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IVHQ / refused to refund registration

1 United States Review updated:
Contact information:
Phone: 504 259 8743

I had registered to volunteer abroad as a nurse. Two days later a family emegency came up and I will not be able to keep my committment on March 15, 2009. I emailed and requested a refund and was denied. in the literature it was stated that you could get a full refund as long as you requested one 60 days prior to your departure date. I signed up 55 days before my departure date. There was nothing in the literature about a refund on a reg istration if you registered 55 days AHEAD of departure. I was always taught by law that if you canceled a transaction within 72 hours you would be able to get your full refund back. Can you help?

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  • Me
      18th of Feb, 2009
    Best Best Advice +5 Votes

    I read the IVHQ terms and conditions and they are very clear. I think you are being unreasonable. You agreed toi the terms and conditions and if you did not receive then then this is your fault. I have volunteered abroad 4 times with IVHQ (Kenya, Tanzania, Peru and Thailand) as part of a world trip and they are amazing. A half witted complaint such as this is not worth listening to - ignore.

  • Ja
      19th of Feb, 2009
    -1 Votes

    I disagree with this too - IVHQ has very clear terms and conditions. They do an amazing job worldwide and the placement I did with them was fantastic. Of course they need to set up minimum dates at which they cannot refund your deposits. Otherwise they would get many people (like yourself) screwing them around, signing up at the last minute and then cancelling. Anybodu considering an IVHQ volunteer program - do it. You will love it!

  • Al
      12th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    Yeah, the terms and conditions say that the $220 registration fee is refundable, but the rest of the program fee is not. You should have purchased trip cancellation insurance.

  • Me
      24th of Aug, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Melissa, James, and Ally...all I have to say is WOW...if this organization is as good as you say it is...they should refund the money...I thought they where all about compassion...If she truely had a family emergency than no question they should cannot convince me that in 2 days they incurred any expenses. This organization really scares me...sounds like they are all about the money...

  • Ry
      25th of Nov, 2009
    0 Votes

    Here is the policy as outlined on the website. They are pretty clear about their policies, so I don't think you should have expected a refund...

    Refund Policy
    Compared to similar companies that provide comparable comprehensive volunteer service opportunities, IVHQ’s registration and program fees are significantly less than the fees charged by other such companies and volunteers are encouraged to compare IVHQ’s fees to the fees charged by other similar companies. As a consequence, IVHQ operates on a much smaller profit margin and is therefore unable to provide and does not provide a total refund policy.

    Registration Fees
    Details of our registration fees are set out on our website. The registration fee is refundable up to sixty days before the start of the volunteer’s placement in the host country.

  • Pa
      5th of Jan, 2010
    +2 Votes

    I too have had a VERY bad experince with this company, but I did travel with. They say your safety is in their best intrest but indeed it it NOT. They state in the contract that you will be taken of but in fact you arent. There is never anyone to found in case of emergancy. The organazion is poor and what they send you in the handbook isnt what actually happens.
    Be prepared to pay alot of your own funds to eat, travel and survive with IVHQ, the homestays are not safe if you have belongings or cash on hand. Also be prepared to pay yet again for your program when you arrive in regards to buying food, sometimes paying the bills of your homestay family. IVHQ says there will attended to these issues but never do, and you are left in a country fending for yourself.
    There is no support when it comes to program details apon arrival, you get to orientation and you know just as little when you leave as did when you arrived. Expect to also be asked for money at this meeting for the "free" nights accomadation you were suppose to be provided unless you havent already been guilted into it by your homestay family. IVHQ will NOT refund it for it.
    Another point, your health insurance will not do any good in Kenya and IVHQ will not help you with any transport for emerganys unless you pay.

    There is so much more I could say and well as others about IVHQ ..PLEASE look around..yes its cheep and there is a very a good reason for that...

  • In
      1st of Feb, 2010
    +1 Votes

    I volunteered with IVHQ in Kenya last year (late 2009) and I have to comment here because either the above comment is completely fabricated or whatever program this person went on is much different to the Kenya program. I had an outstanding time with IVHQ and Fadhili (the local organization) in Kenya and am going back in 2010. I can honestly say it was the best experience of my life. The Fadhili crew were amazing and I met Dan (director of IVHQ) when he was visiting the program and he was a nice guy too.

    I saw this post by "Patty Marshall" on here last week and informed Dan as I feel it is not a fair representation of my experience or the program I went on. He emailed back and told me they have had no-one by that name volunteer with them. He said it will either be another company trying to discredit them (which he said they have had a bit of since they started as their low prices have really upset a few other companies in volunteer travel) or maybe a disgruntled volunteer who did not want to use their own name. He did say they do have over 4000 people go abroad with them every year now and unfortunately with that many people, there would always be a small percentage that did not enjoy the program. However, he did also say the comments on the post were not true and if such things happened they would be sorted out so maybe someone trying to discredit them. I can second that - my host family were incredible as was the overall experience. Dan asked me to reply on this site if I could to try and portray a more realistic picture of their programs.

    From my experience 99% of the volunteers I met loved the program and Kenya. However, like Dan said to me there were some people that did not enjoy it (I would say 1 or 2 out of the approximately 50 I met in my 2 months in Kenya). I would put this down to unrealistic expectations and expecting to live in luxury ... also some had the wrong motivations for going with some looking just to party. My advice to future volunteers is remember that you are going to a third world country (it will not be the same as America or Australia) and your home stay while being very welcoming and comfortable is not a 5 star hotel and the family are not your servants. If you have a problem with anything, go and see the local staff. They were incredibly helpful with any issues I had and always wanted us to be happy. Finally, to help you prepare for your trip, go to the IVHQ Facebook page on Facebook. It was great in helping me network with other volunteers before I left and getting GENUINE feedback from past volunteers. I have posted regularly on there since I got back and try to get on there occasionally to answer questions future volunteers have. I plan on going back in November and December this year so hopefully will see some of you then.


  • Ja
      8th of Feb, 2010
    +1 Votes

    Some of these posts do look kind of suspicious like Geoff said, so I guess I'll throw in my 2 cents because I had checked this site out before I signed up with IVHQ and now I've just gotten back. IVHQ is so-so, I went with them to Peru and they were fairly well organized although they picked me up at the airport an hour late. The project in Cusco that I was on was good because there were a lot of other great people. However, in terms of whether I was really needed I doubt it and a lot of us volunteers were pretty horrified in realizing that IVHQ and their company in the field that they work with are basically just offering picture taking opportunities. I did a little more research, and it's pretty clear that IVHQ is run by a nice guy although he is pretty much just a businessman who stumbled on this "business." I'm not even sure he's ever volunteered and, although I know I sound a little US biased here, it did bother me a lot when I found out IVHQ is based in New Zealand which is not exactly close to South America where I was. Overall, they're not a scam like people are saying but I would not go through them again.

  • Mi
      15th of Feb, 2010
    +1 Votes

    Jason... maybe you should try a little less supposition, put your camera down, and try to be a little more reasonable.

    Yes, Dan has volunteered, in Kenya in fact. That is why he started IVHQ - because other similar organisations were charging too much. And of course it's a business. How do you pay your bills? Not everyone can suckle from Daddy's trust fund teat while helping improve our world. Being a business doesn't change the impact of the support they give to the host families and wider communities.

    You judging an organization by a local driver being an hour late to pick you up??? That doesn't even deserve a response. I just hope you didn't need to use the toilet - you would have had no one to hold your hand.

    And a New Zealand base is irrelevant. I know for a fact Dan spends most of his time travelling between the various programmes they run.

  • Iv
      15th of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    To Whom It May Concern

    I am Dan Radcliffe, Executive Director of IVHQ. We do not usually like to comment on feedback about us online as we like to leave it neutral and up to past volunteers to post their own opinions for future volunteers, however in this case, a number of past volunteers have emailed concerned about the nature of the comments and their legitimacy. We also seem to have some very passionate past volunteers supporting us here and it would be nice to stop this "discussion" before it gets out of hand.

    Unfortunately, the only name I recognize from the negative reviews above is Melanie Fouchi (original post) who did indeed have a problem with our registration fee policy. We are strict with our policies and do not feel a 60 day refund policy is unfair. "Patty Marshall" is not a past volunteer and we have never had a "Jason" in Peru (we have one at present who we contacted regarding this and he said his experience is great - exactly the opposite of what "Jason" above felt). Although it is sad, we have had a few cases of feedback being posted about us online in the past 12 months, which is not from past IVHQ volunteers. Since we started 3 years ago, we have made a big impression on other organizations offering volunteer trips abroad.

    IVHQ was established to offer more affordable volunteer trips abroad as we felt there were simply not enough options and too much money was being taken by the middle man. We also wanted to ensure more money made it to the country in which you work (we have a very transparent fees structure - registration fee comes to IVHQ to cover costs here and program fees go to the country in which you work - if you want more information on this, then feel free to email us ask). We have been very successful with this, and had a great response from people, sending over 4000 volunteers abroad annually, but unfortunately not making many friends with one or two other volunteering organizations as we have taken many of their customers. In the last year a smear campaign has started to emerge where we get some comments online from anonymous people or names that do not match up with our volunteers that contrasts the feedback we are receiving.

    If there are genuine volunteers not happy with something in the country they are placed, we ask them to let us know immediately so we can fix it. If "Jason" was unhappy with his placement, had he let us know we could have changed his placement. We want your trip to go as smoothly as you do.

    I do not wish to point fingers here at different companies, but all I ask is that if you are thinking about going on a volunteer trip abroad, then research the organization you go with. Research them online, look at blogs and ask the coordinators and people at the organization questions before you make your decision. IVHQ has a Facebook group with over 7000 members where you can find hundreds of past volunteers by scrolling the discussion boards and walls, check out thousands of photos and hundreds of videos posted by our past volunteers. Approach these past volunteers directly and ask them questions. We are proud of our programs and thousands of satisfied past volunteers can support this. Do your research on organizations before you register with them and get genuine feedback from genuine sources, to help you make the right decision when choosing an organization. If you have any questions of us, we are always approachable.

    Best Regards

    Daniel Radcliffe
    Executive Director

  • Ni
      23rd of Feb, 2010
    0 Votes

    Has anyone been to costa rica through IVHQ? I would like to know how it went as I am hoping to head there in June.

  • Sa
      10th of Apr, 2010
    -1 Votes

    The one thing that I will say about the fees of IVHQ is they are not as clear as they first seem- I was quite happy paying the $220 for the registrastion fee and had the money, only to find there was an extra 5% charge on this no matter which way I paid. Once Id paid that I was told there was also a 5% charge on the programme fee- this was not made apparent when looking at programme fees before booking. All in all I think im paying an extra £42 i didnt know about, and is just another thing to find money for.

  • An
      1st of May, 2010
    0 Votes

    I have just signed up to volunteer with IVHQ so I can't really comment much yet, but in regards t0 the 5% fee, yes I was a little annoyed about that too but at the same time, if you pay $220 by Paypal, they're going to charge IVHQ close to $11. If you pay by check/bank account, IVHQ has to pay banking fees on that too. So they might make a buck or two, but they're not pocketing an extra 11 from you.

  • He
      7th of Jun, 2010
    0 Votes

    June 2010.
    An old post, but as the thread is still running...

    I have recently returned from a Volunteer program in Nepal. I found IVHQ and their partner team in Nepal, very helpful.

    The staff at IVHQ continuously emailed us before we left the UK and continued to do so while we were in Nepal.
    If we had a question, they answered.

    The staff at Hope & Home in Nepal were fantastic. We all exchanged telephone numbers and all staff were available 24/7 .

    We also left Nepal to go sightseeing in Tibet after our program finished, but both IVHQ & Hope & Home remained in contact and helped us on our return both with accomodation and ensuring we were safe & happy.

    Although the original post was over a year ago, i would like to say, I sympathise with the family emergency situation that Melanie found herself in, however agree with the comment from James.

    Quote "IVHQ has very clear terms and conditions. They do an amazing job worldwide and the placement I did with them was fantastic. Of course they need to set up minimum dates at which they cannot refund your deposits. Otherwise they would get many people (like yourself) screwing them around, signing up at the last minute and then cancelling."

    Unfortunatley, sometimes things like this happen. Think of it as a donation to charity.

    I would recommend IVHQ.

  • Lb
      22nd of Aug, 2010
    0 Votes

    I volunteered with IVHQ in May of 2008, and to say the least there were a lot of issues, too much to get into here. I did write a very extended, polite, detailed email to Daniel Radcliffe, and he did not even have the decency to respond to me. Just that was enough to turn me from IVHQ and from recommending it to others. Since it is a "business", isn't the customer always right? Unfortunate. Of course some people will be very happy with the service, and others not. It is important to address those who did not have a good experience, which IVHQ did not do for me.

  • Dd
      9th of Feb, 2011
    0 Votes

    I actually thought IVHQ was great. However, there volunteer company there in Kenya-Fadhili- was a complete joke. I had money stolen from a third party account through PayPal, yes PayPal. They harassed me for the money even though I sent them proof-written documentation from PayPal. They actually made threats to have me removed from household and even country. They threatened house mother to not bring other volunteers to her if I were still in house. IVHQ needs to think about who it is they have representing them in these countries. There were many other complaints made about Fadhili during my 6 month stay. They never called to check on you like they promised, did not pass out certificates at end of volunteer stay, just dropped you at doorstep not to be seen from again, etc. Oh yes, they sent me to a school that was closed for the month I was there to volunteer teach. They said it was my fault for not contacting them, I should have known school was closed I guess. Again, I have nothing against IVHQ, it is a wonderful thing they are doing. My beef is with their affiliate Fadhili. No class.

  • We
      28th of Feb, 2011
    -1 Votes

    I used to work for a sals office and in the area of tourism. In addition I Volunteered in the past twice. I can totally understand, that companies and NGOs have to stick to refund polecies. Otherwise you give every other chancellation the same right to be threated/handeled as an expectation. then, you have to check every case individually. And surely, you can never be sure of "emmergencies".

    Also a lot of people come with expectations which are just above average. By any means. You come to a development country and things can go wrong. if someone wants a certificate, ask for it. If you feel bad, call someone. A basic service should be provided but please keep in mind, that you are in a different culture and also Volunteer organizations work with local staff. YOU have to addapt more then the local staff has to. Expect basic food and accomondation. And this is good... a cool experience. Immagine it would be done all by westerners... an totally comfortable. Very sustainable. Surely there are intercultural issues. Misstakes happen. That is life. before you Volunteer think twice for what and whom you Volunteer. And if you spent a bit on top: you did it in a development counrty and it reached the people. Difficulties are part of the whole experience.
    Also I am sure there are some Organizations who are ennoyed that Volunteering has transformed. paying rediculas high fees... and a lot is not reaching the country or a non profit. They are loosing custommers. And business has always been dirty. So I am sure some feedbacks are fake. Expensive Volunteering. This used to be years ago normal. More and more better Organizations pop up which are transprent. Look into the prices and partner Organizations within the country you will Volunteer. There are expensive once, IVHQ isnt.

  • Al
      29th of May, 2011
    0 Votes

    I volunteered with IVHQ in Tanzania this past September for 3 months and I have got to say that it was the best trip I have ever been on. I felt so safe while I was there and never once felt that I was in danger. The fees were very, very, very fair compared to the almost $5000 Projects Abroad was going to charge me while IVHQ cost me $1400. All in all, don't let this ONE (real) upset person stop you from volunteering with this company when her situation had absolutely nothing to do with the programs themselves.

  • Ni
      1st of Jul, 2011
    0 Votes

    I am looking to volunteer in South Africa, has anyone done this? How was it?
    Any info would be appreciated,

  • Ro
      23rd of Jul, 2011
    -3 Votes

    It is HORRIBLE whats is happening in IVHQ programs. Did you know that the owner of this program is a 25 year old guy that abuses of poor people instead of helping them? Thats a shame for all volunteers ins the world!

    The New Zealand authorities should do something!

    His name is DAN RADCLIFE and here are some pictures that show his behavior while poor people suffer.

    In PERU -SOUTH AMERICA is the worst case because some friends told me that a lady called LIDIA is a psychopat with volunteers and with money for poor people.

    Check this out.

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