Grand Circle Travel Complaint - Unjust enrichment by Grand Circle Travel
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS -- While it is recognized almost uniformly throughout the travel industry that in the event of a terrorist attack in a region, airlines, hotels and tour operators will allow changes and cancellation without penalty, I would like to relate what happened to four of us travelers with Grand Circle Travel of Boston, MA.
We were scheduled to leave on a Grand Circle Travel trip to Bali and Angkor Wat on a 23 day trip October 3, 2005. Total cost for the four of us was $10,484.60. On Oct. 1, 2005 terrorists bombed three restaurants in Bali, killing 27 and wounding 125. The major bombing was right up the street from the resort at which we were to stay. We then became aware that the State Department had issued a travel warning months before advising “U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to the country (Bali, Indonesia).” At no time had Grand Circle Travel informed us that a travel warning was in effect for Bali.
The President of Indonesia on October1 advised that more attacks were possible. The Australian Foreign Office issued a bulletin that said, “Australians in Indonesia who are concerned for their safety should consider departing.” All this information was readily available on the internet. Because of these travel warnings we cancelled our trip that day, Oct. 1, 2005, and requested Grand Circle Travel (GCT) to reroute us to a safer location such as Thailand so we could enjoy the Angkor Wat portion of the trip. They refused to make any changes and told us GCT considered it safe to go. There were no supervisors on duty the entire weekend. On Monday our GCT head clerk directed us to return our tickets which had been issued by Cathay Pacific Airways for the air and resort portions and he told us they would work out an appropriate refund. On Oct. 3, 2005, we returned our 4 tickets which showed a face value of $8,641.40.
We have since been told by Cathay Pacific that Grand Circle Travel, Boston, MA., returned our tickets to them, Cathay Pacific, and Grand Circle Travel received a complete refund less $75.00 per tickets administrative cost, for a total refund to Grand Circle $8,341.40. GCT’s only reply to us has been, “We sent the trip off as planned and since you cancelled you are not entitled to one cent of a refund.” The clerk that told us we could expect a refund is no longer an employee of GCT. Thus Grand Circle gained an unjust enrichment of our $10,484.60 because we followed the Travel Warning of the State Dept, the President of Indonesia and the Australian Government.
Grand Circle Travel had also collected $924.60 in taxes, fees, fuel surcharges and inspection fees from us which they refuse to return to us, and which they did not pay to the taxing authorities.
Best advice, try to learn something about the company you are about to do business with. I did recently and learned that Grand Circle had their membership in the Better Business Bureau of Massachusetts revoked on 10/27/05 because they did not “make diligent efforts to eliminate causes of customer complaints.” They have had over 100 complaints filed with the BBB. Furthermore, the Attorney General of Massachusetts recovered over $100,000.00 for Grand Circle Passengers for Sept. 11 post trip cancellations that Grand Circle had refused to refund. Let that be fair warning.
Carl Fischer, Sun City West, AZ.