 value). ***** expressed that she would like to cancel the trip. At this point it was explained that this would be a standard cancellation fee of $1707 (half of the tour cost). This falls in line with booking conditions shared earlier. Customer Service is happy to connect with ***** again to answer any further questions **************. Best, ***** Loyalty Manager

4/28/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I paid for my daughter and I to attend an EF tour which consisted of visiting the following countries; *******, ******, *********** and *******. There were multiple issueswith the trip which were brought to EF tours attention by the tour guide (our local one) as well as myself after the tour was over. The biggest issue we had was the day we were supposed to leave for *****, June 11, 2013. The driver of the bus was late which in turn caused us to be late to our train. The delay at the train station was a five hour wait for another train to ***** and a significant delay in reaching ***** which we did not arrive untiul after 7 PM. As you can imagine this placed a serious time constraint on the ability to do the things that were part of the tour which included seeing the ****** tour with the possibility of going up (yes we were all aware there was a 2 hour wait and had the driver o fthe bus been on time this would have been a possibility) and spending a longer time at the ****** ****** which you cannot make any headway in 45 minutes. You cannot even look at one section and appreciate the depth of the museum in 45 minutes. Now as a parent and an adult I understand that things sometimes happen that outside of your control and with that being said I appreciate that as well. However, EF tours never once tried to make amends for this delay. Not only was the train delayed but the bus that was sent to meet us at the train station was too small for everyone's luggage and people had to put their luggage in the aisle of the bus which is a serious safety concern. I attempted to contact EF tours in regards to the issues that we experienced and my disappointment at the failure of the driver to show up on time, the delay in the train to *****, the lack of the appropriate size bus and the "rushed" experience that we received while in *****. I received an aesthetically pleasing response which as a nurse practitioner was not at all what I wanted to hear. I don't want your excuses or what you think happened or should have happened or the fact the you seemed to think 45 minutes was a satisfactory amount of time to see an area in the Louvre because anyone who has gone to ***** knows that this is not possible. That was themain reason we signed up for this trip was for the Louvre. I am very disappointed that I spent almost $9,000 on a trip that a company just makes a fly by inght excuse on delays and doesn't attempt to resolve the issue. I requested a refund for the day that we were late arriving to ***** because had the driver been on time and we had been on the correct train, we would have been met by a bus that was adequate size without the safety hazards and we would have been able to spend significantly more time at the Louvre with the possibility of standing in the line to go up into the ****** tower. Instead it was a quick this and a quick that. Completely inappropriate and completely disatisfied.

Desired Settlement: I want a refund of the day that we were supposed to be in Paris

Business Response: I would like to apologize of behalf of EF for the inconvenience of a late bus that resulted in your group missing the train to *****. I realized this caused a domino effect, which made your group have less time in the ****** and for other activities in *****.

Due to this inconvenience, I can refund you and your group each $ 100/ per person.

This refund will come in the form of a check from EF in 4-6 weeks.

Please feel free to contact me with any other questions or concerns.


Best,

Consumer Response:

.


I do not accept this response or offer.  I am not campaigning on behalf of the group.  I am specifically speaking for myself and my daughter.  If the rest of the group is or was dissatisfied with the tour itself then they can contact EF on their own personal behalf.

As far as accepting a refund of $100.00 this is NOT ACCEPTABLE.  In the event that you are not familiar with the trip, we were supposed to have departed the hotel in ****** by 0900 which would have placed us in ***** by 2:00 at the latest.  Once we arrived in *****, we were to drop off our luggage at the hotel (******) and take a walking tour of ***** and then to the ****** ******.  Our tour coordinator (***) had set it up so that we were able to attend the ****** at night to allow for more ***e.  However, since we did not arrive in ***** until after 7 PM, this caused a significant delay which in turn as you stated caused a domino effect.   Therefore, once we arrived in *****, we spent 30 minutes searching for a bus which was too small for the tour attendees and luggage causing a SAFETY ISSUE by requiring some of the tour attendees to place their luggage in the aisle of the bus.  Once we found the bus, we were carted to dinner and then ran to the ****** tower prior to it lighting up.  We had approximately 20 minutes to shop at a
little corner store across from the tower.  What would have happened if there had been an accident?  What would have happened if someone would have lost their life because EF tours was careless in their decision making process?  Thankfully there was not an accident but you need to look at this situation from a different perspective instead of  eing selfish.  You made a critical decision to place individual’s lives in danger by not having a safe and appropriate size bus to meet the group.  You made a critical decision to ignore the delay of the driver which caused the group to be late to *****.  You made a critical decision to not reimburse or attempt to resolve the issues while on tour.  The fact that YOUR driver failed to show up on ***e caused a significant delay in the tour itinerary and this is not acceptable.  It caused the whole ***** excursion to be rushed.  Can you not see that?  How much does it cost for a day in *****?  I think a $500.00 ($250.00/person) refund is a fair settlement given that the trip was almost $9,000.00 and EF tours represented a product but didn’t deliver the product to the consumer’s satisfaction.  If I was just now contacting EF tours I could understand the $100.00 refund however, I contacted EF tours immediately after I arrived home and relayed every detail to the customer service department.  The only thing I received was a “sorry.”  This is not acceptable and completely unappreciated.  If I have to get an attorney involved, I can do this without any problem at all.  This was the trip of a life***e, a
mother/daughter trip to celebrate an achievement and the least EF tours could have done was to acknowledge their error done the right thing the first ***e. 

Regards,

 

 

 

Business Response: To Whom It May Concern,

I understand your frustration and concern, with losing time in ***** due to a delayed bus.

I am looking into the bus safety concerns with our Operations team in *******. Safety is a top priority for EF and we do not want to put our travellers in unsafe situations. We will be evaluating all of our transportation suppliers to avoid this situation happening again.

As a result, I am happy to increase the offered refund to $150 per person.


Sincerely,

Consumer Response:


First of all your letter should be addressed to ***** **********.  The lack of respect in the responses continues to accentuate the continued lack of customer service on behalf of EF tours.  Secondly, I am not understanding why we are haggling over the requested refund.  If I hire an attorney and sue EF tours due to their neglect and safety issues, I would receive a much higher compensation than $250.00 for both **** and I.  I would also request that EF tours pay the attorney fees and the time I have personally wasted with this issue.  As a pediatric nurse practitioner, EF tours is causing me to take time away from patients in order to deal with the EF Tours lack of ability to deal appropriately with this issue.  Again, I am not asking for EF tours to reimburse EVERYONE in the group.  Again, I am NOT the group representative.  Again, I am only speaking on behalf of myself and my daughter **** who were on the  tour.  Again, I am concernd over EF Tours lack of concern at placing 53 people in danger by NOT having a safe bus.  Again, I am concerned at EF Tours inability to understand that compensation for the delay to ***** should have been while we were on the tour.  I should not have had to waste personal and professional time to contact EF tours, the BBB and continue this negotiation of a refund which is non-negotiable .  I want EF tours to reimburse me $500.00  ($250.00 for me and $250.00 for ****).  I DO NOT care what EF tours does with the other tour participants.  That is not my conern.  I will not negotiate this further.  If this is not refunded, I will seek an attorney to file a lawsuit against EF tours for the significant delay to *****, the inability to participate in the functions that were part of the itinerary (NOT EXTRAs) in a sufficient amount of time to enjoy them as per the inteinerary and the multiple issues of safety that EF tours predisposed their tour participants too.  If I am required to hire and attorney, I will file a law suit for the full amount of the tour price as well as the attorney fees, pain and suffering due to EF Tours continued negligent behavior and careless attitude toward the safety and time issues that the tour participants were subjected too.  Safety should always be your TOP priority!!

Regards,

 

 

 

4/19/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I booked a tour to Europe with EF tours in October 2013 for $3230.00 which included Insurance Coverage Plan- selected by EF- with ***** Insurance, which was paid in full in February 2014. I got ill with a life-threatening disease for my early pregnancy, and following the doctor’s instructions I cancelled the tour with one month in advance, I called EF customer service and they referred me to the insurance office numbers without more explanations about what to do in order to get the refund of my tour. The cancellation policy of that insurance which I quote below includes: “Tour Cancellation and Interruption Coverage Cancellation—Covered reasons: A refund of the Program Price will be issued should the traveler be forced to cancel his or her tour due to: a) A serious injury, grave illness leading to hospitalization or death of the traveler or of a Family Member (see definition of “Family Member” on reverse). b) The traveler being required to serve on a jury, subpoenaed, drafted into military service or having his or her home rendered uninhabitable by fire or flood. c) The traveler being directly involved in a traffic accident en route to the departure of an EF tour. d) Financial strain caused by a parent’s involuntary, sudden and unforeseen loss of employment. Item b) which applies to the risk of me losing my baby if I traveled in those conditions being so ill at that moment. I sent the insurance the doctor’s documents which they refused to accept as valid documents to provide me with the refund for my trip. They did not call me or did any follow up of my case, and when I called and asked them about the results of my claim they coldly told me that my claim had been denied. It has been a real hustle for me to get someone on the phone, both in EF and in *****, to give me any valid response or satisfaction of how my case can be resolved. They keep transferring my calls to other numbers that end up being machines with music which eventually end the call.

Desired Settlement: I do expect to get the refund of that money that was not used for the payment of any plane ticket, hotel or excursion because I followed the procedures with time in advance and my illness could not be prevented. Another reason to expect I can get the refund from EF is that I would not like to discredit the reputation of EF tours for an amount of money that could be insignificant for them but very relevant for a single mother-to-be who had to work really hard to pay EF that sum of money.

Business Response: Hello,

Thank you for passing this letter on. As of 04/17, ****** ******* spoke with EF and has been provided a refund of $1680.

Thank You,

Consumer Response:
I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does satisfy my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint #********. I understand that by choosing to accept the business response that my complaint will be closed as resolved. 

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3/14/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: EF Tours drastically misrepresented their product and then never took responsibility for their mistake. So this is a complaint about poor customer service and misrepresenting their product in order to sell it. My 13 year old daughter wanted to participate in their Spain/France trip. It is very expensive but since my daughter is German, I thought if she could visit her grandparents then it might be worth the expense. I then spoke directly with EF tours explained our situation. They told me kids always change the route and tack a trip onto one end or. It is easy and done frequently it just costs $150. I put the deposit down for this trip. Now that we are in the planning stage, it is a very different scenario: There is a 5 day window of when the trip departs and arrives and they won't have the plane information until 70 days before the trip. This makes it hard for a working family member to plan on meeting my daughter in France or Spain. Ef tours can't guarantee me the direct flight: I don't feel comfortable sending my 13 yo daughter alone to make flight connections internationally without a phone. I need to make a decision now which route she would take and if I change my mind, because the flight they find is not good for my daughter to fly alone.I now understand that the company needs to fly with group rates and the restrictions that go along with this type of trip. However, no one explained that they fly with groups and there are many unknowns that accompany this form of travel. Had I known, I would not have signed my daughter up for this trip because it is too risky to get her to Germany to see her grandparents. Canceling the trip would cost me $750. I expect the truth and whole story when deciding on such a costly trip. This is a trip for middle school kids and I expect them to understand what it takes to keep these kids safe while traveling. They mislead me that tagging a trip onto to either end of their trip was only a matter of $150. I feel trapped and tricked into buying a $5000 trip Product_Or_Service: EF Tours Spain/France ********* International Scho Account_Number: *******

Desired Settlement: Refund I would like a full refund and we will pull out of the trip.

Business Response: Thank you for your email. I am sorry to hear that you are unhappy with our special travel policies. We have students who travel before or after their scheduled tour with us.  All parents must fill out paperwork if they would like to make a change to their child's itinerary.  All the conditions such as deadlines and costs are outlined in these conditions. If you do not feel comfortable with your daughter staying in Europe after the trip with her school to visit family, we can remove this option and have her take part in the EF tour only, where she is flying chaperoned. Please feel free to contact our customer service department if you would like to remove this option. Very best, ******** ****** Director of Customer Relations. EF ******

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint.

Thank you for your respose and I heard that before. I also bought the trip precisely on what you just said that kids do that all the time. The reason, I bought the trip is because it was worthit for us to spend that money to travel with her lovely teacher and friends IF she could visit her family. But it is too unsafe to have her tack  trip onto one end or another so had i known what I know now, in September when I booked it, I in fact would not have let her join the trip. Here is why I feel it is unsafe: My daughter is 13 years old. I would have her visit her aunt and grandparents in ******** Germany and then my sister-in -law would fly with her from Germany to Paris to meet up witht he group. This sounded doable in September, when I discussed it with ER Tours. However the logisticals are as follows: You would book her on any flight from US to Germany. This could mean that she would lay over potentially anywhere such as Amsterdam, London, etc. Her phone would not work in Europe until I could get her a temperaory phone in Germany. If she were to have a mishap, plane delayed, etc and miss her flight, then she is left to figure out this situation alone without phone conennction to me,. if she were to have to spend the night to catch the next flight, that also would be potentially dangerous and I would not send my daughter to fly with such risks. If I cuold be guaranteed the direct ****** to Frankfurt flight, then that would be reasonable, but although you use that flight frequently I can not be guaranteed to get that flight.  if I were to say , "go ahead and book her to fly from ****** to Germany" and we would get a flight with stop overs, that to switch back to the iterary of the group would cost me more. I have to make this decision before you all buy your tickets and I am not a gambler. Problem number 2: You have a 5 day window when the trip actually begins and we wont know the itinerarr until 70 days before you buy the tickets. My sister-in -law would need to know now, so that she could book her tickets and request time off work in order to bring my daughter to Paris. Again, a gamnle. Should we buy the germany Paris ticket so she arrive on the first day of when the trip can potentially start or the 3rd or the fifth? My sister in law cant wait 5 days in France if in fact the trip starts on the 5 th day. So now my daughter would be taking the trip as you schedules, but really that is defeating my purpose of sending her. She wants to travel with her friends, but it is important for her to visit her family, if she is so close. For the money of the trip, I could send her to her family, which is way more important that traveling with her friends.  In spetember, I thought from what you said, ?I could make both happen. As a mother of a 13 year old and knowing the potential craziness that can happen traveling, I cant justify takling that risk with a 13 year old girl without a phone, which you might be able to understand if you were a mother. Since the reality of tacking a trip on is clearly not as easy as you suggest, I would rather pull my daughter from the trip. Since I feel that you decieved me, I do not feel like I should pay $750. It is not just a matter of signing some papers. Beyond the papers lies gamble with a risky situation. Had you been more clear of what this traveling on an extended trip entailed from working with you, I would have made a very different decsions. Now you want to penalize me for your lack of clarity.

Business Response: Dear Mrs ****, I can understand your frustration with what has happened in this situation. EF asks for date flexibility because we match groups together that have requested a similar date range to keep our prices as low as possible. We confirm the departure date at 70 days prior, which we feel still allows people to make plans.  We are not able to guarantee specific airline routings. If you are not comfortable having your daughter fly alone, I would recommend using the unaccompanied minor service through the airlines. The means that an airline representative would assist your daughter through security/ customs etc and make sure she gets on the correct flight. She would then be released to whoever was picking her up at the airport.  Please feel free to contact me with any other questions or concerns. Best, ******** ****** EF ******  

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint.

Thank you for your response. i have also looked into the escorting option, which goes hand in hand that a child can not be booked on the last flight out of an airport in the event that there is a problem resulting in the child not getting on that flight. Since you find the cheapest flight, you may very well be booked on the last flight out of an airport. So, in that event, the escort can't be responsible for that child, who in that event needs to find a place to sleep for the night. So that actually presents two problems: the airline may not escort a child that is on the last flight or they may escort but not take responsibility for a kid overnight. That is a very scary situation for a kid and a mother. Seventy day before you find a flight, means that now my sister in law has to wait and guess what days to ask off of work and summer prices are going up daily. That puts my sister-in -law in a difficult position and I don't find it fair to ask her to do that. Hence, that keeps *** from being able to actually see her family and ,again, I will be paying for an expensive trip without accomplishing a huge goal of getting her to visit her family while is is overseas. I feel like I am back to square zero, stuck on your trip because you gave me and still give me only part of the story. Tacking a trip on is taking a risk dangerous risk and impossible to coordinate with you. I would appreciate a total refund and put this issuer to rest.

3/10/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Complaint Details Unavailable
12/15/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Complaint: Hi , I am trying to file a complaint againsy Educational Field Tours One Education Street , ********* , MA ****** Direct (***)******** Fax ************ www.eftours.com  When I use the online form . I get to the part where I select the the company then I get this : (website error message edited from text)  I have tried over and over to use the online form and I get this same error everytime .  I have been dealing with EF Tours since December of 2012. I paid in full for a trip to Italy for myself and my child . I found out about two weeks ago that no one else was going on this trip . NO one from the school told me ,. no one from EFT told me , until I had already paid in full for the trip . Now I am trying to get a refund and I am just getting the run around. My contact is  ******* ********* Global Education Consultant - Tennessee - EF Educational Tours EF Education First One Education Street ********* , MA ***** Direct (***) ******** Fax ************ www.eftours.com I received an email from him on 11+-25-13 that I would receive a refund and it would take 5 business days. As of today I have not received a refund. I am looking at $7530 in refund due.  Can someone please help me ?  My email is **************@centurylink.com My phone number is ********** I am attaching an email form ******* and also my bank payment information 

Desired Settlement: $7530

Business Response: Dear *****, Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. I have spoken with your contact, ******* ********* and he assures me that you have spoken and that your checks are being sent to you via express delivery. Please let us know if you have any difficulty or additional questions.

Best regards,
******* ********
Director of Customer Relations

10/1/2013 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: My complaint against EF tours is for blatant misrepresentation of their advertised itinerary. I have contacted EF Tour employees: *** ********, ****** ***** and ****** ******* with my refund request for monetary compensation due to the blatant untruths represented in the EF Itinerary set forth by EF Tours and their EF Tour Group Leader. I have been told that I will not be receiving a refund because my complaints are expectation based. My expectations were derived directly from the EF Tour itinerary. The EF Tour itinerary stated our tour group would be staying overnight in Florence & Venice, Italy as well as Rothenburg, Germany. We did not stay in these cities. Further, we stayed sometimes more than an hour away from these cities. Additionally, our group did not partake in the bulk of the activities set forth in the itinerary nor was the opportunity to participate presented to us, including: visit a winery in Florence, comprehensive sightseeing tour in Munich nor Venice, see the famed Glockenspiel in Munich, tour islands off of Cannes, France by boat and much, much more. Further, we did not have the services of a full knowledgeable EF Tour Director, as our tour director disappeared for much of the time and was not knowledgeable of the cities visited. Additionally, the EF Tour bus driver got us lost the first day, driving us 4 hours out of the way to the wrong city; then an additional few hours to the correct city leaving us on the bus from noon until 7:30pm. Thus losing a day of touring. I do realize that sometimes schedules and itineraries change, however the bulk of this itinerary were blatant untruths. Yes my dissatisfaction is based on a lot of expectation. Expectation set forth by the itinerary provided by EF Tours. I have been told by EF Tours that my expectations were misplaced or "too high." I believe this statement is extremely unprofessional by a company of EF Tour's caliber. Especially for a trip that cost thousands of dollars. For a more detailed, outlined list of complaints, EF Tours can contact myself or their above listed employees for the original emails sent to them.

Desired Settlement: I would like a refund. I am not asking for the full amount back but some sort of accountability needs to be acknowledged by EF Tours in the form of a refund. Misrepresenting a trip and/or service is unacceptable.

Business Response:

EF Educational Tours provides group travel experiences for high school teachers and their students. All communication regarding the selection of the itinerary and chosen activities is coordinated with the Group Leader, their teacher. We recommend that the teacher hold informational sessions prior to having students enroll and then meetings to prepare the actual travelers for what the experience will be like before they depart. It is our understanding that ***** ******* chose not to participate in those pre tour meetings.
 
The teacher who led this tour has worked with EF Educational Tours for 24 tours and brought over 500 students on these types of tours. Upon receiving this feedback from traveler, ***** *******, we immediately reviewed the feedback from the other travelers on this particular tour as well as with the leader of the group. It has been determined that EF Educational Tours did provide the tour as described to the group leader and that both she and the rest of the group were fully satisfied with the overall experience as we delivered it. Based upon this, we do not feel that a refund is warranted and no further compensation will be offered.

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint.

I would like to reject/disagree with EF Tours' response to my complaint. Please forward them my response below and post publicly: The response by EF Tours has left me feeling further insulted and disappointed with your company.   I would like to break down from my perspective why EF Tours believes no refund is warranted and thus offer my rejection of these reasons and explanations as to why: The group leader has been spoken with, and it has been determined by her standards that this was a great trip.  Ef Tours states there have been no other complaints.EF Tours states I did not attend pre-tour meeting. Lastly, it has been explained to me that my points were not valid enough for a refund because they were "expectation" based.  These are the facts:  The bulk of my complaints are derived from the misleading itinerary and thus factually supported by this document. My dissatisfaction is based on expectation 100% derived and set forth by the itinerary provided by EF Tours and your group leader.  There have been other complaints. It is not a true reflection of the trip to receive feedback from only a few select travelers out of 40+ travelers. The correct way to get a true and accurate reflection of the trip is to poll/survey every single person on this particular trip( I know this has not occurred).

There have been other complaints made to EF Tours about this tour. Please check with your employees as your company obviously has overlooked these. It is not logical nor professional to convey that because of the employment history between EF Tours and your group leader that my detailed, structured and factually supported outline of complaints are invalid, unfounded and worthless. To further explain this point, EF Tours stated I did attend pre-tour meetings. This is absolutely false and inaccurate. I can assume that this false information came from your trusted source, the group leader. My attendance can be corroborated by sign-in documentation and verified by others in attendance. It is clear by EF Tours' response that customer service and honesty is not a policy that you uphold. However, it is wrong and illegal to misrepresent an advertised itinerary. It is wrong to sell a specific trip experience and then give your customers/travelers something completely different.  I expect a company of your caliber to take my complaints seriously and consider compensation.

Business Response: Dear ***** *******, Thank you again for raising your concerns regarding your experience with EF Educational Tours. We have continued to review your concerns as you outlined them and are taking steps to ensure that all parties, both the Group leader and employees truly understand your complaints. I would like to take a moment to explain our feedback process and our determination if the delivery of the tour experience is in line with how the tour was produced. Each Group Leader has the ability to provide on tour feedback and this information comes to us on a daily basis so that we can review (in real time) how the tour experience is going for all of our travelers. We take this feedback very seriously and work closely with the Group Leader to ensure we are delivering what was paid for. Throughout this process we were not informed of any aspects of the trip being falsley represented or that the expectations of the trip were less than what was being delivered. Upon the completion of this tour and hearing your feedback we immediately reached out to the Group Leader and were informed that based on the 24 tours and 500 students that she has traveled with that we delivered the tour that was expected. We are very sorry that you feel that we misrepresented the experience as our goal is to provide an excellent tour for all of our travelers. We will take your feedback, in conjunction with other feedback in consideration when preparing our future tours and materials. Thank you again for raising your concerns and providing your detailed feeback.

Best regards,
******* ********
Customer Relations at EF

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint.

Thank you for responding to my complaint. Unfortunately, it seems you did not read my previous complaints because you have reiterated the insulting fact that you are siding with your sub-contracted Group Leader PURELY based on the employment history between you two. I guess I should not be surprised because after, quote,  "24 tours and 500 students", it looks like she has made a lot of money for EF Tours.  Further, this is not a matter of "he said, she said" or "my word against hers" as you have set it up to be (VERY UNPROFESSIONAL I MIGHT ADD). This is a matter of EF Tours providing an itinerary that was not accurate. The itinerary blatantly misrepresented a trip that cost thousands of dollars. This is false advertising and this is wrong. It doesn't seem like you have read my previous complaints so I have highlighted some details below via copy & paste: It is not logical nor professional to convey that because of the employment history between EF Tours and your group leader that my detailed, structured and factually supported outline of complaints are invalid, unfounded and worthless. To further explain this point, EF Tours stated I did attend pre-tour meetings. This is absolutely false and inaccurate. I can assume that this false information came from your trusted source, the group leader. My attendance can be corroborated by sign-in documentation and verified by others in attendance. There have been other complaints. It is not a true reflection of the trip to receive feedback from only a few select travelers out of 40+ travelers. The correct way to get a true and accurate reflection of the trip is to poll/survey every single person on this particular trip( I know this has not occurred). There have been other complaints made to EF Tours about this tour. Please check with your employees as your company obviously has overlooked these. My expectations were derived directly from the EF Tour itinerary. The EF Tour itinerary stated our tour group would be staying overnight in Florence & Venice, Italy as well as Rothenburg, Germany. We did not stay in these cities.

Further, we stayed sometimes more than an hour away from these cities. Additionally, our group did not partake in the bulk of the activities set forth in the itinerary nor was the opportunity to participate presented to us, including: visit a winery in Florence, comprehensive sightseeing tour in Munich nor Venice, see the famed Glockenspiel in Munich, tour islands off of Cannes, France by boat and much, much more. Further, we did not have the services of a full knowledgeable EF Tour Director, as our tour director disappeared for much of the time and was not knowledgeable of the cities visited. Additionally, the EF Tour bus driver got us lost the first day, driving us 4 hours out of the way to the wrong city; then an additional few hours to the correct city leaving us on the bus from noon until 7:30pm. Thus losing a day of touring. I do realize that sometimes schedules and itineraries change, however the bulk of this itinerary were blatant untruths. Yes my dissatisfaction is based on a lot of expectation. Expectation set forth by the itinerary provided by EF Tours. I have been told by EF Tours that my expectations were misplaced or "too high." I believe this statement is extremely unprofessional by a company of EF Tour's caliber. Especially for a trip that cost thousands of dollars.

For a more detailed, outlined list of complaints, EF Tours can contact myself or their above listed employees for the original emails sent to them. I have emphasized that I would like some sort of monetary compensation, aka refund, because your company falsely advertised an itinerary that I worked hard to save my hard earned money to pay for. Unlike the group leader and her family members, I did not get to go for free. I pinched and thrifted and saved every penny. I deserved the experience the itinerary and your company advertised. Unfortunately, it does not seem like you are respecting my detailed and factually supported complaint or taking it seriously. I am sincerely disappointed that a company of your magnitude would not care about the detailed and factually supported complaint of one of you paying group travelers. If this cannot be resolved via BBB I will be taking this matter to my attorney. We have all the facts in hand. All the evidence is documented via your itinerary, hotels, etc. However, I hope this matter can be handled professionally  through the BBB's website. Thank you

9/27/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: My daughter ***** **** took a tour with her class to France. Departing date was Monday June 10th 2013. Connecting flight from Chicago O'Hare to Paris was cancelled, because the airlines went on strike. (This information provided to me my EF Educational Tours) My daughter spent the night in Chicago and took a flight out of Altanta, Ga at approximately 10:00-11:30pm Tuesday night. I called EF Educational Tour Wednesday 12th to find out where my daughter was, I had not been provided any updates by either the school or by EF Tours. The customer service informed me daughter had arrived in France and advised me the insurance I purchased would cover any additional expense. She provided me with a phone number to contact EFEKTA insurance company and request a claim form. She advised, she was sending me a letter to sent to the insurance company explaining the delay. (I would need the letter in order to recieve any refund) The claim form came the following week. As of today August 26th, 2013 I am still waiting for the letter. I have called three times requesting the letter, the first two times I was assured the letter was now on its way. The third time I called and request to speak to a supervisor, I was denied. The customer service insisted she could help me. She advised me they do not sent out letters, the insurance company and EF Tours would sent me what they deemed appropriate. At that time I request to have a complete itinerary due to the fact: 1) An itinerary was never given out. 2) The intinerary had to be different than the original. 3) There are issues concerning the times when the tours started and ended each day. I also request to know the estimated cost of what my daughter missed. I do not feel this is unreasonable.

Desired Settlement: The desired outcome is my request to supplied and fully informed appropriate refund.

Business Response: Dear *******, Thank you for contacting EF through the Better Business Bureau. It is my goal to help you receive all of the information that you need to understand the circumstances of *****'s tour. In reviewing her account with us I see that you have been given an estimated refund amount of $330 and a letter confirming that the flight was cancelled has been sent to you as of August 7th. At this time, are you still waiting for additional information to be able to submit for your claim? Please advise.

Best regards,
******* ********
Director of Customer Relations

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint.

Business Response: Dear *******, Thank you for your continued communication through The Better Business Bureau. Attached is the letter you requested. Please let us know if you need anything additional.

Best regards,
*******

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint.

9/9/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: 2 of my children went on a tour of ITALY and weren't fed appropriate meals that were to be included in the price of the trip. The restaurants and meal selections were horrible & not acceptable while they were under the guidance of EF Tours.

Business Response: Thank you for your recent communication regarding the meals that your daughter had on tour with EF in Italy. It is our goal to ensure that every student who travels with us is provided a well balanced option for meals as well as free choices during their lunch time to purchase food that they will particularly enjoy. We are constatnly evaluating our suppliers and will review the feedback you provided with both those restaurants and with the Group Leader to ensure that future tours are provided with a combination of meal choices that will be enjoyed by all. Thank you for your communciation and for your feedback.

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint.

This response is an unacceptable resolution for a company that claims to have 45 years experience and unparalleled safety for its student travelers, jeopardized the welfare of children to increase their own profits by providing inadequate restaurants while in ROME.  Tour size too large once combined with other schools to provide decent meals.  TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE! 

Business Response: Thank you for your response.  Because EF’s first priority is to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for all of our travelers, we spend a great deal of time visiting restaurants, testing meals and listening to the reviews and feedback that we receive from our customers.  Because we design a group travel experience for our tours, it is important for us to hear from the group leader, the students, and the adults that traveled on the tour.  In this case, overall we received positive feedback on a group level.  We do appreciate you voicing your concerns about the meals – we are always trying to improve in any way possible.  However, at this time there will be no compensation provided.

8/20/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I signed up for a tour with EF Tours for my daughter one year in advance. Signed up May of 2013 for tour to begin June of 2014. My daughter took a tour with EF tours in June of 2013 and was not happy with the tour and decided to cancel the tour scheduled for 2014.I have three specific complaints with the company:1) They charged me with an all inclusive coverage plan to protect me against cancellation. When I attempted to cancel they indicated the all inclusive plan only covered illness or emergency. This is certainly not all inclusive. This was 145 dollars.2) They charged me for the above mentioned plan even though on the application I marked no. This is simply overbilling per the application I completed.3)When I requested a refund for the $500 I paid they indicated I owed a 95 cancellation fee, the 145 all inclusive coverage plan and an additional 300 cancellation fee or $540. 4)They indicated in order to get my refund I would have to wait until another person signed up and they could "replace this person for my daughter". This smacks of an unfair business practice and certainly anti consumer!

Desired Settlement: I request a full refund of the $500 paid including the 95 fee; insurance of 145.

Business Response: EF Educational Tours works with individual teachers who put together travel programs for their school and offer these programs to their students. Each teacher is responsible for the set up of their program and in this case the teacher has made the All Inclusive Insurance mandatory for everyone who enrolls on his tour. This is discussed at the pre-enrollment meetings therefore anyone enrolling on this tour will be enrolled in the insurance as well. We are sorry that this did not seem clear at the time of registration or on the account details once enrolled. Attached are the details regarding the insurance coverage.

We regret at this time it is not possible to provide a further refund and hope that the registered student will still be able to participate.

Thank you,
EF Education First

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint.

My next action is to file a formal complaint with the attorney general for the state.

Business Response: EF Educational Tours has continued to receive information from ****** ****** regarding the cancellation request of his daughter's enrollment on one of our tours. As discussed previously, we have defined our cancellation policy accordingly and at this time no further reimbursement will be made available.

Thank you,
EF Educational Tours

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy or resolve my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint.

I do not accept EF Tours response. EF tours has withheld a $145 related to trip cancellation insurance they verbally agreed to refund on 7/24/13. This refund is due me based on the fact I clearly marked the enrollment form no. In addition, they have attempted to force me to find another student to take the tour in order for me to get a refund of the additional amount owed to me. I have filed a complaint with the Massachusetts attorney general and asked for mediation in an attempt to settle this matter.

7/19/2013 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Tour Number: ********** Account Number: ******* Enrollment Date: 9/10/12 Tour: Departure: 6/16/2013 Arrival: 6/22/2013 The flight was set to departure at 5:00 pm. I had received an e-mail 12 days prior to the departure date by group leader who said to arrive 3 hours prior to the flight departure and to meet at the ****** ******** terminal. As indicated I arrived to the terminal and contacted ***** **** regarding my arrival. When I contacted him I informed him that my itinerary indicated my terminal was completely different and I would be flying separately to London from the group and would be arriving 45 minutes before the other group. The problem with the situation was that I had been attempting to contact the group leader for information regarding the flight and asked him if he could send me a picture of himself so that I could identify him when I arrive to Heathrow but he refused to do so. I was uninformed of what had occurred with the flight changes but I was not comfortable flying to London by myself and having to meet up with the Group leader when he did not send me an image of himself. We called the hotline number and got in contact with **** when we told him of the situation that I was presented with he said that if I were to cancel and not board the flight I would not receive any form of compensation or refund because it was not a medical condition, sudden job loss or death. Unable to resolve anything I called the on Monday June 17, 2013 to EF collegestudy tours and spoke with ********* I too informed her of what had occurred the previous day and she said that because it was my decision to cancel last minute I would not receive a refund but that she would look into possibly seeking some form of compensation. She said she was going to file a request to the vendors and see if she can collect any funds from the trip. On Monday June 24, 2013 ********* called me and she said no funds were collected but EF Tours would extend a $500 voucher which can be redeemed with the enrollment of a future tour. I had enrolled in this tour on September 10. 2012 and had spoken to ******* several of times regarding the tour and he never mentioned that I would be flying over to London separately from the group. I paid approximately $2,670 dollars for this tour if not more.

Desired Settlement: I desire a refund of what I paid for this trip or equal compensation.

Business Response: When any traveler books with us, we create an online account for them where we make important information such as flight itineraries available beginning at 21 days prior to their tour.  The itinerary for her flights was available for her to review beginning at point, and she was sent emails from EF to confirm that it was available weeks prior to departure. 
 
In looking through the history of this account, we did find that her professor sent an e-mail to the entire group explaining the procedure for meeting at the airport and neglected to mention that the travelers were booked on different flights.  However, throughout this period leading up to the trip, we sent e-mails outlining the pre-tour requirements for travelers which includes logging into their accounts and printing individual flight itineraries.
 
Luckily, as she stated, ******* arrived at the airport early enough to make her separate flight, and when she consulted our staff, we advised her to board it as scheduled and that there would be an EF representative meeting her when she arrived.  *******, at this point, against the advice of our staff and her professor, chose to not board the flight.  She was correctly told that the flight was non-refundable and that not boarding would cause her to lose her investment as outlined in the booking conditions she agreed to when she booked this tour.  Those conditions can be found here: http://www.efcollegestudytours.com/eliterature/BookingConditions_CST_13.pdf
 
The next Monday when she contacted our Traveler Support department, she was correctly advised that we were unable to recover any of the costs associated with her tour, but as a courtesy we would offer her a substantial future travel voucher to aide her to travel with us in the future.
 
In summary, there were a few miscommunications between ******* and her professor that led to this unfortunate result.  Our mission is to break down barriers of language, culture and geography by making travel accessible to as many students as we can.  In this case, while we maintain that we did everything in our power to assist ******* in her time of need, we do want to help her in getting on a future tour.  Therefore, we have adjusted the value of the future travel voucher we offered from $500 to $3,018 which is the full amount paid for her tour.

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does satisfy my issues and/or concerns in reference to complaint.


Customer Review(s)

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Customer Reviews Summary

9 Customer Reviews on EF Institute for Cultural Exchange, Inc.
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