Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   COVID-19 Information and Discussion
      Quetico outfitters & refunds     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

fishEH
member (37)member
 
05/20/2020 06:07PM
With the border closed till June 21, what is everyone seeing with regards to refunds from outfitters?
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
fishEH
member (37)member
 
05/22/2020 07:20PM
fishEH: "With the border closed till June 21, what is everyone seeing with regards to refunds from outfitters? "
Nobody has anything to report???

Here's my experience so far.
1) Well know outfitter: We arranged a tow into Quetico from the US for June 12. Paid $200 via personal check. After the border closure is extended we receive an email from them stating Deposits are Non-Refundable along with what a hard time they are having etc. Despite the fact that they cannot deliver the service they were hired to do and therefor had to cancel, they are keeping our money. No offer to apply the money towards future trip, etc.

2) Motel: I reserved a motel room stay in the US for the night before our tow. After the closure extension I emailed to cancel. Despite them having a non-refundable deposit policy as well, and despite them having no business in Canada and really not knowing(or being required to care), they promptly replied and mailed out a refund check.

The outfitter seems to forget that this pandemic will pass, and they will need to have a customer base when it does. STEALING money from customers is not a good way at maintaining or growing your customer base.
I completely understand the point of a no-refund policy. In my opinion the government's decision to close the border is outside the intent of those policies.

Anybody have any thoughts or other experiences?
 
05/23/2020 04:42PM
I am surprised that the deductible isn’t being refunded. I know they are under no obligation to refund, but they are going to drive future customers away IMHO. I feel your frustration...

T
 
Mocha
distinguished member(7117)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
05/23/2020 07:25PM
Very surprising attitude from outfitter. I would think they have business interuption insurance, but maybe this sort of pandemic isn't covered.

Keep trying to get any amount of refund or at least a promise to be able to use it in the future
 
HawkInCT
member (10)member
 
05/24/2020 01:29PM
Mocha: "Very surprising attitude from outfitter. I would think they have business interuption insurance, but maybe this sort of pandemic isn't covered.


Keep trying to get any amount of refund or at least a promise to be able to use it in the future "


I'm an insurance guy (work for a company, not an agent). Business interruption insurance generally doesn't cover a pandemic. This is creating a big stink between insured, agents and companies. "Why didn't you tell me?" "It's in the fine print." Lots of lawsuits...
 
andym
distinguished member(4780)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
05/24/2020 01:45PM
There are businesses that are changing deposit policies to allow customers to carry deposits forward to future trips. It’s a good idea because it lets people plan with confidence without risking money. And it removes the urge for someone to travel even if they feel sick when the time comes. That keeps everyone safe and builds good feelings with customers. Hopefully more businesses will see that.

Insuring against a pandemic is really hard. Car insurance could be local because not everyone has an accident at the same time in an area. Insurance against natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes can overwhelm local or even national insurance companies. So the insurance companies buy insurance from reinsurance companies. And reinsurance companies trade risk around the world because not every country has a flood or earthquake at the same time. A pandemic breaks that idea. If the reinsurance companies can’t trade risk around the world then they won’t back the insurance companies and the insurance companies won’t write policies.
 
Porkeater
senior member (84)senior membersenior member
 
05/26/2020 12:20PM
Who is the outfitter?
 
nofish
distinguished member(2739)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/26/2020 10:04PM
That's a really poor approach for the outfitter to take. If they stopped to think about it for a minute they'd realize they are trading all future money a customer would bring in over the next several years in exchange for $200 now.

I've had a few things that I have had booked and now we're figuring out if we'll be able to go or not and each time I call the various companies they've all been pretty helpful and understanding and changed their cancellation policies and refund policies to be more flexible in order to give people time to figure things out.

In this case it should be a no brainer to either refund the money or apply it as a future credit.
 
deancal20
senior member (58)senior membersenior member
 
05/27/2020 09:36AM
We had to cancel with a tow and deposit made. Our outfitter offered refund or carry over to the next year. We chose to use it next year. I am working with Seagull outfitters and they were very accommodating. I feel bad for them as well because it is not their fault and some outfitters may never recover financially. Some may lose customers but we may lose some outfitters.
 
nofish
distinguished member(2739)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/27/2020 02:26PM
I'd be interested to know what business is like for the outfitters. I've seen other threads talk about how busy and crowded the BWCA has been to start the season. If thats true I've got to assume outfitter business has been good. They probably saw a dip in people calling this spring to book summer trips due to the uncertainty but I've got to imagine that they'll make up for that with people calling to book out the rest of the summer. The outfitters are fortunate that the stay at home order was mostly in effect during the spring thaw when business would have been very light anyways. Now that the season is getting into full swing the BWCA is open and by all accounts I've heard people are heading up as planned. With Quetico not accessible and state park camping currently closed it would seem the BWCA is the best game in town for camping.
 
fishEH
member (37)member
 
05/27/2020 09:36PM
Thanks for the replies guys. My friend has been dealing with the outfitter to this point, since he booked it. Today I sent an email myself that included all of the correspondence, none of which has a deposit/refund policy stated anywhere, nor does their website. If that doesn't prompt them into action I'll be ready to "name and shame".
 
IndyCanoe
senior member (98)senior membersenior member
 
05/28/2020 08:32AM
Our experience was very positive. Our trip was planned to start on May 10th and was canceled. It was a BWCA trip and the day the official announcement was made by the forest service they called and sent an email. The outfitter offered to apply the deposit to our trip planned in August or any trip next year. They may have also offered a refund but i don't remember for sure. We chose to not apply that deposit in the future and asked the outfitter to keep it and use it however they needed. Our thought was trying to support a small business that we love in a difficult time.

Our situation is different in that they had already offered to apply the deposit to the future trips and our deposit was only $50.

I assume my perception would be very different if it was not my choice of how to handle the deposit.
 
Mocha
distinguished member(7117)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
05/28/2020 09:34AM
IndyCanoe: "Our experience was very positive. We chose to not apply that deposit in the future and asked the outfitter to keep it and use it however they needed. Our thought was trying to support a small business that we love in a difficult time.

Our situation is different in that they had already offered to apply the deposit to the future trips and our deposit was only $50.

I assume my perception would be very different if it was not my choice of how to handle the deposit."


that was very generous of you to allow them to retain the deposit..

i would hope outfitters and resort owners would be accommodating as it is their life and the lives of their workers depending on income.
 
gymcoachdon
distinguished member(517)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
05/28/2020 03:03PM
My experience was only with Quetico Parks for a campsite at Dawson Trails, and for the backcountry permit. Both were easily cancelled, and quickly refunded to the card they were charged on. I would guess that since a very large percentage of Quetico's use comes from the US, the outfitters in Canada are going to take a big hit this year. The outfitters in the US at least have the option of moving trips scheduled for Quetico into the BWCAW.
I would be interested to find out after this season how much $$ was lost missing the fishing opener, and if increased use happens, is it enough to make up for the slow start.
 
SummerSkin
senior member (84)senior membersenior member
 
05/28/2020 03:57PM
We had a tow-in to Lac La Croix (Quetico) booked with Anderson's Canoe Outfitters. He offered to apply the $100/ea deposit we'd paid to next year. I'm totally okay with that. I know they're struggling.
 
Argo
senior member (77)senior membersenior member
 
05/28/2020 04:20PM
You're right, Don. US revenue could easily be in the 70%-80% range. They are getting slaughtered.
 
fishEH
member (37)member
 
06/02/2020 10:37AM
To bring some closure to this......
I did not make the reservation with the outfitter, my friend did. We've been going to BWCA and/or Quetico for 20 years so we're not new to working with outfitters and the process.

- My friend emailed stating he wanted a refund. I emailed stating we wanted a refund. I also pointed out this outfitter does not have their refund policy stated anywhere on the website or any of the paperwork/emails exchanged.
- They emailed back, this time more than just a form email. They did not acknowledge that both of us asked for a refund, but they did offer a credit to be kept on file for future use. Then they took a picture of some form they have that states their refund policy. The problem is the form is something they use when you walk in there to do business with them, and they never sent it to us. Why they thought showing us that would have any relevance is beyond me
- I would be willing to stop here. My friend persisted and firmly told them he expects a full refund.
- They replied that they would be happy to revisit this in September.

The moral of the story it despite this outfitter having 80+ years of experience, they have terrible customer service. Had they reached out with an email initially that explained the bind they were in and clearly offered credits to people, we wouldn't be here now. Instead they sent out a long rambling email that emphasized they consulted with their bank and attorneys and stated NO REFUNDS in all caps.

Things happen, I get that. Its how a company handles those things that shows their character. Its unfortunate this outfitter handled it so poorly because I've lost some respect for them, but at least we won't lose our money.

And Quetico refunded our permit fees.
 
tumblehome
distinguished member(1680)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/03/2020 12:23PM
There have been a lot of companies stealing from customers lately due to the pandemic. This particular outfitter is one of them. They are unable to deliver a service you paid for but kept the money anyway. Thankfully most businesses are not like this. I know how devastating this has been to businesses but it doesn't allow for theft.
Myself, like many had to wrangle airfares back from an airline. My airline cancelled my flight and then did not permit me to receive a refund. Fortunately after a few phone calls and persistence, we did get a trip voucher for future travel. I feel this is a compromise and we met each other half way even though initially they were going to keep all of the airfare. They were an international airline and not subject to US regulations.

For this outfitter, they offered a credit which is meeting you halfway but the means in which they did it was unacceptable at the least. I think you should tell us who it is. We rate companies and products all the time on yhe forums. If someone has a good or bad experience with REI We all hear about it. This is the same.
Tom
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(685)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/04/2020 03:59PM
tumblehome: "I think you should tell us who it is. We rate companies and products all the time on yhe forums. If someone has a good or bad experience with REI We all hear about it. This is the same.
Tom"


Completely agree. Save us all the headache of working with an outfitter that treats their customers this way. I don't mean to be crass, but there are a LOT of great outfitters up there. 99% -- let the bad ones die and their customers will end up spending money at the good ones who know how to treat people.
 
Porkeater
senior member (84)senior membersenior member
 
06/05/2020 02:07PM
thegildedgopher: "tumblehome: "I think you should tell us who it is. We rate companies and products all the time on yhe forums. If someone has a good or bad experience with REI We all hear about it. This is the same.
Tom"



Completely agree. Save us all the headache of working with an outfitter that treats their customers this way. I don't mean to be crass, but there are a LOT of great outfitters up there. 99% -- let the bad ones die and their customers will end up spending money at the good ones who know how to treat people."


He pretty much did - "this outfitter having 80+ years of experience"

Not too many candidates that run tows and meet that criteria.
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(685)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/05/2020 02:41PM
True porkeater -- and I think I have it figured out, but ultimately there are a lot of people who visit this site and some of them are either less experienced (including me!) or don't have the time to start googling every outfitter providing a tow to Quetico and then figuring out how long they've been in operation.
 
Mocha
distinguished member(7117)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
06/05/2020 07:25PM
Not sure how far you want to go with this, but perhaps share your experience with the quetico park office in atikokan, the atikokan chamber of commerce, Ontario parks head office.... you still might not get anything but making your voice heard.
And now you know those people will also talk among themselves.

Also, double check their website to see if they have now added a cancel Policy.
How much money are we talking? It is definitely the poor customer service that is costing them more than your deposit dollars.
 
CanoeKev
distinguished member(628)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
06/08/2020 03:26PM
thegildedgopher: "True porkeater -- and I think I have it figured out, but ultimately there are a lot of people who visit this site and some of them are either less experienced (including me!) or don't have the time to start googling every outfitter providing a tow to Quetico and then figuring out how long they've been in operation."
I agree completely. FishEH, you have an OBLIGATION to tell the board who the outfitter is. The outfitter certainly can’t object to making its refund policy public. They should have made it clear to you and others who book with them from the start. Using the excuse that times are tough is no justification for keeping money without delivering the service. Things are tight for many people now. Times like these separate the honest outfitters from those that are less so.
Who was it??
 
fishEH
member (37)member
 
06/09/2020 01:25PM
If I get a minute I'll post the original email reply and you can decide for yourselves. Time is getting short before I have to leave for my BWCA trip, so it may be a while if it doesn't happen in the next 2 days.
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
COVID-19 Information and Discussion Sponsor:
True North Map Company