Contact: Grace Atherton, Communications Director, [email protected], 608-224-5020
MADISON – Today, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) announces that Voyageurs International, Ltd., will refund a total of $636,500 to 335 Wisconsin consumers for payments made for the company’s 2020 European tour.
The Colorado-based company canceled the trip on March 17, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the cancellation, they withheld a $1,900 cancellation fee from each high school music student and adult chaperone who had prepaid for the trip. Voyageurs claimed that this fee was withheld due to non-refundable amounts paid to third-party vendors, as well as general operating costs of the business. After receiving complaints from consumers and conducting a thorough investigation, DATCP found that Voyageurs received substantial refunds from these third-party vendors but failed to pass these recouped fees on to their customers.
“Cancelling events and tours during the pandemic is certainly understandable,” said Lara Sutherlin, Administrator of DATCP’s Division of Trade and Consumer Protection. “However, businesses cannot misrepresent the fees they charge in the event of a cancellation. That is what happened here, and it’s why our Bureau of Consumer Protection stepped in to ensure a fair resolution for Wisconsin consumers.”
Under the agreement, Voyageurs will issue the refund to DATCP. The agency will then contact affected students and their families beginning in May 2021 to arrange payments.