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Very Disappointed in Walks of Italy

Walks of Italy has not followed through on previous statements regarding my refund for a cancelled walking tour in Venice.
I read their cancellation policy carefully before making the reservation for the walk. I cancelled well within the time frame and when given a choice between a refund and voucher, stressed the refund was what I needed. This was months ago. They told me I would receive a refund, but that they were processing them in order, and I would hear from them 7 days before the scheduled walk.

I did not hear from them and contacted them again. After several days I received an email with a voucher. This is not acceptable, especially since we had previously agreed to a refund.

Now before you all jump on the " you know there is a crisis, this is a hard time for them, etc" bandwagon, I already know this. I also know that they confirmed that I would receive a refund from them which they are now unwilling to give.

I am very disappointed in this company. I don't think that I would ever be able to trust them enough in the future to use their services.

Posted by
1568 posts

Well Carol, I won't jump on you. It is reasonable that you would like a refund for services that did not take place regardless of the circumstances.

It's a shame. Could be many businesses in and around Rome have their hands tied. Maybe they ran out of funds? Walks of Italy, The Roman Guy and many of their counterparts took a hard hit with all this.

Can you contact them again and ask why they chose to send a voucher when their initial correspondence promised a refund?

I thought I read "somewhere" that companies/hotels, etc. have the choice of giving a voucher as opposed to a real refund now. I am not sure if it is the Italian law now.

Adding:

I found this on TRG's website under policies.

  1. CANCELLATION DUE TO FORCE MAJEURE

Cancellation due to Force Majeure or reasons beyond our control will result in a credit given or refund. This will be decided at the discretion of management on a case by case basis.

It does not hurt to try contacting TRG again. *Correction: * Walks of Italy

Oops! My bad! lol

I had TRG on the brain....WOI is what you are referring to. WOI has a live chat. Maybe you can get an answer that way?

Here is an update from their website:

https://www.walksofitaly.com/blog/travel-tips/coronavirus-travel-updates-italy-walks?_ga=2.264599560.607926378.1593015243-1264374544.1593015243&_gac=1.45359760.1593015244.EAIaIQobChMI5vy1oeya6gIVi4zICh3hFA8gEAAYASAAEgJt__D_BwE

Posted by
11700 posts

As someone said on a different thread, "You can't squeeze blood from a turnip."
I'd doubt if there was anyone on these forums, including myself, who hasn't had to renege on a promise due to extreme and/or unforeseen circumstances. No fun. ☹️

I absolutely understand that's it's disappointing but at the same time it's either issue vouchers and try to keep the business alive or just shut the doors...in which the people with booked excursions will be completely out their investment. It's trying to make the best of a really bad situation for all involved. WOI also isn't the only business in this predicament as here's another unable to refund deposits.

https://www.italyandwine.net/blog/italian-refund-deposits

This paragraph is significant as it appears to apply to WOI, Roman Guy and other tour services in Italy:

"As per the government decree on the coronavirus emergency – more specifically, in accordance with the provisions of article 88 of law decree no. 18/2020 and article 28 of law decree no. 9/2020 – we are asked to make a refund in the form of a voucher for the same value of the service that you paid, valid for 12 months."

The company linked above was going the extra mile by making vouchers good for two years versus 12 months. It's possible that WOI might be able to do the same for you if travel is out of the question before the expiration date of your voucher. You might kindly inquire if that's a possibility? Empathy and flexibility might be the ticket to extended goodwill on the part of, what must be, the few tired, worried and hassled employees who must handle the mess?

Posted by
3004 posts

Kathy (insert clapping hands emoji here).
I struggled on a reply that you have worded well, with supported documentation for WOIs actions.

Posted by
89 posts

I am sorry this happened to you.
On their website under “Terms and Conditions” there is a section regarding Force Majeure (they spell it Majure). Under that section they are not required to give you a refund. They should not have promised they would, but at the time someone either thought they would or made a mistake.
They are not an Italian company. Originally they were based in Louisiana and now they are in Houston. You could file a complaint with the Texas AG but with the Force Majeure website disclosure I think they are covered.

Posted by
2988 posts

I knew people wouldn’t be able to keep from “explaining” to me all the things that I already knew. I am surprised that people still feel the need to try to explain away how losing money shouldn’t feel bad. Even when one knows why it is happening, it doesn’t make the experience any better.

My original point remains, they promised one thing and then did another. I’m disappointed.

Posted by
89 posts

Well I told you I was sorry and that they shouldn’t have promised and not delivered.
I also suggested the Texas AG office.

Posted by
1568 posts

Carol, maybe you did not read my first post. I don't know what anybody else wrote or what they meant or implied.

I sympathized and I also gave you suggestions on how to contact the company via live chat or email them again.

So yes, I understand that you may already know to email them again, but I thought putting a little bit more detail into the email and sending them a screenshot of what they promised.

More than likely, they won't be able to give you the credit / cash refund.

if the voucher is not usable to you within the next year or so, then try to find another way to get compensation.

You probably already know this too, but try selling it at face value to someone else who may use it next year or whenever the date expires.

I am not being harsh, but no one on this forum has any control over what the tour company can or will do as far as refunds.

I believe initially, companies were giving the real credits.

As time went on the rules and regulations changed apparently. Therefore, whatever was promised before may not be able to happen. So for equal compensation, they are sending customers vouchers to use.

I know it is disappointing, and a lot of people are disappointed. But rejoice in the fact that you are able to travel one day compared to many who cannot for obvious reasons.

Good luck and maybe you will get a surprise from walks of Italy.

Posted by
6907 posts

Unlike Girasole, I don’t sympathize. Good grief, how much did you loose that it doesn’t feel good? Despite being a long-time, regular contributor, you came here to tell how they first promised one thing but did another. I don’t see a question. Was it the amount of money that the group tour cost, or were you warning people not to book with them because of your disappointment in their change in practice? What was your intent, particularly when you are trying to tell people what they should or shouldn’t write? I still don’t see a question. Several posters have reported the same problem with Rome-based tour companies, so you have company in your disappointment.

It’s been tough for everyone. I “donated” $500 to a hotel in Dubai. Gone. C’est la vie. I’ve moved on.

Posted by
11700 posts

Most of us initially sympathized with you but we also tried to walk in the shoes of the tour company. Things look a little different from that perspective. At least you're not an unemployed "Take Walks" guide wondering how they'll pay the bills? Not sure why that's not something you care to think about but I do wish you good luck getting an extension of your voucher.

Posted by
32 posts

Walks of Italy are back in operation. This is the current cancellation policy dating back to September 3,2019 posted on their website. Walks LLC offers a full refund on cancellations made more than 72 hours prior to tour commencement. Cancellations received within 72 hours prior to the tour are non-refundable. We will however, do our best to reschedule you for another tour. Please note, this is subject to availability and price changes. Many customers now do not plan to ever go to Italy or other European countries because of COVID19 concerns. Therefore a voucher is useless. Walks put it in writing they offer a full refund, they need to honor their word.

Posted by
2028 posts

I knew people wouldn’t be able to keep from “explaining” to me all the things that I already knew. I am surprised that people still feel the need to try to explain away how losing money shouldn’t feel bad. Even when one knows why it is happening, it doesn’t make the experience any better.

I am asking without rancor - how did you expect people to respond to your post?

Posted by
2988 posts

I think I mostly wanted to alert people that there could be a problem moving forward with this company and why. It is always a red flag to me when a company doesn’t follow through with what they promise.

I should have known better than to share the concern here. Many people did respond in a kind and thoughtful manner, and tried to give helpful ideas. I appreciate them. A few, well I didn’t get that same vibe from them. It was a very good lesson to me to remember that people who post on this forum make themselves vulnerable, and I need to really think about what I write in response.

Posted by
1568 posts

Many customers now do not plan to ever go to Italy or other European countries because of COVID19 concerns. Therefore a voucher is useless. Walks put it in writing they offer a full refund, they need to honor their word.

catchulater, well, if that is the case with Carol, then perhaps she can plead her case to the admins at Walks of Italy.

I can understand why the OP came on to tell of her experience. Some can say, "yes, I get it...it happened to xyz too" but that does not change the fact WOI is issuing vouchers right now.

Aside from giving opinions, sympathy, suggestions, giving the OP links to go by, what else can we do?

If Carol really cannot use the voucher(s), then maybe she can sell it privately? I don't know if Andrew would allow that in PMs.

What needs to be done, as stated earlier, is go live chat, call them or email them with a screen shot of the email stating she would get a refund back to her credit card.

Carol, if you read this, please take my suggestions -- appeal to WOI again. If you cannot travel within the voucher dates, tell them that. I honestly cannot say of course, sans a crystal ball, what their reply would be.

As I mentioned in another post, the laws in Italy changed a bit since the start of the pandemic. Now companies are running out of money.

Rick Steves might be an exception where he has the money to keep his employees employed even if he has to cut a few hours. His money management is very different. Some companies' portfolio is "richer" than others for different reasons.

Posted by
1568 posts

I think I mostly wanted to alert people that there could be a problem moving forward with this company and why. It is always a red flag to me when a company doesn’t follow through with what they promise.

Well, okay, you are entitled to your feelings of course. But WOI, TRG and others like them really get good reviews for the most part. This pandemic turned the world upside down and we were not prepared for the "tsuami" to follow.

I think you will find this business practice (right now) with most in Italy. I believe people on here came to write they were not getting any refunds or vouchers for hotels or airfare. That is worse. At least you are getting a voucher.

Maybe someone will PM you and ask to buy the voucher from you at face value once you receive it. Then it will be a "win win" lol.

I kind of don't agree to put down a pretty reputable company overall for their hands being tied so to speak. For the last time, though, please try what I suggested in a few of my replies to you.

I don't know if WOI would give you the credit you want in the far future and you could be patient and wait it out (if that is possible with them)....it is hard to speculate when companies will be running in full force. Even Rick has cancelled his tours through the Autumn.

Posted by
1568 posts

So as someone mentioned above, WOI "is back in operation." Perhaps when they start getting a healthy revenue, they can go from there.

Another point: The OP bought the tour(s) in good faith. She afforded it as part of her traveling. But now, in light of the pandemic, people who paid out for luxury "may need the money now." We don't know Carol's personal story. (People were getting their work hours or pay reduced.)

Posted by
517 posts

Carol, I just wanted to say that I understand your disappointment. It would have been better not to have been promised the refund initially and then you could have accepted it and moved on. To be promised it and expecting it and then to not receive it is certainly disappointing. In the grand scheme of things where others have lost thousands of dollars due to cancellations, sometimes there’s not a lot of sympathy on this forum. However, I would never want to diminish someone’s feelings of loss and disappointment, just as I would want someone to empathize with me in a similar situation.

Posted by
835 posts

To put it in perspective, might one ask the value of the cancelled tour? How many euros are we talking about here?

Posted by
365 posts

They shouldn’t have told you upfront there would be a refund. However, I bet they initially thought things would be better much quicker (as did many of us) and didn’t expect not to be able to do so. After COVID got worse, things changed.

I have $1,600 in tours booked with them for September. (And $400 with Eating Italy). It sounds likes it’s going to be vouchers.

I did go back and read their cancellation policy and it does actually state upfront (Not hidden), that their policy conditions can change from time to time at the discretion of the company. In booking and paying our fees, well, we agreed to that. Personally, I don’t hold a grudge Against them because if anything sounds reasonable in them changing their policy conditions, COVID is it.

I think they need to do 2 year vouchers though, like the airlines are doing.

Posted by
238 posts

I read this post then called my daughter to see if her and her boyfriend ever received their refund. She cancelled the beginning of April for their May trip. She told me that WOI promised her a refund and she never received it. Now she said it would be a voucher. Like Carol, she is very upset. Why? My daughter said," WOI should not have told me in a written email they were going to refund my money if they were not going to refund it". I explained to my daughter who is a smart girl, companies are going under, companies are going out of business, cut them some slack. Her issue was the same as Carols. She does not know when she will rebook her trip to Italy. My answer, if all you loose is the WOI fee you're a winner. Some people lost a whole lot more.

Hope it works out for all dealing with WOI.

Posted by
79 posts

Kathy thank you! I too have wanted to say what you so clearly stated. These are unprecedented times so things, as refunds, are not the norm or really possible if people are going to survive economically during these times. The Italian government passed some emergency policies so that these tour companies can stay afloat. They only had to give a 12 month voucher but many have gone beyond that. I received a three year voucher and 25% discount for my Roman Guy tour. They even said that it can be gifted to others and can be extended for three years, thus making it a six year voucher. I found their response more than generous in these pandemic times. I plan to rebook with them when I return to Italy in the future.

Posted by
2988 posts

Here is the current update:

I wrote to Walks of Italy expressing my displeasure in first being offered a refund and then being given a voucher instead. They responded that they are no longer even considering refunds as an option, although they had promised them previously. They have made the vouchers good for 3 years and they are transferable.

I see no purpose in following up any further on this matter.

I would like to thank those who read my post and answered thoughtfully. I appreciate your input. I didn't always agree with what everyone said or how some said it, but I still appreciate your kindness in taking the time to respond to a post on this forum. I know that everyone operates with only the best of intentions.

Posted by
2078 posts

So surely within the next 3 years you should be able to advertise this here and see if someone is interested in buying your tour from you.

Posted by
11700 posts

Very glad that they've been able come through with an extended voucher, and with the option to transfer it besides! Things, at least where these particular tours are concerned, are looking up, yes? 🙂. Now if this darn plague would just make a hasty exit so we could actually get on a plane. Grrrr.

Joyce, you might suggest to your daughter that she politely contact them again and see if she can land the same offer? Same for you, Lulu, especially as you have a considerable amount invested. 🤞

Posted by
365 posts

This is valuable news to now have. They said online that they will contact a week prior to our tours. But mines not until September. So, I’m wondering if I should call and try to make a deal now, or wait until September. Not sure if they are offering anything more, like the other tour companies.

This would have been the perfect year. DS2 just graduated college and has no job. Who knows what next year will bring. We told him to just tell any employer (if he’s hired), that he has a 10 day trip previously planned for upwards to 2 years, paid for, and he needs the time off (for free of course).

Posted by
2988 posts

Lulu, I would contact them now. They did not get back to me in the “7 days before tour” timeline. They only responded when I kept contacting them.

Posted by
365 posts

Thank you, Carol!! I’ll contact them today. How did they offer you a voucher? Did they send something via email with a code, that you can use when booking another tour?

Posted by
365 posts

Thanks Carole! I hope you get there after this is over and can go on your tour!

Posted by
32 posts

Here is an option if you booked with free cancellation and followed their procedures for requesting a refund and have not received one. Contact your credit card company to file a complaint. Then forward them your original booking email, which states free cancellation refund policy.

Posted by
58 posts

Hi Carol,

Please see my post from today. I was issued a refund. Don't give up on it.

Posted by
1666 posts

I should have known better than to share the concern here.

I totally agree that you should have known better. I'm not sure of your intent. If it is to scare off customers, I don't see how that works to your advantage.

We've used WOI several times and our experiences have been very positive. We fully intend to use them again at the first opportunity.