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My Road Scholar cancellation/refund summary

We were booked on a Road Scholar southern Mexico archaeology tour for January. Checked my account today and the trip still showed as active but the website itself no longer offered the trip. I called in, requested a call back, and got a call within 20 minutes. The clerk said that the trip has been cancelled for all of 2021 but that many other itineraries were still being run - the problem was our specific itinerary was being shelved.

She did say - as to other international trips - that they are right now deciding for October 2020 - looks like they're going to cancel through the end of October soon. They are not going further out than that for now.

I asked for a refund of my deposit and she promptly processed a refund.

Posted by
140 posts

I was supposed to be on a Road Scholar trip to the Baltics in September. When it was cancelled, I had no problem getting a prompt full refund of everything I had paid for the trip, including the trip insurance plan they recommend. Very happy with how they handled the process.

Posted by
8439 posts

I'm glad Road Scholar is stepping up to the plate. For the first couple of weeks they were not refunding on trips they cancelled (based on posts on the Road Scholar discussion forums) but moved around to that and seem to be doing OK now. I'm not sure if it's because someone in the company realized there are some laws in MA (where they are headquartered) that govern tour refunds or if they just realized it was the right thing to do.

I figured they would cancel the October programs soon. I suspect there is some kind of legal time frame on cancellations and issuing refunds. I think Rick has said for the State of WA they have 2 weeks after a cancellation to process the refund so perhaps MA has this as well.

There are still some inconsistencies in their website on cancellations as well as their CFAR rules and what they will actually cover so if you sign up be sure to read everything ahead of time. Most of the inconsistencies seem to be on US based trips.

I've always been a big fan of Road Scholar (11 programs with them) but am slightly wary about booking. I've got several programs in France that interest me but I'll wait until Jan or Feb to see how things are going with Covid before I commit.

I've been appalled at the emails from them asking patrons to start Crowdfunding to support them. I realize they are non-profit but they charge almost as much as Rick's tours so it's not like we are getting a bargain on the price. Doing the Crowdfunding just seems weird for a tour company.

Happy both of you received refunds promptly!

Posted by
5091 posts

Glad to hear the refunds are for the asking. Next best thing to actually being able to take the trips!

Posted by
7723 posts

Actually Pam, Road Scholar offers scholarships. As a non-profit, it’s set up differently, often partnering with educational institutions. They often ask for donations for theIr scholarship funds. If they are that close to going under that they are crowd sourcing, I’ll contribute. I’ve had enriching experiences with Road Scholar, including a two-week Cuba trip from end to end.

Posted by
8439 posts

I know they give scholarships.

I know they give caregiver grants.

I know they partner with educational institutions for some (not all) of their programs. The first program I did in 2009 was thru the University of Montana-Western's adult ed program. Sorry they don't still list who the program provider is in their catalog or online.

They don't offer a price break for alumni for subsequent programs like Rick does so I figure I'm donating $50 a trip when I do a Road Scholar over Rick Steves. The single supplements are about the same between the 2 companies.

It's also fairly hilarious because Road Scholar has removed the link to it's discussion forums from the information bar. It's now under the Practical information link at the bottom of the page. The forums were not well-trafficked but there was some conversation. The button disappeared in April after people started complaining on the forum about not getting refunds. Not sure if it was coincidental or not.

Still, I suspect I will travel with them again, I'll just make sure I read completely any cancellation rules as they are different for programs. There are some that are classed as "Specialty Programs". Unfortunately the term "Specialty program" is not noted on the overview and so far Road Scholar staff has not been able or allowed to answer with a definition of what constitutes a Specialty program so you'd know right away there might be a different set of rules. There are different cancellation rules for International programs and also for any of their cruises.

Posted by
1240 posts

"The forums were not well-trafficked but there was some conversation. The button disappeared in April after people started complaining on the forum about not getting refunds. Not sure if it was coincidental or not."

OAT did the same thing except that they took the forum down completely. In their case not only was there a lot of traffic about no refunds, there was also advice about who to complain to (the state AG) which would result in a refund (that is how I got my refund). The forum is still inactive.

Posted by
8439 posts

Well one of the problems with the Road Scholar forums is that there are too many of them. They have a bunch of general forums (which is good) then they also have public forums for every.single. program AND have PRIVATE forums for every.single.program. I've posted a few times on the private forums for my programs and there have never been any responses. Not even a "hello" I'll be on that tour too. Very bizarre. There are a few of us who are regulars but most seem to be one-time posters who often don't return even when there is a comment on their threads. Road Scholar seems to have a staff person more or less (mostly less, lol) assigned to answer forum queries but they are not experienced enough to tackle any deep questions.

They did not shut the forums down entirely as OAT did which is a point in their favor.