Sundowners Tours denying refund without large fee | Australian Frequent Flyer
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Sundowners Tours denying refund without large fee

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Jan 20, 2015
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Our Sundowners tour late August departure was cancelled, with the company invoking force majeure.
That was to be expected. We had paid deposit of about $4400.

They proposed to offer a travel credit with a 10% bonus, usable by mid 2022. That didn't suit us so we asked for a refund as per the original T&Cs, which were quite explicit that if they cancelled invoking force majeure we would get a refund.
There was no mention of cancellation fees in that event.

Now, if we want a refund they are proposing to keep 50% or $2200 as a fee to cover their time spent on consultation and management of our booking.

Has anyone else had recent experience with Sundowners ?
 

Mattg

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I haven't dealt with this company, but the ACCC has specifically said that businesses cannot change T&Cs retrospectively to deny refunds.

Have you considered going to fair trading/the consumer authority in your state?
 
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Hi Mattg

I have communicated the ACCC info etc in my emails with them.
Hadn't thought about going to authority as you suggest just yet.
Thanks for mentioning - will keep that in mind.
Was thinking my next step could be lodging a dispute on the credit card.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
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Our Sundowners tour late August departure was cancelled, with the company invoking force majeure.
That was to be expected. We had paid deposit of about $4400.

They proposed to offer a travel credit with a 10% bonus, usable by mid 2022. That didn't suit us so we asked for a refund as per the original T&Cs, which were quite explicit that if they cancelled invoking force majeure we would get a refund.
There was no mention of cancellation fees in that event.

Now, if we want a refund they are proposing to keep 50% or $2200 as a fee to cover their time spent on consultation and management of our booking.

Has anyone else had recent experience with Sundowners ?
I just had a look at their terms and conditions and they say you will get a refund less any monies which they have already expended, or legally committed to spend, plus a $200 service fee. But it sounds more like they are just imposing a 50% fee, rather than anything based on actual spend.

Rather than ACCC you can also start with the Consumer Affairs contact centre in your state. Free service and they're usually excellent in helping out.
 

wind_

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Joined
Sep 30, 2011
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I called up Southern Cross Travel Insurance and they offered a full refund for our Europe trip in August (policy taken out in December).

No issues or offers of credit so I'm pretty pleased.
 

Mattg

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Rather than ACCC you can also start with the Consumer Affairs contact centre in your state. Free service and they're usually excellent in helping out.
Absolutely. In my experience, the ACCC doesn't really look at individual cases such as this one. They may take action if they get a large number of complaints about the same business/practice, but the state-based consumer affairs folks are best for these kinds of consumer issues.
 
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Maybe it's just me... but i can't get over the unfortunate name of the company :(
not the best eh ... I doubt they were intentionally referencing the late afternoon syndrome or rural itinerants turning up just in time for dinner.
Probably thinking more about sitting somewhere nice, watching the sunset with a cold beer in hand.

having said that, I heard good things about them before making the booking, but that reputation is being tainted a bit at the moment.
 

Jester38

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Our Sundowners tour late August departure was cancelled, with the company invoking force majeure.
That was to be expected. We had paid deposit of about $4400.

They proposed to offer a travel credit with a 10% bonus, usable by mid 2022. That didn't suit us so we asked for a refund as per the original T&Cs, which were quite explicit that if they cancelled invoking force majeure we would get a refund.
There was no mention of cancellation fees in that event.

Now, if we want a refund they are proposing to keep 50% or $2200 as a fee to cover their time spent on consultation and management of our booking.

Has anyone else had recent experience with Sundowners ?
Hi, there are various avenues you can pursue but suggest you contact AFCA (Australian Financial Complaints Authority. They are very good at resolution of these matters, and do deal with flight bookings. Note, as you would expect, they are swamped at present and will take some time to get back to you. Also, good to have electronic (or hard) copy of correspondence to date with Sundowners and you are going to get a good hearing if that correspondence has been "firm but reasonable". Good luck!
 
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Hi, there are various avenues you can pursue but suggest you contact AFCA (Australian Financial Complaints Authority. They are very good at resolution of these matters, and do deal with flight bookings. Note, as you would expect, they are swamped at present and will take some time to get back to you. Also, good to have electronic (or hard) copy of correspondence to date with Sundowners and you are going to get a good hearing if that correspondence has been "firm but reasonable". Good luck!
Thanks for the info.
Although it is so tempting at times to become a bit narky, I have been careful to always remain polite and factual.
A policy I have had for ever is to write drafts of "difficult" emails, and then review them the next day before sending.
 
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OK, so good progress today.

we had purchased through an agent that confirmed our booking with a set of T&Cs attached. I had based my claim on those words.
I was puzzled why the T&C words they quoted were not the same, so I emailed them my original confirmation, asking why the words we were quoting at each other were different.
Turns out Sundowners had changed their T&Cs a few months before we bought but the agent had not updated accordingly.

To Sundowners credit, once they saw that they immediately agreed to make the refund, and apologised for the misunderstanding.

So all is good.
 

TheRealTMA

Established Member
Joined
Jul 13, 2012
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OK, so good progress today.

we had purchased through an agent that confirmed our booking with a set of T&Cs attached. I had based my claim on those words.
I was puzzled why the T&C words they quoted were not the same, so I emailed them my original confirmation, asking why the words we were quoting at each other were different.
Turns out Sundowners had changed their T&Cs a few months before we bought but the agent had not updated accordingly.

To Sundowners credit, once they saw that they immediately agreed to make the refund, and apologised for the misunderstanding.

So all is good.
Excellent. ACCC takes a dim view on such things. Sundowner are ultimately responsible.
 

Jester38

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Mar 23, 2020
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OK, so good progress today.

we had purchased through an agent that confirmed our booking with a set of T&Cs attached. I had based my claim on those words.
I was puzzled why the T&C words they quoted were not the same, so I emailed them my original confirmation, asking why the words we were quoting at each other were different.
Turns out Sundowners had changed their T&Cs a few months before we bought but the agent had not updated accordingly.

To Sundowners credit, once they saw that they immediately agreed to make the refund, and apologised for the misunderstanding.

So all is good.
Well done - good to see a win!
 

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