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My TA goofed....must I pay?


CruisinDoug

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We have been booked with a deposit on the Summit since May 2004 for a sailing August 19 with a land tour beginning August 14. The trip was set up as a group deal by some friends of ours. It was handled by a very large TA in Florida that participates as a Celebrity Key Account Partner.

 

 

 

We book as early as possible to avoid any problems and decided using Cruise Air, with the air deviation, would get us the best airfare available, so we booked through the TA. In February this year, my DBIL and DSIL decided to book the same flights (we live in Erie, PA. but will fly out of Cleveland). At the time of their booking the costs was $102 less per person. Someone who works in out TA’s office sent us an amended invoice indicating that we would get this same airfare with a nice little hand written note on the invoice. So far life is good!

 

 

 

With the final payment due last month, I took the opportunity 2 weeks before the due date to email the TA and confirm the final payment amount and a few other items (not cost related). The final payment amount indicated on the last invoice was confirmed and we sent the payment 3 days prior to the due date.

 

 

 

Imagine my surprise a week later when I received an invoice from the TA showing a balance due of $204 because “we made an error in the total”. I checked, and of course the airfare was back up to the original price. I called and questioned the TA and she didn’t quite grasp the fact that I had invoices with the old airfare with handwritten notes from her office. I even offered to fax them to her!

 

 

 

Sorry this is getting so long. After much jibber-jabber and no resolution, she had me on a conference call with the Celebrity cruise air department (?) which stated that my in-laws were booked as a Class Q ticket, while we were a Class M ticket, hence the difference. I assured her that I thought we would all be in coach, and there would be no difference in the amenities, she agreed.

 

 

 

So I told my TA I thought it was her responsibility to track the airfares and related costs, which is what we are paying for. She then said she would call her Key Account manager and see what she could.

 

 

 

It has been 3 weeks now with no resolution. I have called the TA and she says she has no answer from the Key account manager. I don’t expect anything for free, but I do feel that this error was made and the TA should rectify the situation. Of course, the bottom line will be, either pay or don’t go. I anticipate that happening this month!

 

 

 

Should I pay?

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Should I pay?

 

Absolutely NOT!

 

Why?

 

Imagine my surprise a week later when I received an invoice from the TA showing a balance due of $204 because “we made an error in the total”. I checked, and of course the airfare was back up to the original price. I called and questioned the TA and she didn’t quite grasp the fact that I had invoices with the old airfare with handwritten notes from her office. I even offered to fax them to her!

 

 

the statement 'we made an error', and the fact that you have written correspondence would indicate to me that it puts the TA 'on the hook' , not you.

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All well and said and very true the TA dropped the ball on this one. Hiowever, if it down to pay the difference and go, or not pay and lose the money you have already paid for this cruise, you may not have a choice. I would pay with an American Express for the other charge if I had to and then distbute the charge

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Hi Doug !

 

I agree with what the others said.... I do feel that assuming the TA admitted the mistake, they should cover the cost, not you !

 

HOWEVER, and this is a BIG However.... As you cannot resolve this with your TA, I would strongly recommend that pay the difference (for now), since you are getting close to your sailing date, and you are probably past your final payment date.

 

Your TA can do all sorts of things to put the Cruise in jeopardy (due to the non-payment), and they can create a much bigger mess. If the TA is adamant about payment, I would suggest paying it, while you keep fighting your battle.

 

As Jezzdogg said, I would pay it on a Major Credit Card, and then consider disputing it, as you have documentation from them, that says "We Goofed". I would think that would go a long way in your argument.

 

Please, dont let this go on much longer. I would hate to see this create other problems for your Cruise. You don't need the aggravation !

 

Please let us know what happens. Enjoy your Cruise !

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And you always have the option of filing a complaint with the BBB of FL.

It has been my expierence that a company will do many things to keep a complaint inquiry by the BBB out of their file. You have rights as an American Consumer dealing with an American buisness. my suggestion is to exercise them.

 

Good Luck

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It has not reached the point of animosity......yet!! We are both being civil. But as Host Andy points out, I must pay the $204 difference very soon. The rest of my final payment has been made. It really is becoming a situation where I think the TA is just trying to wait me out. I have looked forward to this trip for so long, that paying it may be the only solution.

 

And yes, the FLA BBB is an option I may explore.

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First of all, I agree with the other posters that, since you have friends and relatives on this cruise, you definitely want to go and the simplest solution is to pay the difference. Working it through with your TA, there are a few options open to make this situation more palatable:

 

1) Get the TA management involved to a larger extent. We ran into a similar situation with our TA (a large internet agency who also is based in our city so we get great pricing and a live agent). Their web pricing stated a greater cash discount than the cruise line would honor on a cruise-only basis. Management made up the difference (this will be our 4th cruise through them) and we were pleased with their responsiveness. I would hope you could elicit the same type of response.

 

2) Have your TA obtain a cabin upgrade or other amenities from Celebrity. This soft money compensation might be easier than a cash reduction.

 

3) Have the TA arrange a ship's credit for the amount, Again more of a soft money approach.

 

Good luck and enjoy have a great cruise!

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Without a doubt they owe you something.

 

Don't know why you didn't post the name except you are being nice to them. If it is Ship n' Shore, Crusies Only, or one of the other companies owned by the same parent company you should know there has been a huge change there and many of the great agents are gone.

 

They are closing the Ship n' Shore office in Englewood, Fl. and fired the agents.

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Insofar as Celebrity's air/sea department booked your air, your beef is with them, not the ta.

 

I'll admit the ta should not have indicated there would be a reduction in airfare until they received a confirmation from Celebrity indicating the reduction was confirmed. Perhaps they thought when they saw the lower air confirmation come in for your relatives they could get the lower fare. I don't know, but this would be my professional educated guess.

 

The terms M fare and Q fare are airline rate codes. These are capacity-controlled fares. The airlines sell a certain amount of seats at each fare code. Both fares have change penalties associated with them. So unless there was a substantial fare drop to make up for the change penalties, I don't see how there would have been a signficant price reduction in air costs in the first place.

 

I have never known the cruiselines to drop their air pricing once the air is confirmed. The air/sea department generates revenue, ergo... if their costs drop, they pocket the extra revenue. Here's an example of air craziness: I booked my party of two to Europe. Since there was no more 1/2 price Celebrity air from their gateway, I elected to play the waiting game, and wait for fares to drop on the open market. These clients booked April 23. I kept watching the air.... over $1800 per person. 10 days ago, Celebrity came out with 1/2 price air again... for NEW BOOKINGS ONLY. Grrrrrr.... but I watched the air. Yesterday, I ticketed my clients directly with the airline for $1860 FOR TWO! Fares had dropped 50%.

 

Another scenario could have been the fact that you can cancel cruiseline air up until final payment with no penalty. Perhaps the ta was thinking they'd drop the cruiseline air and then ticket you directly with the airline and save money... but when they tried, they could not get the lower rate your relatives obtained.

 

Do you have any more information?

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Maybe it's just me, and I'm sure I'll get flamed, but I find this "something for nothing" mentality to be saddening. Making such a huge fuss over $200, which you intended to pay anyway, strikes me as being very greedy, and is symptomatic of so much of what is wrong with our country today. The Dumbing of America is actually happening, and the "me, me, me" mentality and greediness seem to also be increasing exponentially.

 

There was a similar thread recently where people where pitching a fit because a typo was made and something like $1,000 airfare was accidentally listed as $49. You would have thought it was the end of the world when people were not allowed to greedily take advantage of the mistake.

 

It's like if you were selling a car for $15,000 and the newspaper mislisted it as $150. Would you feel obligated to sell it for $150? Of course not. But there would also be greedy people screaming and whining and threatening to take you to court unless you sold your $15,000 car for $150.

 

This "me, me, me" mentality is why we have chair hogs, line-breakers, row-hoggers in the theater, people who flout the dress codes, and the obnoxious people who scream and try to bully to get their own way with waiters, service persons, cruise ship personnel, etc.

 

It's somewhat disgusting.

 

Just my opinion.

 

Allen

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There is the issue of GOOD WILL - and if you are a Travel Agency $204 is a drop in the bucket compared to what you would lose if one dissatisfied customer tells 3-4 of her friends that the agency screwed up. If the poster has documentation and a chain of correspondence I would as some have said - Pay it on a major credit card and fight about it after the fact. BBB, Small Claims etc. One reason I book with a local T/A as opposed to the mega-internet agencies is I can drop down to the office at any time and have a face to face. As someone else said - there is always "soft money" the agency could give back to make it right. I don't think this is a case of me me me but rather - hey you promised this now deliver.

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Allen: I disagree. It's not disgusting to want the TA to honor a price that's been confirmed. The OP received an amended invoice with the reduced price and also confirmed it again before paying.

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There is the issue of GOOD WILL - and if you are a Travel Agency $204 is a drop in the bucket compared to what you would lose if one dissatisfied customer tells 3-4 of her friends that the agency screwed up. If the poster has documentation and a chain of correspondence I would as some have said - Pay it on a major credit card and fight about it after the fact. BBB, Small Claims etc. One reason I book with a local T/A as opposed to the mega-internet agencies is I can drop down to the office at any time and have a face to face. As someone else said - there is always "soft money" the agency could give back to make it right. I don't think this is a case of me me me but rather - hey you promised this now deliver.

 

Do you use the cruise travel agency in the town where you live? I am just curious because I live near you, but have never tried her.

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Maybe it's just me' date=' and I'm sure I'll get flamed, but I find this "something for nothing" mentality to be saddening. Making such a huge fuss over $200, which you intended to pay anyway, strikes me as being very greedy, and is symptomatic of so much of what is wrong with our country today. The Dumbing of America is actually happening, and the "me, me, me" mentality and greediness seem to also be increasing exponentially.

 

There was a similar thread recently where people where pitching a fit because a typo was made and something like $1,000 airfare was accidentally listed as $49. You would have thought it was the end of the world when people were not allowed to greedily take advantage of the mistake.

 

It's like if you were selling a car for $15,000 and the newspaper mislisted it as $150. Would you feel obligated to sell it for $150? Of course not. But there would also be greedy people screaming and whining and threatening to take you to court unless you sold your $15,000 car for $150.

 

This "me, me, me" mentality is why we have chair hogs, line-breakers, row-hoggers in the theater, people who flout the dress codes, and the obnoxious people who scream and try to bully to get their own way with waiters, service persons, cruise ship personnel, etc.

 

It's somewhat disgusting.

 

Just my opinion.

 

Allen[/quote']

 

Actually Allen, the correct analogy would be more along this line for this case:

 

You advertise a car for $15,000, but you agree to sell it for $13,000. After the person who is buying the car gives you $10,000 down, you change your mind and tell them the price is $15,000 again and they won't get their money back or the car until they come up with $5,000 more. You know they have the money and they really love the car, so you hold out for the $5,000 telling them it was a mistake that you agreed to $13,000, but there isn't anything that can be done now....take it or leave it.

 

I don't know about other people but for me $200 represents a good deal of work for myself and my husband. Would losing $200 break us? Of course not, but I can certainly think of other uses for $200. The TA confirmed a certain price and then through a mistake or whatever, reneged on that price and is demanding $200 more. And since the cruise can't be taken without someone paying this amount of money, it amounts to something like blackmail.

 

I agree with those who suggest the OP ask for "soft money" in exchange for this mistake, but if push comes to shove, pay the $200, have a wonderful cruise, and never use that TA again.

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Actually Allen, the correct analogy would be more along this line for this case:

 

You advertise a car for $15,000, but you agree to sell it for $13,000. After the person who is buying the car gives you $10,000 down, you change your mind and tell them the price is $15,000 again and they won't get their money back or the car until they come up with $5,000 more. You know they have the money and they really love the car, so you hold out for the $5,000 telling them it was a mistake that you agreed to $13,000, but there isn't anything that can be done now....take it or leave it.

 

 

Desertbelle, what you're describing is deliberate dishonest extortion. That's quite different from a human error. You also seem to be implying that the travel agent or Celebrity deliberately lied in order to extort the additional $204 from their "victim". I doubt if that is what happened.

 

Allen

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Maybe it's just me' date=' and I'm sure I'll get flamed, but I find this "something for nothing" mentality to be saddening. Making such a huge fuss over $200, which you intended to pay anyway, strikes me as being very greedy, and is symptomatic of so much of what is wrong with our country today. The Dumbing of America is actually happening, and the "me, me, me" mentality and greediness seem to also be increasing exponentially.Allen[/quote']

 

Allen Hello,

I respectfully disagree. I don’t think it’s consumer greed, I believe its a matter of Principal.

 

If as a business person I tell my client that this or that will happen and it doesn’t, I feel that I as the business owner should provide the package as originally sold and should absorb any loss. Especially if I have been working with and helping this person with the cruise arrangement since 2004.

Sure I will go to Mr. Jones and explain that there was an error in quoting the airfare, but as a courtesy and a thank you for his business, I will eat the loss. This is a golden opportunity to builds Consumer Satisfaction Plus I learned a lesson, and not to mention its the right thing to do.

 

JMO

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I agree with the above poster that suggested taking the problem "to the top". Get in touch with the Office Manager or the Agency owner. I would think you would get more satisfaction higher up!!!!!

Good luck!

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Allen Hello,

.

Sure I will go to Mr. Jones and explain that there was an error in quoting the airfare, but as a courtesy and a thank you for his business, I will eat the loss. JMO

 

Whoa, Joey, you shook me up for a minute there. I was thinking, "How can he possibly know my last name?" :eek: Then I realized that you were using the surname Jones "generically".

 

I can see your point, as a businessman wanting to ensure future good relations. I guess my "problem" is that, as the customer, I could never make such a big issue out of it and get myself so worked up and bent out of shape as some appear to be over what was a human error, particularly when I would merely be paying what I had expected to pay in the first place, which is quite different from the "bait and switch" tactics many are comparing the OP's situation to. I guess it's just me. Sigh.

 

Allen

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We had a situation last Nov. with our T.A. that sounds very much like this one. A cruise had been booked, and right before the final payment, we were notified that there had been a "quote error", and therefore an additional $200/pp was needed for the cruise. But the big difference was, our T.A. said this was "her" error, and that she would pay (eat) the difference. We have booked many cruises with her previously, and without any problems, so WE decided to split the difference. She was so appreciative.

 

Since then we used her for 2 future cruises, and the service was receive is outstanding!

 

We value her integrity, and she values us as her customers. Win-Win for everyone...

 

Karyn

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Whoa' date=' Joey, you shook me up for a minute there. I was thinking, "How can he possibly know my last name?" :eek: Then I realized that you were using the surname Jones "generically".

 

I can see your point, as a businessman wanting to ensure future good relations. I guess my "problem" is that, as the customer, I could never make such a big issue out of it and get myself so worked up and bent out of shape as some appear to be over what was a human error, particularly when I would merely be paying what I had expected to pay in the first place, which is quite different from the "bait and switch" tactics many are comparing the OP's situation to. I guess it's just me. Sigh.

 

Allen[/quote']

then you would also get the fruit bowl and the bottle of bubbly in your stateroom,, Bon Voyage Mister Jones

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Pay the 204

Never use that TA again

Make sure you write a letter to the company and copy to Celebrity, stating why they have lost your business.

 

I am a mortgage broker . If I quote a rate and I don't get the application in fast enough and rates go up, I pick up the cost , not the lender. If I misquote the rate, I pick up the cost.

 

To preserve goodwill , they should be happy to give you the 204. Do they not want repeat business?

 

As for the big companies like Cruises Only etc changing. They sure have, they laid off my fave TA last year and I left their company. I now deal with an online agent, who only uses email for contact and I am very happy!!

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