Shuswap Tourism and Shuswap Economic Development have expressed their disappointment with the closure of Waterway Houseboats due to the company going into receivership on June 11.
“Waterway Houseboats, along with Twin Anchors Houseboat Vacations, and Bluewater Houseboat Vacations are responsible for establishing Sicamous as the Houseboat Capital of Canada, as well as offering a unique way to showcase the incredible scenery and recreational amenities found on and around Shuswap and Mara Lakes,” their statement reads.
The note, posted to Shuswap Tourism’s website, states that the Shuswap’s tourism operators look forward to welcoming visitors to experience houseboating and the other activities the area has to offer. It also offers a few tips for those who booked with Waterway and have not received a refund from the company that is now in the control of the bank’s receiver.
They recommend those who booked their trips with credit cards contact the credit card company to see if they are eligible for reimbursement.
Shuswap Tourism recommends Waterway customers from outside Canada contact the agent who booked their trip to determine whether they have insurance coverage.
It recommends Canadian residents who booked a trip contact Consumer Protection BC for more information regarding reimbursement.
Tatiana Chabeaux-Smith, a spokesperson for Consumer Protection BC, said the matter of getting reimbursement from the company is not a simple one.
Chabeaux-Smith said Consumer Protection BC is currently gathering information to see if anything can be done to help the customers who are out thousands of dollars after their houseboat vacations were abruptly cancelled.
Consumer Protection BC licenses and regulates travel agents in the province. Those agents pay into a travel assurance fund which is administered by Consumer Protection BC and used to compensate customers in the event of a travel agency or supplier failure.
“We discovered that one of our licensed travel agents did do a number of bookings to Waterway and that travel agency is called BC Central Reservations,” Chabeaux Smith said.
“That is a possible avenue of compensation for people but they have to have booked through that licensed travel agent.”
Chabeaux-Smith said there are a number of processes which people have to follow in order to be compensated through the assurance fund, one of which is attempting to get their money back through their credit card company. She said she would advise anybody in this kind of situation to seek a charge-back through their credit card company; some Waterway customers who have called Consumer Protection BC have successfully received reimbursement through their credit card companies.
Further information on the process for seeking reimbursement is expected to be posted on Consumer Protection BC’s website by Friday, June 21.