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EF Toursworst experience ever!

The tour was listed at "beginning at 1, 495. Our cost was later stated to be 2495. Then, after submitting a deposit we find that the trip will be an additional $1, 000!! It was not listed as additional expenses until we paid the deposit. That does not include spending money. My daughter has worked for months in a diner after school to save for this trip and had over 1, 300 she paid on it. When we discovered the true final price, she decided to cancel as the cost was not possible. When i called the tour company a few weeks ago, i was told it would cost 480. 00 to cancel and that price was good until dec. 21, 2010. Well, today they tell me they will be deducting 680. 00 from what she has paid!!! This company truly is a ripoff. There was no cancellation fee listed when we signed up. Beware of booking with ef tours.

Responses

  • Pr
    princessAlyssa 5 Apr 05, 2014

    my brother wanted to go on one of the tour paid $3, 600 he didnt get his visa in time...now we call and they said no refund ...so he's losing all his saving...some one advice me on what to do??.plesas help!!!

    -1 Votes
  • Su
    SuzieB Nov 05, 2013

    Something else that parents or students should consider is how much the host families are paid. EF pays half the amount that other language schools pay to the families. Consequently many students are fed cheap food and can end up in crowded rooms or in houses where 6 students are sharing one bathroom. In the UK during the winter months they pay £9 per day. You try keeping a student on that. On the plus side my students have been lovely but were horrified to discover what I was being paid after they paid so much for their courses. Needless to say I won't be hosting EF students again. My first and last time.

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Feb 10, 2013
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    EF always rewards you when you enroll early. The earlier, the better. It helps for advance planning with flights, restaurants, hotels, etc. as the teacher and group leader I ALWAYS let me parents and students know that they need to enroll super-early to get the lowest price. And I make it clef that if they wait and enroll later the price will be higher. The closer you get to the departure date, the higher the price. I is 100% my responsibility as the teacher and group leader - and liaison between parents and EF tours - to make students and parents aware of deadlines and dates when prices increase.

    I have students who have paid $200-$400 LESS by enrolling so early and qualifying for "Earlybird" discounts. It's great that EF really rewards you for enrolling early.

    0 Votes
  • Vp
    V. P. Miller Jan 26, 2013
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I agree with complaints above. As each situation is different, I did pay approximately 764.00 more for my daughter than all the youth going on the same trip, as the "Basic Program Fee" increased as of October 31, 2012. If this information was made available to me as a parent, I can assure you that I would have registered my daughter prior to the significant rate increase. EF Tours had rate change dates. If you register by this date, it is this price, etc. All prices were subject to increase at any time and the only one that they really explained was the departure fees. Also there were added fees for additional excursions that were not explained by Tour Director until after registration. I felt that both the Tour Director and EF Tours had a special understanding and some parents were left outside of the loop. There was a true lack of communication. I was very disappointed that the teacher did not update the parents on the possibility of rate changes and point out date specifics, especially for first time parents as she has sponsored the trip for 3 years. The customer service representatives at EF Tours, leave a lot to be desired in the area of customer service. It feels like if you are requesting anything outside of making a payment, that you are an inconvenience to their day. They appear young and inexperienced. I am disappointed with the services provide and it is my hope that my daughter has a wonderful time. I work with non profit organizations that sponsor 1-2 week trips for 50 to 100 youth each year, usually to the caribbean and they were considering EF Tours as a host for 2015 based on initial information I provided, however based on my experience, we will continue to explore other options.

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Mar 24, 2012
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    $800 per day? Where do you come up with a number like that? We're doing an 18 day tour of France and Spain this summer for $3850. That's $214 per day.

    0 Votes
  • No
    No EF Mar 01, 2012

    I absolutely agree. EF hit me with a hidden fee for a "private tour" because EF couldn't find another group, not because we asked for it. In addition, they put this fee on without notifying me. I had agreed on the first price, not the increase. When I decided this was too much to pay for this particular trip and tried to cancel, they told me they were going to keep 50% of my money. This company is a scam and I will be telling everybody I know and posting on ever site I can find to stay as far away from EF Tours as possible. We're considering civil and criminal actions as well.

    1 Votes
  • Gc
    GCG Dec 08, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I too have been outraged by the "hidden" cost and changes to the price. as well as changes to schedules. Any school that is interested in student tours needs to find a good travel agent and work with them. Of course then the "Group Leader" would have to pay their own way. Even with the cheap food, hotels miles out of town center, two people to the room, grouping multiple groups together, these trips still run about $800.00 per day with two of the days being spent on an airplane. You can schedule a luxury trip for less and these tours are everything but luxury. This is a racket and I don't care what excuses EF has for their actions.I have been in the tour business for 30 years and I can tell each and every parent that they are being scammed. When my child was first told about the trip, his teacher (who is the Group Leader as it turns out) told him that we would need to book the trip by the next day in order to not have to pay the $100 membership fee. So, like a fool I bought that hook, line, and sinker. OF COURSE we paid the fee and EF didn't know anything about our being told that. Three months later we get an up-charge of $160 in departure fees.( The airline had no increase and actually had a decrease) When I confronted EF with this, I was told that the fees were an estimate and any overcharge would be refunded. When pressed EF admitted that they had not booked the flight and probably would not for several months. Now, our dates have been changed and instead of this trip being in spring break, it departs in the middle of a school week and returns in the middle of spring break. Instead of being in Dublin on Saint Patrick's Day as we were suppose to be and the main reason we were taking this trip, we will be back home by March 15. When I questioned this, I was told that the leader had always known that the dates might change. Too bad she didn't bother to tell the people on the trip and the people actually paying for it! This company is not and I repeat NOT to be trusted.

    0 Votes
  • Gr
    GroupLeader Oct 11, 2011

    cseymore, you blatanty are paid by EF. How can you lead 12 tours and be satisfied? Hotel always in the city center? Yeah riiiiight! Culturally representative food? Yeah riiiight!

    1 Votes
  • Ja
    jack893 May 27, 2011

    EF definitely jacks up the departure fees our departure fees started at $460 and now their $590. I called the airline that EF was booking our flight with to get a description of all of the taxes, and fuel charges that are included in the departure fee. It still only added up to $517. Where did the extra $73 go EF tours? Your pocket?

    1 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore May 09, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @frmdauk, you can question me. I do not get paid. EF does pay for chaperones, since there can be no student tour without adult supervision. So EF Tours does foot the bill for the chaperones. I cannot speak for other group leaders, but the adult chaperones and I work. This isn't a vacation. We're constantly supervising our students, trying to keep them safe and comfortable while helping to facilitate learning, looking after kids who may fall ill or are feeling homesick, setting up meaningful activities during free time in the afternoon and evenings, making sure students don't attempt to procure alcohol (and my chaperones and I won't even have a sip of wine in Rome or a swig of beer in Munich) keeping in contact with parents back home, wake-up knocks on hotel room doors in the a.m., multiple bed checks in the p.m. That's not to mention all the time spent preparing to take large groups of teenagers to Europe, including meetings with students and parents, emails and phone calls home, etc. It would be much easier for me to vacation to Europe by myself, but then my students would not be getting these amazing experiences traveling abroad. That's why I have taken students to Paris (6 times), Rome (4 times), Florence (4 times), Venice (3 times), Barcelona (5 times), Madrid (4 times), and London (3 times). These are places that truly resonate with my students, so we go back again and again and again. The same cities and the same sights, again and again. We do these trips for the kids. Period. (at least, that's the reason I do these trips).

    As for the departure fees, I am not privy to the inner workings at EF Tours. However, I do know that 2 years ago when departure fees DROPPED in the 2 weeks prior to our departure, EF sent $129 reimbursement checks out within 45 days to all of my students (which that year was around 45 students). The parents were shocked, surprised and deeply appreciative that EF would do this rather than simply pocket the $$. From the parents' standpoint, the refunds were completely unexpected. Most companies probably would have pocketed the additional monies. But EF's policy was that the departure fees could go up or down up until that last month prior to departure, and if they went down, the money would be repaid to the student/family.

    As for the insurance, you're correct that EF does provide insurance to me at no charge. (It typically costs $145.) The other teacher-chaperones are not provided the insurance for free. I neither want nor need the insurance, so to call this a monetary benefit is, to me, @frmdauk, stretching it a bit.

    -1 Votes
  • Fr
    frmdauk May 09, 2011

    I see the question of departure fees has been brough up again!! It is very interesting that when challenged EF Tours REFUSE to supply proof from any airline of departure fees the airline may be levying and, to protect themselves, two years ago changed their booking conditions to vitually allow them to charge whatever they liked as additional charges. When I challenged EF Tours 2 years ago their response was to threaten to "throw" my stepdaughter off of her trip!!! Very positive customer service!!!
    In addition, I would query cseymore's comments about not being paid - what about free places, what about insuranace over-rides, what about numbers bonus's. To say that he/her is not paid is a not telling the whole truth.

    1 Votes
  • eftours Apr 28, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Latrobe student sorry for the confusion! We'd be happy to walk through the different aspects of your bill and discuss any concerns you may have. Feel free to give us a call at [protected]. -Katie from EF

    0 Votes
  • Ha
    hayoon Apr 27, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I agree with cseymore. there arent any extra fees. When i signed up (two years ago) they told us that we would be paying 3, 300 something dollars. This included the program fee, the insurance, the departure fees etc. The only time the price changed was when our leader canceled the optional cruise and later changed the tour site. But 200$ did get added up. This is because the departure price was 450$ when i signed up. Its at 604$ right now. Are you sure the leader didnt like add or change anything in ur tour? Like i freaked out at first when the price was 150$ more, but i later found out that the leader changed the tour. Make sure the leader didnt add optional excursions (like the cruise thing which was about 500$ for us or other 60 - 100 dollar excursions) or other things.
    I too am not too happy with eftours, especially because of the cancellation fee. But i guess i should have read the terms and conditions before signing up. But i've never come across any of these hidden fee things.

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Apr 26, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I am certain that you're misinterpreting the numbers. EVERY tour has two main components to the price:
    (1) Program Fee - my trip this summer has a program fee of $3170. This amount gets locked in once the student enrolls. As you approach the departure date the program fee will go up for those who have not yet enrolled. So it pays to enroll early.
    (2) Departure Fees - my trip this summer has departure fees of $517. Originally it was $420, but the dramatic rise in fuel costs jacked up this fee by $97. This amount can fluctuate, and go up or down, up until 30 days prior to departure. It states this clearly in the enrollment agreement you enter into when you sign up for the tour.

    Latrobe student - the $542 is not a new or "hidden" fee. Trust me. I'm sure it has risen in the last month or so, but my guess would be that the original "chunk" of that $542 you're quoting was probably around $450. And it's since gone up due to worldwide increases in the price of oil. But that amount for the fuel/tax/airport surcharge has ALWAYS been there. You agree to it when you sign up for the tour. I recommend that you talk with the teacher leading your tour for some clarification.

    1 Votes
  • La
    Latrobe student Apr 26, 2011

    $90 - I wish. The extra $542 is for fuel and tax surcharge - they allege. How am I supposed to know if this is true. They won't prove it. I'm just supposed to suck it up and pay the extra money or lose the $2300 I already paid! What a racket.

    1 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Apr 26, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    After running 12 tours using EF I have never experienced this "hidden fee" phenomenon. You always need to check the program fee with the teacher who leads the tour. And note that the "Lowest Price" quoted by EF is always based on a low season airfare out of NYC. Any other departure airport will be pricier, naturally.

    The only prices that fluctuate are the fees imposed by the airlines and airports, including various taxes and surcharges (like homeland security and 9/11 security fees, for example) and especially rises in FUEL prices. This year my June tour went up by $90 based on the drastic rise in the price of oil, based on the turmoil in the Middle East. This is totally understandable, and all of my parents agree that it's not ideal, but it's not unreasonable either. The fuel surcharges imposed on EF by the airlines are beyond their control. That's part of the agreement EF has with the airlines, and is part of the agreement students and parents sign when they enroll on a tour with EF. It makes sense when you think about it. The language in the contract that all parents sign when they enroll their children on an EF Tour is pretty clear and straightforward with regard to pricing, payments, possible late fees, and departure fees (always listed as "Current Departure Fee" because they can fluctuate, up or down).

    On the other hand, in 2009 all of my students received a $125 refund about 60 days after their tour ended because fuel and airline surcharges DROPPED just before our trip departed. All of my parents were surprised and highly appreciative that EF Tours did not simply pocket these monies (they easily could have, since nobody was aware any refund was forthcoming), but instead sent back more than $5000 in fees to the families of my students. And this treatment was not unique to my students; my understanding is that EF Tours did this in 2009 with hundreds and hundreds of students' families all over the country.

    Also, over the last 2 years, more than 70 of my students received "early bird discounts" retroactively. They had enrolled prior to the early bird "window", and yet EF after the fact applied these discounts, lowering already low prices by $100 or even as much as $150 (even though the original prices were already LOWER than the Early Bird prices).

    EF Tours has been amazingly fair to my kids and their families over the past 5 years. Over 250 students have traveled with me on trips with EF and none of my parents have complained about "hidden fees" or unfair pricing by EF.

    0 Votes
  • La
    Latrobe student Apr 26, 2011

    Definitely look out for hidden fees from EF Tours. They are a rip-off firm. My daughter is traveling to Spain this summer. We booked the tour for $2, 300. She still hasn't left yet, and already they are charging us almost $600 more!!! I don't know any other company where you can get away with increasing by 25 percent and get away with it. They are a complete rip-off!!!

    0 Votes
  • Ha
    hayoon Apr 07, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    thanks for reply! =) but no worries. Im going to greece! no refunds and no hassles.

    0 Votes
  • eftours Apr 06, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Hayoon, If you choose to cancel a tour with us, you will receive our standard cancellation fees, regardless of insurance. If you are canceling for a reason covered by the insurance then a claim would need to be filed in order to be reimbursed for the cancellation fees. Feel free to reach out to our customer service department at [protected] to discuss further details. -Katie from EF

    0 Votes
  • Be
    BethOcomplaints Mar 28, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    HI,
    @Esmeralda Perez-Sanchez

    Did EF tours call and discuss your matter with you and what was the outcome?

    1 Votes
  • Be
    BethOcomplaints Mar 28, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Boy, blame it on Beckie2795! That seems unfair! I wonder what other's think? I think Beckie2795 has her rights as well. What does EF think? Maybe Beckie2795 is justified in her complaint? I don't know Beckie2795 but I think people should be nice to her. There are always 2 sides to the story!

    0 Votes
  • Be
    Beckie2795hater Mar 27, 2011

    Pay no mind to Beckie2795. She never has anything constructive to say regarding ANYONE'S complaints. She appears to go around and belittle everything that everyone complains about. It's because she's a c.u.n.t. of course. Smile Beckie. It's the only way we can tell your nasty ### from your ugly face.

    0 Votes
  • Ha
    hayoon Mar 24, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Ummm im having a very similar problem. I signed up for it 2 years ago, paying monthly and almost done. My family's financial problems have gotten very bad and i want a refund. The insurance says i can get a full refund minus the enrollment fee. Its 95 days, and 5 days before the noncancelling thing. If i cancel right now, will the cancellation policy (50%now) apply? Didnt i pay the insurance to avoid this?

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Mar 15, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    First, you continue to write "you" and imply that EF Tours and myself are one in the same. We're not. I don't work for EF and I'm not paid by EF. I'm a teacher who has used EF Tours to bring groups to Europe and I haven't had a single complaint from a parent about the quality or prices. And this year 26 of my students received both $150 Early Bird discounts for our 2012 tour to France & Spain.

    Like someone earlier wrote, reading the fine print is always helpful. I always make my parents aware of EXACTLY how much they will be paying. All of my parents were aware that if they signed up this winter for my 2011 trip the price would be X, and there would be no extra discounts. If you had been in communication with the teacher who is leading your tour I am sure he would have explained this to you. I also recall someone earlier on this site mentioning that nobody else on your daughter's tour is receiving the Early Bird discount, even though they enrolled on the trip before you did. That wouldn't seem fair, now would it?

    As I wrote earlier, in 2009 when airport departure fees and fuel costs dropped dramatically in the 2 weeks prior to departure, EF promptly issued $121 refund checks to 49 of my students and their families. The families were not expecting this refund. It came as a complete surprise to all of them and to me. EF easily could have pocketed this money as additional profit, but didn't. That's nearly $6000. And to my understanding this was done for students all across North America. Clearly, history would seem to indicate this isn't a company that would hesitate to give you a $150 discount if you had met the terms of the discount and actually signed up "early". Switch to a 2012 tour and you would have been in line for the $150 discount.

    Finally, with the way you're bashing EF over a $150 discount that you believe you are owed, and the comments you're making about how it's basically an untrustworthy and generally awful company, I don't understand why you're even sending your daughter on the trip at all.

    If I had such little faith in a company, there's no way I would send my child abroad with them. Again, I don't get paid by EF, but they have done a fantastic job for my kids and parents over the course of 11 tours since 2006. The company has been VERY generous with Early Bird discounts and very flexible whenever my parents have run into financial difficulties over the last 5 years. The company has waived late fees when parents couldn't pay on time, fees as small as $20 or even fees of $75 or $125. They have been extremely professional and honest. I have brought more than 215 students abroad since 2006 and I haven't had a single parent complaint about prices, discounts, customer service or the quality of the tours themselves. That's a fact. I understand that you want the $150 discount, but beyond that you have absolutely no frame of reference which would allow you to comment on the company and disparage it online in this way. Just my 2 cents.

    0 Votes
  • Be
    BethOcomplaints Mar 15, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    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! EF should take care of me and not the high school teacher from Del Norte HS in San Diego. He doesn't set the prices. What do the rest of you think? Should EF tours take care of honoring what is listed on their website or should all the high school teachers that take the tours with our high schoolers deal with the financial policies of EF tours and not the other duties on the tours?

    1 Votes
  • Be
    BethOcomplaints Mar 13, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I really don't agree with your decison at all. If you put on your website that you will get $150 off if you sign up before Feb 28th which I clearly did. I should get that $150 off. Any good company stands by what they have on their website. What other things do you have for other people that are stated when you read an offer? You are misleading and wrong and a bad example for a company that takes high schoolers from Del Norte in San Diego on a tour that the parents are paying much money for!

    1 Votes
  • Ki
    kimmah Mar 12, 2011

    I've traveled with EF as a teacher since 1999 and I've never had a student encounter any kind of problems mentioned above--sounds to me like your local tour leader is lacking some serious communication skills.

    1. The cancellation policy is clearly stated on all the registration materials and their website. If she missed the full-refund date, that's unfortunate, but it is also not EF's fault. If they let people cancel at the last minute, they would be out of business. For what it's worth, I've seen them do full refunds for crisis cancellations--death in the family. They even absorbed the cost of the child's airfare--her mother died on the way home from dropping her off at the airport.

    2. The trips' starting prices are based on leaving from a major international airport city during the off-season. Every tour company does that. If you travel in summer or late spring, you're going to pay a premium for that. If you do add-ons, you'll pay extra as well. Did your tour leader add in things like a private bus (big charge if your group is under 35) or all the extra excursions?

    3. I've never, ever seen EF jack up a price by that kind of money. Sometimes if there is a big hike in airport fees a la post 9/11, there may be an additional amount paid, but nothing like $1, 000. If you were given a bill for $2495, that's what you owed. If your leader TOLD you it was $2495 and was wrong, that's not EF's fault.

    4. The $150 off is usually reflected in the total you owe--if you register by the deadline, that usually locks in. Never had it go crazy like you mention.

    Beth, if your price was raised after the fact, I would seriously question the tour leader. That just does not jive with anything I've ever experienced with EF and I've been on 10 or more tours with them

    0 Votes
  • eftours Mar 08, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    @Esmeralda Perez-Sanchez I'm sorry to hear about that. I'm unable to find you or your daughter's account, can you please message me your account info so I can find it and give you a call to discuss? Thanks, Katie from EF

    -1 Votes
  • Be
    Beckie2795 Mar 06, 2011

    HAHA! Scandelous! dumb parents.

    0 Votes
  • Be
    BethOcomplaints Feb 20, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    Would you be able to help me get this corrected? I live in San Diego at the newest Poway High School in the district called Del Norte. Charging me the same as the other parents and having EF tours honor their $150 discount as I signed up before Feb 28th and this was listed on their site. What do you advise to have this corrected? I really want my daughter to have a nice time on this trip as well as the other students! Thanks for saying something positive with EF tours, nice to see!

    0 Votes
  • Cs
    cseymore Feb 20, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    EF is a very reliable company, and your statement about EF charging you $1000 more than the other parents makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Someone is not giving you the correct information.

    0 Votes
  • Be
    BethOcomplaints Feb 20, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    I am having similar problems with EF tours. Who gave you the money back at EF tours.

    Also, my problem is I signed up before Feb 28th as their site at the time said if you sign up before Feb 28th you will get $150 off. I did sign up before Feb 28th and they won't honor this. It said nothing about the date of the tour when I signed up. Also, they are charging me $1000 more than the other parents for this trip. You wouldn't be a parent at Del Norte in San Diego?

    Please advise. Is this EF tours a reliable company? If we are having problems with them in booking the tours and honoring what is on their website, how do we know they will honor other things and be trustworthy?

    Thanks!

    1 Votes

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