AG Tong Secures Refunds and Assistance for Passion Play Tour
Since March, Office of the Attorney General Has Helped Obtain Nearly $200,000 in COVID-19 Travel Refunds
(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong announced he has reached an agreement with NAWAS International Travel to provide refunds and rescheduled bookings for hundreds of consumers who had booked trips to view the 2020 Passion Play in Germany.
The Passion Play takes place once every ten years in the village of Oberammeragau in Bavaria, Germany. Darien-based NAWAS travel agency had contracted with numerous church groups across the country to plan for thousands of people to attend the play. The 2020 Passion Play was postponed to 2022 due to COVID-19. While NAWAS offered to transfer bookings to 2022 and offered other alternate itineraries, approximately 200 consumers who wished to cancel altogether complained to the Office of the Attorney General about difficulties obtaining a refund. NAWAS had sought to withhold $1,150 per person, ostensibly to cover expenses the company had already paid.
After many discussions with the Office of the Attorney General, NAWAS has now agreed to refund all but $500 to consumers who do not wish to reschedule their travel. Consumers should contact NAWAS directly before August 20, 2020 to obtain a refund.
“COVID-19 has hurt consumers and small businesses alike. I recognize that travel agencies like NAWAS have been devastated by cancellations and future uncertainty. I thank NAWAS for working collaboratively with my office to reach this agreement that provides consumers with substantial refunds while also respecting the non-recoverable costs NAWAS incurred planning these overseas trips,” said Attorney General Tong. “Traveling right now in many circumstances is not safe and is not advised, and consumers should not be bearing the full financial burden for these cancellations.”
Since March, the Office of the Attorney General has received approximately 950 complaints from consumers seeking assistance obtaining travel-related refunds from airlines, cruise lines and hotels. In addition to the NAWAS refunds, the Office of the Attorney General has secured nearly $200,000 in COVID-19 related travel refunds for Connecticut consumers.
Attorney General William Tong, Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull and Connecticut Insurance Department Commissioner Andrew N. Mais previously issued guidance to consumers regarding booking and canceling travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. That guidance is available here.
Assistant Attorney General Brendan Flynn, Legal Investigators Caylee Ribeiro and Christine Buck, and Michael Wertheimer, Head of the Consumer Protection Department, assisted the Attorney General in this matter.