Grand Prix indeed: Edmonton woman waits a year for promised F1 package refund

WATCH: A death meant the trip of a lifetime to see the Grand Prix in Montreal had to be cancelled. But as Billy Shields reports, despite promises from the company who organized the tour, a refund took over a year to be processed.

MONTREAL — When Ann Brown bought her husband a 2014 Canadian Grand Prix package, it was supposed to tick a “bucket list” item from his list.

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But after the untimely death of a family friend, she said what ended up happening was that a Montreal-area tour company pocketed the money and resold the tour.

“This just blows me away. I absolutely trusted them and I wish I didn’t,” she said from her home in Edmonton.

“This was an opportunity to give my husband and his friend a trip of a lifetime.”

She told Global News that she ordered the package from a St. Lambert company called SportVac Voyages as a present for her husband in 2013. It included hotel, airport transportation, two grandstand seats and entry to a cocktail party.

The exterior of SportsVac on June 3, 2015.

Billy Shields/Global News

The problem?

As she isn’t a racing fan, Brown said she bought the $2700 tour so her husband could take his best friend.

“In 2013, I purchased two Silver packages for the 2014 Montreal F1 from Formula Tours,” Brown told Global News in an email.

“They were purchased for my husband Larry and his friend as a father’s day gift.”

But in the end, the trip had to be cancelled after her husband’s friend died from cancer complications in the spring of 2014.

At that time, Brown reached out to the company to see if it would be possible to get a refund — and that’s where the problems started.

“They’ve just been putting me off and putting me off.”

She supplied Global News with an email chain that seemed to indicate the company was working on resolving the issue.

“For months now their president has stated that he has a cheque sitting on his desk and he just needed it signed,” she said in an email.

“I was also advised that the package had been resold, so they were not out any money!”

Yet, despite these promises and on the eve of the 2015 Formula One race, Brown said she still has not been reimbursed.

Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari turns a corner in the 2014 edition of the Canadian Grand Prix, which Ann Brown said her husband Larry Brown was going to attend with a friend.


The company responds

Global News reached out to SportVac Voyages to find out the company’s take on what happened.

“Although our policy is clear, it goes without saying that each situation has to be examined from a human perspective,” wrote company president, Marc Savoie, via email.

“Over the last two weeks, we have had various discussions with the organiser, and confirm that, nothwithstanding clear company policy, a reimbursement will indeed be issued.”

Brown said she was overjoyed to finally have the issue resolved.

“This is the closest I have been to getting the money back and it only took one call from you!” she said in an email.

“The money should be in my account by tomorrow morning at the latest.”

In fact, Brown confirmed that she received her refund on Wednesday afternoon.

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