Travelers wait a year for refunds during COVID

Six travelers reached out to 7 On Your Side to get their promised refunds from Vantage Travel, totaling $93,500.

Video Transcript

- Consumers who spent the last year fighting for refunds for COVID-related travel cancellations, and trust me, this is not a fun process, but some are finally beginning to see their money.

- Yeah, 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney joins us live with new signs of some hope, Michael.

MICHAEL FINNEY: Yeah, the travel industry, as you guys know, was really hit hard during the pandemic. So for many consumers who prepaid for their trips, that has meant long waits for refunds.

SUSAN CARTER: And to think that we got-- I mean, he was feet away from me.

MICHAEL FINNEY: Susan Carter enthusiastically recalled her encounter with a leopard during an African Safari. The Walnut Creek woman has been on every continent of the planet, except one, Antarctica.

SUSAN CARTER: And I know in my heart of hearts that it would just fill my soul to see that part of that continent.

MICHAEL FINNEY: These are photos taken by another traveler, Breene Yuen. Unfortunately, slow recovery from a torn rotator cuff, suffered during one of her trips, forced Susan to cancel her adventure to Antarctica in January of 2020 with Vantage Travel. Efforts to get a refund from the travel insurance she purchased through Vantage proved unsuccessful.

SUSAN CARTER: They said, oh, Vantage took this over in-- I don't know, October or November. Don't call us anymore. We have nothing to do with it.

MICHAEL FINNEY: In general, 7 On Your Side recommends you purchase travel insurance independently from the company making travel arrangements. This protects you from situations just like this one and should your travel company declare bankruptcy. The insurance company blamed the delay on getting a refund on COVID. After one year with no results, Susan reached out to 7 On Your Side. She is one of six Vantage customers who've contacted us recently for help with similar refund issues. Susan received a refund of $11,000.

SUSAN CARTER: Well, I have to tell you, I'm a pretty happy person, but I was really happy when that happened.

MICHAEL FINNEY: Three others who've reached out to 7 On Your Side have also received refunds totaling $41,500. Vantage has pledged additional refunds of $41,000 to two other people, bringing the grand total, including Susan's refund, to $93,500. One refund has so far been denied.

SUSAN CARTER: I've always been so crazy impressed with what you guys and Michael Finney and ABC On Your Side has been able to do for folks over the years. It's just such an amazing service.

MICHAEL FINNEY: We're happy to be involved with this. Now look, Vantage Travel did not respond to our request for comment for this story, so I can't tell you exactly what happened when. But let me tell you what has happened overall with travel refunds. If you complain to us, give us your information. We can often take you from the back of the line to the front of the line and get you a refund, not always, but a lot of the time. Larry. [? Arma. ?]