Some customers planned to see Shroud of Turin in Italy
Dallas, TX, May 27, 2010 -- In the last eight months, disappointed travelers have filed 12 complaints with the Better Business Bureau about tours cancelled at the last minute with no refunds by Renaissance Pilgrimages, Inc., P.O. Box 451145, Garland. The business offers tours to shrines and other revered locations in Israel, Europe, and Canada. Some trips were planned to include viewings of the rarely-seen Shroud of Turin in Italy. Customers from Alaska to New Jersey complain they paid from $3,699 to $9,596 in advance but have not received refunds. So far, the business has not answered the complaints.
Of those twelve complaints, 7 are unanswered by the business, 1 is unresolved, and 4 were filed recently and are in process. A woman in Michigan complains, “Renaissance Pilgrimages cancelled our pilgrimage trip without even stating a reason--only two weeks before we were to leave. I paid $3749 by several checks and I want a full refund of this money.”
One complaint is from a travel agency in Maryland that booked 11 clients at $3,699 each for package tours to Oberammergau, a passion play presented once every 10 years, as well as the Shroud of Turin, which might not be on display again for perhaps 15 years. The trips were cancelled two weeks before departure and Renaissance Pilgrimages has not responded to refund requests, the travel agency complains.
This is not the first time that complaints have been filed with the BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas about Renaissance Pilgrimages. In February, 2009, the BBB reported that the business had a BBB rating of F, on a scale from A+ to F. The F rating was due to unresolved complaints concerning the same problems – last minute cancellations and failure to make refunds.
Later in 2009, Renaissance Pilgrimages responded to some complaints and the BBB rating was C+. Then more complaints remained unanswered, and the BBB rating dropped again to F, the current rating for the business.
The reasons for the F rating include:
• 19 complaints filed against business
• Failure to respond to 7 complaints filed against business.
• 4 serious complaints filed against business.
• One complaint filed against business that was not resolved.
A man in New Jersey complains, “This was the vacation of our dreams and we invested over $9000 into this trip. On April 24, 2010 we received an e-mail telling us that the trip was cancelled and no further explanation given … My wife and I are retired and do not know how to proceed but we would like our money back.”
The BBB recommends that travelers plan carefully and check out travel offers:
• Get the details of the offer in writing, including the cancellation and refund policy, before making an advance payment.
• If you choose to pay by credit card, you may have some recourse for problems. Check with your credit card company to find out the procedures for disputing the charges if you have a problem that the travel company does not take care of.
• Consider investing in travel insurance. Find out the cost of insurance as well any restrictions and requirements.
• Learn about travel planning and choosing a tour company from professional associations such as the United States Tour Operators Association, www.ustoa.com.
To check out a travel company with the BBB, start at www.bbb.org.
About BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas
The Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Dallas, Inc., is an independent, non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's standards of ethical business behavior. BBB services include BBB Reliability Reports® on businesses, complaint resolution services, advertising review, and information on topics affecting marketplace trust. The BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas was founded in 1920 and is one of 124 BBBs serving the U.S. and Canada. The BBB System evaluates and monitors more than 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information.