WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) — Consumers who have spent the last year fighting for refunds for COVID-related cancellations are finally beginning to see their money.

After more than 12 months, there are new signs of hope.

“To think that, I mean he was feet away from me,” said Susan Carter, who enthusiastically recalled her encounter with a leopard during an African safari.

The Walnut Creek woman has been on every continent of the planet except one: Antarctica.

“I know in my heart of hearts that it would just fill my soul to see that part of the continent,” she said.

She shows 7 On Your Side photos taken by another traveler, Breene Yuen.

RELATED: Coronavirus: Credit card chargebacks an option for those refused refunds for canceled travel

Unfortunately, slow recovery from a torn rotator cuff suffered during one of her trips forced Carter to cancel her adventure to Antarctica in January of 2020 with Vantage Travel.

Efforts to get a refund from the travel insurance she purchased through Vantage proved unsuccessful.

“They said, ‘Oh, Vantage took this over in, I don’t know, October or November. Don’t call us anymore. We have nothing to do with it,'” said Carter.

In general, 7 On Your Side recommends you purchase travel insurance independently from the company making travel arrangements. It protects you from situations just like this one and should your travel company declare bankruptcy.

The insurance company blamed the delay in getting a refund on COVID.

After one year with no results, Carter reached out to 7 On Your Side.

RELATED: Thinking of traveling soon? Expert shares tips on how to navigate pandemic travel

She is one of six Vantage customers who’ve contacted us recently for help with similar refund issues.

Carter received a refund of $11,000.

“Well, I have to tell you, I’m a pretty happy person. But I was really happy when that happened,” she exclaimed.

Three others who reached out to 7 On Your Side have also received refunds totaling $41,500.

Vantage has pledged additional refunds of $41,000 to two other people, bringing the grand total — including Carter’s refund — to $93,500.

One refund has so far been denied.

“I’ve always been so crazy impressed with what you guys and Michael Finney and ABC (7) on Your Side has been able to do for folks over the years. It’s such an amazing service,” Carter said.

Vantage Travel did not respond to our request for comment.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

Have a question for Michael and the 7 On Your Side team? Fill out the form HERE! 7OYS’s consumer hotline is a free consumer mediation service for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. We assist individuals with consumer-related issues; we cannot assist on cases between businesses, or cases involving family law, criminal matters, landlord/tenant disputes, labor issues, or medical issues. Please review our FAQ here. As a part of our process in assisting you, it