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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 16 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 52 complaint(s) filed against business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.
  • BBB has sufficient background information on this business.

Industry Ratings Comparison | Chart


Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

52 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 14 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 8
Billing/Collection Issues 5
Delivery Issues 1
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 2
Problems with Product/Service 36
Total Closed Complaints 52

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

6 Customer Reviews on EF Institute for Cultural Exchange, Inc.
Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience 0
Neutral Experience 1
Negative Experience 5
Total Customer Reviews 6

Additional Information

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

Corporation

Business Management
Ms. Jennifer Conlin, Director of Customer Relations Mr. Eleacia Fredette, Director of Customer Relations
Contact Information
Principal: Ms. Jennifer Conlin, Director of Customer Relations
Principal: Mr. Eleacia Fredette, 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
Industry Tips
Educational Consultants Finding a Travel Agency - 5 Tips - Video Hiring a Tutor Hiring a Tutor - 5 Tips - Video Travel Agencies

Additional Locations

  • EF Ctr Boston 1 Education St.

    Cambridge, MA 02141

  • 1
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Complaint Detail(s)

7/17/2014 Problems with Product/Service
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 01###-###-####. Should you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

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

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

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!

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

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

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

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,

 

 

 

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

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. 

\

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

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.

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

3/10/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Complaint Details Unavailable
12/16/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: 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 2 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 am just getting a runaround.

Desired Settlement: I received an email from him on 11/25/2013 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 due. Can someone please help me?

Business Response: Dear *****, Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Our sincere apologies for the difficulty you have had receiving your refund. I spoke with your contact, ******* ********* and he has overnighted the refund check to you. The tracking # is **** **** **** and should be delivered before 12 noon today. Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns.

Thank you,
******* ********
Director of Customer Relations

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

12/15/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

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

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

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

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

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.

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

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.

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

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.

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

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.

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

BBB Comments: The consumer indicated to BBB that the complaint was resolved.

4/28/2013 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I would like to complain about practices of EF (Educational Tour). This company has your approval on their web site. According to their brochure and their website, one can lose only $95 registration fee and another $300, if the person decides to cancel a trip 150 days prior to the trip. We paid $1480 and they have returned only $200 back to us. At this point our trip is scheduled for July 2014, it is more than a year in advance, I am canceling the trip. I believe this should be illegal and the printed information does not reflect their practices. I strongly believe that this company is misrepresenting themselves and I am sure my case is not an isolated case. I am contacting your branch, because the listed address is a Colorado address. In October 2013 my daughter’s Spanish teacher, Ms. ******, approached us about a trip to Costa Rica for July 2013. My daughter was very excited. We felt it would be a fun experience to go to a Spanish speaking country with your teacher and some of the class- mates. I immediately registered us, myself and my daughter for the 10day tour. Each time they would put me on hold for extended period of time. Our troop leader gave me another contact number, as soon as I told her, I like to cancel she forwarded me to a different phone, I was put on hold again. I do not have unlimited time. I e-mailed them on February 2nd and tried to cancel the trip. I did not receive any response. In March finally I got to speak to a person, I told them we cannot make the trip in July 2014 and I would like to receive a refund. We paid $1480 as a down payment for two of us. The brochure does not indicate that they would deduct any other fees from the down payment. In additional they kept sending me e-mails indicating I have to pay them more money. None of their forms indicate that one must pay all this fees a year prior to tip. I have kept their emails.

Desired Settlement: I really think you need to look at their practices. When I told them I am about to contact you, they told me they have triple rating from you. How can you possibly give an organization triple rating when they mis-represent themselves. I think our troop leader is completely canceling the trip. If you look at the internet, there are a lot of complaints about them. After these things happened I looked them up, a year ago a young boy got killed, the tour still using the same hotel for accommodation.

Business Response: To Whom It May Concern,
I was very disapointed to hear that this was your experience with EF.After further consideration, I will make an exception and fully refund you and your daughter all monies paid, less the $95 non-refundable deposit.This refund will come back to you in the form of a check.Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Best,
******** ******
Director of Customer Relations- EF Denver.

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

3/31/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I purchased 2 spots on a trip through EF Tours. Not my first trip with the firm. I had to cancel the trips. At the time I reserved the spots, I was told that I would lose the cancellation fee and enrollment fee. When I called a year later, the CSR I spoke with confirmed that these were only charges that I would be billed for cancellation. When I eventually cancelled, I was told that there was an additional charge for trip insurance. Because I knew there was a risk of cancellation and that I could get the insurance closer to the trip (not my first EF Tour), I did not sign up for this insurance. When I asked for proof that I signed up for the insurance, I was not given an adequate response. I have since requested 2 times for proof of my sign up with no response from the company. The total charge to me was $290. I feel that this an unethical practice and I am disappointed that a company that I already paid +$20,000 to, is squeezing me for an additional $290.

Business Response: Thank you for contacting EF Educational Tours via the Better Business Bureau. We are currently researching your request and will respond promptly. In the meantime please feel free to contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-665-5364 and ask to speak with ******* ***** or ****** *****.

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

3/4/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Me and my daughter can no longer afford this trip. I did have the insurance if I had to cancel. I canceled the trip send the papers in that I no longer receive any unemployment benefits. The refuse to send me a refund that I didn't qualify for hardship.

Desired Settlement: A refund of the money that was put on our accounts under ******* ***** and ******* *****

Business Response: Thank you for notification of Better Business Bureau complaint. Per our records, Ms. ***** contacted EF Smithsonian Student Travel on November 27, 2012 to cancel herself and her daughter from their tour. Ms. ***** indicated at the time of her cancellation that she was doing so due to financial strain caused by sudden, involuntary, and unforeseen loss of employment. When she indicated this to our representative, we directed her to file an insurance claim and reviewed the claim process with her, indicating that she would need proper documentation proving her loss of employment. In speaking with our insurance company, Ms. *****’s claim was denied, as the documentation provided with her claim did not prove that her cancellation was due to sudden, involuntary, and unforeseen loss of employment. Therefore, in this case, Ms. *****’s cancellation falls under our standard cancellation policy and a refund is not available. As an exception, EF Smithsonian Student Travel will offer to re-cancel her accounts and issue Future Travel Vouchers for the full amount paid less our Travel Coverage premium.  These vouchers are good for any domestic or international tour with our company, or can be sold and transferred to another student traveling on any domestic or international tour.  For more information about this offer, Ms. ***** should contact our Traveler Support Team at 1-888-333-9756.

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

3/3/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I booked a tour thru my daughter school account number: ******* ***** ******** 3/2013 italy trip. from the beggining there was alot of miscommunication between us & the leader and the tour company .. many time there was talk about the tour being cancelled due to low amount of kids. but at the time the tour was on i had a payment agreement then I received notification that the tour was cancelled due to other student pulling out. so when i called the EF they told me my money was non-refundable i understand that about the cancelletion fee but under the terms that was if we cancelled and we did not do that .. the tour had to be cancelled due to other students cancelling if the tour was still active ****** would of attended. so it was something we had no control over and im very upset we had to suffer for it. I also took a small loan to keep the payment aragment because i was under pressur of losing her space so now Im stuck with fee and interested because i dont have it back in full. i also sent a email over a week ago with no respond

Desired Settlement: my money back

Business Response: We have reviewed the claim submitted by **** and have offered to refund her daughter and extended a future travel voucher should her daughter be able to participate in the future. **** has accepted the refund and has told us that she is satisfied with our response.

Thank you,
Customer Relations at EF

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

2/11/2013 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I enrolled in a Spain tour with EF Tours in September 2012. My trip was scheduled for June 12, 2013. I paid $500 on 9/21 & $400 on 10/1/12. I was told last week that in addition to the agreed upon cost, there would be additional costs that weren't discussed prior. There were tip costs that needed to be added for the tour guide, bus driver etc. At the same time, I was made aware of a surgical procedure that my wife would be undergoing this month, which was unexpected and another surgery possibly in March. I did e-mail the company on February 3, 2013, asking what I needed to do to cancel my tour. I also called the company today, February 4th, 2013 and was told I would be getting $160 back of the $900 I paid. I informed my wife and she contacted the company letting them know about her surgeries which I did not feel comfortable disclosing in addition to being at work when I made my phone call. ****, the customer service representative, informed my wife that a claim can be submitted due to the surgery however the $95 enrollment fee and $145 program fee would not be refunded. I am at a loss that a business with such a good reputation through my school district and with the BBB does not refund fees. I did not appreciate the non-disclosure of the additional fees (tip fees) on top of the program cost which could cause financial problems for some of my staff or students and the fact that even with medical issues, the company does not want to refund the money customers pay. As an administrator for my school district, I truly hope to rectify this with the company that my school district has used for many years. I do need to clarify my dispute to include the two reasons for the cancellation: 1. Non-disclosure of additional costs which were required of $90 per person for the bus driver & $30 per person for the tour guide. They do state in their brochure that gratuities are not included in the program costs but a requirement of an additional $120 should be disclosed to tour customers. 2. Unexpected medical/surgical procedures which create a financial hardship.

Desired Settlement: I want to receive a refund of the full amount paid of $900. I will submit information regarding the surgery or surgeries if necessary. In addition, I would like for the company to disclose all costs to every one of its customers including the required gratuities. In addition, the cancellation policy should be reviewed with each customer to assist them in understanding the fees entailed should a cancellation be necessary for whatever reason. Also, in the case of medical or other emergencies, a full refund should be issued to customers.

Business Response: To Whom It May Concern,
Thank you for contacting us about your concern.After further review, we have agreed to fully refund the money you have paid to EF. This is not something that we normally do, but are willing to make an exception given the circumstances.The refund will come back in the form of a check from EF.Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Very best,
******** ******
Director of Customer Relations- EF Denver

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.

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

BBB Comments: The consumer indicated to BBB that the complaint was resolved.

1/22/2013 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: From: CO Attorney General (mailto:ColoConsumerComplaints@state.co.us) Sent: Monday, January 14, 2013 10:02 AM To: Better Business Bureau Info Subject: EF Educational Tours State of Colorado Department Of Law Office of the Attorney General RE: EF Educational Tours Dear Better Business Bureau, The enclosed consumer complaint was filed with our office. While the matter remains in our active files and under consideration, we believe your agency may be able to further assist the complainant. We appreciate your review of the material and any assistance you may provide. Please feel free to contact our office with additional questions or concerns. Sincerely, FOR THE ATTORNEY GENERAL Consumer Specialist Consumer Protection Section (303) 866-5125 (800) 222-4444 NATURE OF DISPUTE: SubmissionID: ***** SubmissionDate: 2013-01-11 10:02:55 YourName: *** *******, ** YourAddress: *** ** ****** **** Circle City: ****** State: Colorado Zip: ***** HomePhone: ************ Email: ************@gmail.com Over**: No NameOfTheCompany: EF Educational Tours CompanyAddress: 1755 Blake St. Suite 300 BusinessCity: Denver BusinessZip: Colorado BusinessZip: 80202 BusinessPhone: 877-247-3875 Website: www.eftours.com BusinessEmail: ****************@ef.com YourComplaint: The main reason for this complaint centers around the refusal to refund my $95 reservation fee for a trip for my daughter that is not scheduled to leave until June, 2013. They should be required to show their cancellation policy to anybody who is pressured into making a commitment too far in advance (as I was in December) besides the fact that it is unreasonable because they have done nothing to deserve it. I have attached it after getting it from a customer service representative after a second request. Their website has no way to contact them via email before submitting information, has dismal customer service where there is an unacceptable wait for service, has what I consider to be unacceptable and deceptive means to harass parents (emails and so forth) into forcing them into payment plans with no means for selection or discussion. Perhaps more importantly, I was informed that cancellation of this trip is ONLY handled over the phone, which is contrary to good business principles and again reflects a deceptive approach to their product line. If they have the ability to take my fee, then they had better have a mechanism in place so that transactions can be handled in writing, which they do not. Specifically, I was told the following (copied from an email) without ever having seen a cancellation policy: "In order to officially cancel an account you will need to call Customer Service at 1 800 665 5364. We can only accept cancellations over the phone." I shudder to think what might have happened if I had sent more money in before finding out that I needed to cancel. In effect, this trip has not YET been booked. This is a short range and incompletely thought out policy, relying on the fact that most parents would not bother to complain about something so trivial, but it is the principle that drives me; the principle of deceptive business practices. Discussed TheComplaint: 0 PersonSpokenTo: **************** WhenSpokenTo: January 11, 2013 ProductOrService: Germany trip DatePurchased: December, 2012 Order Contract Account Or Policy: Reservation fee of $95 Was The Product Or Service Advertised: Yes Where Advertised: Via the local school teacher RepresentationsMade: I was not informed about the cancellation policy and refusal to refund my initial reservation fee of $95 before paying it. I was also informed that cancellation of this trip is ONLY handled over the phone, which is contrary to good business practice as well as the need to put everything in writing. They did that with their cancellation policy and deny it to customers? What are they hiding? WhenRepresented: Over the last se

Desired Settlement: EXPLANATION: DESIRED RESOLUTION: Return of my fee and removal from their mailing list, as well as a formal investigation into these deceptive practices and the "verbal only" method of doing business. By submitting this complaint electronically, I hereby certify I am the above listed individual and authorize the above listed business and/or its agents to discuss the details of my complaint with representatives of the Colorado Attorney General's Office. I verify I have read the preceding inf

Business Response: To Mr *** *******,
I was disapointed that your daughter ***** ******* will no be participating in the EF tour that she signed up for.  Every person who registers for a tour is subject to a $95 registration fee. This fee is non-refundable. EF's terms and conditions are listed on our website and available in our brochure and paper applications.

Each participant under age 18 must have these terms and conditions signed by a parent or guardian.  As a goodwill gesture, I will refund the $95. This will come back in the form of a check, made out in ***** *******.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

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

Consumer Response: I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does satisfy my issue about refunding the registration fee.  I appreciate this specific response and as such will not eliminate their business from possible future trips; complaint.

What initially upset me was the inability to access customer service on a timely basis.  I would also suggest to this business that they consider changing their policy that cancellations can ONLY be carried out over the phone, because this leaves no written record.  When a business accepts a customer's money, a legal/contractual event occurs, and if no scheduling or other possibly irreversible events (that is, without penalty) have yet occurred, the customer should have the right to no only have the initial fee refunded, but be able to document any issues from their perspective (using email) and not simply be at the mercy of a disclaimer that informs them that their fee is nonrefundable and they are otherwise out of luck.    

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

BBB Comments: The consumer indicated to BBB that the complaint was resolved.

12/27/2012 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I have an agreement with the company to withdraw 550/month from my account to pay for a trip my daughter is taking in the spring, for a total of 4 payments of 550 to be withdrawn in November, December, January and February. The company withdrew the correct amount in November of 550, but this December they withdrew 657. The total cost of the trip has not changed. I tried to call but get music on hold for over 10 minutes with no reply, I was given a name an phone number from the trip's organizer but that person, at 617-619-1129 does not answer the phone when I call, I get a voice mail, I tried to email the company and get an automated reply that "Due to a recent change in your total account balance, your scheduled payment amount has been updated."---but there has been no change to my total account balance, it is exactly the same, that is a lie. I want them to take out the contract amount and no more for the agreed upon period of time and no longer. It's just scary that a company can randomly decide to withdraw more money that they told you they would from your checking account and then acts like they did nothing wrong and there is no way to talk to a live person and have them correct this. It seems illegal at worst, unethical at best.

Desired Settlement: I would like the excess amount withdrawn from my account this month, $107, returned to me. I would like the agreed upon amount, 550, to be withdrawn from my account for the remainder of the payments.

Business Response: Dear *******,
Thank you for contacting EF Educational Tours via the Better Business Bureau. We apologize for any confusion to the change of your monthly payments and I understand that the difference of $107 as you requested has been refunded to you.  If you have any additional questions or concerns please call us at 1-800-665-5364.

Best regards,
Customer Relations at EF

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.

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

BBB Comments: The consumer indicated to BBB that the complaint was resolved.

12/7/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: My daughters school is going to Spain next year and she wanted to attend. At the parent meeting we were informed we had to pay a $95 non refundable deposit to hold the spot. I paid the company $225.00 on March 21, 2012. Her biological father will not sigh for her to go out of the country. I informed the company and they will not refund the remaining balance of $130.00. THe only concern they had was keeping her in attendance. It's like they wanted me to break the law.

Desired Settlement: I would like the company to pay me the $130.00 as to it not being my fault why she can't attend the trip. Its by law her biological father will not give consent. On their website it says a non refundable $95.00 not all the money put into the trip. I processed teh cancellation within the 30 days of me paying the $225.00.

Business Response: This is a duplicate entry to Complaint # ******* which was also filed by ****** ****.

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.


BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

BBB Comments: The consumer indicated to BBB that the complaint was resolved.

12/7/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: My daughters school is going to Spain next year and she wanted to attend. At the parent meeting we were informed we had to pay a $95 non refundable deposit to hold the spot. I paid the company $225.00 on March 21, 2012. Her biological father will not sigh for her to go out of the country. I informed the company and they will not refund the remaining balance of $130.00. THe only concern they had was keeping her in attendance. It's like they wanted me to break the law.

Desired Settlement: I would like the company to pay me the $130.00 as to it not being my fault why she can't attend the trip. Its by law her biological father will not give consent. On their website it says a non refundable $95.00 not all the money put into the trip. I processed teh cancellation within the 30 days of me paying the $225.00.

Business Response: Dear ******,
Thank you for contacting the Better Business Bureau regarding your daughter's cancellation from her EF Educational Tour. We are sorry that she won't be able to participate in the upcoming trip and given the circumstances we have decided to make an exception and refund you the balance of $130.00 on her account. We have processed your refund request and you will receive a check within 4-6 weeks.

Thank you,
******* ********
Director of Customer Relations

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.


BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

BBB Comments: The consumer indicated to BBB that the complaint was resolved.

12/5/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I spent $900 on a school trip for my son to Costa Rica with this company. Purchasing was done in monthly installments beginning 18 months before the trip. I also bought the insurance to cover any issues. An unforeseen business trip to Europe came up for me at the same time as the trip. I called the company to cancel since our trips overlapped and I can't be in Europe while he's in Costa Rica. The logistics didn't work. Now even though I had insurance and cancelled in Aug for a trip that was still eleven months away, they refused to refund the trip. Out of the $900 I had paid I only received $400 back. They charged a $300 cancellation fee (outrageous) and when I requested to speak to a supervisor, I was repeatedly told no. Very dismissive customer service. Oh, and when I found someone who would take over my son's spot on the trip, they refused to let them takeover the money I had already paid in. Essentially, I feel that they stole $500 from me. I am really confounded as to why I paid $200 in insurance that did nothing for me. Disgusted. I can not see why they felt the need to charge a $300 cancellation fee for a trip that was still a year out. Ridiculous. I can see the non-refundable insurance/registration charges but I want my $300 back.

Desired Settlement: An apology for really lousy customer service would be welcome, too. Apparently, their supervisor was in meetings for three days straight. Inexcusable.

Business Response:

Thank you for your email.

EF has very clear policies regarding cancellation fees which are outlined online, in our brochures and in our booking conditions which all participants and their parent or guardian must sign before we accept the application.  Our standard cancellation policy at 150 days or more prior to departure is $300, plus any non-refundable fees.

******** *** agreed to these terms on her son's application form.  EF offers an optional insurance plans. The tour cancellation portion covers the participant if they cancel due to serious illness or injury. Some other things that are covered are financial hardship due to invountary job loss, jury duty, military call to active duty or severe damage to the travelers home. A parent having to travel for work is something that is not covered in this policy.

******** *** purchased this policy for her son's trip.  Parents and participants are encouraged to contact EF's customer service department with any questions or concerns. At any point if they would like to speak with a manager, we have managers on staff to speak with customers. Should a manager not be available, the representative will take down a phone number and have a manager call them back.

EF tours values its relationships with schools across the country, it is our mission to break down barriers of language, culture and geography. We want to give every student the opportunity to travel abroad.  As such, we will make an exception in this case and refund the cancellation fee to this parent.  The refund will come back in the form of a check, in the name of the account holder.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Best,
******** ******
Director of Customer Relations
EF Education- Denver CO

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 am so pleased that they have reconsidered their position.  It is making me feel quite positive about them again.  Thank you so much.


BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

BBB Comments: The consumer indicated to BBB that the complaint was resolved.

10/11/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: In December 2011, our daughter, ****** *. ****, was enrolled in a beginning Spanish class at Troy Buchanan High School. At the time, she was 16 years old and legally considered a minor child in the state of Missouri. In this timeframe, her teacher informed his classes of a trip to Spain which was offered through EF Educational Tours, a member of your Bureau. She subsequently unilaterally enrolled for that trip and began electronically withdrawing funds and transferring them from her checking account to pay for the trip. This money was hers which she earned by working as a carhop part time. At no time, however, did we, her parents, provide written consent or enter into any kind of contract with EF Educational Tours as required by Missouri State statute. On July 11, 2012, ***** ****, ******’s father, contacted a ******** ******* at EF Educational Tours office which is located in Denver, CO. She identified herself as a supervisor for the company. During that conversation, I advised Ms. ******* that my daughter would not be taking the Spain trip and I requested a full refund of ******’s money. This amounted to $1070.00. She responded that there would be a cancellation penalty in the amount of $540.00 -- over half of the amount my daughter had paid. I advised her that neither my wife nor I had entered into a contract with EF Tours as required in the State of Missouri, and therefore, any contractual penalty was not binding. In attempt to amicably resolve the issue, I asked Ms. ******* if she had the authority to negotiate regarding the penalty, but she was adamant that the penalty would apply. During our conversation, Ms. ******* acknowledged that all email correspondence to EF Tours had come from my daughter’s email address. I then advised Ms. ******* to return the undisputed portion of my minor child’s money and that we would pursue restitution though other legal means. In closing our conversation, Ms. ******* advised that ****** could be refunded the cancellation fee only if she found another person to take her place on the March 16, 2013, trip. Subsequently, our daughter received a check #****** made payable to her in the amount of $530.00 from EF Tours home office in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She had been penalized over half the amount she had paid despite the fact that the company had been notified of the cancellation 249 days prior to the departure date. In a further attempt to resolve the issue, ******** ****, ******’s mother, called a Mr. ****** ***** at EF Tours Cambridge Office on July 26, 2012. She explained to Mr. ***** that at no time had either parent entered into a contract with EF Tours as required by Missouri law and asked to resolve the issue amicably. After consultation with his managers (according to Mr. *****), he responded that EF Tours was unwilling to otherwise resolve the issue. Via Certified Letter, dated August 27, 2012, we made another attempt to amicably resolve this issue with EF Tours. That letter advised that our position was that EF Tours failed to exercise due diligence by not insuring that we, as ******’s parents, had committed contractually to the terms of EF Tours contract. We also advised that the penalty was clearly excessive in that notice was given so far in advance. That letter also advised that we would consider a reasonable offer of resolution prior to pursuing other legal options available to us. Subsequently, we received an undated letter from Mr. *****, Regional Account Coordinator, EF Tours. In his letter Mr. ***** acknowledged that “participants who enroll on an EF Tour are required to agree to our terms and conditions which ensure that the participant is either 18 years old or the parent/legal guardian are 18 years old.” He then “apologized” if we had not read any of the correspondence confirming our daughter’s enrollment. He did not offer any resolution and perhaps more importantly did not provide any documentation reflecting that either of ******’s parents had entered into a contract. In fact, his letter intimates that simply opening an email initiates a contractual agreement by the parents. Rather than initiating a claim through the Missouri court system or through the Office of the Missouri Attorney General, we have chosen to initiate this complaint through the Better Business Bureau of which EF Tours indicates they are a member. Our positions are as follows: 1. EF Tours failed to ensure that it was in possession of a legally binding contract with the parents of our daughter, ****** ****. It has failed to produce any evidence that such a contract exists. Accordingly, consistent with Missouri Statute, no contract exists and the terms of any alleged contract do not apply in that a minor child in her circumstances cannot enter into a binding contract in the State of Missouri. Both ***** **** and ******** ****, parents and legal guardians, both deny ever having entered into a contract of any kind with EF Tours and EF Tours failed to exercise required due diligence to ensure that such a contract was in place. 2. The Cancellation policy and penalty imposed by EF Tours is unreasonable and unconscionable. The company was notified of cancellation 249 days in advance of the initially scheduled departure date of March 16, 2013, departure date, yet she has been penalized in the amount of $540.00 or more than half of what she paid in. I have failed to identify any comparable penalty in the travel industry. For example, Royal Caribbean permits a 90 day cancellation without any penalty. This penalty represents a windfall for EF Tours. In fact, our minor daughter was initially misled to believe that only the $95.00 “enrollment fee” was non-refundable. 3. EF Tours has not been completely transparent with its cancellation policy. In fact, our daughter has subsequently provided us with a “Traveler’s Handbook” which again was addressed to her only via bulk mail. Only through close scrutiny in this extensive book does one find a footnoted reference to the company’s cancellation policy. 4. Our daughter has subsequently learned that the EF Tours has changed the departure date for the tour. Accordingly, we are seeking a full refund from EF Tours in the amount of $540.00.

Desired Settlement: We are seeking a full refund for the balance owed of $540.00.

Business Response: To Whom It May Concern,

****** **** registered online for an EF tour on 12/14/2011. She listed her mother's name and provided EF with an electronic signature that both and she and her mother had read our booking conditions and agreed to them.

She provided EF with her mother's email address as a means of communication. She registered and made a $200 deposit and 6 monthly payments of $174.

Both ****** and her mother received communication from EF, indicating her registeration and documents on how to prepare for her upcoming trip.

Her parents contacted EF in July 2012 to cancel the account, the account was cancelled but she is subject to the cancellation fees, as advertised by EF.

A refund check, less the cancellation fees was mailed to ****** on July 13th, 2012.

We believe this was a legitimate registration and subject to cancellation fees.

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

Best,
******** ******
 Director of Customer Relations.
EF Denver

Business Response: Dear Mrs ****,

I have looked into your concerns about your daughter registering for a tour with EF.

Our records indicate that she registered online the box was checked that she had parental approval to attend this tour, which serves as an electronic signature.

Payments were made to EF for many months and documentation was sent to your home that she had registered for a tour.

EF tours was contacted many months after the registration to cancel the account, and your daughter she is subject to our standard cancellation policy, as outlined on our website and in all our printed materials.

Please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.

Very best,

******** ******
Director of Customer Relations
EF Denver

Consumer Response:

Ms. ******:


     Please provide documentation to support your claims. Once again, I wish to assure you that I did not authorize this trip nor did I receive anything in the mail from your company.
 

 

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

9/25/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: In March of 2012, I decided to sign up for a trip with EF Tours to travel to Italy and Greece for ten days. I was thoroughly excited because I have never been to Europe and it has always been a dream of mine. I paid the enrollment fee of $95.00 and the insurance of $145.00. Throughout the monthly payments, I paid $1,075 out of my bank account.

I had to stop paying for the trip because of a family emergency. I am unable to afford the trip any longer so I had to cancel. When I called the customer service of EF Tours, I told them my situation, they told me that I would only be receiving $339.00 in reimbursement. I was completely shocked and stunned when they told me this number because I have already paid $1,079. That's less then half of the payment I paid for!

I told them that I was told by an agent at the beginning of this that if any reason I needed to cancel my trip, I would receive everything but $100.00 or the full amount and now they are saying that I can only receive back $339.0 because there is a $500.00 cancelation fee??

I am filing a complaint so I can receive a little justice and possibly get reimbursed the money I paid for this trip. Plus I paid for the insurance and through research, my family emergency should be covered through that and I should be reimbursed the full amount or at least the maximum amount. I hope that this an be settled and thank you for future help BBB hopefully.

Desired Settlement: My desire outcome of this situation would be either the full amount that I paid for $1,079 or at least the maximum amount that I paid for. Thank you so much and it truly would be greatly appreciated on my behalf and my family.

Business Response: To Whom It May Concern,

Thank you for your inquiry. I looked into this account history further. Our records indicate that **** registered for her EF tour on 01/26/2012. She agreed to EF's terms and conditions at that time, that include our policies on cancellation.

On 05/03/12, **** contacted EF asking to delay her payments until September.
On 08/13/12 **** contacted EF to let us know she was having a difficult time coming up with the funds for her tour.
On 08/20/12 **** contacted EF to cancel her tour and she was quoted the cancellation fees.
On 08/27/12 **** contacted EF to let us know that she was cancelling her tour, due to a family emergency.

**** has the EF insurance plan and was given the information from an EF rep to make a claim for her cancellation fees. Should she wish to do so, she may contact the insurance company to start the claim process.  **** and her parent/guardian signed that they agreed to EF's terms and conditions, which include our cancellation policy, so she is subject to the fees since she has cancelled her account.  Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Best,
******** ******
Director of Customer Relations.
EF Denver

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

9/9/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: While on the 9 day French Promenade tour I left my camera. Within the hour, I talked to the tour Director, who said he called and it was was no use in me going back to the restaurant that ithe camera was gone. Upon returned back to the states, I called EF Tours, and ask will they call they said they did not have anyone to speak spanish and i would have to do that. i paid language land over $50.00 to call another place we had visit. I than was notified
by the spanish teacher from my son's school, who wanted to help and he certainly did. He did locate my camera , at the restaurant the tour director supposely had contacted. However, they needed to confirm who I was. The next obstacle was trying to get it back to me. The Teacher was unable to help me any further. I than call EF Tours again and spoke with a supervisor, who was able to connect with the someone at the restaurant and the camera was going to be mail back. I asked him about forrwarding additional money and what could we do to send it through fedex, ups or some type of tracing for the camera. His response "well they will use what they use to send it and I
will have to see. Now , I really think EF Tours could have handled this situation a lot better. return labels could have been mail to the business, i could have sent the money to secure the mailing. I talked to ef tours so many times.
I guess it really start with poor response of the tour director. The camera had many years of pictures on it of families and friends, which was most important.

Desired Settlement: my camera

Business Response: To Whom It May Concern,

****** **** registered on-line at eftours.com on 12/14/2011 to book a trip to Spain with her school for March 2013.  She registered for our monthly payment plan, and we directly debited money from her checking account. She made 6 monthly payments to EF.  Her mother was listed as an emergecy contact in our records, her mother received an email confirmation of her daughters enrollment on an EF trip to Spain on 12/15/2011.

Her parents contacted EF on 07/10/12 to cancel her account. We advised that she would be subject to EF's standard cancellation policy. Her account has been cancelled by EF, and a refund was sent to her on 07/13 in the amount of $530. This is the full amount of the money paid to EF, less the cancellation fees.

We would love ****** to travel with EF, and would be happy to reinstate her account.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Best,
******** ******
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.

I have no idea who this person is.  the complaint was not about a refund but a camera.  Wrong person

 

Business Response: Dear ****,

We apologize for the incorrect posting to your complaint. We are aware of the difficutly you have had receiving your camera back and are trying hard to work with the restaurant to confirm its shipment. As of yesterday, we talked to them again
and they confirmed that it was sent earlier this month.

We will continue to try and help support you in this matter and we hope that your camera will be returned soon.

Best regards,
EF Customer Service

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

9/9/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: June 22, 2012 my daughter was to depart from Pittsburgh, PA to go on a tour to London with EF tours. Due to weather issues, their flight was delayed and later cancelled leaving them camping out over night in the nearest Holiday Inn. The next day, they departed from Pittsburgh (which would have been day 1 of the tour) and when they finally got to Amsterdam, they were to catch a connecting flight to London and none of them had a confirmed seat on the plane. 4 students got through on that flight leaving the rest of the group stuck in Amsterdam waiting for another flight to London which put them behind 12 more hours. They landed in London at 7:40 in the morning but didn't get to the hotle until after the tour had already left for the day , (which is now day 2 of the tour) leaving them stuck in their room until the rest of the group arrived. Upon arriving home, I contacted EF tours to check about the paper I need to file for a refund since we also purchased the insurance for this tour. I was told the paperwork would be received in the mail. The paperwork was filled out immediately and sent (FAXed) into the company and I heard nothing from them. I finally received a check in the amount of $280.00 on August 27, 2012. When opening my check, I was in shock to see the small amount of money for missing the two days on a $3500 trip. I also sent in the receipts for the room in which my daughter had to spend and the food she bought due to the flight cancellation and was not refunded for that. I immediately called EF tours and told them that they must have made a mistake on the amount that I received because it does not make any sense on that little of a refund plus not being refunded for the expenses out of pocket. Right away they stated that they only refund what EF tours tells them to. So, I called EF tours to complain to them and they stated that the insurance company is the one I needed to speak with. I am being tossed around from one place to another without any satisfaction.

Desired Settlement: Seeing how my daughter missed two days of the tour and I purchased insuance protection for that purpose, I would like a refund of monies that are rightfully mine. Not every child gets to go on a trip like this and not every family has the funds to splurge on an opportunity of a lifetime but I did what I could to make it happen. I am a single mom and it wasn't easy at all doing this for her especially sacrificing what I had to to do it. A refund in a fair amount is what I expect plus the out of pocket expenses is acceptable.

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

Thank you for contacting EF through the BBB to help resolve your refund for your daughter. It is our understanding that you have received a refund directly from the insurance company however in addition EF would like to supplement that refund and provide you with an additional $228.57 on top of what you have already received. This information has been shared with your daughter's teacher and the check was requested on August 24th from our Boston office. You should receive this within 2 weeks.

We hope that despite the challenges your daughter had with her flight getting to London that she was able to have a great experience with her teacher and friends.  Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns.

Best regards,
EF Customer Service

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

8/28/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: My daughter was scheduled to leave Pittsburgh Pa on June 22, 2012 to go on a tour with EF tours to London. Her plane was unable to depart on Friday causing the entire group to stay overnight in Pittsburgh to depart the following day (which would have been day 1 of tour) On saturday they departed and when they finally got to Amsterdam to catch a connecting flight to London, none of them had confirmed seats on the plane. This caused 4 people to go through to London while the others sat in Amsterdam waiting for flight which took about 12 more hours. They landed in London at 7:40 in the morning but didnt get to the hotel until after the tour had departed for the day which caused them to be stuck in their hotel for the day Sunday. (which was to be day 2 of the tour) I called EF tours about obtaining paperwork to submit for a refund for the days of missed tour which took 2 weeks to obtain. I submitted the paperwork on July 10, 2012 for a refund which I was expecting for 2 days of $3600 tour. I called last week to check the process of the refund and was told that it was being processed for $295 (which I still have not received) I was told that if I was unhappy with that amount that I was to call EF Tours and not the insurance company because EF Tours was the one who told the insurance company how much $ to refund. I called them on Tuesday July 31, 2012 and was told I would get a return phone call. Yesterday August 8, 2012 I still had not received a phone call so I called them again. I was told that the insurance company was the one who determined the amount of money that is refunded. I expained that was not what I was told from the insurance company. I also ask what their solution to this was going to be when I called the insurance company back again and was told the same thing and was told that WHEN i receive a refund I have the option to appeal it. As of today August 9, 2012 I still have not recieved the refund and nor do I have a direct answer from their insurance company or them as to when I can expect this to be resolved.

Desired Settlement: Seeing as how my daughter missed 2 days of tour AND i purchased insurance protection for that purpose, I would like a refund of monies that are rightfully owed to me. I want this company to understand that not every family that sends kids on these tours are made of money. My family sacrificed so much to be able to send our daughter on this trip. She missed 2 days of tour and I want an adequate refund for those 2 days and I would like it to be processed sooner than later. They had no delay in taking a 525$ payment every month for 6 months and I dont think that waiting 2 months from the date of tour for a refund that I RIGHTFULLY deserve is acceptable.

Business Response: Thank you for contacting EF through the Better Business Bureau. After reviewing the details of your experience we are happy to share that we will be extending an additional $228.57 refund. This will be in addition to the monies you received directly from the insurance company. This adjustment has been made to your daughters account and a check will be sent to you. Please contact us at 800-665-5634 if you have any additional questions or concerns.

Thank you,
EF Customer Relations

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.

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

BBB Comments: The consumer indicated to BBB that the complaint was resolved.

7/31/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: My Granddaughter wanted to book a trip with EFTours and she needed $95.00. I agree to give her the money and proceeded to contact EFTours. While the representative was discussing what I agreed to and understanding of port taxes, etc. I asked what was the cancellation policy. She indicated that I was entitled to my initial deposit back if I did not proceed any further, and as the date of the trip came closer the rate of the refund if I decided to proceed with be pro-rated. I received two emails from EFTours, one is listed below the other is the agreement. Upon reading the agreement it was not fiscally feasible to agree with the contract and the penalty was to harsh. We decided not to continue with plans for the trip. On July 23, 2012, while discussing my dilemma and dissatification, I was told that if I found someone to take her place that they would refund my initial deposit. I asked if they were crazy and how did it become my responsibility to secure business for them. I requested that the recording be pulled to listen to the recording where I discussed with their representative the cancellation polidy. Mr. ****** informed me that there wasn't a way that I could listen to the recording and was told it didn't matter what the recording said - that the $95.00 was non-refundable. I Email received from EF Tours ********** EF Tours application is not complete because you have not agreed to EF's "Release and Agreement" and "Booking Conditions." In order to secure your child's spot on ****** *******'s tour, simply log in to your personal account and you will immediately be prompted to read and agree to the conditions. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service Department at ###-###-####. We appreciate your timely attention to this matter. Sincerely, Customer Service Department EF Educational Tours

Desired Settlement: to receive a refund

Business Response:

Thank you for sharing your concern regarding your grand daughters enrollment on one of our tours. Could you please provide us with her name or account information and we would be happy to look into this for 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. The additional information that you requested is
******** ***** account #********, sales tour ID #*******, departure date june 26, 2013 - eight day tour. Group:  ********* *******

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

BBB Comments: The consumer indicated to BBB that the complaint was resolved.

7/24/2012 Guarantee/Warranty Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: To Whom It May Concern:
My name is ***** ******. I was supposed to be on a trip to Italy and Greece with EF Tours and my Latin teacher from June 14 to June 26 2012. However, I was not allowed to go. At the time of departure on Thursday June 14, the airlines told me I could not travel because I did not have a visa. I am a ********** national with permanent residency status in the United States. On two separate occasions, my mother had called the airline to ask what travel documents I would need to travel to Italy and Greece. She was told I only needed a passport and a permanent residence card. However, just prior to departure, ***** informed me that I needed a visa. Without my parents at the airport, I listened to the directions of my teacher and the EF Representatives who were there to send us off. They gave me the numbers of the two consulates I needed to call and instructed me to get an expedited visa within the next few days so I could straightened things and then catch up with the rest of the group. The EF representatives told me that to call the consulates and to drive to Chicago, just a few hours away from where I live, get a visa, and on Friday, June 15th, EF would re-book a flight for Saturday June 16. The EF Representatives even told me to ask for a “********” visa. So, my group departed without me and the EF representatives went on their way back to Boston telling me to keep in touch with EF. Then, I was left at the airport with two other parents, who I didn’t know very well. Months earlier, my parents called EF to ask what documents I would need for
the trip because of my ********** citizenship. EF told us to contact the “consulates” and even “Homeland Security” rather than direct us to a trusted website that could have helped. Despite their inquiries my parents were told by the airlines that I only needed to show my ********** passport and my permanent residence card; both were up to date and we were assured this was adequate. Neither the airlines nor EF could direct us to any sources, despite their daily work with international travel. I had been enrolled on this trip for a year and had paid for EF “All Inclusive Insurance Plan”, and EF never told me anything about a visa. Neither EF nor my teacher double checked my documents. If the EF representatives had told me I needed this “********” visa, on the day of departure, why didn’t they inform me of this previously when we inquired? By the time I could call the consulates on Thursday, June 14, it was already late in the day and the consulates were closing; I was unable to get usable information from the consulates until Friday, June 15. I spent all of Thursday and the next few days, day and night, calling anybody that could help me and kept EF Tours customer service in the loop. EF customer service told me that the only way they could help me was in the re-booking of the flights so I could meet my group once I had
the visa. According to the consulates, getting a visa was not as easy as the EF people made it seem. The consulates said that they did not do “expedited” visas and the processing time for the visa had a variable timeframe. I was told that there was a possibility that I could receive the visa in a few days, but that it usually takes one to three weeks. I told this to EF customer service. On Friday, June 15, EF cancelled my account without informing my parents or me. It was my understanding from speaking to the consulates and from the consulates’ website that the pre-requisite to get visa required me to appear before them, in person, with the accurate flights, hotels, and itinerary information. Thus, with the account cancelled, EF customer service told me not to go to the offices of the consulates the following Monday, which was the day I had planned to go to the consulates. By Friday June 15, I already had many sympathetic people who were calling on my behalf to EF Tours, consulates, and others who could possibly help. By Monday, June 18, EF tours offered a cancellation refund which they said was an “exception” as if I cancelled 30 days prior to the departure. My parents paid a total of $3851. EF offered a refund of $2071. EF said that they could not return the remaining $1780 (which was the Enrollment fee of $95, the All-Inclusive Insurance Plan of $145 [which was to be a ‘protection’ in emergencies], and half of the program fee of $1540). Quite after the fact of being told I could still make the trip, I found the ‘insurance’ coverage document, two pages
in length, which disallowed most emergency situations. EF Customer Service told me they rarely offered any “cancellation exception”. The fourteen students who were on the tour have since come home. I needed to speak with our school superintendent, the teacher, and the numerous other persons who prompted me to go to our local newspaper which has national publications. After four plus weeks and phone calls by the reporter, and our local
house representative, I have finally been told that I will receive a full refund, but that it will take one to two weeks.

Desired Settlement: EF should also provide more and better support to their young travelers throughout the course of the time the travelers have enrolled for their tours. This problem wouldn’t have happened in the first place if I had more support. The system of communication with the teachers leading the tour and EF should be more efficient as to not leave any student behind. EF should be more clear and precise especially before the trip since they are dealing with young inexperienced travelers and their parents.

Business Response: Dear *****,

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with the Better Business Bureau and EF. We were saddened to hear that you were not able to travel and have provided you with a full refund. It is our hope that you will be able to travel in the future. As you suggested, we will continue to evaluate our policies, and procedures so that all students feel supported when traveling with EF.

Thank you,
Customer Relations at EF

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 just want to receive the reimbursement without delay as soon as possible so my parents can use it for our expenses.



BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

7/12/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: My husband & I were invited by the tour leader to join his trip to Italy for July 2011. We each paid the full price, which was considerably higher than the original quote from the leader/recruiter. Primarily, the tour leader recruited his own high school students, and stated his students were “great and well-behaved.” Unfortunately, the trip leaders' actions were not at all in keeping with EF's stated safety policies and procedures, a point the EF Company president acknowledges and has brought to the attention of the tour leader. However he does not wish to adequately compensate us. Numerous students, in a group of nearly 100 people, were repeatedly intoxicated and without curfew. They lacked direction, to state it mildly, making for consistently/nightly noisy hotel accommodations until dawn. It was nearly impossible to rest at night. On the bus, we did catch up on some sleep, missing some countryside views; however even the bus was not a haven, as a girl with a hangover vomited on our bus. When outside the bus and actually visiting sites, students rudely ignored chaperones and guides. The chaperones were told by the high school teacher/recruiter to “lay off the kids” & not correct them. It cannot be over-stated, nor is it difficult to imagine, how rudeness of many inebriated students tarnished our trip. This is the main complaint; however other inconsistencies and inadequacies prevailed. My husband & I tried to resolve problems numerous times. For instance during the trip itself, we asked for rooms with a more quiet location, stating the obvious problems when teens are not under any recognizable curfew or alcohol restrictions. When an employee from EF joined a portion of our trip—during the Assisi venue, he remarked that when he leads trips with a similar age group, he allows no alcohol. I wish he had stepped in and counseled our leadership—or his leader back in Boston—demanding a change in the demeanor of the people in leadership roles on my trip. It was not apparent that any significant or lasting consideration was given to our request. The last night of the trip did not differ from other evenings, as students returned to the hotel roaring drunk and at least some had to be thrown into cold showers, as told to me by a chaperone. After returning to the USA, we tried to rectify a few problems with the tour leader, who emailed he would take care of our requests, but never followed through. He eventually would tell us to contact EF’s customer service. We tried that, too, but they presented themselves as ill-informed, not knowledgeable, or perhaps reluctant. Eventually I sought the attention of the company president. He did not seem concerned about some of the problems, but he did let on that the company does not tolerate the kind of drunkenness we had been subjected to—on this—our first trip to Italy. After many hours on the phone, telling him details he seemed not
to know about his company, the company president then sent me a hand-written letter, a $200 gift card to “enjoy a concert, “ two-$200 travel vouchers to be used in another division of the EF company, and details of our accounts—as we had questioned certain charges. The gift cards represented a prize we had actually won! So in that sense, they were not a “gift” or an extra. When the EF gentleman visited our group while in Italy, he—along with our tour leader—announced a photography contest. We were told the prize would be tickets to the concert of our choice—and to “dream big!” Immediately I thought of great seats/ tickets to an Andrea Bocelli concert—which would be worth several hundred dollars apiece. I was eager to try for this prize, so my husband & I entered two Power Point presentations that included pictures which we had taken on the trip—of lunch excursions we had taken on our own. I eventually realized we were the only people to enter the contest, so we had won by default, if nothing else. It took many hours of communication with EF to be granted this “prize.” The leader had said the sky was the limit, so while $200 is nice, it would not really cover the special tickets I would have liked. Even so, I was willing to accept the certificates as a compromise. The two-$200 travel vouchers to be used in another division of the EF Company are also a step in the direction of acknowledging the trip was grievously flawed. The problem is that after doing an internet search, we realized for all intents & purposes, we could duplicate the trip without $200 vouchers. It would seem EF could and should grant us a much more meaningful offer. Receiving copies of invoices and details of our own accounts does not seem like an extraordinary gesture. After all, it is our money! However in reviewing these, one does have visible proof about certain aspects of the trip. For instance, a side-trip to Pisa, which we had looked forward to, was cancelled in April of 2011; yet we were only told about the cancellation just hours beforehand in mid-July. The company president has written the following: “I appreciate the fact that you felt your trip was compromised by the group you chose to travel with.” The problem is—my husband & I chose to travel with an EF tour! We saw the brochures—which do not tell the whole story. The actual experience was tarnished by the reluctance of the leadership to follow the guidelines that are meant to provide safety and security abroad. We feel there was a breach of contract between EF and ourselves, as people representing EF, and being compensated by EF did not follow the stated safety policies and guidelines. The following is a partial list of infractions: 1- EF personnel were not always staying in our designated hotels. 2- Expectations for “good behavior” were not set, or were ignored. 3-The group was not supervised at all times—the reality is that supervision was sloppy at best each day! 4-The leaders were not proactive in terms of safety. 5-The tour leader himself, as well as his many guests, were often late. He was not forthright. 6- Common sense did not prevail 7—While consumption of hard liquor is strictly forbidden, EF employees, as well as students routinely partied with alcohol well into the night. It was far from the “occasional glass of beer or wine . . . .” My husband & I think of our experience in two ways. Since we wished to have good memories of a long-awaited trip—we sought positive experiences such as some wonderful lunches at our own expense—and we took part in tours of the beautiful sites to enjoy. But sadly it
is also true that if EF representatives had followed procedures & guidelines, the over-all experience would have and should have been more pleasant. Rather than gracious, approachable, and welcoming, the EF trip was careless, antagonistic, and full of hidden details.

Desired Settlement: I am willing to return the $400 vouchers for future travel with an EF company. EF has stated my husband & I each paid $3713 for a total of $7426. This does not include various tips & fees we were asked to submit. I am requesting EF refund us $998 each as a check. This would total $1996. This amount is similar to what we were each charged for an "Adult Supplement" plus the charge we both paid for "Departure Fees." It represents approximately 27 per cent of what EF collected from us over a period of 15 months prior to the trip. Thank you!

Business Response: EF Educational Tours is a student travel organization which allows educators to enrich their classroom through international travel. Our escorted tours, known as the Global Classroom, help student groups to "learn it by living it" when they experience firsthand the very best historic, cultural and natural sights in the world. Every EF tour includes flights, ground transportation, comfortable hotel accommodations, most meals, and the guidance and support of a full-time tour director.
EF is the only international educational tour program to be granted accreditation, allowing us to grant credits to teachers and students for participating in our tours.

******* **** and her husband ******* signed up to travel with EF Educational Tours knowing that it was being led by a high school teacher and that the majority of the travelers would be students. They were charged an adult supplement as
we do with all of the adults who travel with us since our programs are intended for students who are under the age of 20. The ****'s made the personal choice to sign up for a student tour with a teacher that they chose.

During this trip the teacher offered a prize to his students who participated in an online journal that was to include documentation of the areas they were visiting. The best submission was to receive concert tickets. Since this was an offer made by the teacher and not by EF Educational Tours we were not inclined to provide any award. This contest was also for the students however the ****'s interpreted that it was for everyone in the group. When they were told they would not be receiving the tickets from EF they became very upset. As a gesture of good will the President of EF offered a $200 gift card and 2 - $200 travel vouchers to be used with Go Ahead Vacations - our adult travel provider.

They also asked for a detailed breakdown of all the charges they had on their account as well as the payments we have received, which we have provided to them. They have been in communication with the President 3 times and he has personally taken their concerns and feedback and tried to work together. When they first brought their concerns forward they asked for the prize of the concert tickets and a breakdown in fees and a refund for an optional excursion to Pisa that they were not enrolled on. While they did not win any contest from EF we have still offered them a gift card and future travel vouchers. When they did not get what they requested originally they are now asking for financial compensation that
we are not prepared to give.

We pride ourselves on producing and running top quality tours that are well received by 96% of our customers which are teachers and their students. We are sorry that the ****'s did not have a great experience on their tour however it was
their choice to sign up to travel with a teacher and his students and not ours. Based on this we will not be providing the financial refund that they are currently requesting.

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.

The EF response dodged the main issue of the breach of contract, when their representatives flaunted the negation and disregard of EF’s own common sense/safety policies. The response was condescending and feeble. Customers have the right to expect commitment on the part of the company and their agents and representatives to be truthful and forthright and at minimum to abide by company policies. When accepting our enrollment and good faith payments prior to the trip, EF was entering into a contract with us. We made our commitment by “signing up” and paying for a specific tour. We did our part—and more —which includes helping our groups’ stranded teens in the Frankfort airport!

Parts of the EF reply were blatantly false and misleading.

Our main complaint is that the tour leaders did not follow EF policies—which led to unsafe and unsavory behavior on the part of many participants—which in turn compromised our experience. Amazingly this was not addressed in the EF reply.

To reiterate, the students were often intoxicated—and the employees were drinking, while the EF policy for their employees and students on their tours clearly states, alcohol is strictly forbidden.  This was not an “occasional glass of beer or wine . . . .,” but rather a nightly ritual of drinking resulting in loud disturbances in the hotel from night until almost dawn.This is not a hidden fact, as it was witnessed by everyone, and even celebrated by the high school teacher in a reward/farewell ceremony which we all attended. (We were driven to the middle of a park at dusk—there was nowhere else to [safely] retreat.)

To EF’s credit, when the company president learned of the drinking and intoxicated teens, he told me he investigated the facts and summarily got in touch with the high school teacher making it clear to the teacher, he must not continue to allow the minors alcoholic consumption on future trips.

I am seeking compensation for the damage caused by this blatant disregard & indifference to EF’s rules by EF representatives—which perpetuated in a continued ruckus. What is the compensation for 2 weeks of erratic sleep due to the teacher/leader/recruiter ignoring & not fulfilling his leadership or chaperone duties? What is the compensation for trip participants, when group members act disrespectfully to one another and to their guides? What is the restitution for travelers, when an inebriated participant vomits on her bus? Tough questions—but one thing is certain. Compensation is in order. Some might say a full refund—or more-- would not be out of the question. Instead, I am requesting $1996 ($998 for my husband and $998 for me) which is approximately 27 percent of fees collected from us by EF. Further, I would return the $400 in vouchers the EF president sent to us. This seems reasonable and not at all excessive.

I respectfully submit whoever is writing the EF response should carefully look at EF’s safety policies, which are available on line. I have also provided some direct quotes from the EF guide for easy reference. The
quotes reflect rules that were ignored by the leadership.

Some advice for EF would include thoroughly checking facts. Moreover, EF representatives on the tours should adhere to company policies. It’s just that simple.

There was a breach of contract between EF and us. People representing EF, and being compensated by EF did not follow the stated safety policies and guidelines. The following is a partial list of 7 infractions—which are in direct violation of EF’s written guidelines—which are readily available on line:

1-EF personnel were not always staying in our designated hotels—EF clearly states “Your 24-hour EF Tour Director stays with your group around the clock on tour . . . .” This was not the case!!!
2- EF states--Expectations for “good behavior” would be set— they were not set or if set, they were largely ignored.
3-EF promises the group would be supervised at all times—the reality is that supervision was sloppy at best!
4-EF states the leaders would be proactive in terms of safety—this was not the case.
5-EF stresses the importance of being on time. The tour leader himself, as well as his many guests, was often late and/or unorganized/uninformed.
6-Common sense did not prevail, although EF states that nothing can replace old-fashioned common sense.
7—While consumption of hard liquor is strictly forbidden, EF employees, as well as students routinely partied with alcohol well into the night. It was far from the “occasional glass of beer or wine . . . .”
  
The following are quotations from EF’s Safety and Travel Guide:
Through the years, we’ve found that teachers know best how to care for their students while abroad. That’s why your child’s group leader is the point person for your child’s safety and traveler conduct.  The group leader is responsible for the following:

Setting expectations for good behavior. Before departure, your child’s groupleader will set clear expectations for behavior on tour, including curfew, rules about alcohol consumption, etc. It is also the group leader’s decision to take disciplinary action should there be any infractions of the rules

Supervision of the group at all times. EF mandates that your child’s group leader accompany the group during all scheduled EF activities, including meals and sightseeing excursions, while on tour

We advise our travelers to:
Be proactive in terms of personal safety. Nothing can replace old-fashioned common sense when it comes to being safe while traveling. Advise your child to leave the expensive-looking clothes and jewelry at home, to always travel in a group and to be aware of his or her surroundings at all times.

Be on time. For group travel to go smoothly, each member of the group must be punctual and demonstrate respect to the tour director and each other.

Based on our decades of student travel experience, EF has developed the following rules and policies to ensure that your child is safe and secure throughout the tour.

Upon arrival, the tour director will review safety precautions specific to your child’s tour. However, it’s critical that your child understands these rules in advance and behaves accordingly while abroad. With cooperation and considerate behavior from each and every traveler, your child’s tour is sure to be a safe and memorable one.
 
EF’s safety policies
Alcohol: Consumption of hard liquor is strictly forbidden on all EF tours. However, your child’s group leader might allow travelers who meet the destination countries’ legal drinking age to consume an occasional glass of wine or beer. If the group leader allows this, he or she may ask you to sign an alcohol consent form provided by EF. If you do not want your child to drink on tour, please specify this with the group leader. Please note that excessive drinking by anyone in the tour group will result in disciplinary action, including dismissal from the tour at the traveler’s expense.
 
The consumption of hard liquor is strictly forbidden. You may sign a consent form at the group leader’s discretion, giving your child permission to consume the occasional glass of wine or beer under the
supervision of the group leader in countries where your child is of legal drinking age.
  
The EF response did not address the main issues at all and was incorrect regarding side-issues. It is notable their statements are incorrect.  Since the tone of the EF reply seems condescending and feeble, I will restate that the teacher who represented EF and who was compensated by EF clearly stated there were two contests—one for the students and one for adults. We did not misinterpret the teacher’s promised program. For each contest or group, he stressed the offered prize of a pair of concert tickets to the concert of each winner’s choice. He said to “dream big!” We were never told by EF or anyone we would not
receive tickets, and stating we were upset by that is false. I believed the teacher, and was merely trying to find someone to award the prize. It never occurred to me it was a fabrication. The contest was originally introduced by an EF employee from Boston who visited our tour. The teacher indicated it was that person who was offering these prizes—which is in conflict with the EF response.  When the teacher said this, I believed him. Maybe the EF response is an additional revelation. If the EF response is correct, than this is yet another example of the deception of the high school teacher/leader, who is someone in
EF’s employ. Perhaps a “loose cannon” situation exists, whereby the high school teacher says whatever is convenient, and is lets the “chips fall where they may.” This trip took place nearly 9 months ago, and we are still sorting out details and deceptions. Interestingly enough, the high school teacher/leader is still recruiting for EF trips, so one can assume the company is prepared to pick up the pieces—as they must to do!

Over time it regrettably became obvious to me that the person I thought I knew at least slightly—the teacher who recruited us to join his trip—was not behaving at all like the person I had become acquainted with on another European tour.  A few years earlier, that teacher/recruiter and I were participants in in group comprised of about 24 people. On that initial trip he referred to himself as a “scholar.” He seemed
to appreciate and enjoy educational travel and it was clear he had “done his homework,” as in at least some instances he shared his knowledge. He seemed to enjoy the centrally-located hotels and the many tasty meals on that first (non-EF) trip. More importantly—we had the benefit of an excellent role model—which I knew he admired and whom I mistakenly expected he would wish to emulate. That role model was above-board, detail conscious—always coming up with extras and wonderful adventures, such as dinner cruises, concerts in castles and the like. She did not put herself first, but rather was interested in each
individual—and the group dynamics. Oh, how I wish he had taken her superb example to heart!

It seems unimaginable that the “Scholar”—when with his very own students—would instead misuse his position of leadership. He encouraged excessive drinking, against company policy and advice of other adults on the trip. He readily admitted that facts about the places and cities on the tour were a surprise to him—as he was ill-informed. He pretended EF had cancelled our side-trip to Pisa at the last minute, when in actuality, and according to the EF president, the teacher—himself had cancelled Pisa months before, but had not informed his customers! The EF “rebuttable” states we had not signed up for the trip—another falsehood. We had enrolled in that trip about a year in advance—for which I have the written proof. As noted, we did request a detailed breakdown of costs, as it became apparent that customer service reps could not answer rather simple questions regarding our account.

The teacher/recruiter even had the nerve to collect more money to see “Rome at night.” Everyone did not pay, yet nevertheless, everyone had to be included—as the hotel was not at all in the vicinity.  When this teacher initially told us about the trip, he quoted a price nearly $1000 less than the actual cost. He had stated his students were “great” and “well-behaved.” And he said he would not lead such a trip unless that were the case. But even “good kids” need boundaries. These students seemed to have no curfew or times to check in with chaperones. And many took advantage of this “runaway train (wreck)!”

Although he never stated, nor did I ask, the number of customers for the trip, I envisioned, at most, one tour bus. Instead there were two full buses—approximately 100 people in total. There were not many chaperones for this sizable group. And in any case, the chaperones were told to be easy on the students by this teacher/recruiter, so there was a “perfect storm” brewing.

I applaud EF for their 96 percent favorable record. It is very time-consuming to submit information and I would rather not be in the 4 percent group of dissatisfied customers. We chose EF because we thought we were traveling with a reputable company and with a trustworthy person who vouched for his students. Instead, he was careless and irresponsible—which set the tone for the group. The leader  represented EF for our trip, which makes EF liable for damages. This individual continues to represent EF today. Again, EF allowed him to lead our trip—for which EF compensated him.  And EF continues to choose this individual—to recruit and represent their company.

The opening paragraph written by EF states “comfortable hotel accommodations,” and the guidance and support of a full-time tour director. I can state unequivocally neither were the case.

Again, I am willing to return the $400 vouchers for future travel with an EF company. EF has stated my husband & I each paid $3713 for a total of $7426. This does not include various tips & fees we were required to submit. I feel we are owed an amount greatly exceeding what I have requested, which is $998 for my husband and $998 for me. The check would total $1996. It represents approximately 27
per cent of what EF collected from us over a period of 15 months prior to the trip.

Perhaps both EF and my family were duped by the teacher/recruiter. EF may operate as a fine company much of the time, but in this instance, their representatives let them down. As a result, our trip was damaged, and we seek compensation.

EF is liable for damages because their representatives blatantly broke EF’s stated and printed rules. We had a right to expect the “Rules of the Road,” as EF labels them, would be upheld. They were not. These rules are part of the contract a traveler makes with the tour company. If the traveler breaks the rules, he may be sent home. If EF reps break the rules, they may receive complaints, which they should be expected to honor in the form of a substantial monetary refund.  Thank you!


 

 

 

Business Response: We would like to thank ******** **** *or her continued correspondence however at this time there will be no additional compensation regarding this complaint as we feel that we have responded appropriately and with thoughtful reconciliation towards her complaints.

Thank you,
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.

Please see the attachment: Complaint, as it details the fact that the issue has not been resolved.  If the document does not open, please contact me.
 

 

 

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

7/10/2012 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I registered to travel abroad with EF Tours through my university. I was encouraged by the tour rep working with my school to go ahead and register early before I heard about any possible financial aid I might receive from the school. I was told by the rep that in the event that I did not receive any financial aid, I could cancel the trip by July 31st and be refunded all the money that I had paid (charged to my credit card: $1,073). I unfortunately, did not receive the financial aid and was forced to cancel the trip. When I called EF for my refund, I was told that the only thing waived was the $250 cancellation fee. I still had to pay the $95 registration fee and the $145 insurance!! Being asked to pay nearly $250 for a trip I cancelled six months before departure is highway robbery, and not having the insurance refunded for a trip that I am not taking is also unscrupulous. I was mislead, possibly intentionally, by the rep as I was told most if not all of the assorted fees for the trip would be waived for "registering early" and "cancelling by July 31."

Desired Settlement: It is unethical that I have to pay a large sum of money for a trip that I had to cancel six months in advance due to financial reasons. I want the $145 insurance fee refunded at the minimum, but I also feel that refunding the $95 registration fee as well is appropriate since I cancelled by the deadline set by the tour rep.

Business Response: Thank you for contacting EF regarding your concern with your account. After reviewing our records we spoke with you on July 9, 2012 and have agreed to refund all monies paid. You will be receiving two seperate refunds and these will be refunded directly onto your credit card. Please contact us if you have any additional questions or concerns.

Thank you,
Customer Relations at EF

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.


BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

BBB Comments: The consumer indicated to BBB that the complaint was resolved.

6/29/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Dear BBB, My ** year old daughter ***** ******* signed up for a trip with EF tours. We needed to cancel due to job loss. We were told when we signed up for the tour we would receive a full refund. We also asked for the insurance. They took $345.00 from my ** year old daughter . Aetna said EF Tours never signed us up for insurance. Please help us . Thank you Sincerely , ****** ******

Desired Settlement: see Attached document

Business Response: To whom it may concern:

We have reviewed the details of ****** ******'s account and we have spoken with her on five seperate occasions including a letter from the President. We are very sorry that ****** is not able to travel however at the time of her cancellation
we refunded the maximum amount possible. In addition to the refund we also offered to provide a future travel voucher in the amount of the cancellation fees should ****** be able travel with us again in the future. 

The claim is that they could receive a full refund and at no time was this ever an option. We are sorry that they feel that they have been mislead with our cancellation policy but we feel that we have extended the greatest amount of flexibility with our cancellation fees. 

Thank you,
Customer Relations at EF

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

6/16/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Better Business Bureau
290 Donald Lynch Blvd. Suite 102
Marlborough, MA 01752

To Whom It May Concern:
In March on this year our daughter was invited to go to Paris and Barcelona with her Spanish class during spring break 2012 through Educational Tours. At the time we purchased the tour we were encouraged to take out an
“all inclusive insurance plan” which we were told would guarantee reimbursement of our money in the event that we had to cancel. We were not informed that we would not be refunded the full amount of our payments, or that the reason for canceling must be serious illness or job loss. We were highly pressured to sign up immediately to lock in the price so it would not go up but this company increased the price anyway in August. We were forced to cancel because of this and for personal reasons. My husband is on total disability, so you can imagine what a hardship loss of money would be. When I called to cancel, I was told that we could not be reimbursed the full amount. The charged a $250.00 cancellation fee which no one had ever mentioned to us. And they kept the original $25 000 that we paid down initially. This is $500.00 that our family needs. The representative who I originally spoke with was misleading and misrepresented the insurance plan and tour company. We feel that this company was untruthful and fraudulent in their communications with their customers. It was poor business to increase the cost after we were told that because of our early deposit lock our cost. We would appreciate your investigation of this matter and trying to get our money back. Thank you for your time in this matter.

Desired Settlement: see Attached document

Business Response: Thank you for your recent notice inquiring about our cancellation and refund policy. Upon enrolling everyone is given the choice to purchase our all-inclusive insurance policy which covers items such as loss of luggage, medical insurance
and cancellation/interuption insurance should you need to cancel prior to tour or end your tour short and return home. The cancellation/interuption insurace covers serious injury and grave illness leading to hospitalization. Valid reasons for cancellation are also financial hardship due to unexpected/involuntary job loss, jury duty, military call to active duty or severe damage to the participant’s home. Attached is the full application booklet explaining the registration process and
the cancellation and refud policy.

We are sorry that you do not feel that these were adequately explained and this is why we supplement any conversation with information in the enrollment booklet as well as thoroughly on our website.  Thank you again for your recent notice and we hope to be able to welcome your daughter on a tour with us another time.

Sincerely,
Customer Relations at EF

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

6/14/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I scheduled a trip for my daughter with EF Tours in December, 2011. I paid a $95 enrollment fee as well as a $500 deposit. On March 7, 2012, it became necessary for me to cancel the trip due to an unexpected disease diagnosis in the family which put a financial strain on us due to medical bills and ongoing treatment. I successfully faxed a letter to EF Tours on March 7, 2012, explaining the circumstances and asking for a trip cancellation (I know this was received because the fax machine printed a report that said the transmission was successful) I acknowledged the ridiculous cancellation policy that calls for them to keep $395 of the $595 total paid, but I pleaded for someone to take the circumstances under consideration and act ethically and morally in this type of situation. I also requested an itemized report of how I cost them $395, when the most I ever received from them is 1 paper invoice and 2 emails. On April 16, 2012, 6 weeks after the fax, I called to check the status of the refund, and was told by *******l, that the account was active and a cancellation was never processed. I explained that I had proof that the fax was received by them, to which he replied that it must have been "lost." Due to somebody's incompetence, I am told I would have to wait up to 3 more weeks now for the refund. My complaint is not only that there seems to be no ethics or morals practiced here, but that they purposefully withheld or ignored my cancellation request causing further delay in processing my refund request.

Desired Settlement: I would request that my cancellation refund be processed IMMEDIATELY, not 3 more weeks due to their error, an explanation of how it is moral and ethical to keep $395 of $595 without providing ANY service OR product, an itemized bill of services or product that they provided me that equals $395 if they will not reconsider my circumstances for cancelling.

Business Response: To Whom It May Concern,

We were very disapointed to hear that ******* ******* *ccount with EF needs to be cancelled.

At this time, the lowest possible cancellation fees have been charged to this account. EF's standard cancellation policy at 150 days or more prior to departure is a full refund less the 95$ enrollment fee and a $300 cancellation fee.

All fees are outlined in our booking conditions and on our website.

All participants and their parent or guardian must sign that they agree to these conditions prior to registration.

Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

******** ******
Director of Customer Relations
EF Denver

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 # ********

[The issue of the company "losing" my faxed cancellation request and furthering my wait time for the refund check was not addressed. The company also has not shown that their decisions are moral or ethical, just legal.  Their response is always to point out that the customer "agreed to the policy" when they signed up. Yes, but they also cannot prove that they sustained $395 in losses for a trip that is a year away - because they didn't, and for that, they are taking people's money and providing NOTHING in return. Shameful.

Regards,

***** *****

 

 

Business Response: To Whom It May Concern,

On behalf of EF, I would like to apologize that Mrs ******* experience with EF was not a positive one.

We accept cancellations by email, fax and mail. It is unfortunate that we did not receive your fax which resulted in a delay with your refund.

The refund will be expedited to Mrs ***** as quickly as possible.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.

Best,
******** ******
Director of Customer Relations
EF Denver

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 Tours most certainly did receive this fax. I have a confirmation of "successful" transmission to EF's fax machine. The number was verified as correct with Jean-Paul when I called EF Tours, and his response was that it must have been "lost." This company just will not take any responsibility for its mishandling of a situation and has offered no solution to attempt to rectify their mistakes. Very poor. ]

Regards,

***** *****

 

 

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable offer to resolve the complaint. However the consumer did not accept the offer.

5/29/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: My son was planning to go on a trip to europe with his school, I set up a payment plan to pay for the trip ,Unfortunately my financial situation is no longer the same. The trip is schedule for June 2012 we are in May, I call EFTours to gave me an option maybe! shorten the trip because we are unable to pay the hole amount, I already gave them $1300 they told me there nothing they can do unless they cancel the trip and if they cancel the trip they will not reinburse me the money. I did purchase coverage for the trip i should be able to get my money back or at least 80% since the trip is schedule for another month.

Desired Settlement: to get my money back or at least 80%

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

BBB Comments: The consumer indicated to BBB that the complaint was resolved.

5/8/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I had to cancel the trip for my son due to unexpected financial problems. I am owed over 3,000 in child support and my son's father stopped provided health insurance for him and didn't tell me. I then had medical bills piling up
and had to provide his insurance out of my pocket forcing me to have to file for bankruptcy. I sent in paperwork SEVERAL times to prove all these things and they will NOT refund my money.

Business Response: To Whom It May Concern,

We were very disapointed that ***** ********* and her son ******* needed to cancel their tour to Costa Rica with EF Educational Tours. We have a cancellation policy that is listed in our booking conditions. The cancellation policy takes into consideration the costs EF incurs long before groups ever depart. All participants sign that they agree to EF's terms and conditions when they register for a tour.

Participants who have purchased EF tour cancellation insurance can file a claim with our insurance company to recover some of the fees retained by EF.  A refund may be given if the claim is approved. Valid reasons for cancellation include serious injury or illness leading to hospitalization.  Other valid reasons are financial hardship due to unexpected/involuntary job loss, jruy duty, military call to active duty or severe damage to the participants home.  Unfortunately, we cannot provide an increased refund to this individual.  Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Best,
******** ******
Director of Customer Relations
EF Denver

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/27/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I signed my daughter up to go on tour with her class when she graduates in 2013..I signed her up in 2011 and made a couple of payments until I came into financial hardship and had to cancel her tour in September 2011. I was told that I would only get back around $150.00 which I paid in about $600.00. Now I know they keep the insurance money, but I didn't know about any other fees due to the fact that I miss understood what the insurance was for. I thought if I cancelled in more than enough time by 2 years I would get a full refund based on the way I read the insurance agreement. I was told that the cancellation fee was changed to $300.00 after I signed her up and that I would only get $150.00... unless I can find a replacement. Well no one wants to go that hasn't already signed up and her teacher has also been trying to find someone and I was told to put her tour on hold by a representative and her teacher in hopes that someone new will sign up for this tour. Here we are April of 2012 and still no one new. The e-mail I sent was : I am the parent of ***** ****** (*********). I am in need of cancelling her tour as we are experiencing financial, difficulty and are unable to afford this anymore. We are behind in our mortgage,utilities,and car and house insurance and about to be sued from a lawyer for late payments. Please let me know what steps I need to take to cancel her tour. Thank you so much for your cooperation in advance as this is a difficult time for us and can no longer afford the payments now or in the fore see able future. I don't think that not giving a full refund of what you paid for minus the insurance fee is acceptable and the fact that there was more than enough time (notice) giving where they wouldn't loose anything. I wasn't signed up long enough. Also that the so called cancellation fee was changed after the initial sign up was changed.

Desired Settlement: I would like a full refund minus the insurance fee of $95.00.

Business Response:

We are disapointed that ***** ****** is considering canceling her tour to Greece, Italy and Spain with EF due to financial hardship.

When a participant enrolls either on our website or with one of our applilcation booklets, there are booking conditions associated with this process that all must agree to prior to enrollment.

If a participant cancels there are fees associated with that decision and the fee schedule is outlilned based on how many days prior to their tour departing.

All these fees are outlined in our booking conditions which all parents/ guardians agree to when they sign up a participant on an EF tour. These booking conditions were agreed upon on May 13, 2011 when ***** was enrolled online.

The fees at this time should ***** cancel will be $300, plus $95 registration fee, plus $145 for insurance. *****'s account has payments equaling $642 therefore the expected refund amount at this time would be $102. 

Considering the length of time before the tour is scheduled to depart I will waive the $300 cancellation fee and provide a refund of $402.

********* ****** or guardian will need to contact our customer service department at ************ to officially cancel *****'s account before any refund can be granted.

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

4/21/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: My granddaughter has an overpayment on her account and they refused to respond to her e-mails so I e-mailed them twice with no response and also called with no response. After that point we went to the teacher that was in charge
of the tour about what to do and he said he would take care of it but apparently EF Tours feels they don't need to respond to the him either. They charge plenty for these tours and I don't think this is an appropriate way to handle their past customers by not responding; especially for future references to other students. Granted, its not a large amount to me, but to my granddaughter it is. I really would not recommend EF Tours to anyone. Once they have your money you're on your own. NO customer service.

Desired Settlement: There is only one outcome option, refund the over payment!

Business Response: To Whom It May Concern,

Thank you for your email. I looked into this and have a requested a refund for the amount of $62 to be refunded back to ****** ******.  This refund will come back in the form of a check in 2-3 weeks.  Please feel free to contact me directly with any other questions or concerns.

Best,
******** ******
Director of Customer Relations
EF Denver

Consumer Response: I really don't understand the 2-3 weeks to send her a check, I guess I look at my customers differently being we've been trying to contact them for over 2 months, I would take care of this ASAP.  I have reviewed the response submitted by the business and have determined that the response does not satisfy my issues but I will accept in reference to complaint.


BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

4/20/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I spoke with an employee on 01/31/12 around 5:56pm regarding their cancellation fees. I was told that the only I would not be refunded would be the $95.00 Registration fee. All other money would be refunded back to me. When I asked for a refund both ***** and ******* stated that there was a $300 cancellation fee. I asked if all phone conversations were recorded they both said yes. When ******* took the time to find my phone call, which she stated they started recording conversation on 01/26/12, just so happened to not be recorded. ******* refused to work with me on this refunded my money.

Desired Settlement: I would like my refund of $250.00 which I was told would be refunded to me verbally by their employee.

Business Response: To Whom it May Concern,

We were disapointed that ******* ******** needed to cancel his tour to Switzerland and Italy with EF. There are cancellation fees if a participant cancels with EF.
All these fees are outlined in our booking conditions which all parents/ guardians agree to when they sign up a participant on an EF tour. These booking conditions were agreed upon on Jan 31st, 2012 when ******* enrolled online.

The cancellation fees were 300$ at the time of cancellation and the 95$ deposit is non-refundable. When Mrs ******** spoke with our EF's Customer Service Department, she was advised verbally of this information. These calls are logged.

Please let me know if you have any other questions or concerns.

Best,

******** ******- Director of Customer Relations.

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/20/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I spoke with an employee on 01/31/12 around 5:56pm regarding their cancellation fees. I was told that the only I would not be refunded would be the $95.00 Registration fee. All other money would be refunded back to me. When I asked for a refund both ***** and ******* stated that there was a $300 cancellation fee. I asked if all phone conversations were recorded they both said yes. When ******* took the time to find my phone call, which she stated they started recording conversation on 01/26/12, just so happened to not be recorded. ******* refused to work with me on this refunded my money.

Desired Settlement: I would like my refund of $250.00 which I was told would be refunded to me verbally by their employee.

Business Response: To Whom It May Concern,

We were disapointed that ******* ******** is not able to travel with EF on the tour to Switzerland and Italy. As per EF's booking conditions, there are cancellation fees associated with cancelling an account.

At the time when we received the cancellation, the cancellation fees were 300$. The 95$ initial deposit is also a non-refundable deposit.

This participant was registered on our website on January 31st, 2012. At that time, the terms and conditions were agreed to by the parent. These terms and conditions outline our cancellation fees, as well as terms of payment and various other information relating to the tour.

Mrs ******** also spoke with EF staff in our Customer Service department who let her know about the fees. All these conversations are documented by EF.

Unfortunately, we are not able to provide any further refund.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Best,
******** ******- Director of Customer Relations.


BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

4/2/2012 Guarantee/Warranty Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I GET A TOUR FOR MY DAUGTHER ******* TO EUROPE, AND I PAID $2,500.00, AT THE DATE OF THE TRIP ******* COULDN'T TRAVEL DUE TO A VISA PROBLEM, BECAUSE THEY FORGET TO APPLY FOR A VISA TO FRENCH, AND SHE COULDN'T TRAVEL, WE PROVIDE ALL DOCUMENTS, ALIEN RESIDENT CARD FROM *******, PASSPORT, ONE YEAR BEFORE THE TRIP, AND THEY NEVER MENTIONE ANYTHING ABOUT VISA, ALSO WE BOUGTH AN INSURANCE IN CASE ANITHING HAPPEN AND SHE WASN'T ABLE TO TRAVEL. WE SPOKE WITH THEM AT THE CUSTOMER SERVICE, AND THEY AGREE TO GIVE THE MONEY BACK, ONLY $1,800.00 US , MORE THAN ONE 2 MONTHS AGO, EVERY TIME WE CALL THEM REGARDING THE REFUN, THE ANSWER "BY THE END OF THE WEEK WE ARE GOING TO FINALIZE THE ADJUSMEN AND MAIL YOU A REFUND CHECK", BUT THEY DON'T DO IT, WE WAIT SIX WEEKS TO CALL AGAIN AND THE ANSWER WAS "BY THE END OF THE WEEK WE ARE GOING TO FINALIZE THE ADJUSMEN AND MAIL YOU A REFUND CHECK". AND THEY DON'T DO ANITHING YET

Desired Settlement: THE VISA PROBLE WAS NOT OUR PROBLEM BECAUSE WE NEVER KNEW, WE PROVIDE EVERITHING, WE WANT THE FULL AMOUNT BACK TO US, IF THIS IS NOT POSSIBLE AT LEAST THE AMOUNT THAT THEY AGREE TO PAY BACK, SOON WE WAIT TOO MUCH ALREADY

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

We have received your complaint regarding the refund of your daughters account. We were able to make an exception to provode a refund that is greater than what our Booking Conditions allow. Considering the cirucumstances of cancellation you would typically not be eligible for any refund. However, we were able to make this exception and give back everything except the cost of the airline tickets. Because of this exception there was a greater delay in the processing of your refund.

Based on the conversation that you had with our customer service representative, ****** ***** on March 21, 2012 the refund is being processed and will be sent to you within 2 weeks.

Thank you,
Customer Relations at EF

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

3/22/2012 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: EF Tours creates travel experience for eductional purposes. From the beginning the price that was set for the tour has increased greatly. They want customers to use their online services, but the online service has been bizarre. One day there is no departure fee, the next day it would be $450.00. Then they would fix that but a new fee would pop up somewhere else. There seemed to be no limit on how much they could raise the price, even though there seemed to be a set price if you signed up by a certain date. The last straw for me was a new fee to add my middle name to my ticket, a $200 fee. I typed in my whole name online and their system is to blame for the problem. Unfortunately, I never thought I should take a digital picture of the screen to verify that I typed in my whole name. I know I even tried to verify my information. The online program is not easy to use and when you call the customer service representatives they are not very helpful about these problems. I am at my wits end trying to deal with this company. It has been one new charge after another.

Desired Settlement: I want EF to fix their online problems. I want them to set the limit for the departure fees and their ability to randomly add more fees. I want them to fix my name on my ticket without expecting me to pay them $200 for their systems failures!

Business Response: Thank you for your email. I was disapointed that you were not happy with your experiences with EF. We provide information about the price fluctuation in our booking conditions.  The tour price is subject to change prior to the time of full payment for reasons beyond EF's control including but not limited to, fluctuations in exchange rates, fuel costs and government imposed taxes.  A portion of the overall trip cost is composed of fees and surcharges imposed by airlines and government agencies. they cover such things as federal and foreign government imposed landing fees, security fees and energy/fuel increases.  The portion of the overall trip cost is grouped by EF on an average basis of all departures for a particular itinerary.  EF will update your account and invoice accordingly. Your online account and initial invoices will display a current estimate of departure fees.

We are currently working on updating our website to make it more user-friendly.  EF must have your name as it appears on your passport. If you need to add a middle name or make changes, there is a fee associated for this.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Best,
******** ******

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.

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

3/6/2012 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I have been in contact with EF Tours since Fall 2011 regarding a school trip for my high school students.  Since last fall, EF Tours have known about my intended trip dates as well as 3 additional "backup" trip selections.  When I asked why an additional 3 trip options were required, the EF representative assured me this was in the event that my primary trip became unavailable.  In such an event, my other choices would be used to provide me with a suitable alternative.  I was also told this was just a matter of ceremony, and would not be a problem.  I gave them my alternative options.  From December 2011 through February 2012, EF Tours registered my trip and REQUIRED my high school students to make partial and full payments. This past week, February 7th, I received a call that my primary trip was unavailable and they were moving to my alternative choices.  On February 8th, I received a call that NONE of my trips were available.  No apologizes, no flexibility on the part of EF Tours.  They could offer my students another trip, but it wouldn't be the dates that were needed on our end (to comply with school policy and graduation ceremonies - moving the dates would require my students to miss graduation!).  Also, any new trip would incur additional costs for which EF Tours would not assume any responsibility.  It is completely unacceptable that an educational tour company like EF tours allows schools and students to plan trips, requires them to make payment deadlines, and then, at the drop of a hat, cancel the trip and offer no compensation, no workable alternatives, and show no priority for the students who are counting on, fundraising, and planning for this trip as EF Tours had scheduled.  You do not run a business by offering a service and then not having any customer service policy in place for the event that the service "cannot" be carried out.  Totally unacceptable.  Totally.

Desired Settlement: DesiredSettlementID: No settlement requested - for EF Tours should be penalized and publically marked as a company that is unreliable and practices sub-par customer service policies.  It should also be publicized as a company that practices the unfair treatment of minors.

Business Response:

Thank you for your email. We were very disapointed to hear about your experiences with EF not being able to provide your group with your requested tour.  EF Educational Tours is a student tour provider that works with sudents from across the United States and Canada to provide educational tours for students travelling with their teachers.  We accept groups of all sizes and offer tours to many destinations across the world.  In order to keep our prices low, we match smaller groups up together and ask for tour options in the event that we cannot accomodate a group with their first choice tour.

In your case, unfortunately we were not able to accommodate your group with your first choice tours.  We simply did not have another group who requested your tour during those dates.  We offered another tour that was running in your date range to Athens and the Islands. This was not an acceptable tour option for your group and you requested to take the full refund option.  EF cancelled the accounts and refunded all participants money promptly. We were very sorry that we could not accommodate you, I apologize for not making this more clear.  I would be happy to discuss any other concerns you have.  We hope to work with you in the future.

Best,
******** ******
Director 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.

EF Tours did not offer a replacement tour in our date range.  They offered a 10 day tour that overlapped with graduation which several seniors on the tour cannot miss and the substitute tour cost significantly more than what the students expected to pay.  We actually gave EF Tours 4 options of tours and they were not able to give us any one of them.  They made it clear that we might not get our first choice but never did they say that they were going to give us one choice that conflicted with our tour otherwise it was cancelled. 

We have found a better option in ********* because of this whole fiasco.  They gave us the dates we wanted, the tour we wanted, and it is a day longer and cheaper than the EF Tour.  Our students will be back in time for graduation and still get to go to Europe, no thanks to EF.

I will not be recommending EF in the future, nor will I ever plan a trip with them.  ********* offers guaranteed dates of departure when you sign up, preventing the tour company from canceling after students have paid in full for a trip they expect to go on.  EF could have very easily apologized for the trip and offered a private tour for a slightly higher cost that the company would assume, as they failed to keep their end of our contract. 

 

 

Business Response: Hello ****,

I am very sorry that you were not satisfied with any of the options provided.   We do our best to accommodate any groups that would like to travel and try to be as flexibile as possible.  On behalf of EF, I would like to apologize that we could not accommodate your group.  In this case, we offered a full refund to your participants.  Please feel free to contact me directly with any other questions or concerns at ***************@ef.com

Best,
******** ******

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

12/18/2011 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I never received a copy of the insurance agreement. Now the company do not want to refund my money. I orginally planned a London-Paris tour with EF Tours for Girl Scouts in March 2010. Because my granddaughter was going on this trip and I had wanted to travel with her. I had automated deduction of $249.00 taken from my checking account to pay for this 10 day tour. The contact person that I was talking to name was ********* *****. First of all it was never explain to me that this would be a fast pace tour. I have a medical condition of COPD, emphazema and asthma. I was in constant contact with ********* and explaining that I needed all of the details of the trip because I needed to make arrangements for my oxygen to be deliver to the hotel and to have some on the airplane to London. She never once mention to me that this was goining to be a fast pace tour or asked any questions pertaining to the reason that I needed to have oxygen deliver. After one whole year of payments and three months before the trip is when everything came out in the open about the tour. So of course I was upset and aksed why this information was never explain to me at the very beginning. So I cancel my reservations before they had the flight information. The trip was for June 13 until 23rd. I cancel this trip in April 2011. EF Tours sent me a partial refund of $2050.00 and deducted $230.00 for cancellation fee. Which I thought was unfair. They stated that they was going to contact Aetna Student Health to send me a claim form to be completed by my physician. The contact person at Aetna is ****** ***** she sent in the form and I had my doctor complete it. After reading my diagnosis they determine that it was a pre excisting condition and denied my claim. So I appeal the decision because I was never sent a insurance pamplet explaining the circumstances of the cancellation. That is when I received another letter from them underlying the reason for the denial. So on May 9th I called and talked to Grace at EF Tours because she was ********* supervisor. And she was uncooperative and asked me what did I think the tour was all about. When I was trying to explain to her about my medical condition and if I had known that this was going to be a fast pace tour I would not have obligated myself.

Desired Settlement: A refund of the $1095.00

Business Response: Dear Ms. ****,

I understand that we were able to provide a satisfactory resolution through our Customer Service Department. Please advise if you have any additional concerns regarding how your complaint has been handled.

********** ******* ******** ******** ** ******** *********

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

12/10/2011 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: My 14 year old daughter went on a school based trip to Italy. The EF Tour guide miscounted and left my child behind for 3 hours. My child made contact with EF based in switzerland and they contacted the tour guide who did not realize she was not on the bus. This was on the first day if the trip. EF had not given any student contact info ir other direction in case of separation and this was a major safety concern! Upon her return to the USA I have contacted EF on there seperare dates and I have been informed they would look into it but nothing has been done. My daughter did not wander off or do anything wrong. She was left behind when the school chaperones walked ahead and the EF representative failed to conduct a correct head count.

Desired Settlement: I believe that the promised service was not worth the risk and frustration that has come from the situation.

Business Response: July 28, 2011

EF Educational Tours is a student group travel organization that provides opportunities for students and their teachers to travel. We have provided a tour to Italy for the daughter of this concerned parent and are actively engaged in dialogue with this parent to provide a fair and reasonable outcome to the situation.

Thank you,
EF Educational Tours
Customer Relations

Consumer Response:

EF Tours is not actively trying to resolve this issue.  I received a call from ***** (EF Tours) and I was informed that they will not refund any part of  my payment.  EF Tours will not accept any responsibilty for their tour guide leaving my child behind and I was informed that the matter is closed.



 

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

11/29/2011 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: A representative from Smithsonian Student Travel came to our children’s school (******** ********* *******) last year and gave a presentation about the Florida/NASA trip. We are a small school and so she was asked what would happen if enough kids did not sign up to go on the trip. She made it very clear that we would only lose our deposit if the trip was cancelled. We took a chance and signed up our son for the trip and proceeded to make payments. I received a phone call from Smithsonian Travel in September, 2011 that our trip had been cancelled because only a few kids had signed up. I told the representative I would like a refund of the $1330 I had paid toward the trip. He said I was only eligible for a refund of 75% of the total cost of the trip based on the refund policy. The Smithsonian salesperson that spoke to the parents completely misrepresented the policies of Smithsonian Student Travel. We absolutely would not have signed up for the trip knowing the likelihood of it being cancelled due to lack of participants. This was a question asked more than once at the presentation, and not once were we given any indication that we would be out more than the deposit. The representative’s sales presentation should not conflict with the company policies.

Desired Settlement: Due to this deceptive sales practice by the representative, I request a full refund of my account balance.

Business Response: Our mutual customer, ****** ******, enrolled her son **** on a Smithsonian Student Travel (SST) tour to Florida scheduled to depart on June 14, 2011.  Upon enrollment on May 9, 2010, Ms. ****** signed and agreed to the Booking Conditions presented to her during the enrollment process.  Our cancellation policy is clearly outlined in the Booking Conditions. 
 
As a group travel company, SST makes reservations in advance of the tour in order to secure space with our vendors.  The cancellation charges outlined in our policies reflect the fees incurred by SST when cancelling space prior to the tour’s departure.  Ms. ******’s first contacted Smithsonian Student Travel’s Customer Service department by phone on August 5, 2010. Ms. ****** learned that the current tour that her son was enrolled on would be cancelled because not enough travelers had enrolled. SST made an exception for Ms. ****** and let her transfer all of the money she had paid on her 2011 trip to her 2012 trip with no cancellation fees. This was an exception made by SST.
 
On September 29, 2011 Ms. ****** contacted SST’s Custom Service department again, where she was told that ****’s tour had been cancelled by the Group Leader for the same reasons as in 2011, not enough travelers had enrolled. At this time, Ms. ****** was presented with 3 options. The options were to 1) have her son travel with another tour that is taking place at her son’s school 2) to receive a future travel voucher 3) to receive standard cancellation fees that are outlined in the Booking Conditions. Ms. ****** informed SST that she would be calling the Group Leader and calling us back with a decision.
 
Ms. ****** called in a third time on September 30, 2011. During this conversation, she stated that in her last conversation with Jess from our Customer Service department she was told that she could receive a full refund. She was told for the second time that a full refund was not an option and that she would have to choose between the previous options given to her.
 
Should Ms. ****** like to continue with the claim process as explained to her upon cancellation, she may do so.  Otherwise, the other options have been clearly laid out to her; no exceptions will be offered for her at this time.

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

11/7/2011 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Global Rewards called me 8 times on 10/27/11 starting at 5:30 am. They continued to call me to solicit business despite being told to take me off their phone list. At 6:35 PM I spoke to **** *****, and I again asked to be taken off the phone list. When I told him I got the first call at 5:30AM this morning, he said "I thought you lived in Phila". I informed him I am working in Ca at this time.Eight phone calls in one day is intrusive, and is harassing in nature when I asked to be removed from the list at 1:43. I received a total of three calls, after that time.

Desired Settlement: I want to be removed from this companies phone list. This company should not be able to harass people in this manner.

Business Response: We apologize for Ms. *******’s frustrations and we will immediately remove her from our system. However, we have been unable to find her account of the phone number specified in her complaint within our system. If Ms. ******* could provide the exact phone number where she is receiving phone calls from our company we will make sure she receives no further calls. She can do so by responding back via the BBB or can reach me directly at ************ ext. *****.

Consumer Response: [A default letter is provided here which indicates your acceptance of the business's response.  If you wish, you may update it before sending it.]

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 #8787701.   My phone number is ************

Regards,

***** *******

BBB's Final Determination: Consumer accepted resolution offered by the business.

10/5/2011 Advertising/Sales Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: EF tours misrepresented on their website what a trip to Belize consisted of, poorly planned, and poorly prepared the group for the trip to Belize. This complaint is in reference to the Belize college tour number 599484, which I purchased for my daughter as part of a study abroad Digital Communications class for $2695.00 on 4/16/2011. The dates of the trip were 5/23/2011 to 5/29/2011. The website describes the accommodations as cabin-style. In fact the accommodations were wooden huts with no running water or electric lighting and an outhouse, and dorm rooms which were shared with seven others with 1 bathroom. The beds were filthy 2 inches thick mattresses with only a fitted sheet and a dirty pillow that looked like it had been dragged through the mud. There were no blankets for the cold nights in the rainforest. The group was advised not to use the showers in the dorm facility unless absolutely necessary. The group had to bathe in a creek or the ocean for 6 days. Not only did the group not have adequate accommodations for bathing and other hygienic needs, the facilities were bug infested and had no air conditioning. All the activities that were advertised on the EF tour's website were contingent on the group bringing their own gear. EF tours did not make the group aware that they needed to bring their own goggles, fins, snorkels, and head lamps. They ended up sharing with another tour group, which caused them to miss out on the full experience of the trip. EF tours advertises that they have a tour representative that prepares you for your trip. This did not happen. The group had no clue that they were going to be staying in primitive accommodations, were not going to have running water, were not going to be able to bathe for 6 days, and they were going to have to bring their own gear. They also were misinformed on how much money would be needed for tipping their tour guides and drivers. There are many other complaints regarding the trip but I do not have enough space to include them all. In conclusion, if the trip had been advertised as it truly is or even if the EF tours representative had made the group aware what the tour was actually going to be like, we would have NEVER purchased this trip.

Desired Settlement: I have been discussing my dissatisfaction with the trip with ***** **** who offered me a $300.00 reimbursement. This is an insulting offer since the starting cost of a Belize trip according to the website and ***** ****, an EF tour representative is around $1205.00. I paid $2695.00. I believe a reimbursement of $1000.00 would be fair considering EF tour's misrepresentation of the trip, lack of providing preparation for the trip, and the unsanitary accommodations my daughter had to endure. We would have NEVER chosen this trip if it had not been falsely advertised.

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 # *******.

There was no response.

Regards,

******** ********

 

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

Thank you for contacting us again via the BBB. We are carefully reviewing your registered complaint and ***** **** from EF will contact you directly to follow up on your request.

Thank you,
******* ********
Director of Customer Relations

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 # *******.

I have been discussing this matter with ***** **** for months without a reasonable resolution.  I would prefer discussing this matter with another EF tours representative. 

Regards,

******** ********

 

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

8/3/2011 Delivery Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I signed my son up for a school trip to Japan with this company. I paid all the upfront fees including "trip cancellation" insurance and started making payments on a timely basis. The trip was canceled due to the natural disaster that hit Japan. Many or most of the other students in my son's school simply switched to a different trip that my son is not willing to take. I spoke with the company and they confirmed that my son's trip had canceled yet refused to accept that he declined to go on the other trip. The company's stand was that since, basically, my son just decided not to go, (rather than accepting what they'd already stated, that the trip itself canceled) they claimed that I owed additional "cancellation" penalties to be subtracted from my refund. The school principal spoke with the company and explained that my son had NOT chosen to switch trips and they assured her I would receive a full refund. When I received my refund check, they had refunded my initial and monthly payments yet withheld $145 for the trip insurance, $95 registration fee and a $250 trip cancellation fee. I feel that since the trip itself canceled that I am also due back, at least, the $95 registration fee. And I don't feel the $250 cancellation fee should apply. I understand that the registration fee would be non-refundable and the $250 would be charged if we simply decided not to go, but that is not the case. The company canceled the trip and so I feel I should receive a full refund minus, at most, the $145 for insurance.

Desired Settlement: I wish the company to refund both the $95 and the $250 based on the fact that the trip canceled.

Business Response: Ms. *********’s son ***** ******* originally enrolled on the EF Tour, Beijing and the Great Wall of China, which was scheduled to depart on 3/12/2011.  *****’s application for the China tour was received on 11/9/2010, via the EF Tour’s website (www.eftours.com).  In order for an application to be processed the EF Booking Conditions must be agreed to by the participant or their legal guardian if they are under the age of 18.  Ms. ********* called EF Tours on 11/16/2010  to cancel her son’s 2011 China tour and was subject to standard cancellation fees; however, a large exception was made and all monies paid on the 2011 account were transferred to a 2012 Japan tour.  If this large exception was not made, Ms. ********* would have lost $230, instead this money was added to *****’s 2012 account. 
Mr. ******, the original group leader from *****’s school, organized both the 2011 China tour and the 2012 Japan tour. After ***** was enrolled, Mr. ****** notified EF Tours that he was unable to lead the 2012 tour due to personal reasons. The cancellation of the Japan tour was unrelated to the tragic earthquake that hit northern Japan.  
When Mr. ****** informed EF about his inability to travel, the participants enrolled on his tour were given the option to move to a 2012 Scotland tour that was being led by another teacher at their school, or to travel as an individual traveler on a China or Japan tour that would be running in the spring of 2012.  ***** was the only participant unwilling to choose from these options, therefore the standard cancellation fees applied.  When Ms. ********* called to cancel her son’s account on 4/7/2011, it was explained that she would be receive a refund less a $250 cancellation fee, $95 enrollment fee, and $145 All-Inclusive Insurance. Ms. *********’s reason for cancellation is not covered under this insurance.  These cancellation fees are clearly explained in the EF Booking Conditions.  We apologize for Ms. *********’s frustrations; however, we are unable to make any additional exception for her son’s account.  A refund check for the remaining balance on *****’s account has been issued.
If Ms. ********* has any further questions she can reach our customer service department at ###-###-####.

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 don't see that the initial trip change has any bearing on the Japan trip.  EFT has disabled my account access so I don't have details, but I agree EFT was generous not to charge me the $230 cancellation fee for changing Jared's ~$1500 China trip for his $3000+ Japan one.  If memory serves, they did still charge me a new registration fee and a new insurance fee. In regards to their response in denying the rest of my refund, I spoke with the school principal and she spoke to Mr. ****** about his reasons for canceling his trip.   Ms ******'s email response to me is pasted in: ******** ******* Although I am unable to copy and paste from the “Viewed Message History” on my computer, I have copied verbatim the message sent by me to Jamie ****** and his response. On May 13, 2011, Bengie ****** (School Principal) sent the following message to Jamie Corder: “Jared Huffman’s mom got info. from the insurance company that contracts with EF Tours.  They are saying  that even though the trip to Japan is still ‘on,’ you cancelled for personal reasons.  Is this true? Mr. Corder’s Response: “no… Unless because the entire country of Japan is radioactive is a personal reason.  According to EF, almost everyone who was going to Japan has cancelled. *** end paste *** Regards, Rebecca Burkheart  

Business Response: We apologize Ms. ********* continues to be unhappy about EF’s Cancellation Policy; however, we are unable to make an exception for her son’s account.  As previously stated the EF Booking Conditions, which clearly explain EF’s Standard Cancellation Policy, were agreed to when Ms. *********’s son enrolled on the EF Tour’s website.  In addition we have given Ms. ********* the option of choosing another tour for her son but she did not; therefore standard cancellation fees apply.   

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 # 8579247.

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 # 8579247.

I find it disconcerting that EFTours keeps changing their reason for not refunding the full amount due to a trip cancellation when I paid the insurance and the trip cancelled. I find it very unprofessional that they tried to blame it on the teacher and when that was refuted, in his own words, they resorted to a childish "because I said so".
Previously, due to issues and problems with my ex-husband, I was able to change trips (paying the majority, although not all, of the appropriate fees) and they held this up as having done something very extraordinary and special for me, yet when *they* cancel the trip, they are inappropriately withholding the full refund amount because my son chooses not to change trips.  So apparently, this policy changes at their whim regardless that they are quoting "the fine print of the contract".

I hold that because the trip cancelled, I should receive a refund of all but the "trip cancellation insurance" which they required me to buy when I initially signed my son up for the trip.

Regards,

Rebecca Burkheart

 

 

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

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