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Fair Go: Kiwi couple relieved to be home after India trip turns into a nightmare

A Kiwi couple caught out by Covid-19 - and their insurance policy - are just relieved their holiday mishap is finally over.

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TVNZ1’s consumer affairs programme went to bat the for couple, who want a refund for the unused part of the trip. Source: Fair Go

Jo and John Davidson booked the trip of a lifetime with Marigold Tours, three weeks travelling around India.

They’d been having a great time: “If the other two weeks were going to be like that it would have been a fantastic tour,” John says.

But when Covid-19 hit and their tour was cancelled after just one week, their group was stuck in India.

“It was frightening,” says Jo.

“Things were starting to fall apart… We were suddenly told that [the Government was] cancelling all flights in and out of the country.”

Flights were indeed being cancelled. It took the Davidsons and another couple three weeks to get flights home – and they’d lost two thirds of their tour.

“We thought, you know, when things did start to turn we’d get a flight and just get out of it but no – it just lingered on,” says John.

The Davidsons' travel insurance didn’t cover pandemics, so they asked Marigold’s owner, Craig Woolliams, for a refund of the unused portion of the trip – meals and attractions, and hotels that had been refunded.

“It would be reasonable to pay us back any of the accommodation refunds that he got… Lots of things that we were due to have that he wouldn’t have had to pay for prior,” says Jo.

The couple never heard back from Mr Woolliams.

“It’s fine when these things are going to plan… But the measure of something when it happens like this is how you treat people after this event has happened,” John says.

But after being contacted by Fair Go, Marigold made the Davidsons a settlement offer.

He admits he could have communicated better with the Davidsons.

“I accept that the money is refundable to the people on the tour. Once I get the total amount… I can get that money out of India.”

Mr Woolliams and the Davidsons have come to a confidential agreement.

The Davidsons, who are still out of pocket another $20,000 for the extra stay in India, are just relieved their trip of a lifetime is finally over.