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Manu Expeditions, Cusco, Peru

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Old Friday 22nd May 2020, 18:22   #51
DMW
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrywalker View Post

1. Manu expeditions did not cancel any trip in April 2020 - the country closed its frontiers on March 28th and all international flights were cancelled so this 6 person tour could not run - note not cancelled by Manu Expeditions but impossible to run due to the pandemic.

2. On booking a tour with Manu Expeditions our standard payment request is
"To assure your space we require a non-refundable deposit of $600USD per person and the balance 45 days before departure (or if less than 45 days before departure or if it’s convenient – the full amount)."

3. Due to the circumstances ( although this was not our obligation) we recouped what we could from lodges etc in Manu ( some would not refund) and returned all monies paid except the $600 non refundable deposit which did not cover all our losses. As stated to guests " As a travel company we are finding it increasingly unlikely that we will be able to provide tour services as planned in Peru, this uncertainty forces us to cancel all operational services in 2020.". 5 of the 6 guests thanked us for our effort in recouping what we could minus the $600 deposit and were grateful as they were not expecting a refund.
As has been pointed out previously on this thread, the non-refundable deposit is a red-herring here, and it seems strange that Manu Expeditions is proffering as the reason for withholding $600 dollars. It may or may not be the case that the company was legally entitled to withhold some of even all of the tour price, but not under the provisions of its terms relating to non-refundable deposit. These terms refer specifically to cancellation by a customer, which did not happen.

Barry’s statements #1 and #3 are contradictory. He specifically states that the company did not cancel any tours in April 2020, but goes on to state that “we are finding it increasingly unlikely that we will be able to provide tour services as planned in Peru, this uncertainty forces us to cancel all operational services in 2020.”

This does raise the fairly obvious question as to why Manu Expeditions did not explicitly cancel this particular tour. Why, as a tour operator, would you not cancel a tour that is “impossible to run”? Barry refers to the fact that Peru closed its frontiers on March 28th, and that all international flights were cancelled, as being the reason this tour could not run. The obvious implication being that Manu Expeditions was ready, willing and able to run the tour if the clients had been able to turn up for the scheduled start of the tour.

As far as I can see, the Peruvian government introduced complete internal travel bans on March 15th, and a curfew a couple of days later. It is therefore clear that even if tour participants were in Peru for the start of the tour, there is simply no way Manu Expeditions could have operated it.

If being unable to operate a tour is not grounds for cancellation, then what is?
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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 10:54   #52
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Maybe I speak before my turn, but I read it like this:
1. the contested April trip did go (theoretically), but didn't go because customers didn't get there and there was a lockdown, not because it was cancelled by Manu expeditions, but because government restricted the practical organisation of both the tour and customers getting into the country.

2.Because tours cannot go in practice, Manu decided to cancel all further tours in 2020.

So the April tour was in the middle of the restrictions but not formally cancelled. And I know for sure Barry paid more than 600 upfront for all kinds of services, many with non-refundable booking fees. And because he operates in Peru, probably many of these bookings are non-retrievable or insurable, so he probably put clearly on the website that he cannot guarantee that any money paid will be paid back if for certain reasons beyond the powers of Manu expeditions, the tour (or part of it) cannot go. If you don't do that, you can get broke in a country like Peru from one failed tour.

Customers know that, Barry tried to recoup as much money as possible and most agreed on postponing the tour. I have much more money on flight vouchers etc. than 600, in the (sometimes naive) hope that those airline companies aren't going broke between this and the end of 2021. That's a risk I know I was taking when booking flights (I have booked before with an airline company that went broke soon after booking) and if are not willing to take that risk, book with a company that will get all of your money back in times of pandemics.

I am curious which ones would would get back all of your money, actually.
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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 10:57   #53
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Originally Posted by kb57 View Post
However, in these circumstances the service provider was unable to provide the service, and I would expect all my money to be repaid.
you assume the service provider was unable to provide the service, but I assume the customer was unable to get there where the service would be provided, and the service provider was willing to provide, but just couldn't because of force majeure.
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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 12:37   #54
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Originally Posted by temmie View Post
Maybe I speak before my turn, but I read it like this:
1. the contested April trip did go (theoretically), but didn't go because customers didn't get there and there was a lockdown, not because it was cancelled by Manu expeditions, but because government restricted the practical organisation of both the tour and customers getting into the country.

2.Because tours cannot go in practice, Manu decided to cancel all further tours in 2020.

So the April tour was in the middle of the restrictions but not formally cancelled. And I know for sure Barry paid more than 600 upfront for all kinds of services, many with non-refundable booking fees. And because he operates in Peru, probably many of these bookings are non-retrievable or insurable, so he probably put clearly on the website that he cannot guarantee that any money paid will be paid back if for certain reasons beyond the powers of Manu expeditions, the tour (or part of it) cannot go. If you don't do that, you can get broke in a country like Peru from one failed tour.

Customers know that, Barry tried to recoup as much money as possible and most agreed on postponing the tour. I have much more money on flight vouchers etc. than 600, in the (sometimes naive) hope that those airline companies aren't going broke between this and the end of 2021. That's a risk I know I was taking when booking flights (I have booked before with an airline company that went broke soon after booking) and if are not willing to take that risk, book with a company that will get all of your money back in times of pandemics.

I am curious which ones would would get back all of your money, actually.
If the contractual terms and conditions Manu Expeditions had in place at the time of booking allowed them to cancel a tour due to force majeure, and retain money paid by clients, then why not just cite that as the reason? Why claim you are doing so under the provisions of the non-refundable deposit terms which very clearly do not apply?!

I think hypothetical constructs about tours theoretically going but not actually going are a little bit of a stretch! The tour could not operate because Peru was in lock down, and ME should, in my view, have cancelled the tour. Clearly force majeure was the reason, and if this allowed ME to withhold money to cover their out of pocket expenses under their T&Cs, fine, otherwise they should reimburse in full.

I once had an operator cancel a trip on me because a cyclone allegedly prevented the boat from travelling to the departure point. He cited force majeure and offered us the option of deferring the trip for a year. I declined and asked for a refund, which he refused, claiming that he wasn't required to do so because it was force majeure. His T&Cs simply stated that if he cancelled, clients would be refunded in full. No mention of force majeure. I took legal action and got a full refund.
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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 13:37   #55
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Originally Posted by DMW View Post
If the contractual terms and conditions Manu Expeditions had in place at the time of booking allowed them to cancel a tour due to force majeure, and retain money paid by clients, then why not just cite that as the reason? Why claim you are doing so under the provisions of the non-refundable deposit terms which very clearly do not apply?!
You’ll have to ask Barry :-)
I agree it is a stretch, and there is ofcourse the question of it is the right thing to do even if it is technically within the T/C and within the law. As I understand, Peru was in full lockdown in April So ME couldn’t put the blame only on the customers not showing up; they could never run a tour in any case. Again, Barry should respond if he wants to.
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Old Saturday 23rd May 2020, 13:38   #56
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Regarding the ME situation, I commented previously that BW may not have acted in the way he did, if he had intended to continue trading, it's a bit shabby to be honest, he knows that there are absolutely no consequences that can follow.

I have a mate who paid for flights etc on the basis of an agreement with a local, part time guide who subsequently cancelled. It wasn't possible to organise a replacement guide at this destination with the time remaining so the flights were forfeited as there was no point him travelling.

It seems that the guide, after taking my mates booking, obtained a better paying gig with a tour group.
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Last edited by andyadcock : Saturday 23rd May 2020 at 14:00.
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