Nordic Saga Tours Disappointment

Old Sep 16th, 2020, 09:11 AM
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Nordic Saga Tours Disappointment

This last January or so we made plans with this company for a Finland trip over Christmas. They gave me the details, told me the deposit, which I made and although the communication was a bit trying I was happy. About a month later I was informed I owed another $1,000 which I was not prepared for. After speaking with the "manager" we agreed I would pay that by March, which I did - not realizing a week later the pandemic would be all consuming. Although I did purchase travel insurance of course it did not cover this. After many communications with the manager, she said it was way too early to decide and besides that I would not be refunded. She "could" extend a credit for a future trip possible. As its now September and I owe the balance, I had to cancel as I'm sure many have since at this point in time 1) The numbers of sick and dead are still climbing here and we haven't even gotten to regular flu season, aside from the fact that there is no plan to curb it either. 2) Finland is Closed to tourists from the U.S.A. and holds open the possibility of Quarantine for 2 weeks and testing for all. 3) I'm sure the company cannot guarantee that the trip would be as we purchased since activity companies and others scheduled are most likely closed or making changes. 4) We can't guarantee the Airlines will be flying certain days, times, or places to get us to/from in time.

The option to use the money as a credit for a trip in the next 2 Years, sounds good initially. but I assume the trip would be quite a bit more Expensive. I also lose my trip insurance and would have to repurchase. I also assume the company cannot guarantee it would be the same trip as I'm sure everything has and will change significantly. Lastly, during that time I will be without that money but the company will be able to use as they want. I'm hoping to do the trip at some point, but who knows if it will happen, when, how and having the money to decide is part of the process.

I was told they were keeping my deposit based on my cancellation because they put the money down on hotels and other transportation that wouldn't refund. I know this is not true as I have cancelled 2 other trips due to this pandemic to see family and friends and all Airlines, Hotels, Car Rentals, and even Shuttles refunded with no questions asked (I have proof of this). I have also contacted other tour companies that do touring in the Nordic areas and they are handling things differently.

I am a seasoned traveler and work in an industry that handles a lot of travel and understand both sides but companies taking advantage of this pandemic is hard for me to accept. I feel the customer service during the booking process was poor and the handling of this during a unprecedented virus is definitely in bad faith. I would not recommend or use this company in the future. I was taught you get your business from Repeat, not Pete. Amazing.


solsenz is offline  
Old Sep 16th, 2020, 09:59 AM
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I assume you paid by credit card? Have you taken this up with your credit card company?
Melnq8 is offline  
Old Sep 16th, 2020, 10:47 AM
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I'm sorry to hear about this. As you said, you and many others were/are in the same predicament. I had the same problem when cancelling a Zambian safari I was meant to go on in August. In speaking with my travel insurance provider and they said much of what you already know, although with the added knowledge/insult that I would only be reimbursed (and only partially so) if I'd flown to Zambia and been turned away because US residents were not allowed. They'd also cover the cost of my quarantine hotel. Nice, huh?

In short, what I learned is not covered:
1) Airline not flying US to destination (go to the airline for reimbursement, not your insurer)
2) Country not letting you in because you come from a hotspot (small print in insurance policy)
3) Having to quarantine and miss your trip (insurer will pay only for my quarantine hotel or the fare to fly home early in my case)
4) Pre-booked accommodation(s) not open at destination (will additional cover cost of booking alternative, too bad they're not the ones you'd planned on)

Quite literally, the only thing that would be covered is if I got COVID and couldn't travel, or had to stay home to take care of someone who did.

A bright-side, and this is the only reason I share all this: you may want to talk to your insurer about keeping that premium and applying it to a future trip. Some of my safari-going friends have been able to do that. I could not, only if I had rebooked my safari within a certain number of days. The rules on reapplying that premium seem to vary from insurance company to insurance company and policy to policy.

The other thing you could do, which a few people I know did, is rebook for same time next year and basically kick the can down the road. Because who knows if we'll be traveling then or if the tour company will even be in business (then you'd get your money back under your policy). If you're not getting the deposit back, might as well put it toward that and see what happens.

My credit card was no help (their trip insurance feature is quite similar to the above), but perhaps if you have a gold, platinum or black card, you may get more mileage.
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