Worldstrides the tour company your school should stay away from

In my previous post about our problems with Worldstrides (you can read that post here) I mentioned the fact that Worldstrides had been involved with a bankruptcy. I had found that information via a private members only message board. It may or may not be in error but apparently the post got the attention of Worldstrides themselves. It is amazing to me that a blog that gets only 3 visitors a week would set off alarms at a small travel agency (Worldstrides only has 300 employees worldwide, hardly a large corporation) Because of that post I got a long 5 paragraph email from Mr. Martin, one of the VP's at Worldstrides trying to "correct" my blog post.

In answer to that email I will "correct" the word bankruptcy with a link to a court document that goes into great detail about how Lakeland Tours (which is what Wordstrides use to be known as) debts mounted up and how Worldstrides was formed under questionable dealings. You can see that document in full here. You can form your own opinion about Worldstrides after reading that.

Next I would like to mention that Mr. Martin prided himself in the fact that the Better Business Bureau of Richmond, VA gave Worldstrides an A+ as a rating. That is indeed true but on the same page they (the BBB) mention the 18 complaints against the company, in the last 36 months alone that were "resolved" (it was not mentioned how they were "resolved")

Another website also listed complaints against Worldstrides and you can see them at this link.

Mr. Martin's email goes on to mention the fiasco with the Bush inauguration which I had mentioned in the prior blog post. He said and I will quote him here, "During the inauguration program we provided an additional 1-2 days of lodging, meals, sightseeing, and transportation for over 1,000 students affected by both security and weather issues. This was done at no additional cost to the participants." Since I have no way of knowing if that is true or not I will give you a link to the news article that started of of this and let you decide. Here is the news article. Of course Worldstrides did not give out refunds to those kids, why am I not shocked. They like to keep what ever money comes their way and they stick to their no refund policy - they kept my money didn't they.

That is not all the news I have on them. Stay tuned for the next installment because there is more!

Those people at Worldstrides should have given me my money back. Now they will get lots of unwanted and free publicity.

14 comments:

  1. [...] did have a bankruptcy (see updated blog post for the truth about Worldstrides in great detail - click here), not an official bankruptcy but failing to pay huge debts. Around 2002 and they were also [...]

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  2. I hear Worldstrides gives their teachers a huge kickback in the form of a "stipend" that just adds to the cost of the trip for parents and students. Ouch.

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  3. Used Worldstrides for years and have no problems. Great company.

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  4. To Parent -
    You must have a lot of kids to use Worldsrtides for "years". That would be a statement I would expect from a teacher.

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  5. My daughter and I just returned from a WorldStrides trip to the east coast. We had a wonderful time and no trouble with the company. Every aspect of our trip ran smoothly. My daughter, through various fundraising opportunities, raised the entire dollar amount for her trip as did most of the other 23 students that attended. In addition, her fundraising efforts paid for a portion of my trip. I guess it depends on how much effort the organizers and parents want to put into fundraising. Most of our fundraising dealt with providing services rather than trying to sell anything. The students hired themselves to rake leaves, scoop snow, clean gutters, help with housework, weed gardens, babysit, etc. It also helps that we live in a very supportive community. I'm sorry you haven't had a good experience with WorldStrides. I plan on attending another WorldStrides trip in two years with my middle child. I have no worries that it won't be as rewarding an experience as this one was!

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  6. To Parent too,
    I am so glad your fund raising went so well. I would have no doubt that our group would have done better if we were located nearer to a large city. The area around Lacomb School is a poor rural area. Lebanon is the nearest town (13 miles away) with 14,000 people and an unemployment rate of close to 15%, if not more. The great majority of the residents of this area are older, retired and on fixed incomes so their spending money is restricted. The kids would have had no problem raising money doing the types of odd jobs your child did if they lived closer to neighbors or an area that did not need an hour round trip in the car to. That is one of the main reasons we turned to the internet for getting the word out but that too has not gone well at all. So far 5 children in the school district trip have dropped out due to financial reasons. There maybe more but as of yet I don't know.

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  7. It is wonderful that the fundraising went well for those of you...We did fundraising for our students and some raised the entire cost and some did not.My son went last year and had fun with his friends even though he thought the actual trip was boring. Personally I do not think it is worth the cost, but the growing experience is wonderful! This year my daughter is set to go but Worldstrides put half of our students on "waitlist" because they claim to have called about final payments due in April. All the parents got were "please call back" messages nothing about final payments due. There are so many discrepancies in what Customer Says that it is ridiculous! I would never use this company again..EVER!!

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  8. I used to work for World Strides, and can tell you that as an employee in Customer Service and the Financial Department YOUR BEING RIPPED OFF!!!
    The teachers do indeed get a stipend for organizing the trip as well as other freebies if they are a high profile teacher. The comment that was made from "Mr. Martin" about the extended stays and allowances for those students involved in the inauguration for Bush is completely FALSE! No one was offered that, I worked in customer service when that happened and let me tell you it was HELL!!! Now most of this was due to security changes granted, which was beyond WS control,but most schools were not offered refunds. Those schools that did get some sort of refund were schools that had a long history with WS and were "favorites" so to speak.
    Once you sign up, your account will be racked with fees, and add on programs. If the participation is low you will be charged fees for rooming changes. Usually too late in the game to cancel without losing all or some of your money.
    Should you decide to take a trip with them, READ THE SMALL PRINT of their brochures from top to bottom. If they say there are no hidden fees at the sales pitch to parents, that's complete BS!!!

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  9. FYI parents who are chosen as "chaperones" are given a percentage discount off their trip as well. The amount depends on the teacher organizing the trip. This does come from their stipend so some teachers do not do this. Instead they get parents who are going with their kids to take groups.

    **Here's a tip: If you wanna shave some cost, ask your teacher about getting your own airline tickets. This will only work if you are attending with your child though. They however will not guarantee scheduling issues or your cost from Airport to hotel or first stop on itinerary. My advice fly in the day before they do and meet the group at the airport when they are scheduled to arrive, this way you won't miss the tour bus picking them up. You will have to send in documents/waivers but it can be done!!!! This won't take much off your total so make sure to shop around before doing this and compare prices before you attempt. Also get all the flight information from your teacher so you know exactly where to be!!!

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  10. I also worked for Worldstrides and yes they are CROOKS!

    They will scam you in everyway possible.

    I would recommend that you NEVER EVER use this company. They have had money trouble for YEARS!

    If they did not screw your group this year.....just wait it will happen.

    Yes they give "kick backs" to teachers and you wonder why they say such wonderful things.

    As far as Mr. Martin he will do and say ANYTHING.

    Ask him about Chuck Schumer, Senator from NY, and how he asked the Attorney General to investigate how they tried to rip off students in his district.

    I know they were also gives referral fees to teachers who got OTHER schools to travel with Worldstrides. They could makeup to $500.00 per school! So if a teacher got a teacher friend(s) to travel they could and do make BIG BUCKS simply by giving a sale's person names of their friends whom they have already called.

    Simply unethical behavior on Worldstrides and the teacher's part.

    They say they are an "educational" corporation simply unbelieveable.

    In regard to the BBB stating they have resolved all their complaints one thing that has been WELL KNOWN for years is NEVER EVER use the BBB for recommendations!!!!!! They are the worst mainly because coporations pay FEES to be listed and how many customers would the BBB have if they did not get those fees.

    I am simply telling you the TRUTH.

    Parents watch out!

    Teachers be careful you don't wind up in a payola suit. Believe me Worldstrides will not be there to help you then. They will run just like they do with parents of MANY, MANY paying students!

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  11. My daughter just came home from school with a pile of information about a Worldstride spring trip to Florida. $2,400 for a 4-day trip to Florida? Are they out of their minds? As I started reading the small print, I realized this trip would end up costing even more with all the bologna extra fees as well.

    I told my child that for $2,400, we can send her to overnight summer camp next summer for 4 weeks. She likes that idea a whole lot more than this RIP-OFF deal to Florida.

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  12. The customer service at World Strides is legendary in it's horrific execution. From the outset, this organization has been nothing but difficult. The problem is that the school selects the organization so World Strides has no impetus to help the parents. Consequently, the people paying the money are NOT the customers, and they are treated like pond scum. I called five different people to request a refund because I overpaid. They refused. A call to the President, Mr. Hall, results in being transferred back to a naive, recent college graduate who is both disempowered and incapable. A visit to their website, Facebook and social media pages simply indicate that they are only interested in their image to schools - there is no indication of any interest in assisting parents or their children. This is a warning to teachers and principals. If you want happy parents - AVOID WORLD STRIDES. They put the "uck" in suck.

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  13. I too am experiencing the unpleasant side effects of someone holding almost 2,000.00 of "MY" money, since we had to cancel a trip. They said it was in the Contract (waiting 4 to 6 weeks) and that I should have read it. I explained them my situation, and they insist on keeping my money for the month and a half duration. I agree wholeheartedly... AVOID WORLDSTRIDES. There are MANY hidden costs.

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  14. I am glad they gave me such poor customer service after reading all of this! We will not push the issue of m child going on a trip that costs more than it would if I just sent her myself since we have relatives in both places they were headed!Natahn Ryder is the worst customer service supervisor i have encountered.

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