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Vacation canceled? Some refunds are taking months to process

A Maplewood woman had been waiting six months for Apple Vacations to refund money for her canceled trip

MAPLEWOOD, Mo. — The pandemic put a pin in many of our vacation plans.
Now many would-be travelers are having a hard time getting refunds.

Jackie Ramsey of Maplewood was looking forward to spending her 20th wedding anniversary in Mexico this year.

"Because of my husbands health we kinda figured this was our last hurrah kinda thing. We wanted to celebrate if we could," said Ramsey.

In mid March when Apple Vacation's alerted Jackie and hundreds of other customers that their trips were being cancelled due to COVID-19, she says she followed the instructions on their email to request a refund.

"Time just kept going on and we kept calling and just getting machines saying 'we're processing, we're processing'," said Ramsey.

Six months passed, and Ramsey says, still no refund.

"The day my husband booked the trip, that was on our credit card that day. So I can't imagine it would take them six months to credit his card back or send us a check," said Ramsey.

The I-Team found hundreds of Apple Vacation customers like the Ramsey's posting similar complaints about cancelled trips and months without a refund.

In response to one of these Better Business Bureau complaints, Apple Vacations wrote back that "booking changes and cancellations created a backlog of over 50 times our normal accounting workload…".

Consumers don't forget

"What they need to understand is that there's going to be a time after COVID-19. They need to remember that consumers are going to remember how they were treated during the pandemic," said Chris Thetford with the Better Business Bureau.

After a few emails from the I-Team, we did what Ramsey and hundreds of others have been trying to do for months. The I-Team reached an Apple Vacations representative and now Ramsey is getting her money back.

In a statement, a representative for Apple Vacations told 5 On Your Side,

"Thank you for reaching out regarding Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey. Their booking should have automatically canceled when their destination closed, and we have manually refunded their booking. While this refund had already been processed, it may be 3-4 business days before the refund appears on their statements. We have been in touch with the client to confirm the status of the refund."

Other customers may not be as lucky.

Apple Vacations did not respond to our request for more information about how they're handling the backlog of refunds. However, in response to a BBB complaint they did also say, "Over the past few weeks, Apple Leisure Group Vacations has made great strides with that backlog. We are processing over a thousand requests a day in the order of initial request."

Determined to make every moment with her husband count, Ramsey has big plans for that $2,200 refund.

"We do have a little place in St. Clair that we're trying to fix up so we can get to the country occasionally... So that money would be very handy," said Ramsey.

If you're waiting for a refund on your vacation, the BBB says you can file a complaint on their website.

You may also want to consider filing a complaint with the federal trade commission or the Missouri attorney general's office.