Villanova Parents Speaking Out Over Cancelled Trip Refund

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Frustration is mounting for some parents from St. Thomas of Villanova High School in LaSalle.

The parents are wondering why they have not received a refund for their child's cancelled Europe trip.

The Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board cancelled the trip for 21 students in February because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Purdie says his daughter along with 20 other students were set to go to on the trip, but now he and other families are out $4,700 each.

Purdie says parents bought travel insurance and are entitled to a refund but a battle is going on between the travel company, Explorica/Trip Mate, and the insurance provider, Old Republic Insurance Company of Canada, to see who will issue the refund.

He says the travel company and the insurance provider "have drawn a line in the sand."

"We have a battle between an insurance company and a large travel corporation, and they're both standing there pissing on the line, and the ones that are suffering are individual families with a substantial investment in this," says Purdie.    

He says if parents didn't have insurance, they would have anticipated problems.

"As consumers we have a copy of the policy, it's very specific and nobody is denying that we're entitled to a refund," says Purdie. "So we're sitting back and saying, 'okay everybody is in agreement, we get a refund, why don't you just pay it.'"

He says the trip was cancelled by the school board.

"They forwarded the cancellation information that it was a decision by the school board and it was communicated to us," says Purdie. "We had a meeting at the school and we were communicated that you'll be expecting a refund. They said normally within 30 to 60 days and technically, the insurance policy says within 30 days."      

Purdie says he's disappointed in the board for not taking more of a lead on the situation and says some students have graduated and moved on to post-secondary education.

He says he and other parents are considering a class action lawsuit against the travel company, the insurance provider and the school board.

The school board issued a written statement when contacted by AM800 News, saying "The WECDSB is well aware of the situation involving the students from St Thomas of Villanova Catholic High School whose trip to Europe was cancelled due to the pandemic.

We wholeheartedly agree that their money should have been refunded by now, and we are advocating on their behalf to get the issue resolved.

A number of letters have already been written on behalf of those families, and we are currently consulting with our legal counsel in order to explore our options.

We will continue working towards a resolution for our students and their families."