When Faye Scher learned her cruise was stopping in Gibraltar, she planned a full-day tour of the island through Gibraltar Rock Tours. Although the tour couldn’t be completed, the driver still demanded payment.
Can we help her get a refund, or will this be added to the Case Dismissed file?
Scher researched the best providers of Gibraltar tours on TripAdvisor, and found that Gibraltar Rock Tours (listed on TripAdvisor as Gibraltar Rock Private Tours) is ranked sixth of the 22 tour companies. She read the reviews, contacted the company, and paid the required 50 percent deposit for a full-day tour for four people that included a visit to the ape dens and a dolphin experience.
When Scher and her family arrived in Gibraltar, a taxi driver named Francis picked up the group and started the tour. The four travelers were able to see the Great Siege Tunnels. Scher says she agreed to pay 140 pounds (approximately $172) for her group of four to take this tour.
Scher eventually learned that both the dolphin excursion and the cable car that would take them to the ape dens were closed because of high winds. They would not be able to complete their full-day tour. But when the driver completed the tour he demanded payment in full. The total came to 160 pounds (approximately $197), which they paid.
The group questioned the demand for payment but the driver said he was a contract worker and needed to be paid by them. After calling the company’s manager, Anthony, the driver assured Scher that a full refund would be issued by Anthony.
But I bet you can see where this was going — the refund was never issued and Anthony never replied to repeated requests Scher made for the refund.
The company lists no terms and conditions or legal disclosures on its website, which should have indicated that it could be difficult to resolve any disputes resulting from the transaction. But there is always the possibility of a credit card dispute, right?
Instead of using a major credit card issued by a traditional bank, Scher paid the deposit with her PayPal credit card. She asked it to step in and refund the money to her, and PayPal agreed to investigate.
After their investigation, PayPal agreed that Scher should be refunded the full $197 she requested, but the company had withdrawn all the money in its PayPal account. This meant that PayPal wouldn’t be able to refund her money.
Had Scher used a traditional, bank-issued major credit card, the issuing bank would have been able to issue a chargeback on Gibraltar Rock Tours and refund Scher’s money, rather than waiting for the company to deposit funds back to its own account.
We don’t list contact information on our website for Gibraltar Rock Tours. Although we do list contacts for PayPal, and Sher could have asked for a courtesy credit, but given its legal agreements for both business and consumers, a refund with PayPal having no recourse to recover its money is highly unlikely.
Scher contacted us and our advocates reached out to Gibraltar Rock Tours multiple times. Scher also continued to try to contact Gibraltar Rock Tours on her own. The company never replied to Scher — or to us.
Scher posted a review of her experience and her attempt to obtain a refund on TripAdvisor, including PayPal’s favorable ruling but inability to complete the refund. She also posted her experience to our forums.
Unfortunately, ensuring any future tour purchasers are informed of Gibraltar Rock Tours’ unwillingness to respond to a customer and to refund promised monies is all we can do in this case. Since the company has taken a vow of silence, we have to file this as a Case Dismissed.