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NEED A FAIR REFUND POLICY DUE TO VIRUS

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When we rang the UK number on the Ponant site to book our cruise it took us through to Ewaterways who are(were) Ponant's agent in the UK.  it was the same contact we used for our Antarctica cruise 2 years earlier.  We didn't get any special deals, it was the UK agent for Ponant and we paid in GBP rather than Euros.

 

This is the first email I had about transferring to Ponant from Ewaterways, received on the 6th August 2019.

 

Due to recent structural changes within eWaterways Cruises Limited and an upcoming merger, we have agreed with Companie du Ponant that Your booking number BOOKING 1003684 - PONANT REF 253653 will from today be handled by our Ponant central reservation team. They will also be collecting your remaining balance of £7,102.20 for your booking Australia´s Iconic Kimberley which is due on 08th of May 2020.

Prior to your cruise departure the central reservations team will be requesting your up to date Passport information and medical and insurance documents in case you haven’t yet submitted them.

You can reach the team on tel.: 0808 23 43 802 or via eMail to: mhuguet@ponant.com.

We thank you for booking with eWaterways Cruises Ltd  and  Ponant Yacht and Expedition Cruises and wish you a wonderful voyage.

 

Then on the 13th August 2019 I received this follow up from Ponant

You have recently received an email from Ewaterways Cruises Limited stating that from here on in Ponant will be directly handling your booking number # 1003684 - PONANT REF 253653 for your cruises (AUSTRALIA'S ICONIC KIMBERLEY -aboard Le Laperouse leaving on 06/08/2020). We just want to assure you that the booking is indeed confirmed in house and all is in order.  We will follow up with you directly when the balance is due.

 

So why are they only bringing this up now when the balance is due in 7 days.  As far as I'm concerned the dispute should be between Ponant and Ewaterways

 

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It's a question of which company you paid your deposit to, not which company you think should be responsible. If eWaterways went into liquidation, Ponant will not have received your deposit from the company you paid it to. Same as booking an airline ticket through an aggregator - the airline will have the reservation, but until the aggregator pays the airline, you don't have a 'ticket'. What company name appears on your credit card statement for the deposit?

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DSmith91, your cruise will not go ahead because no international flights are allowed into Australia. 

Hope it works out for you. 

Ponant has been a terrible company to deal with. 

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Why shouldn‘t the Australia cruise not get along? If the Australian gov allows small ship cruises they could have all the crew on bord before arriving and quarantine 2 weeks aswell before. 

 

it might not be possible for non australian to embark, but just like the french cruises it could be a good offer for australians.

 

 

 

 

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@parischris I understand what you are saying but the fact that Ponant took over the booking a year ago and said everything is in order...should that not mean that Ponant are responsible for the whole booking.  Ewaterways was the UK handling agent and we were directed to Ewaterways directly from Ponant website. Ewaterways were also in Australia and USA.

This has left me so angry that even if they came back and reinstated the deposit, I wouldn't want to cruise with them again.  I have already been researching other small cruise ship companies to do the cruise with in 2022 hopefully.

We shall get on to our credit card compant today.

Incidentally, we have a contact in Australia who has been doing a lot of research behind the scenes and has been in touch with a few high flyers in Ponant Australia.  I have email addresses should anyone need them.

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Just now, DSmith91 said:

@schnapperin 

I totally agree.


And I can understand your feelings towards Ponant. Personal I think their offer (honoring the contract, two options with FCC etc) was a good one, apart of fact that the didn‘t mention the „missing“ deposit until now. They could and should have made it clear when they took over the booking that the agent never passed the deposit along, but would honor the booking but couldn‘t refund the never recived deposit. 
 

Communication isn‘t best with them

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Whichever option we take we will still be a deposit of over £3000 out of pocket because they are being quite canny in the way they have worded the options.  FCC plus 20% for the money we will have paid to Ponant.  No mention of the deposit amount as you say.  Anyway, we'll get onto it today.  Also if Ewaterways were due due pay Ponant 60 days before sailing date then that means Ponant have known about this for a month already and have only brought it to our attention yesterday!

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11 hours ago, parischris said:

Unfortunately @DSmith91, the problem is between you and eWaterways. It appears that eWaterways isn't an ABTA member. As a small company, eWaterways would have held on to your deposit as long as possible, making it unlikely that Ponant ever received your deposit, and they have no obligation to you (this is why I never use travel agents, no matter how good the 'deal' is).  Your best bet is credit card dispute, and I would get onto that quickly given that eWaterways has effectively vanished. 

 

Yes always the passengers fault never the cruise line? 

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It's not about fault, it's about pursuing the right company to try to retrieve the deposit. Pretty simple, follow the money trail. If it leads to Ponant, all well and good, but I would bet it hasn't made it further than eWaterways. 

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I think this case is different than the others we have seen here, because eWaterways was not a travel agency but Ponant's (apparently) exclusive agent.  Because the UK number on Ponant's website connected to eWaterways, you can make the argument that Ponant clothed eWaterways in apparent authority to act in their name.  Under the doctrine of 'piercing the corporate veil' you could claim that Ponant has to accept the actions of eWaterways on their behalf as if they had done them directly.  Thus Ponant has 'constructively' received OP's deposit money even if they didn't actually receive it.  [This is an argument in US law.  I don't know if it applies in the UK, but we did get our legal system from the Mother country...]

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Posted (edited)

@hostjazzbeau

37 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

I think this case is different than the others we have seen here, because eWaterways was not a travel agency but Ponant's (apparently) exclusive agent.  Because the UK number on Ponant's website connected to eWaterways, you can make the argument that Ponant clothed eWaterways in apparent authority to act in their name.  Under the doctrine of 'piercing the corporate veil' you could claim that Ponant has to accept the actions of eWaterways on their behalf as if they had done them directly.  Thus Ponant has 'constructively' received OP's deposit money even if they didn't actually receive it.  [This is an argument in US law.  I don't know if it applies in the UK, but we did get our legal system from the Mother country...]

 

 

I fully agree with what you have said and thank you for putting it so well.  Indeed, the UK number on Ponant's website directs you straight to eWaterways.

We have just received an update from Ponant saying that they are cancelling  our cruise even if it does go ahead, because of entry restrictions and quarantine measures, so at least we don't have  to pay the balance.  They have now offered 2000 euros off a next cruise along with $250 on board spend which still means we'd be still out of pocket by £1000.

The case continues...

Edited by DSmith91
missing words

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17 hours ago, DSmith91 said:

@parischris I understand what you are saying but the fact that Ponant took over the booking a year ago and said everything is in order...should that not mean that Ponant are responsible for the whole booking.  Ewaterways was the UK handling agent and we were directed to Ewaterways directly from Ponant website. Ewaterways were also in Australia and USA.

This has left me so angry that even if they came back and reinstated the deposit, I wouldn't want to cruise with them again.  I have already been researching other small cruise ship companies to do the cruise with in 2022 hopefully.

We shall get on to our credit card compant today.

Incidentally, we have a contact in Australia who has been doing a lot of research behind the scenes and has been in touch with a few high flyers in Ponant Australia.  I have email addresses should anyone need them.

I would like your email addresses please. Send to secajel882@ mail35.net

Thank you.

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7 hours ago, jland said:

I would like your email addresses please. Send to secajel882@ mail35.net

Thank you.

I'll forward  to you. 

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We have been making efforts to get a full refund from Ponant for a cruise that was cancelled May 3rd. We attempted to go through our credit card company who originally refunded our money while they contacted Ponant. Ponant sent the credit card company illegible information about their cancellation policy and our credit card company said they would need more information to further dispute the charge.

We also sent a letter to Catherine Brin Customer Service Manager US reservations. At least we did get a response since all the messages we sent through their web site went unanswered. An excerpt of her response-“As a French-flagged company, our Terms & Conditions are governed by French law, which was just changed to allow travel companies to offer a 100% future cruise credit for 12 months instead of a refund.  However, in an effort of good faith, we are offering a 120% future cruise credit which can be used over a longer period, up to 24 months.”

Not what we wanted to hear. We replied by telling them they are not helping their reputation with this policy and our credit card statement said Ponant USA LLC so French law does not apply. An LLC is governed by the laws of the state in which the LLC is formed which is NY. We will be filing a complaint with NY’s attorney general.

If anyone has any other suggestions please let us know. We have no desire to go on a cruise we are forced to go on or lose a lot of money.

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11 hours ago, No Ponant Fan said:

We have been making efforts to get a full refund from Ponant for a cruise that was cancelled May 3rd. We attempted to go through our credit card company who originally refunded our money while they contacted Ponant. Ponant sent the credit card company illegible information about their cancellation policy and our credit card company said they would need more information to further dispute the charge.

We also sent a letter to Catherine Brin Customer Service Manager US reservations. At least we did get a response since all the messages we sent through their web site went unanswered. An excerpt of her response-“As a French-flagged company, our Terms & Conditions are governed by French law, which was just changed to allow travel companies to offer a 100% future cruise credit for 12 months instead of a refund.  However, in an effort of good faith, we are offering a 120% future cruise credit which can be used over a longer period, up to 24 months.”

Not what we wanted to hear. We replied by telling them they are not helping their reputation with this policy and our credit card statement said Ponant USA LLC so French law does not apply. An LLC is governed by the laws of the state in which the LLC is formed which is NY. We will be filing a complaint with NY’s attorney general.

If anyone has any other suggestions please let us know. We have no desire to go on a cruise we are forced to go on or lose a lot of money.


We are also in contact with mrs. Brin. After some threats they are willing to pay us back. At least we are “on the list of refund”. This means they make a choice who gets a FCC or a refund. But they will not tell us when they will pay. This can take months and months. Terrible! Never another cruise with Ponant again. 
 

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On 7/11/2020 at 7:15 PM, No Ponant Fan said:

We have been making efforts to get a full refund from Ponant for a cruise that was cancelled May 3rd. We attempted to go through our credit card company who originally refunded our money while they contacted Ponant. Ponant sent the credit card company illegible information about their cancellation policy and our credit card company said they would need more information to further dispute the charge.

We also sent a letter to Catherine Brin Customer Service Manager US reservations. At least we did get a response since all the messages we sent through their web site went unanswered. An excerpt of her response-“As a French-flagged company, our Terms & Conditions are governed by French law, which was just changed to allow travel companies to offer a 100% future cruise credit for 12 months instead of a refund.  However, in an effort of good faith, we are offering a 120% future cruise credit which can be used over a longer period, up to 24 months.”

Not what we wanted to hear. We replied by telling them they are not helping their reputation with this policy and our credit card statement said Ponant USA LLC so French law does not apply. An LLC is governed by the laws of the state in which the LLC is formed which is NY. We will be filing a complaint with NY’s attorney general.

If anyone has any other suggestions please let us know. We have no desire to go on a cruise we are forced to go on or lose a lot of money.

 

I had same problem with my April 25 cruise.  I managed to get 50% through a credit card dispute but Ponant took the rest.  I filed a complaint with the BBB. NY Attorney General, and the Federal Martime Commission, Ponant doesn't care. The French Tourism law only applies to domestic French tourism; EU law applies to cross border and international travel.  I think there is also a complaint process with DOT and I will try the EU as well.

Edited by resistk

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Trying to keep score here.  So far, those who accepted Ponant's offer of 120% FCC received it immediately and (based on my experience) were able to use it for a future booking without further cash outlay [in contrast to at least one cruise line that demands the deposit in cash even if you have a whopping great FCC].  No one who has demanded cash has received any, and only @Vesude has even been told that a refund is possible.  Many legal theories, but no legal victories.  Would be very happy to hear from anyone who has received a full refund.

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we had canceled cruise in April. Took the 120% FCC and booked a cruise in May 2021 though not exactly same as we had and different ship. We then insured the trip with cancel for any reason and hope to recoup 75% of new cruise. Slight chance we might go but probably will cancel. Here’s hoping we see some of our money back.

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