After Overseas Adventure Travel cancels Sandy Hain’s Morocco tour, it offers a credit. He wants a refund. Is the company required to return his money? 

Q: I’d like some advice for obtaining a refund for a trip to Morocco my wife and I booked with Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT). We originally scheduled for April of 2020. OAT canceled the trip in March 2020. At that time, OAT offered either a full refund or incentives to rebook the trip or opt for other future trips. We had until May 1 to decide. 

But before May 1, we asked about a refund, and a representative told us that was no longer an option. OAT booked us on a future trip instead. 

I recently read that Overseas Adventure Travel was required to honor my request for a refund under Massachusetts law. I contacted OAT late last year and again asked for a refund. A representative told me it would take 30 to 90 days. I called them in January and a representative told me it would take 30 to 90 business days. I’ve reviewed the Massachusetts Travel Seller law and saw that refunds should be made within 30 days.  

OAT has been a fantastic company for the past two tours we have taken with them, but now I am worried our $9,864 they agreed to refund will disappear. Any advice or efforts on your part are greatly appreciated. — Sandy Hain, Palo Alto, California

A: You’re absolutely correct that the Massachusetts Travel Seller law (940 Mass. Reg. 15.06) requires a full refund. And since Overseas Adventure Travel is based in Boston, it must return your money. Its May 1 deadline is irrelevant.

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I’m dealing with a lot of Overseas Adventure Travel cases at the moment. It seems the company strongly encouraged customers to accept a credit — maybe a little too strongly. I mean, it should have at least waited until its own deadline before telling you that you had to take the credit.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: If you can give your tour operator an opportunity to reschedule your trip, you should. Companies like OAT are struggling amid a difficult pandemic. You mentioned to me that your previous two OAT tours were terrific. What better way to ensure the company survives than giving it your business?

But you shouldn’t have to do that, and the state of Massachusetts agrees. So this is really an open-shut case. You get a refund. Period.

If anyone else is having a problem with getting a refund from Overseas Adventure Travel, I list the names, numbers and email addresses of its executives on my consumer advocacy website, Elliott.org. I recommend sending a brief, polite email citing 940 Mass. Reg. 15.06 and requesting a refund within 30 days. If that doesn’t work, you can file a complaint with the Massachusetts attorney general — or with me.

I contacted Overseas Adventure Travel on your behalf. It issued an immediate refund.