Class-action lawsuits launched over cancelled school trips and lack of refunds

Families out thousands

An Oyama father is among thousands across Canada fighting for reimbursement of lost money for student school trips that never happened.

Two class-action lawsuits have been launched after student travel firm Explorica cancelled international trips during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Russ Bennett says his son Jake was scheduled to take a week-long Taste of Italy tour during spring break.

But, like hundreds of other school trips, the tour was cancelled "as soon as the pandemic got out of hand in Italy. It was a real hot spot at the time."

Bennett says the trip was cancelled about a month before it was to happen, "with the expectation we would all be reimbursed ... everybody bought cancellation insurance."

The one-week trip cost $4,300.

"It's not just us. This affects thousands of families right across Canada," says Bennett, who has been waiting months for restitution.

The crux of the argument, says Bennett, is that Explorica believes it doesn't have to pay because the families had insurance.

"But, the insurance companies say Explorica should simply reimburse the funds to the families or pay the insurance firms, so they can refund the families.

"There's been a litany of emails denying responsibility," says Bennett.

"It's a real comedy of errors ... this affected trips all over the world. We're all in the same boat."

Indeed, a Facebook group created by families trying to get their money back has more than 2,000 members.

The insurance underwriters involved are Arch Insurance and Old Republic Group. 

Lawyer Sivan Tumarkin at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP in Toronto is representing the families.

You can join the class action here.

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