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Iowa high school band students get full refund for cancelled European trip

DES MOINES — COVID-19 ruined vacation plans for countless Iowans in the past year, but more than 300 Iowa high school students are getting a full refund on a band trip that was shut down by the virus.

Lynn Hicks, spokesman for the Iowa Attorney General, says a Colorado-based travel outfit, Voyageurs International, had offered what it was calling the Ambassadors of Music Tour and 307 Iowans paid in advance.

“They signed up for this band tour of Europe, it was cancelled because of the pandemic,” Hicks says. “They got part of their money back but the contract said that it was less $1,900.”

The Iowa students paid more than $6,300 each for the tour and accompanying adults paid $6,700, while about 40 Iowans paid at least $2,000 more for a side trip to Greece.

“A lot of the students and their parents came to us, we talked to the company and found out the company had received some of the money back from the vendors that they worked with,” Hicks says. “We felt it was best that they return the full amount to the students and that’s what happened.”

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office alleged the company violated several laws, including the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act. The company denied the charges but agreed to pay back the full $610,000 to its Iowa clients.

“We appreciate that they worked with us on this,” Hicks says. “The company did mislead the Iowans in how they handled this event, so in the end, we think it’s a nice end to the story.” The AG’s office is in now in the process of contacting the Iowans and will send them refund checks.

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