deposit refund

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Mar 18th, 2013, 01:21 AM
  #1
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deposit refund

In January, 2013, I had to cancel a safari planned for August, 2013, with Kenya Wildlife Trails, Nairobi, Kenya. It's now been more than two months since the cancellation, and they still have not refunded the deposit. The refund is not in dispute, as they approved the refund in previous emails in Feb, 2013, but the refund of the deposit has not been done. Recent emails have gone unanswered.

What can a person do when a safari company does not refund your deposit? Any thoughts, opinions, advice, etc, is appreciated.

Thanks,
Jack
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Mar 19th, 2013, 07:21 AM
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Best I know, deposits are 'non-refundable'... further payments made after deposit should be refundable based on a percentage depending on how many days prior actual safari arrival in-country.

If you purchased Trip Cancellation/Interruption insurance, which any traveler should especially for a pre-paid holiday... contact your insurer regarding refunds.

Good luck!
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Mar 19th, 2013, 08:11 AM
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Hi Sandi, been awhile since I posted on Fodor's and it looks like most of the folks I used to converse with are no longer posting, or at least not very often. I can't believe Eben got removed from the blog! He was such a great resource.

As for Kenya Wildlife Trails, their policy is that deposits are refundable up to two months prior to departure, and we canceled long before that timeframe. And importantly, KWT doesn't dispute the refund, in fact, they have approved it in several emails last month. But, for some reason, it hasn't been done. Since it's been over two months since the cancellation, it seems like they're trying to avoid doing the refund.

And we didn't purchase trip insurance, probably should have on hindsight. One reason we didn't is that KWT is bonded by KATO. Before making the deposit, I emailed KATO to find out exactly what "bonding" meant and was told that KATO ensures that member safari companies operate legitimately. So, we felt confident we were dealing with a legit company.

Thanks for the reply, Jack
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Mar 19th, 2013, 11:40 AM
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I assume you paid by wire transfer? Have you tried contacting KATO to see if they can provide any assistance?
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Mar 19th, 2013, 01:04 PM
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Hi Patty, glad to see another "old-timer" is still around. Paid with MasterCard through PesaPal, a company in Nairobi used by KWT for credit card payments. I contacted KATO yesterday but haven't heard from them yet. Maybe we'll see if KATO "bonding" means anything. Thanks, Jack
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Mar 19th, 2013, 01:34 PM
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Ha ha, yes I'm still around In that case, I would dispute the charge with the credit card issuer if you don't get anywhere with the tour operator or KATO. Good luck!
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Mar 20th, 2013, 07:36 AM
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It might be worth a phone call to the managing director's cell phone (land lines are unreliable.) I had a similar situation a few years ago after the violent elections. It took a while, but I finally got my refund. The company said that they were having trouble getting my e-mails... kept going to their spam folder, they said.
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Mar 20th, 2013, 12:18 PM
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'old timers' - really?

As above, follow-up with KATO but doubt they'll be able to assist, but if they do... absolutely let us know.

And, as you didn't purchase insurance, regardless the reason (I won't travel anywhere without it nowadays), then contact your credit card provider and see what they can do for you.

Good luck!
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Mar 20th, 2013, 02:50 PM
  #9
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Great advice, guys, appreciate it. If KATO is a help, or the issue's resolved in any way, I'll certainly post it. J
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Mar 21st, 2013, 07:58 AM
  #10
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Sandi, re: trip insurance, the policies I looked at on InsureMyTrip.com cover cancelations like ours (canceling for reasons other than death, etc) ONLY if you purchased the "cancel for any reason" coverage, which, of course, adds quite a bit to the cost of the insurance.

But, more importantly, "cancel for any reason" coverage only covers a NON-REFUNDABLE deposit, and our deposit is, according to Kenya Wildlife Trails safari company, a refundable deposit.

So, in this situation, trip insurance would not have helped.
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Mar 21st, 2013, 02:20 PM
  #11
 
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As my comment above, in most situations the deposits are non-refundable, why I mentioned Trip Insurance. And though insurance of any kind tends to always be for the benefit of the insurer, one wonders whether they should or not regardless for what reason. For me, I'd prefer to have than not, especially when it comes to some destinations where the 'medical/evacuation' is more important, or if the cost of trip, whether deposit or entirely is no big deal if lost.

In your case where Kenya Wildlife Trails indicates a refund for all or part of deposit, then you've got to follow-up with them or thru your credit card issuer.

Good luck and let us know the results.
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Mar 26th, 2013, 05:58 PM
  #12
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Update:

I was very patient with Kenya Wildlife Trails and gave them almost three months to refund my deposit, but they never did. So, even though I thought it might be too late, I finally went ahead and contacted MasterCard. The amount of the deposit ($2,880) was credited to my account within a couple of days.

To my knowledge, most Africa-based safari companies do not want to take credit cards, they want you to do a wire transfer, and KWT was no exception. However, I insisted on using MasterCard and eventually they agreed, but only through an entity called PesaPal (not PayPal nor associated with PayPal in any way). If I had not paid the deposit with MC, I do not think that I would have ever gotten a refund.

KWT appears to be a reputable company, memberships in KATO and other professional associations, good recommendations, a large company with high annual revenue, nicely done website, many guide/drivers, a good supply of Land Cruisers, etc, etc, etc, all the accoutrements that would make one think that they were reputable. Because of what has happened, though, I will never again consider planning a safari with an Africa-based company, mainly because most of them will not accept credit cards.

Lesson learned the hard way: only plan a safari with a US-based agency, and most importantly, only pay with a credit card. Don't even think about doing a wire transfer. There are some good US-based companies represented right here on this blog, but I won't name any because that might seem like I'm soliciting business for someone, and I'm certainly not doing that. But if anyone wants a good agency to represent them, this is probably as far as you need to go.

Again, thanks to all who gave such good advice when I was floundering around trying to figure out what I should do to get a refund of my deposit. Jack
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Mar 27th, 2013, 04:49 PM
  #13
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Patty, forgot to mention that I did contact KATO awhile back. They said they'd look into it, but I haven't heard anything else from them. And ShayTay, the Operating Manager of KWT is the person I've been dealing with, and there has been no problem with my emails getting to him.
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Mar 30th, 2013, 09:23 PM
  #14
 
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I have been trying to get somebody at KWT explain this issue for a week and finally got a name and a number today-Jonathan - Manager - +254-722-206-064. They claim there was an 'incomplete' account information hence the delay. They also said nobody from KATO ever raised an issue with them.
Ultimately, I'm glad you got your refund. Thanks for sharing your experience and advise
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Apr 6th, 2013, 05:46 AM
  #15
 
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As long as the company's terms and policy are clear and a refund is accommodated then I do not see why a client should not get the refund,what a client should do is affirm all terms/condition before signing up,A company who is a member of KATO should abide by the ethics of the association and definitely act within the regulation.
What happened though later resolved as can be read on the post do not mean one should never consider planning a safari with an Africa-based company.
www.africanservalcatsafaris.com
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Apr 6th, 2013, 06:50 PM
  #16
 
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"The refund is not in dispute, as they approved the refund in previous emails in Feb, 2013, but the refund of the deposit has not been done. Recent emails have gone unanswered."

How terribly disappointing there was no follow through. What you experienced is very rare. Sorry you had to go through it.

Georgenng, can you tell us who you are in this situation and your involvement? Thank you.
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Apr 8th, 2013, 01:27 AM
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Are you sure they have your Swift number? I have found that sometimes some banks fail to give it as just your account number will not be sufficient.
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Apr 9th, 2013, 01:34 PM
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Atravelynn
"Georgenng, can you tell us who you are in this situation and your involvement?"
I understand your suspescion atravelynn. I'm nothing more than who you are and everybody else who was concerned and posted above. I took my family to Kenya last Summer did my own private tours self driven which is cheaper. I'm also both an American and a Kenyan which is why I'm guessing you asked. The phone number and name was given in a Facebook message in their fan Page.
Will be happy to happily answer any more questions to your satisfaction including : no I have never toured with KWT and no I have neither family nor friends in any kind of your business both in Kenya and Texas
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