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We’re having a problem with Vantage and would like your wisdom


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We’ve never had a problem with cruise or a tour before so we could use the wisdom of the group on this issue.  We’re taking an Egyptian cruise on Vantage in July (we’ve never taken a Vantage tour or cruise before).  We paid for airfare but decided to book our own airfare several months ago.  We are well within the time frame for refunds.    We’ve been trying to get the airfare refunded from Vantage since mid-November!   The latest from Vantage  is that they have a cap on how much money they can refund in a single day and we are on a priority list for a refund!!  What the heck?    Beyond wanting our airfare refunded ( it’s a lot of money), I’m concerned about the viability of the company if they have to cap amount dollars refunded in a day.

 

What do we do?  What is the proactive wisdom of the brain trust here?

 

Thank you!

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The response makes no sense to me. That said I wouldn’t worry about bankruptcy . . . 
Does your trip insurance cover financial default? If so, you’re good (in the long term).

 

Vantage’s Boston office is miserable to deal with. That’s why we only have one Vantage trip. Their ship crews and staff were great.

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1 hour ago, CPT Trips said:

The response makes no sense to me. 

 


Thanks for the reality check CPT travels!    It doesn’t make sense at all to us and we travel a lot (both cruise and non-cruise), have great experiences and nothing remotely like this.   We’re planning on checking our travel insurance tonight.   All sorts of alarm bells are going off in my head as we try to deal with this problem and wonder what it portends. 

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3 hours ago, MildredK said:

All sorts of alarm bells are going off in my head as we try to deal with this problem and wonder what it portends. 

We would be very interested to hear how your situation is resolved as we were considering booking with Vantage. Definitely having second thoughts now. 

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To be honest I'm really hesitant to book with a line that doesn't use a TA. In case of any issues a good TA will have your back. It sucks that the Boston office is crappy to deal with when that's all you have to resolve any kind of issue is that office.  I thought I got a lot of junk mail from Viking but I get twice as much from them. 

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We'll keep you posted  on the outcome dogs4fun.  We're quite concerned, being on the "high priority" list for a refund isn't reassuring at all. 

 

 Early on there was at least one other warning bell we ignored - a customer service rep strongly insisted our cruise was leaving from a different port than it is and it was only when we got to different person we were reassured that indeed we were leaving from where we thought we were.   

 

We have worked directly with cruise lines before without a single issue so this is really surprising for us.  It is a shame we don't have a great TA helping us with this!  

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Have you sent a registered letter? Email? Anything in writing?? I would do that ASAP if you have not already. If there is a procedure listed on their website for how to request the refund, make sure you note each step you have taken to properly follow that procedure. Make a paper trail as best you can! Be factual and concise and explicit.

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Yikes,  we have not!  We will.    How could we overlook that critical step?  I hope a clear paper trail isn’t necessary but it might well be.   Thanks so much Hoyaheel for this critical suggestion.

Edited by MildredK
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On 1/10/2020 at 12:56 PM, MildredK said:

We'll keep you posted  on the outcome dogs4fun.  We're quite concerned, being on the "high priority" list for a refund isn't reassuring at all. 

 

 Early on there was at least one other warning bell we ignored - a customer service rep strongly insisted our cruise was leaving from a different port than it is and it was only when we got to different person we were reassured that indeed we were leaving from where we thought we were.   

 

We have worked directly with cruise lines before without a single issue so this is really surprising for us.  It is a shame we don't have a great TA helping us with this!  


No shame, Vantage doesn’t pay commission to TAs, just direct sales.

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On 1/10/2020 at 12:56 PM, MildredK said:

 

 Early on there was at least one other warning bell we ignored - a customer service rep strongly insisted our cruise was leaving from a different port than it is and it was only when we got to different person we were reassured that indeed we were leaving from where we thought we were.   

 

Vantage runs some great trips, once you're on your way and not dealing with their office anymore. I agree with CPT. The office is somewhat difficult.  I've been on two trips and my friends have been on several more. A few months before my first trip, they called and asked if we could change our departure date. The reason they gave didn't make sense, but we were flexible. We had booked our own airfare and Vantage not only covered the change fees and difference in fare, they also gave a us a 25% refund. I thought that was very generous. But it took forever to get the refund. I sent in the receipt from the airline as soon as we made the changes and waited. In the meantime I went on the trip, returned and booked another trip. When I called to ask about my refund, they tried to sell me excursions on the upcoming trip. I said not until I get my refund, which is why I'm calling. The next day I got an email from the air person, apologizing that my email got misplaced, and I got the refund within days. 

 

As for the part I quoted, since we went a day early, we needed a hotel. They kept changing the meeting point and since we were meeting early in the morning, I wanted to be nearby.  Phone calls, emails, nobody seemed to know. A few days before the departure, we got an email from the tour guide, welcoming us to her country, and looking forward to meeting everyone. I was then able to reply to her directly and find out where we were meeting.

Edited by SnowshoeCat
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Agree with others who have said put all this in writing, including their responses to your request.

Presumably you have read any terms/conditions relevant to this travel product?

But you have said they have agreed to refund but cannot say when??

Not sure where you are but if you have a Consumer Protection Agency, after a reasonable time and attempts in writing to resolve have failed,pass the concerns on to them to resolve?

Sometimes its possible to find out if a provider has a history of issues with refunds or related problems.

Good luck.  

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Thanks for the insights Showshoe Cat.  Our friends have taken trips with them in the past and enjoyed them, that's why we decided to give them a try.    I'm regretting  that decision now since there are so many great companies we could travel with instead.

 

Thank you pully8.   Great idea - we are in California and will contact a Consumer Protection Agency if our registered letter doesn't yield results soon.   Yes, we have carefully read the terms and conditions.  We don't want to involve an attorney unless it is absolutely necessary but according to their terms and conditions legal action would need to be conducted in Massachusetts.    

 Yes, they have agreed to a refund and put us on a "high priority" list for a refund but apparently the dollar amount that they can refund in a day is capped and their total refund need exceeds their cap so they can't refund everyone who is due a refund.    It seems that they needed to cancel and refund two cruises completely so they have a backlog of refunds to make.  However we requested the airfare refund in the end of Nov so we have waited for quite awhile.  

 

I'll really appreciate all of the feedback on this - Thank you!

 

 

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You do not need to get a lawyer yet. There are steps you can take without a lawyer.

 

You can file a consumer complaint with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. You can either call Vantage and tell them that is what you are planning to do or you can file the complaint and then tell Vantage that you have done it. Your choice.

 

The Attorney General of Massachusetts is Maura Healey. Here is the website. Scroll down the page to where it says "What do you want to do?" and click on "File a consumer complaint."  Read what it says there and then decide if you wish to proceed in this direction. (I tried to see if Vantage is already on the list of business with registered complaints and got nowhere, but if you call, they might be able to tell you.)

 

No business wants to see their name on this list.

 

 

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Thank you Peregrina651!   This is very helpful information!   I will go to the web site now.     I agree, an attorney intervention is a last resort. We just noted the legal action piece from the terms and conditions sections (and that makes sense they are located in Boston.)   

 

We really do appreciate all of the suggestions and insights.  In all of our travels, we've never had a single problem so we're in new territory here.  

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4 hours ago, MildredK said:

Thank you Peregrina651!   This is very helpful information!   I will go to the web site now.     I agree, an attorney intervention is a last resort. We just noted the legal action piece from the terms and conditions sections (and that makes sense they are located in Boston.)   

 

We really do appreciate all of the suggestions and insights.  In all of our travels, we've never had a single problem so we're in new territory here.  

 

Good luck! 

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Have you paid your invoice in full yet? If not, I would just subtract the cost of the airfare from the balance due. I’m taking my 6th trip with Vantage this April and my final payment was January 15th. 

On this trip they paid the airfare but there were airport transfer charges. I decided to buy my own airfare( I’ve seen too many others get bad itineraries and seats). I called them and they took off the transfer charges since I was making my own air arrangements.

 

I have been pleased with Vantage tours but I always make my own air arrangements. I don’t like to leave that in control of others. Hope you get your money refunded soon.

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Good News!    The refund for our airfare is in our bank account as of this morning!   I really appreciate your support and all of your amazing insights,  guidance and helpful approaches.   This is a wonderful community.

 

Rorygirl4528 - indeed that would have been a good idea however Vantage offered a good discount if we paid in full upfront and we did so we were in a position of getting refunds. 

 

Cheers!

 

 

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Glad you got your money back!
I never pay upfront in advance. I make more $$ keeping my money in my investments than the discount they give me for paying sooner. Also figure I’d rather try to get back a deposit of $500 than thousands. 

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6 minutes ago, Rorygirl4528 said:

Glad you got your money back!
I never pay upfront in advance. I make more $$ keeping my money in my investments than the discount they give me for paying sooner. Also figure I’d rather try to get back a deposit of $500 than thousands. 

Their discount is actually really good, and I couldn't match it. I could have saved 10% (after tax) for paying in full a year in advance, but I really wasn't that comfortable doing that. (You also have to pay by e-check, which doesn't give the same protections.) So, I will wait until I have to pay in full, at which point I will have likely have already booked my own airfare and I will take it off the invoice. (Actually, as soon as I book my air I will call them and remove it; If I don't I have what they call 1/2 price air that seems to be more expensive that what I think that I can do, but I'll see.)

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2 minutes ago, gnome12 said:

"Their discount is actually really good, and I couldn't match it. I could have saved 10% (after tax) for paying in full a year in advance, ..."

 

Yep, it was a great discount and we did take advantage of it.    But, points well taken Rorygirl4528

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