09.12.2022 Opinion

Refund of monies paid for package trip to Costa Rica for 2022 U-20 Women’s World Cup

By Oscar U. SAM
Refund of monies paid for package trip to Costa Rica for 2022 U-20 Womens World Cup
09.12.2022 LISTEN

We are issuing this statement in response to the understandable worries being expressed by the Ghanaians who paid for a travel and accommodation package to attend the 2022 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica. The Ministry of Youth and Sports appointed City Gate Company Limited as one of two Authorized Ticket and Hospitality Agents – the other being African Origin Travels and Sports Tourism – to convey Ghanaians to the tournament and arrange for their accommodation and attendance of selected matches.

Unfortunately, after monies had been duly paid by those due to travel, for reasons still unknown to us, the National Security Authority declined to issue the requisite travelling permits, thus cancelling the planned trip.

Subsequently, we were inundated with demands from those who had paid us for the trip for a full refund of their monies.

City Gate Company wishes to assure all the participants in the abrogated package trip that we will refund all monies they paid to us in full. Indeed as at today, about 85% of the affected patrons have received their refunds. We are hopeful that the remaining patrons will receive their full refund from us before the end of March 2023.

We wish to use this opportunity to apologize to those still awaiting their full refunds, for the delay which is due to the trying circumstance the cancellation of the trip has placed us in. Indeed the cancellation has caused huge financial loss to City Gate since the monies paid to us had already been used to pay for the requisite services for implementing the package trip, and some of those monies are not refundable to us as the travel arrangers. However in line with our avowed commitment to ensuring the satisfaction of our clients at all times, we are committed to refunding all monies paid to us, which requires considerable financing of those refunds from our own resources.’

Indeed, while Ethiopian Airlines, which we contracted for the international travel to and fro between Ghana and Costa Rica has refunded monies we paid to them, this is minus a 15% administrative charge as per their company policy, amounting to US$170,000. We consequently have to meet this shortfall from our own coffers.

Similarly, we are still in the process of retrieving refunds of the monies paid by us to hotels in Costa Rica to book accommodation for our travelling clients. Again, even when these refunds have been secured, they will be minus booking cancellation charges which are even now being negotiated and which we will have to meet from our own resources in order to provide full refunds to all our affected customers.

We are also striving to retrieve payments made by us for Landing Rights in Costa Rica for the chartered aircraft we had planned to use to convey travellers to Costa Rica and back to Accra.

While we are not to blame for the cancellation of the trip which has led to this unfortunate situation, we fully accept our obligation as the facilitators of the trip to provide full refunds to all travellers and we assure you that we will fulfil that obligation shortly, even though it is at debilitating cost to us.

Once again we apologize for the unavoidable delay in paying a small minority of our affected customers, due to our need to secure external resources to both plug the financial gap caused by our inability to retrieve all the monies paid out by us to various service providers; and also to pre-finance refunds in the face of delays in receiving the portions of those payments made by us which are actually refundable by those service providers.

We thank all the affected customers for their kind understanding in this unfortunate situation and assure them that we stand ready to continue serving them with regard to their travelling arrangements into the future with our customary focus on the utmost comfort and convenience of our cherished clients.