VIC couple hit with $60,000 fine after trip cancellation
A Victorian nurse who has been on the COVID-19 frontline and her partner have “lost sleep” after being forced to cancel their overseas trip.
Michael Butler and Melinda Manley were excited to go on their first holiday overseas but instead have been left nearly $60,000 out of pocket after the pandemic derailed their "trip of a lifetime".
The couple had been saving for years for their dream European getaway.
Together they planned an expansive holiday throughout the UK, Ireland and Scotland before embarking on a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest.
The trip would have been Mr Butler's first time overseas.
However, the pair have been left heartbroken after being slugged with nearly $60,000 in cancellation fees.
Mr Butler says if the pair had booked the trip a month earlier they would have been granted a full refund.
While their travel operator Scenic Tours offered to give the pair a full travel credit, Mr Butler told Today he refused as he doesn't know if he'll be able to travel again.
"I'm closer to 70 than I am to 60. I don't know what's going to happen in two years time," Mr Butler explained.
"I should be the one who decides when I go and have a holiday.
"If we had have booked our travel a month earlier, we would have received a 125 per cent credit voucher or our full refund as the CEO of Scenic Tours has put out on the internet."
Mr Butler hopes the money "hasn't gone down the drain" but still is not sure whether he or his wife will be eligible for a refund in two years’ time.
"It's still there. But for some reason, Scenic Tours want to give it back to us for another two years," he said.
"Supposing we can get a refund, but they might not. We don't know.
"I mean, how can you buy a TV and not get it for two years after you paid for it."
Ms Manley who works as a residential care nurse on Melbourne's coronavirus frontline, say he and her partner have lost sleep due to the cancellation.
"We're not getting much sleep as it is," she said.
"It's not very safe out there.
"We just want to keep everybody safe. It is the most vulnerable people out there that we're looking after. We're COVID free luckily at the moment at our facility."
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