EF Tourscancellation policy scam

B Review updated:

I booked my child on a school/group tour to Egypt with EF Tours. I booked this trip in October 2010 for summer 2012 travel. I purchased the travel insurance as well. Shortly after signing up, civil unrest in Egypt and Libya erupted. For obvious reasons, we no longer wish to send our son to Egypt. In fact The US State Dept. has issued a warning about non-essential travel to the area. EF Tours has not canceled this trip?? My son's teacher has decided on an alternate trip, however it is a destination that my son has been to. When I called EF Tours to cancel, I was told that the initial membership fee was not refundable, nor was the insurance and they wanted to keep a $250.00 cancellation fee. Are you kidding me? You want to keep the cancellation insurance on a trip you should have cancelled and $250.00 cancellation fee? I said this was unacceptable and was told "I'm sorry you feel that way." Nicole asked if they had planned an alternate tour and I said yes but we were not interested. She then said the Egypt tour was a year away. Seriously? No one is going to send their kid to Egypt in a year!! I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told there wasn't one available but she would have one call me. She then was going to hang up and I asked if she had my phone number. She said yes and read off the wrong number. I am willing to lose the $98.00 but I think it is ridiculous to keep my insurance and a $250.00 cancellation fee for a trip that they should have CANCELLED! Do not do business with this company. They are preying on teachers, parents and students. How low can you go?


  • Be
    BethOcomplaints Mar 15, 2011

    Then EF and you should come clean and be honest with people. A good business has good business practices and honors what they post on their website. You advertised that if I signed up before Feb 28th which I did, you get a $150 discount. You have since changed your website. Be honest and give me my $150. What do the rest of you paying parents think. Not caseymore that works and gets paid by EF! Shouldn't EF do the right thing, honor what is on their website! Especially since they take high schoolers on tours! Especially those in San Diego! Looks like others agree on how low EF tours is! ANY OTHERS!!!

    0 Votes
  • eftours Mar 21, 2011

    Hi Bobbi, Thank you for your message. I can only imagine how disappointed your son must be now that this trip of a lifetime has been changed. Egypt is a special place, and I’m sure he was looking forward to seeing it with his own eyes. EF has been monitoring the situation in Egypt carefully, and we continue to take the safety of our travelers very seriously. As such, we have made the decision to suspend travel to Egypt as long as the U.S. State Department Travel Warning is in place. At this time, EF has not made any decisions for 2012 tours, because it is still too early to know what the status in Egypt will be at that time. We understand that some groups want to modify their 2012 travel plans as soon as possible, and we respect that decision. If you are unhappy with the choice your group leader has made regarding your 2012 tour, we would be happy to discuss your cancellation options with you. I can see that a supervisor in Customer Service called you on the afternoon of March 14th. So sorry he was unable to reach you. We will make sure someone reaches out to you again. -Katie from EF

    -1 Votes
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    frmdauk Apr 13, 2011

    It is so sad, but, frankly, the business ethics of EF Tours are a joke. Cancellations, "departure taxes" tour guides, tipping - all of their policies are geared toward one thing - making them richer. Ask EF Tours what happened to their operation in the UK - ask EF Tours what they did re their cancellation policy in the UK - Ask EF Tours if under European Law their cancellation policies are valid. My best advice to anyone even considering sending their child on a EF Tour is FORGET IT!!!

    1 Votes
  • Bi
    bigwawao Sep 17, 2011

    I joined EF tours to greece with my daughter thru her school -started paying in 2010. Then the greece problem started. I was concerned. I called EF tours and ask re. the greece situation and what they will do with it.. They said they will have an alternate tour if required. I asked if we decided to cancell our trip. Same as posted above, we will loose our deposit, membership fee, etc because it was considered " a lost of interest to travel on our part" (see their policies!). I am interested to travel, just not interested to be in the middle of an economic collapse, riots, chaos, etc. My wife and I decided to just wing it.
    We were a large group and thus had a sort of private tour. We left April 2011.
    Hotel was so and so. Food was rated OK to good. Not excellent. The tour guides were very nice but not knowledgeable. One of them keep saying that the Corinth Canal was built by the romans. It was built by the hungarians and finished by a greek company. I am one to read up on places that I intend to visit. A guide should be a lot more well versed in what they are going to say.
    Another big minus is this. EF means education first. Our hotel was within 10-15 mintues WALKING distance from teh National Archeological Museum and we failed to visit it. In fact we failed to visit any stand alone museum at all. Talk about education! But we did go to the beach!
    I recently looked at their china trip and was surprised to see a "visit to a steel mil" for experiential study. Hello! We have steel mills here! And china has 5000 years of culture. Better to use that time to see more historical sites- education first remember?
    Needless to say, I paid more (than the alternate self guided tour I had made up) for less education and sightseeing. From a 50-50 mix of group tours and self guided, this one time tour has made me a 70-30 in favour of self guided tours. I still do not discount group tours- just not with EF.
    But my daughters love it. Why? I recently found out, as some posters on the web says, that young people want to be with their friends; doesn't matter where, just away from parents. So it is just having a good time, not seeing a place, not learning about their culture.

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    GCG Dec 08, 2011

    Thank you for your input.

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    Ann Cisar May 31, 2012

    I wish I would have read these complaints before I signed up my daughter for upcoming EF Tour. I only read the Cancellation Policy 'fine print' in the brochure. I am trying to cancel due to financial hardship. I am unable to get any money back because the 'financial hardship' was "not a job loss within the last 2 weeks." I must find a replacement. I paid for the trip insurance, plus the tour isn't until next summer. WHAT A RIP OFF! DO NOT SEND YOUR CHILD ON A TRIP THROUGH THESE RIP OFF EF TOURS.

    0 Votes
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    midwesternmama Jan 22, 2013

    My son was scheduled to travel to the Greek Island in March of 2013. Mid-stream the destination changed to due the turmoil there. So, the destination changed and so did the fees. I contacted EF Tours only to be told that we would lose our desposit and the inclusive insurance - both nonrefundable) PLUS THERE WOULD BE A $900 dollar CANCELLATION FEE (50% of the trip)!!! The teacher in charge of this trip tried to cancel it for us (mind you he gets pd. for each person who signs up) without any success. Mind you I'd hate to think he never tried, or didn't try hard for us, but you just never know! I happened to see on this complaint site how someone who was going through the same thing, went through their state attorney generals office. So, I thought, well if it worked for him, maybe they could help me. My best advise, before you travel, make sure EF Tours is playing by the book because our state attorney generals office was able to get us a 100% refund on this trip! Apparently they were not following the laws of our state! So we got back everything, the deposit, the all inclusive insurance that is totally worthless and all money pd. after. Remember, state atty. generals office before you child travels!!! It was so worth it for us, but be warned, it takes time so don't wait!!! Good luck!!!

    3 Votes
  • Ru
    ruralgirl Oct 18, 2013

    I had my son on a wait list for a Europe tour. I had paid the $99 enrollment fee and the $149 Travel insurance (which by the way is optional but they represent it like you have no choice on the phone). I was told I had a deadline to take him off the waitlist (which was today). I called today to cancel and they said they already charged my credit card today for $948 and I was not eligible for a refund. I told them that the deadline had not passed and secondly, no one had notified me that a spot had become available for my son and he was now "enrolled". I did my homework and read the fine print cancellation policy which stated that "someone from EF tours would contact me when a spot becomes available". They had not. I also complained that they misrepresented the insurance policy. After several phone calls (and pressure) they did offer to send me a check for the full refund. I appreciate that, but their practices are shifty and I get the sense, like these other reviews, that they are a cash grab outfit. Go Private!!

    1 Votes
  • Lo
    LoveallHelpAll May 05, 2014

    EF tours has 37000 employees
    in 52 countries.
    It provides student with their first taste of the real world as in "getting ripped off",
    Run.. don't walk from EF tours. With the Internet to, who can research their own places with trip adviser etc. EF tours makes money by charging double, taking your money in advance and earning interest, and giving very little back if you cancel. Their "insurance" "third party" covers only the rarest of events. I am trying to cancel 45 days in advance and they want to
    keep $1800 or over half of the money. They make payday lenders look nice. I saw on their web site where their "insurance" covers all cases only to learn that insurance was not available for our trip and the insurance I has was of a different type or different "division".

    2 Votes
  • Ca
    Cathy D Sanders Jul 07, 2014

    Just finished a tour to Scotland, England and France. Worst experience of my life. 10 day trip consisted of 2 day in airports and flying time and 3 days traveling by coach. The hotels were always out of the way, some an hour one way, rated about a 2 out of 5. The places in the city were in low class, bad neighborhoods. The all inclusive is a joke. Cereal, toast, coffee, watered down juice, and water for breakfast, and the dinner meals were pizza, or lasagne's, small salad containing lettuce and maybe a tomato and water. Lunch was the only good meal and that's because you paid for your own. Did not tour half the places in the tour plan, because of too much time on the coach, or time spent walking in circles because tour director didn't really know where we were going. We decided to go to Hampton Court as an extra excursion and the director insisted on getting the tickets for us. Then he told us it would be 103 pounds each. We went in and checked the price and it was 18 pounds each. We refused to pay for that rip off. I could go on forever. Please people check EF Tours closely. They are a rip off and a scam.

    Cathy from Wynne, Arkansas

    1 Votes
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    a_non Feb 26, 2016

    I am a college student and was informed about a study abroad opportunity through EF Tours and was very excited about the opportunity. However, after I registered events happened that did not allow me to be able to travel with the group. I tried cancelling but EF Tours said that I would have to pay half of the cost of the trip (ON A TRIP I WOULD NOT BE ATTENDING) and that the money I had paid would not be reimbursed. Not only did they not want to reimburse me, but they also did not properly inform us of the correct itinerary and locations we would be traveling to. The itinerary on the website said the trip would be only for 8 days and allowed you the option of extending it for 2 days for several hundred dollars more. When I asked my advisor at school, she directed me to the correct link where the updated itinerary was that included the two days. EF Tours is simply scamming teachers, families, and students as myself!!! Very upset with the customer service as well.

    2 Votes
  • My daughter is scheduled to go to Europe in June 2016. With all the attacks since November, we called (several times) to express our concern. One of our guides from the high school has completely dropped out due to safety concerns to Americans. EF Tours told us we would only get back 50% of what we paid if we decided to cancel the trip. It doesn't matter that we took the insurance. We paid over $4000.00 for this trip. EF Tours would pocket more than $2000.00 if we cancelled because of safety concerns. We're not talking about the flu here!! The parents and students were asked to attend a meeting where a rep from EF Tours was supposed to be in attendance to answer any questions. Guess who was not there? It was our principal and the recently dropped guide leading a meeting where not enough answers were given. During this meeting we were told by a school guide that the rep for EF Tours said no parents had called to complain or even to express concern. I raised my hand and said I had called three times since November. The next thing I know more than half of the parents were raising their hand saying they had also called to express an interest in either cancelling or changing destinations. So, now we caught them in another lie. I am one pissed parent! I called AGAIN this morning. I spoke to our rep...AGAIN.. and told him I didn't appreciate his lying or EF Tours taking a cowards approach to our kids safety. He responded back with, "we have to protect our company, which is why the cancellation fee is 50%." My response back...well I can't really repeat what I said, but to sum it up, how can he compare a business to my/our children. At least I know where they stand on keeping our kids safe out there. DO NOT BOOK WITH THIS COMPANY!! Two attacks since November but to them...who cares. God help your greedy hearts if something happens to any kids over there.

    2 Votes
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    TammyK41 Apr 11, 2016

    BIG SCAM!!! My son is scheduled to go next April with the school to London and he is really nervous with all the bombings, and wanted to cancel. I called and was first told I couldn't cancel until I spoke to the teacher in charge. Spoke to Mr. Paniter and he did not understand why I had to talk to him. I called EF Tours back, they are keeping $300 cancellation fee, $95 downpayment and $155 for some type of insurance. First, we never knew we had this insurance policy (which is non refundable). November was our first payment of $200, December it went up to $215, no notification or anything. Today, I finally inquired about the extra money, according to EF Tours the teacher changed the departure date, news to me. According to them they sent an email, NO they did not because I never received it, I received an email after the first bombing. I think this company is a scam, changing drafts amounts, and all these hidden fees to cancel. If your child is wanting to go on a trip with EF Tours I would not allow my child to go. Wish I would have researched this company before I said yes. We paid $1, 155 and we are getting back $590.00, they are keeping $565.00 for a trip that is a year away. Total scammers!!!

    2 Votes
  • Lo
    lorismit1 Apr 12, 2016

    I STRONGLY agree that EF Tours is highly unethical regarding its business practices!! My daughter was scheduled to travel to Europe this coming August. When I signed her up, I paid for the Global Insurance policy and was assured that if we needed or decided to cancel her trip for ANY reason, that we would only lose the $95 deposit and $155 insurance fee. Given the terrorist attacks over the past months, my daughter does not want to go on the trip and I do not want to send her, therefore we canceled and I am now out not only the fees but $500 as well. Fraud is the word that comes to mind. I have gotten nowhere with them. It is impossible to find any information regarding these additional large cancellation fees on the site, nor are they mentioned in the Global Insurance section. When I brought up the State Department advisories regarding travel to Europe, EF told me that no warnings had been issued so concern was not warranted at this point. I intend to file a complain with the NYS Attorney Generals Office.

    2 Votes
  • Ca
    Caight Jun 29, 2016

    I am having problems similar to what others have described on this site. About a year ago we paid 95.00 deposit and so far and additional $1000.00 of my 16 year old's hard-earned dollars for a Europe trip in July 2017. They will not refund 395.00 dollars of the monies, stating that they will return 700.00, but we need to call after February 28th to see if there is a replacement for my daughter to get the 300.00. I talked to Kelcey and asked to speak to her supervisor; she claims that she does not have a supervisor or anyone above her with whom I can speak, because she is the supervisor. Ridiculous! They claim they need to leave deposits to plan for this travel. It is more than a year in advance of the trip at this time. I will be online speaking out against this repeatedly as I promised them when I got off the phone, and will do so at every opportunity. Would never recommend, promote, or otherwise steer anyone to this company.

    3 Votes
  • Ra
    Rach0212 Jun 29, 2016

    I totally agree this company is a rip-off I paid full price for my daughter to go on a trip with her class after the attack in Paris she had panic attacks so bad the doctor recommended her not to go and sent letters and I was told unless she was admitted to the hospital and that this was a mental illness that they would not refund any of the money. She works all the time and I matched her money which was a very hard ship on our family. But i was her senior year so she could go. now we're out all the money and when I call they lie and say they will call back they also told me they would send some information for me to dispute it on my email and they will not send any information have called 5 times.

    0 Votes
  • Ma
    Mary Hamm Jul 31, 2016

    I agree with y'all. I got back from a tour last week and there were two incidents in Germany and one in France. I was going to post a review on EF Tours' we site and in the information it severely limits what can be posted. I went to fill out the forms to be reimbursed for medical and it specifically asks about my health insurance and have I submitted to them first? That is why I paid for this insurance. I had a crazy notion that if I paid $155 insurance I would be taken care of in case of an emergency. The tour we were supposed to go on changed and the only heads up I got was from the group leader. Also the departure date changed. They try to get as big a group as possible. I agree on the tipping. These guys were doing their job. Our bus driver did go out of his way to help and I had planned to tip him well anyway. He almost lost the big tip by talking about how both he and his wife have to work because of the economy. I know people working three jobs to make ends meet, so that was a turn off. I let him know America is not any different. I later found out from one of our group members that the tour guide said he really doesn't like doing tours of Europe since lives there and has seen it all. Really??!!! Here's the review I didn't get to post:
    I'm writing this from the perspective of Murphy's Law - what can go wrong will go wrong. We arrived at the Vienna airport to no tour guide. He was a block and a half away waiting with the bus. Nobody was there to greet us or the other groups arriving for the tour. After traveling all day we did not get a chance for a restroom break, it was off sight seeing, only we did not get to actually see the inside of things it was all, here is this building, there is that building and a few miles down the road here is our meeting point and you have all of this free time and can go back and see what you just passed or shop at all of these lovely stores. The majority of free time was centered on a tourist shopping district. That night I asked what the usual vegetarian meal was because the tour guide said this was his sixth same tour this summer. He informed me it would be vegetables and noodles each dinner. I let him know this wouldn't work. Would anyone besides a toddler want to eat the same meal each day? They did have a variety of dinners for the vegetarians, but they usually arrived after all of the other meals because they forgot to make them. They actually provided protein in the form of a little cheese with one of the dinners, but other than that they were very nutritionally deficient. One of the meals was two spears of broccoli and two spears of cauliflower that had been boiled to death and mounds of dry overcooked rice. The meat dishes included no vegetables that I ever noticed, other than the time they had spaghetti. Tomato sauce is a vegetable...

    Don't think that just because something is listed as a point on the tour you will actually see and visit it. Due to traffic we missed several stops along the tour and there was one place I was looking forward to visiting that the guide decided was not worth visiting and took the group somewhere else.

    Reconsider if you have mobility issues or other problems. I had ankle surgery last year and have just started getting around again. As a former 5ker and someone who has trained for a 10k I thought I would have no problems and I didn't after I got over the initial jet lag. But I was slower than the rest and after I got sick I would have to get started before everyone else when possible just to "keep up".

    Let's talk getting sick on this tour. About 4-5 days in I started having the sniffles and noticed I was having trouble catching my breath. I told the tour guide constantly that when he took us on the long walks I felt like I couldn't breathe because we walked without pause at a fast pace. On the next to last night of the tour I felt so bad I called my insurance's nurse in the middle of the night to see if there was something I could do. She wanted me to go to a hospital or barring that see a doctor first thing in the morning. I let our guide know I wanted to see a doctor and his first inclination was can this wait. He finally found me a doctor that would see me at 3:00 on the tour - rather than finding me a doctor that was near the hotel. I was led to the doctor's office and dropped off while everyone enjoyed their free time. Then after getting the diagnosis of bacterial bronchitis and sinusitis and a blood pressure of 210/120 I was told to go get the medicines and take the blood pressure medicine right away. The pharmacy in the square did not have the blood pressure medicine and the guide wanted me to wait until the next day to get the medicine at the airport the next day. I had to get the group leader to express to him the urgency of me getting the new blood pressure medicine before he would agree to try to find a pharmacy that had it. That night I went by myself in a cab with a cab driver that spoke no English, only Turkish and German for the 15 mile trip to the pharmacy. Imagine my surprise when we did not immediately come back to the hotel but stopped back at his house to drop of the medicine he picked up for his wife. Anything could have been going on and I would have no idea. I have the insurance coverage, but guess what I had no way of getting a receipt from the cab driver for the 60 euro cab ride. Nothing is paid in advance by the Global insurance, you get reimbursed for what you have receipts for. I have seen the forms but haven't filled them out yet. They are unnecessarily long and ask questions such as have you made a claim under your own insurance yet which makes me think they won't pay anyway. All in all I spent about 165 euros on six medicines 46 for the doctor and 60 for the cab ride. Bring more money than you think you need and be prepared for emergencies.

    All in all, the memories of that time are a blur and I have only been back a week. Too many places in too short a time. For having paid on this trip for such a long period of time and put out such a large amount of money it was not necessarily worth it. I had planned to do the Go Ahead tour next time as my family wants to go to Ireland, but if forced marches is the thing then I think we can figure it out on our own.

    0 Votes
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    TeacherGirl Aug 24, 2016

    I am a teacher who takes kids abroad with EF every year. I just wanted to let people who check this board know that people DO have great experiences with EF! I have had wonderful trips with great accommodations, good food (and plenty of it), nice people from other groups, and awesome sights along the way. We had a dud tour director this last spin, but we made up for it by enjoying ourselves and doing our own thing. I highly recommend EF to other teachers and parents, and I continue to travel with them. I have already booked tours for the next two summers.

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    Thunderbird12 Mar 01, 2017

    @TeacherGirl Do teachers get compensation from EF for leading tours?

    1 Votes
  • Ro
    Robert Winslow Mar 03, 2020

    My sons trip was cancelled due to corona virus in Italy. Same experience, no refunds even though the school cancelled the trip. Will be plastering this experience far and wide in facebook groups all over central Florida.

    0 Votes

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