KITCHENER -- Families in Waterloo said they're out thousands of dollars after a school trip to Europe was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grade 12 student Josh Orfanidis was supposed to spend his March break vacation in Ireland this year.

"A lot of working, a lot of saving for the trip," he said.

The 10-day school trip was cancelled due to COVID-19.

"There were a couple of students crying," Orfanidis said. "It was a very sad room."

Orfanidis paid for half of the trip himself and his parents paid the rest.

"I want my money," he said. "I paid good money for something I didn't get, so I want my money back."

"We've been patient, but when we keep getting this runaround, it gets very frustrating," his mother Julie Orfanidis said.

The family said they've received a $100 refund, but paid nearly $4,000 for the trip.

"Nobody's fault this trip was cancelled, but it's been six months, more than six months, and we were told we would have it back within 12 weeks," Julie said.

Woodstock families also said they were out thousands of dollars from their own cancelled trip. The trips were handled by the same companies.

The travel agency, Explorica, said it's done its part.

"We've met all obligations required of us under the terms, contracts and seller of travel laws, that are in any way related to the adjudication of these claims," a statement said in part.

Explorica said it's fulfilled the portion of refunds owed to parents. A spokesperson said it's now up to the insurance company to handle the rest of the refund.

"The insurance company says they need more information and Explorica says they've given all the information," Julie said.

Explorica said it was a re-seller of policies through the company Trip Mate. The agency said an official complaint has been filed against the insurance company, Old Republic, through the agency that acts as a financial regulator for the province.

Josh said he's disappointed he might not get the chance to go on another school trip with his friends from Bluevale Collegiate Institute.

"I have relatives that live in Ireland and I was excited to meet," he said. "There's a lot of tourist sites we were going to."

Explorica said all impacted customers should file formal complaints. The agency also said it would continue to advocate for its clients until there's a resolution, but said the issues are between customers and the insurance provider.

CTV News Kitchener reached out to Old Republic and Trip Mate and did not hear back by 6 p.m. Monday.

Julie said some parents are considering pursuing legal action if the issue isn't resolved.