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Daily Telegraph (UK) Article

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3 hours ago, babs135 said:

My head hurts!!  Could we have an up to date 'in a nutshell' please. 😕

 

Read your terms and conditions, no matter where you live. Expect to lose your deposit. Get travel insurance. If all else fails, write to the Daily Telegraph.

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Did the couple have insurance? I may have missed that.

 

In February/March 2018 we booked a 3 cruise and stay package which involved UK to New York on the QM2, a cruise on a different line, a hotel stay and then home on the QM2 all over the Christmas/New Year period. Six weeks before we were due to sail and after paying the balance DH became unwell and was declared medically unfit to travel. One phone call to our travel agent and one call to our insurance company and four weeks later we had all money refunded less a small excess.

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9 minutes ago, babs135 said:

Did the couple have insurance? I may have missed that.

 

 

They did not have insurance, nor does it appear did they read the T&C. They did, however, avail themselves (successfully) of the Daily Telegraph option...

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Posted (edited)

Sorry babs135, not sure if this will relieve or contribute to your headache!! 😀

 

It is agreed that consumers should not be misled. But what constitutes being misled?

 

Is a consumer being misled if a trader doesn’t spell out in an advert the terms of cancellation? I say no; Windsurfboy says yes, if the cancellation fee is more than the deposit paid. Let’s be honest, the advertisement is promoting a sale not a cancellation. Nothing misleading or unfair in that.

 

It is misconceived to suggest that a consumer is entitled to “assume” that they can exit the Contract by only losing their initial deposit. There is a consensus of agreement that the nearer one gets to departure, the higher the cancellation charge can be. In fact, as noted below, Windsurfboy states at post #16 that charging a 15% cancellation fee at 1 year “would fit in with consumer protection”.

 

For my part, it is unreasonable to expect a trader to include full details of all cancellation charges in the advert. Furthermore, to only refer to the deposit could end up being misleading in the event that the consumer is subjected to a higher charge for a cancellation nearer to departure.

 

In my view, the correct place to set out the terms upon which a cancellation can be effected is the Terms and Conditions. Whether or not the terms themselves are fair is a distinctly different matter.

 

I agree that it is good practice for traders to remind consumers, at the time of booking, of any pertinent terms and conditions including those relating to cancellation. The potential need for Visas is another that comes to mind.

 

 

Is the amount of cancellation charge fair?

 

There is no simple generic answer. Each case has to be considered on its own merits as there are a multitude of aspects that must to be taken into consideration before one can reach a conclusion whether the charge is fair or not.

 

That said and in these circumstances, it would be unreasonable to expect a trader to undertake a detailed analysis to establish the precise loss to them resulting from the cancellation hence a “one size fits all”, expressed by way of a percentage, approach seems to have been adopted in the tour industry. This won’t be perfect but to do otherwise could lead to the cost of establishing each individual loss being greater that the loss itself and counterproductive. It is of course open to any consumer to ask the trader to justify the cancellation fee but ultimately it is only the courts that can resolve any resulting dispute.

 

Windersurfboy recognises at post #5 By the time you get to 3 months ahead a 15% cancellation fee could be seen as generous.” And at post #16 “Logically,  cruise lines should have a staged deposit,  say 5% on opening,  and 15% at 1 year [my emphasis]. This would fit in with consumer protection. This implies the trader could justifiably charge more if the cancellation took place from 1 year to 90 days before departure. I’m not sure that would be fair to the consumer in all cases.

Edited by North West Newbie

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Forgetting the actual argument re cancellation charges, the fact that this couple chose to book an expensive holiday without any insurance in place is just plain stupid. Why do people still keep doing this? 

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Just now, babs135 said:

Forgetting the actual argument re cancellation charges, the fact that this couple chose to book an expensive holiday without any insurance in place is just plain stupid. Why do people still keep doing this? 

 

Perhaps because they read the Daily Telegraph?

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In all seriousness, I think this highlights a common mistake that some people make in thinking that they only need insurance to cover the period that they are actually away on holiday. Most of us realise it is sensible to have insurance in place at the time of booking or certainly very soon after. This couple’s trip was over a year off and maybe they didn’t think they needed it at the time of booking. How wrong they were.

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Posted (edited)

So 80% of consumers who need to cancel consider the present system fair. Seems pretty high to me.

Edited by North West Newbie

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I nearly got caught out not buying holiday/cruise insurance as soon as a cruise was booked 3 or 4 years ago now. I bought the insurance about 7 days before we were due to sail, and 5 days before the departure date Mrs Toad had an accident which meant we had to cancel.

 

Everything was paid however with just the loss of about £50 excess.

 

We now have annual insurance as it seems that you break even at 2 holidays a year so it was the better option.

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Yes a continuous rolling annual insurance is best you are then always insured. However they often have a 45 day maximium single holiday , so won't cover a world cruise.

 

However back to cancellation terms and conditions  .

 

There is no single present system,  every holiday company has it's own terms and conditions.  

 

Assuming people aren't whinging about nothing then. 

 

80% of companies (by size of business ) have terms and conditions that are fair to consumers in line with the rules 

 

20% of companies have terms and conditions that do not follow consumer protection rules.  Not a good statistic.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Windsurfboy said:

Yes a continuous rolling annual insurance is best you are then always insured. However they often have a 45 day maximium single holiday , so won't cover a world cruise.

 

However back to cancellation terms and conditions  .

 

There is no single present system,  every holiday company has it's own terms and conditions.  

 

Assuming people aren't whinging about nothing then. 

 

80% of companies (by size of business ) have terms and conditions that are fair to consumers in line with the rules 

 

20% of companies have terms and conditions that do not follow consumer protection rules.  Not a good statistic.

 

The Terms and Conditions may vary but for the most part the principle system is the same. As for the percentages, you are assuming that the 20% of disgruntled consumers are equally spread across the tour businesses when in fact it could be that a tiny minority of tour operators are responsible for the majority of that 20%. The sample size was 2,260 adults in November 2018 which was considered sufficient for representative purposes. It is more likely than not those 20% experienced a similar experience that made them feel unfairly treated and the corollary is they were subjected to cancellation policies that don’t represent the majority including Cunard. Based on the evidence that you provided, the fact remains that 80% of consumers who needed to cancel felt they were treated fairly.

 

The blog you kindly posted does not support your proposition that the cancellation terms and conditions must feature in an advert. The law is actually set out in the Consumer Rights Act 2015 http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/15/contents/enacted. Anyway, Mr Latham (the blog’s author) is simply pointing out that the terms and conditions of holiday contracts should be fair when it comes to cancellation and the attendant fees which I agree with. One salient paragraph reads:-

 

“In practice this means that if you cancel a booking and a business resells it, you should be entitled to some money back. Travel firms can either use a case-by-case system, where people are refunded if and when a replacement booking is made, or they can have general terms and conditions based on how likely it is that they will be able to resell any cancelled bookings as the date of the booking [sic][departure] approaches.

 

Cunard has elected to use the general terms and conditions’ method which, on the face of it, cannot be criticised. It could be argued that until a cruise is sold out the cancelled booking has not been resold which, using a case-by-case system, may have the effect of increasing the cancellation charge above those currently in operation.

 

If you have ever witnessed how much last minute fares can drop (Late Savers) you would appreciate that Cunard is not being unreasonable in their cancellation charge policy. Imagine trying to resell a World Voyage commencing 91 days (and reducing) before sailing at 15% discount (i.e. the deposit received from the cancelled booking). Any further price reduction would leave Cunard out of pocket due to the cancellation and that is on the proviso that a new customer can be found who is willing to spend upwards of £23k and be away from home for around 3½ months at relatively short notice.

 

By your own admission, you consider 15% at 3 months ahead generous (post #5) and have advocated 15% should be lost at 1 year (post #16). This implies that you would support a tour operator charging a cancellation fee higher than 15% between 3 months and 1 year. It’s currently 50% at 90 days.

 

Conversely, at post #18, you have suggested that 15% be paid at 2 years in advance with 2/3 of that being refundable at 1 year. Not particularly practical given that not every booking is made 2 years in advance. However, in the event of cancellation at say 1 year the cancellation fee would only amount to 5% (1/3 of 15%, the other 2/3 being refunded). That approach is at odds will what you said in earlier posts.

 

One wonders why you are trying to fix a system that is not broken.

Edited by North West Newbie

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22 hours ago, Tonopah said:

They did not have insurance, nor does it appear did they read the T&C. They did, however, avail themselves (successfully) of the Daily Telegraph option...

If they did have insurance would they have read the terms and conditions of that insurance?☺️ The devils in the detail.

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3 hours ago, yorkshirephil said:

If they did have insurance would they have read the terms and conditions of that insurance?☺️ The devils in the detail.

I wonder how many people read the small print in the brochures, assuming of course they have one? When we first started cruising I actually read the brochure (Celebrity cruise) from cover to cover including the small print. When it became apparent that we would have to cancel our cruise last December I checked the small print in the brochure to see what was what.   We do check our travel insurance and would hope that we hadn't missed anything.

I suspect this couple went to the papers because they realised that with no insurance in place they would have to rely on the negative press report to get any money back.

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This is for Host Hattie: With lengthy threads like this one, it would be nice if Cruise Critic would improve its software so that a reader logging in can go directly to the first post not yet opened by him or her. Trip Advisor does this.  Can CC?

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2 hours ago, Neuhoftraveler said:

This is for Host Hattie: With lengthy threads like this one, it would be nice if Cruise Critic would improve its software so that a reader logging in can go directly to the first post not yet opened by him or her. Trip Advisor does this.  Can CC?

 

I'll try to help out with this one. The Cruise Critic forums do have a "Go to first unread post" feature. The trick is knowing where to find it. Look for a blue dot to the left of a thread title on the forum's main page (which means that thread has posts you have not read). Or if you have posted to that thread, there will be a blue star there instead of a blue dot. Click on that dot (or star) and it will take you to the first post in that thread which you have not yet read.

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16 hours ago, babs135 said:

I wonder how many people read the small print in the brochures, assuming of course they have one? When we first started cruising I actually read the brochure (Celebrity cruise) from cover to cover including the small print. When it became apparent that we would have to cancel our cruise last December I checked the small print in the brochure to see what was what.   We do check our travel insurance and would hope that we hadn't missed anything.

I suspect this couple went to the papers because they realised that with no insurance in place they would have to rely on the negative press report to get any money back.

I do read the small print, to a degree as there is usually so much of it and lots of weaselly wording. However I admit that I don't always understand it all. This thread alone shows how different people interpret the same T&C's. Plus the cynic in me always thinks that any issues will be twisted to suit the seller, which I do have some experience of. 

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3 minutes ago, yorkshirephil said:

I do read the small print, to a degree as there is usually so much of it and lots of weaselly wording. However I admit that I don't always understand it all. This thread alone shows how different people interpret the same T&C's. Plus the cynic in me always thinks that any issues will be twisted to suit the seller, which I do have some experience of. 

 

We might not all agree with them but the ones relating to cancellation are unambiguous.

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In defense of this couple, a rolling annual insurance will not cover a cruise of the length of a  world cruise. 

 

Most insurance companies especially those that deal with over 70s and pre-existing conditions do not let you book single trip insurance over 12 months ahead. I've just tried on a few popular websites dealing with over 70s and pre-existing conditions. But to get the cabin you want you need to book at launch which is over 12 months ahead. Hence their gamble of not being insured.  Yes they should have gone to a specialist broker. 

 

They went to the telegraph because the consumer protection regulations regarding very early cancellation were on their side and they were getting  nowhere with Cunard.  It was not just bad publicity that made Cunard refund the deposit, it was publicity plus the consumer protection regulations.

 

Yes we can argue that the regulations are now a bit unfair to companies like Cunard and yes the existing T&Cs are very clear and unambiguous and everyone should read them.  I  actually agree.

 

But it doesn't matter what any poster on this thread thinks, including myself,  it's what the regulations say that matters and they can override the Cunard  T&Cs.

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28 minutes ago, Windsurfboy said:

In defense of this couple, a rolling annual insurance will not cover a cruise of the length of a  world cruise. 

 

Most insurance companies especially those that deal with over 70s and pre-existing conditions do not let you book single trip insurance over 12 months ahead. I've just tried on a few popular websites dealing with over 70s and pre-existing conditions. But to get the cabin you want you need to book at launch which is over 12 months ahead. Hence their gamble of not being insured.  Yes they should have gone to a specialist broker. 

 

They went to the telegraph because the consumer protection regulations regarding very early cancellation were on their side and they were getting  nowhere with Cunard.  It was not just bad publicity that made Cunard refund the deposit, it was publicity plus the consumer protection regulations.

 

Yes we can argue that the regulations are now a bit unfair to companies like Cunard and yes the existing T&Cs are very clear and unambiguous and everyone should read them.  I  actually agree.

 

But it doesn't matter what any poster on this thread thinks, including myself,  it's what the regulations say that matters and they can override the Cunard  T&Cs.

 

I totally agree, but, let’s be clear; one must apply the law to the individual circumstance. Generalisation in editorial articles and blogs tends to side with the consumer but that is not always doing justice to them as it can lead the consumer into a false sense of security.

 

As consumers we don’t necessarily appreciate the complexities involved in some situations which may support a trader taking a stance which, on the face of it, appears unfair to the consumer. A World Voyage is one very good example.

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Amazing.  Thank you.  One would hope this is disclosed somewhere on the Forums website.  I will confess that I did not attempt to read the instructions.

 

Now if only I can remember it.

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I had some more thoughts about when it is possible to claim the deposit back.

 

To claim the deposit back you really need firm evidence that  the company is in a strong position to  EASILY resell the cruise. Just saying they have plenty of time is perhaps not really enough .

 

Here is a thought that may help people in that unfortunate position

 

The answer is in the DYNAMIC PRICING adopted by most cruise companies.

 

IF

 

1) The price at the time of cancellation of the cruise has gone up and is significantly higher than the one you paid. Then this is strong evidence of high demand and low supply.  Thus the company believe, as evidenced by their own pricing they can easily resell your cruise, and hence should refund the deposit. 

 

2) If on the other hand the price is lower, then this is an indication they will have difficulty reselling the cruise and hence your deposit can't be reclaimed. 

 

3) If the price is similiar to what you paid then it's not a strong indication that they believe they can EASILY resell the cruise, and you don't have a real claim for a refund of the deposit .

 

Two out of three price movements go against evidence for a refund. So don't rely on this get insurance if you can.

 

 

 

 

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You might be trying too hard to rationalize a process/policy that probably boils down to "because we can" rather than "because we must." 

If it was driven by economic necessity you wouldn't see a different policy in different markets.

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You're right I'm sure cruise companies  first and second responses to any claim will automatically be no.

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Quick question - is it still the case that US customers can book and cancel with a full deposit refund? 

 

As a UK resident, having 15% deposit at risk due to having different and inferior Ts &Cs to those of our transatlantic chums meant that I only ever booked Cunard on a late basis. 

 

I started doing the same with Celebrity when they moved to deposit loss for a cancellation or switch, rather than giving a price reduction if a cruise became discounted after booking.

 

.

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