Echuca Luxury Houseboats offers vouchers for lost trips

By Ivy Jensen

ECHUCA Luxury Houseboats is assuring customers whose bookings were affected by COVID-19 they will have all deposits and trip payments replaced with vouchers.

Dozens of people are claiming they have been left thousands of dollars out-of-pocket after they had to cancel their holidays due to the coronavirus shutdowns restricting non-essential travel.

Many claimed the houseboat operator had refused to refund or reschedule bookings and stopped communication with them.

However, Echuca Luxury Houseboats owner Andrew Mackenzie told the Riv the company had been trying to work through the issues.

“We can assure you we are working in good faith to provide the best outcome for our impacted customers,” he said.

“We are in the process of drafting correspondence to our impacted customers which will outline our offer of a voucher that they will be able to use over the next three years.

“We genuinely feel for everyone who has been impacted. We too have been massively impacted by this pandemic.”

Lyn Jarvis contacted the Riv after paying the company $3150 for a three-night stay from May 8-11.

“In March after the Prime Minister enforced travel restrictions, I asked for a postponement of my travel. It was denied,” she said.

“Since then, it has been ongoing emails with the same result, then the company stopped answering me.

“The company claimed they were fully operational but I can’t get there for my holiday so it’s a cancellation and I should have taken travel insurance. Which I did have on the basis of their booking recommendations, but as we now know no insurance covers for pandemic.

“I am in contact with at least 15 groups who are equally affected.”

A Melbourne woman only wanting to be known as Cathy said her husband had booked a $3000 houseboat trip on the weekend for her 40th birthday.

“He booked it three months ago and my in-laws paid a final deposit just before the lockdowns,” she said.

“My husband tried to contact the company last week because we obviously weren’t allowed to travel and then we emailed them last Thursday night and on Monday and we still haven’t heard from them. If we don’t hear anything in the next 24 hours, we’re thinking of taking legal action.

“We’re very frustrated and believe we’re entitled to a refund.

“This is a lot of money for us. It’s just horrible and morally wrong.”