Nova Scotia

More customers complain bus tour company owes them money

A small Halifax-based bus tour company has more clients demanding their money back after cancelled trips.

It's not the first time customers of Halifax-based CD Tours have had to fight to get money refunded

Janet Barton booked a 'once-in-a-lifetime' bus trip to New York with her 11-year-old grandson, Jackson. CD Tours cancelled the trip and has yet to reimburse her the more than $1,200 she paid. (Roxanne Barton)

Customers of a small Halifax-based bus tour company who are awaiting refunds are wondering if the company has gone out of business.

They say they are worried they will not get money CD Tours owes them.

"I think it's deceitful of them not to step up and return our money," Olive Steeves-Babineau of Saint John, N.B., told CBC.

She added the company should be "upfront about it — be truthful and give us our refund."

Steeves-Babineau had booked a May trip to New York with CD Tours for herself and her daughter to celebrate her daughter's recent master's degree.

She paid the full cost of the trip, just over $1,400. But, in April, she received an email from the company telling her the trip was cancelled.

The company suggested she book another tour, but that wasn't practical, so she asked for a full refund.

CD Tours advertises bus tours to the U.S. from the Maritimes. (CD Tours/Facebook)

The customer service representative asked for proof she had paid. Steeves-Babineau sent it. 

Company not responding 

That was the last she heard from CD Tours, despite at least 10 emails and as many as eight voice mails left at the company's various numbers over the past two months.

"I know that I'm not alone in this because obviously there were more than two people booked on this trip," she said.

Janet Barton, from Lincoln, N.B., can sympathize. She, too, booked a New York trip with CD Tours for the end of June. 

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime trip with my 11-year-old grandson," Barton said. She paid the company just over $1,200.

She said CD Tours did not notify her about the cancelled trip. Instead, she found out through friends.

She, too, has tried every means to reach the company and its owner, Amine Saidane.

Unkept promise from owner

"He did message me and tell me I should have my money soon," she said, noting the message came after Saidane was contacted by a mutual friend.

That message arrived in June but that was the last she heard from Saidane or the company. She said he subsequently blocked her on Facebook so she is no longer able to communicate with him.

CD Tours also goes by the names CD Tours of Atlantic Canada and Carthage Dream Tours. 

In March, CBC reported on difficulties other customers had obtaining refunds after their trips were cancelled. All of them were fully refunded after CBC contacted the owner.

Company out of business?

The company's Facebook page has been removed and its website shows nothing for upcoming tours.

Steeves-Babineau contacted the Better Business Bureau of Atlantic Canada, where CD Tours has an "F" rating. 

The bureau posted an alert on April 13, saying correspondence sent to the company's mailbox was returned as undeliverable.

Steeves-Babineau said she was told there was nothing the bureau could do to help her.

She also contacted Saint John police but was told the complaint should be filed in Halifax.

Owner silent on refunds

Saidane has not responded to multiple texts, voicemails and emails from CBC inquiring about the company and whether it is still in business.

When seven people reported this spring that the company had not refunded the cost of cancelled trips, Saidane blamed staffing issues and problems with his online booking system. 

After telling Barton her money would be returned, Saidane blocked her on Facebook.

"He's just a scam artist," Barton said. "It's awful and he doesn't even think of anyone's feelings."

She said her grandson was "just sobbing" because the trip was cancelled. 

"Does [Saidane] not have a heart? Does he not think of the people he's hurting?" she said.

Both women are trying to get their money refunded through their credit card companies and PayPal.

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About the Author

Yvonne Colbert

Consumer Watchdog

Yvonne Colbert has been a journalist for nearly 35 years, covering everything from human interest stories to the provincial legislature. These days, she's focused on helping consumers get the most bang for their bucks and avoid being ripped off. She invites story ideas at yvonne.colbert@cbc.ca.