advised today that it has received many calls from agencies and consumers regarding statements alleged to have been made by ACTA's Gary Ralph, Director of Communications and Marketing, to the CBC regarding the possibility of refunds for persons concerned about going to Mexico following the recent explosion.
The CBC states: "Gary Ralph, head of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies, said that because of the tragedy, most travel agents are working to accommodate those who want to cancel their trips. He noted that customers who paid by credit card and haven't travelled yet can get a refund."
ARTA Canada has contacted all the major credit card companies, and none have advised that customers bound for this area in Mexico or Mexico in general would be entitled to a refund in this situation. Several tour operators with Mexico departures have also indicated that refunds are on a "discretionary basis" only, with most travelers having been either reaccommodated (if they were staying at the hotel affected) or allowed to change travel dates.
A consumer posting on the CBC web site is critical of comments made by ACTA because their travel agent stated that a refund, even with payment by credit card, is not possible. The consumer writes: "I don't believe the travel agencies are being upfront with anyone. I wonder how many people will end having to lose their money in order to be safe, while the travel agencies keep money that under the circumstances should be returned."
"This is the kind of black eye our industry does not need. If the quote attributed to ACTA is accurate, and I have no reason to believe that it isn't, I can only wonder why such a statement would be made which is clearly contrary to the manner which tour operators and credit card companies are addressing this tragedy", said Bruce Bishins, CTC, President of ARTA Canada.
ARTA Canada has advised consumers to check with their travel agency about any options for reaccommodation. Member agencies have been advised to refer to the respective tour operator for any provisions for changes in accommodations, dates, or for any policies regarding refunds.
A copy of the CBC article is available by clicking here or visiting: