Social media is full of complaints from people who bought travel packages with the online travel agency Hurb and had their trips postponed.
O UOL talked to three people who were unable to travel: a couple had their honeymoon to South Africa postponed for the second time, a daughter who would take her parents out of Brazil for the first time will no longer be able to fulfill her dream in 2022 and a confectioner who would travel to London this year will have to wait until 2023, in addition to fearing the fulfillment of four other packages she bought for trips in 2023 and 2024. The company says it will honor all packages purchased (read in detail, below, what Hurb says).
honeymoon postponed twice
IT analyst Igor Cabral, 34, bought in 2020 a package to Cape Town (South Africa), where he would spend his honeymoon in November 2021. Because of the pandemic, the package was postponed to this year and, this month, he found he would have to face yet another postponement.
As the trip is the couple’s honeymoon, Cabral decided to insist and reschedule for 2023, even more so since visiting South Africa is a dream for the couple. Despite the rescheduling, Cabral says he’s not confident that everything will work out. The package — which includes hotel and tickets — cost R$ 5,337.60 for the couple.
The feeling of frustration is huge. It was always a dream of ours to go to South Africa. We thought about canceling everything, but as we really want to travel, we decided to give it another chance.
Igor Cabral, IT analyst
Baker bought ten packages with Hurb
The baker Michele de Campos Oliveira, 40, bought in April 2020 a package to London (United Kingdom) to travel in 2021, but the trip was postponed because of the pandemic. In August, she found out that the dream would be postponed yet again.
Hurb told Michele in an email that the company was having trouble finding flights at discounted prices.
“Amid this scenario and considering that, according to the regulation of your London 2021 Package, the operation of your trip depends on the availability of promotional fares, we are having difficulty finding flights that respect these pre-established rules at the time of purchase of your ticket. offer”, says the Hurb email sent to Oliveira.
Going to London is the dream of Oliveira’s husband, who wants to visit the Harry Potter series studios in the city. In addition to the frustration with the trip, the couple had already bought pounds and euros, which were deposited on a prepaid card.
Oliveira was a loyal customer of Hurb. He has already traveled to Vitória (ES), Gramado (RS), Lençóis Maranhenses (MA), Florianópolis (SC) and Cancún (Mexico) and he had never had any problems with travel.
He liked it so much that he bought other packages for 2023 and 2024, bound for Orlando (United States), New York (United States), Buenos Aires (Argentina) and Caraíva (BA).
The five travel packages for the next two years add up to around R$17,000.
“Going to London is my husband’s childhood dream. We rescheduled for March next year, but if they reschedule again we will ask for a refund and cancel all the packages we have”, says Oliveira.
Oliveira says he wouldn’t be able to make as many trips without Hurb’s promotional prices.
Parents’ first international trip
Project manager Jaqueline Tavares, 35, bought three five-day packages to Orlando for R$999 in March 2020 to travel in 2021 with her parents. Like Michele and Igor, she had to postpone the package to this year because of the pandemic.
In July, he received an email from Hurb saying that it would not be possible to make the trip this year, with options for a refund, postponement to 2023 or requesting credits.
“I was frustrated. I’ve traveled outside Brazil, but my parents haven’t. They’re from the Northeast, they don’t have an education, my mother thinks the United States is another planet and I was proud to have the chance to show them the country” , says Jacqueline.
Jaqueline is afraid of rescheduling the trip for next year and the company will not fulfill its promise, in addition to the difficulty of rescheduling the vacation at work. She also spent on her parents’ passport and visa and on buying dollars.
“I asked for a vacation from work for this trip. I am a salaried employee, I put dates close to October to be within the vacation period. For next year, I would have to reschedule the vacation again. I don’t have all that flexibility”, says Jaqueline. .
The consumers heard by UOL state that at no time did the company say that the trip could be postponed.
Hurb told the report that this is not really in the regulation, but that postponements are authorized by law. 14,046/20which was created specifically for the postponement and cancellation of services, reservations and events in the tourism and culture sectors because of the pandemic.
Priscila Sansone, partner in the consumer law area at Veirano Advogados, says that the postponement would not need to be foreseen in the original offer, as the supplier could not foresee the pandemic and its effects.
Hurb says company will honor all packages
In an interview with UOLHurb says the company is not going bankrupt and that the intention is to fulfill all packages — even those that have been pushed back to 2023.
Romário Melo, Director of Consumer Experience at Hurb, says that the postponement of packages is happening due to a decrease in the fleet of planes available on the market. According to Melo, the demand for flights has increased, ticket prices have risen and the company is not finding promotional rates for passengers to travel on the chosen dates.
Those who do not want to travel in 2023 can request a refund, which is paid within 60 business days, or earn credits, which are automatically released and can be used until December next year.
Melo says that the increase in the number of complaints has to do with the increase in sales. Reclame Aqui registered around 22,000 complaints in the first half of this year against Hurb. The company says that in 2022 around 650,000 travelers boarded and that 1 million had tickets or vouchers issued in the first half of the year.
What guarantees that travel will be fulfilled in 2023? Consumers who spoke to the UOL fear not being able to travel in 2023.
Hurb’s legal director, Otávio Simões Brissant, says that the company continues to work so that the trips are fulfilled.
Brissant says that the airline industry forecast is that the air network will increase and that in July next year it will be at the same level as it was in 2019.
Is the Hurb going bankrupt? “We are far from going bankrupt. We are going to serve everyone and we are working on technology for this, seeking the best rates and package improvements”, says Melo.
Consumer can claim compensation
Procon-SP says that the law allows cancellation as long as it is motivated by the pandemic.
Lucas Marcon, a lawyer at Idec (Brazilian Institute for Consumer Protection), says that the markdown is guaranteed by law, but that the company must bear the damage that the markdown can cause to the consumer for not being able to travel this year.
Examples of damages are the loss of a work trip, a vacation or an important event. Marcon says that the consumer needs to keep all proof of contact with the company and any damages suffered. In contrast, samson says that the pandemic law does not provide for compensation to the consumer.
If the consumer cannot resolve his problem directly with Hurb, he can file a complaint at consumer.gov.br or at Procon.