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Buyer Beware When it Comes to Travel Tours Abroad

Updated on October 13, 2016

Introduction

We consumers are often confronted with unscrupulous vendors. This story is one such example in the travel tour industry. Our local parish was involved recently with an incident that costs $150,000 in losses. This was perpetrated by a travel tour company named ITC Tours out of Las Vegas (not to be confused with ITC Israel Tour Connection). The details was reported at our weekly Parish Bulletin. See link below for the full description.

The lesson is buyer beware - trust but verify.

-June 2016

Background

Our Parish of St. Patrick's of Yorktown NY along with a few other parishes have been planning a trip to attend the World Youth Conference in Poland this July 2016 with Pope Francis. There were many fund raising activities through out the past year to help raise the necessary funds. The trip was to bring some group of youths from our parish to join thousands of others at this extraordinary event.

Recently, the news came that the trip would be cancelled due to an on-going warning of possible terrorist activities targeting this specific event.

However, the tour company decided to keep the $150,000 deposit made for this tour. This is highly unethical and possibly criminal. The Archdiocese's attorney are working on this case. However, it seems that there will not be enough time to book with another tour company unless the funds are returned immediately. It also seemed that this company, under a different name have done something similar in a previous World Youth Day tour to Brazil and that case is still in litigation. Apparently, this company have filed for bankruptcy in 2013.

Our Local Pastor was Forgiving...

From the bulletin written by our local pastor, the sentiment seems to be a huge disappointment but also forgiving towards the offenders. After all, it is the Christian thing to do.

Personally, I am more outraged by this act of deception, especially seems like this has happened before by the the same group of individuals. Our laws are designed to protect the innocent and punish the wrong doers but unfortunately, our legal system sometimes fail us.

I've decided to use this public medium to highlight this event and warn people going forward so that hopefully it will never be repeated.

What to do in the Future?

Buyer beware is always a good idea. A company should be verified with the local Better Business Bureau. Checking reviews by past customers is always a good practice. In addition, I recommend getting travel insurance for a tour overseas. There are so many events that are out of our control either due to weather or terror activities or even personal illness, a special travel insurance is worth the extra fee.

Avoid doing business with ITC Tours Las Vegas and other associated companies.

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