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Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb NOT REFUNDING $ during Covid19 World Crisis


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In December, we booked the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb for our upcoming visit to Sydney this spring - obviously, we, like all other cruisers, can't go - and the Bridge Climb will not refund our money to us.  We wrote to them multiple times - explained that we were booked on the Celebrity Solstice, cruises are now cancelled, travelers can't even get into Australia, etc etc - we all know the restrictions due to the corona virus pandemic.  Bridge Climb said that we can have a credit good for 3 years.  We explained in embarrassing personal detail that that simply does not work for us - this was a 5 cruise back to back extravaganza, literally the trip of a lifetime before we got "too" old for such an experience, before the grandchildren are born, before our health issues become too extreme, that thus, a credit will not work, we need a refund - NOPE, TOO BAD, SOOOO SAD for us - no refund, just a 3 year credit. 

 

We have had no problem with any other of the private experiences/activities/excursions/tours that we've booked.  We have even met with understanding from hotelsdotcom, for hotels that were non-refundable.  Literally, everyone that we have dealt with, has understood that travelers are having to cancel INVOLUNTARILY due to the pandemic and are thus changing their refund guidelines in order to maintain good will - EXCEPT, Sydney Bridge Climb.  They are a HUGE company - their website even has photos of super famous Hollywood and sports stars who have done the climb.  We expected MUCH BETTER from this company.  Anyone else having this same problem?  

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7 hours ago, lexmiller said:

In December, we booked the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb for our upcoming visit to Sydney this spring - obviously, we, like all other cruisers, can't go - and the Bridge Climb will not refund our money to us.  We wrote to them multiple times - explained that we were booked on the Celebrity Solstice, cruises are now cancelled, travelers can't even get into Australia, etc etc - we all know the restrictions due to the corona virus pandemic.  Bridge Climb said that we can have a credit good for 3 years.  We explained in embarrassing personal detail that that simply does not work for us - this was a 5 cruise back to back extravaganza, literally the trip of a lifetime before we got "too" old for such an experience, before the grandchildren are born, before our health issues become too extreme, that thus, a credit will not work, we need a refund - NOPE, TOO BAD, SOOOO SAD for us - no refund, just a 3 year credit. 

 

We have had no problem with any other of the private experiences/activities/excursions/tours that we've booked.  We have even met with understanding from hotelsdotcom, for hotels that were non-refundable.  Literally, everyone that we have dealt with, has understood that travelers are having to cancel INVOLUNTARILY due to the pandemic and are thus changing their refund guidelines in order to maintain good will - EXCEPT, Sydney Bridge Climb.  They are a HUGE company - their website even has photos of super famous Hollywood and sports stars who have done the climb.  We expected MUCH BETTER from this company.  Anyone else having this same problem?  

We have 3 cruises booked for this year that also include plane and hotel reservations. We have already paid for trip insurance and it’s non refundable, no exceptions. Everyone’s travel plans have been dealt a harsh blow due to COVID-19. We have decided to cancel all 2020 travel plans and not everything is refundable. Most companies are trying their best but there will always be exceptions. By the time the dust settles and we have cancelled all plans for 2020 we recognize that our bank account will take a hit. I am grateful that I’m currently writing this from the comfort of my home. There are many people right now stranded far from home trying to get home to be with their loved ones. These are extraordinary times we live in right now. I know you are disappointed with the Sydney Harbor Bridge folks but try to put it in perspective. People are dying and families are separated. 

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Well said SrCruizer. Some sensible perspective. 
 

At the end of the day the Aus tourism industry is in a spiralling collapse. Small businesses (who are the largest employers in this country) offering credits to customers means they can retain funds to pay their staff so as not to make them unemployed during the next 4-6 months. 
My friend is a tour bus driver in WA. Their boss had to close the company a month ago as it was 100% reliant on Asian tourists. So my friend and all the other drivers are now unemployed. This will be occurring in every state, town, city. 

 

Sorry LexMiller but your complaint is literally what the commonly used statement "first world problems" was created for. 
 

Claim the loss on your travel insurance. Or write it off as a life experience in a new world that none of us ever thought we would witness or live through. 
 

Personally I have just lost several thousand dollars in theatre bookings over the next few months, with many more likely to be cancelled. Audiences are being given the choice of a refund or donating the money already spent to the theatre so it can keep paying staff. I'm not in a financial position to do that with every ticket so I have elected to do it with the small non profit theatres rather than the bigger privately owned or state owned ones. 


>>>>>>They are a HUGE company - their website even has photos of super famous Hollywood and sports stars who have done the climb. <<<<<
 

Actually they are quite a small company. Just because they are known overseas and attract celebrities - doesn't make them a large enterprise. They are still a SME. And what the heck does photos of celebrities have to do with anything? They are tourists when they are here just like everyone else. The average Italian restaurant has just as many Celeb photos with the chef pinned on the wall. Again - get some perspective. 

 

Edited by PerfectlyPerth
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Agree with others.

 

The tickets are non-refundable to begin with, and they have actually showed discretion by allowing you to use them at a future date. This is actually also the same policy as with Celebrity cruises themselves, which have also only offered future cruise credit on a cruise in coming months that is planned to occur that you do not take. I therefore don't see anything wrong or unfair with this policy. 

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7 hours ago, PerfectlyPerth said:

Well said SrCruizer. Some sensible perspective. 
 

At the end of the day the Aus tourism industry is in a spiralling collapse. Small businesses (who are the largest employers in this country) offering credits to customers means they can retain funds to pay their staff so as not to make them unemployed during the next 4-6 months. 
My friend is a tour bus driver in WA. Their boss had to close the company a month ago as it was 100% reliant on Asian tourists. So my friend and all the other drivers are now unemployed. This will be occurring in every state, town, city. 

 

Sorry LexMiller but your complaint is literally what the commonly used statement "first world problems" was created for. 
 

Claim the loss on your travel insurance. Or write it off as a life experience in a new world that none of us ever thought we would witness or live through. 
 

Personally I have just lost several thousand dollars in theatre bookings over the next few months, with many more likely to be cancelled. Audiences are being given the choice of a refund or donating the money already spent to the theatre so it can keep paying staff. I'm not in a financial position to do that with every ticket so I have elected to do it with the small non profit theatres rather than the bigger privately owned or state owned ones. 


>>>>>>They are a HUGE company - their website even has photos of super famous Hollywood and sports stars who have done the climb. <<<<<
 

Actually they are quite a small company. Just because they are known overseas and attract celebrities - doesn't make them a large enterprise. They are still a SME. And what the heck does photos of celebrities have to do with anything? They are tourists when they are here just like everyone else. The average Italian restaurant has just as many Celeb photos with the chef pinned on the wall. Again - get some perspective. 

 

It is interesting to read someone else's perspective.  Personally, I couldn't keep money that I hadn't provided a service for.  I would refund every last penny until I had none left.  But then, I wouldn't be a good business person. 

Fortunately, the non refundable accommodation I booked at a small hotel in Melbourne, through a wholesaler, was refunded in full.  I will make sure I stay in that hotel the next time I visit Melbourne. 

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50 minutes ago, MMDown Under said:

It is interesting to read someone else's perspective.  Personally, I couldn't keep money that I hadn't provided a service for.  I would refund every last penny until I had none left.  But then, I wouldn't be a good business person. 

Fortunately, the non refundable accommodation I booked at a small hotel in Melbourne, through a wholesaler, was refunded in full.  I will make sure I stay in that hotel the next time I visit Melbourne. 

And that, MMDown, is precisely my point. 

First world problems, as some have said, indeed - but that's where we that use Cruise Critic, reside - in the first world. 

A world pandemic has forced unprecedented involuntary cancellations - travelers are locked out of countries - so to retain the cash for a service that cannot possibly be rendered, is wrong. Thank you.

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Did you miss where @MMDown Under said "But then, I wouldn't be a good business person."  Apparently you have gotten 99% of your expenses refunded.  Would you rather have this last 1%, and the Bridge Climb company go out of business?  I have had two cruises cancelled this year and each time I had a (small) financial hit – but my bigger worry at present is whether any of these businesses will be there next year when I try to reschedule the exciting adventures I was planning.  We're all in this together, so it's only right that each of us should bear some of the burden.

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56 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

Did you miss where @MMDown Under said "But then, I wouldn't be a good business person."  Apparently you have gotten 99% of your expenses refunded.  Would you rather have this last 1%, and the Bridge Climb company go out of business?  I have had two cruises cancelled this year and each time I had a (small) financial hit – but my bigger worry at present is whether any of these businesses will be there next year when I try to reschedule the exciting adventures I was planning.  We're all in this together, so it's only right that each of us should bear some of the burden.

I know I wouldn't be a good business person, but I can sleep at night.  I understand that some business people have different values to me and that is OK and why they are successful.  However, I have no sympathy for a company which charges $675,95 for 2 people to climb a public bridge.  Then they won't refund  the money in cash to an overseas couple, who won't be able to climb the bridge because of the corona virus.  Our Government won't even let them in to our country, because they have a ban on overseas visitors, due to the rapid spread of the virus.  It is not up to us to tell people what burden they should bare.  The Government spent a lot of money on advertising to help the tourism industry following the drought, and devastating bush fires.  That is not money well spent with this kind of bad publicity.  

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Not surprised.

This company has always be stingy with refunds. Don't even think of discounts.  The only major tourist attraction in Australia that doesn't grant benefits to airline or other Industry staff.

Name and shame them on their social media platforms. 

They may be "within their rights", in line with their T&C, but there are times to be lenient or compassionate. 

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Actually as said, they're not following their terms and conditions, and are instead offering something more generous than their terms and conditions. Plus more generous than Celebrity.

 

And what their history was isn't relevant as they changed ownership lately. And incidentally have offered substantial discounts under new ownership as well. So not a lot correct there.

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5 hours ago, The_Big_M said:

Actually as said, they're not following their terms and conditions, and are instead offering something more generous than their terms and conditions. Plus more generous than Celebrity.

 

And what their history was isn't relevant as they changed ownership lately. And incidentally have offered substantial discounts under new ownership as well. So not a lot correct there.

In one of the several emails that I exchanged with Bridge Climb, they said the following:

 

For those directly impacted by Coronavirus and whose circumstances would prevent rebooking in the future, please provide us with information to support your case and we will come back to you ASAP to find the best solution to fit your needs.

 

SO, as per my original post, I did indeed give them oodles of information supporting our case as to why our circumstances prevent rebooking - SO much uncomfortable personal, detailed information regarding our ages, our health, our life's circumstances as to why this, right now, is the only time for us - we aren't ever going to be able to come, we cannot rebook, we need a refund.  I don't know what else we could have possibly said - and yet, nope, no refund.  

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1 hour ago, lexmiller said:

In one of the several emails that I exchanged with Bridge Climb, they said the following:

 

For those directly impacted by Coronavirus and whose circumstances would prevent rebooking in the future, please provide us with information to support your case and we will come back to you ASAP to find the best solution to fit your needs.

 

SO, as per my original post, I did indeed give them oodles of information supporting our case as to why our circumstances prevent rebooking - SO much uncomfortable personal, detailed information regarding our ages, our health, our life's circumstances as to why this, right now, is the only time for us - we aren't ever going to be able to come, we cannot rebook, we need a refund.  I don't know what else we could have possibly said - and yet, nope, no refund.  

May you be comforted and guided by the Serenity Prayer.

Have you written to the relevant Government Agencies?  You may like to write to the PM.  Believe me, it does make a difference, as Agencies/Government Departments pay more attention to matters referred to them by the PM for action.  

 

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8 hours ago, lexmiller said:

In one of the several emails that I exchanged with Bridge Climb, they said the following:

 

For those directly impacted by Coronavirus and whose circumstances would prevent rebooking in the future, please provide us with information to support your case and we will come back to you ASAP to find the best solution to fit your needs.

 

SO, as per my original post, I did indeed give them oodles of information supporting our case as to why our circumstances prevent rebooking - SO much uncomfortable personal, detailed information regarding our ages, our health, our life's circumstances as to why this, right now, is the only time for us - we aren't ever going to be able to come, we cannot rebook, we need a refund.  I don't know what else we could have possibly said - and yet, nope, no refund.  

 

That statement they sent you that you quoted "For those..." indicates it was not a specific reply to you but a generic reply to multiple contacts.

 

I'd suggest resending the details you gave and wait a while.

 

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Hi everyone,

 

Thanks for all the informative replies to OP's question. It sounds like this was a special adventure and so missing out on it brings up a lot of feelings which makes disappointment harder to process, on top of all of us dealing with an event that we cannot compare to anything else in modern history...or even the history of one or two generations back.

 

I know it's a struggle for me and I was directly impacted by 9/11 (zero degrees of separation, lived a few miles from ground zero as the crow flies) so in a way, that has helped me to cope with the unsettled way the world feels, near and far, but with a different sort of worry and concern, and no fighter jets or choppers/helos flying over my place. So it's only natural that we are all feeling things at a heightened level at this point, and when it comes to money, it can often be a very sore spot in the best of times; add exceptional stress and it's worry. First world worry, sure. But worry is worry, that doesn't make it any less real...it is something we can survive.

 

Please keep in mind our TOS/Community Guidelines when writing your posts AND, the extraordinary nature of things going on every day; some of may be getting different news on different days, and many have had to make significant changes in their daily routines, on top of having to understand a complex scientific situation that is very fluid and being assessed in real time. And stay vigilant about our own and everyone else's health. 

 

So ultimately, the better thing to do is ask oneself before hitting send is, "does what I'm typing add value or contribute to solving an immediate problem or is it personal commentary that does not solve the problem at hand?" If it is the latter, in these unprecedented times, I'd encourage people to hold back from sharing opinions and stick to only fact based replies. I like a debate as much as anyone, but these boards aren't always the place for it, and I'm certain that this isn't the time for it.

 

It's our goal to share and help each other, above all else, on these boards. You don't always have to agree with one another, but you ought to always respect one another. Thank you to everyone who contributes to this board and every other board you enjoy, we're nothing without you. 🙂

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Generally when we book non-refundable fares or events, we read this to mean "if i voluntarily cancel, I lose the money." This is something we understand.  However, this is a case of "This isn't my fault. This wasn't voluntary." therefore I should get my money back.

 

The vendor accepts non-refundable revenue thinking "Great, I now have operating capital with which to pay my overhead." He doesn't expect to pay it back to you unless he defaults on the agreement.

 

Different expectations and different understanding of contract.  Expecting small enterprises to refund non-refundable revenues is pushing the envelope.  It's not your fault and it's not his fault either.

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On 4/5/2020 at 5:01 AM, CruisingAlong4Now said:

Generally when we book non-refundable fares or events, we read this to mean "if i voluntarily cancel, I lose the money." This is something we understand.  However, this is a case of "This isn't my fault. This wasn't voluntary." therefore I should get my money back.

 

The vendor accepts non-refundable revenue thinking "Great, I now have operating capital with which to pay my overhead." He doesn't expect to pay it back to you unless he defaults on the agreement.

 

Different expectations and different understanding of contract.  Expecting small enterprises to refund non-refundable revenues is pushing the envelope.  It's not your fault and it's not his fault either.

I always remember a TV interview with a famous footballer, who was asked why he didn't get in to trouble (like his mates did).  He replied "I couldn't bare to see the look on my mother's face."

I am glad I was brought up to know the difference between right and wrong.  It is simple really, it is not fair to not give someone from overseas a full refund for a product which wasn't provided and won't be able to be provided due to Govt and airline travel conditions introduced because of the worldwide virus.  

Edited by MMDown Under
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5 hours ago, MMDown Under said:

I always remember a TV interview with a famous footballer, who was asked why he didn't get in to trouble (like his mates did).  He replied "I couldn't bare to see the look on my mother's face."

I am glad I was brought up to know the difference between right and wrong.  It is simple really, it is not fair to not give someone from overseas a full refund for a product which wasn't provided and won't be able to be provided due to Govt and airline travel conditions introduced because of the worldwide virus.  

 

Except in this case, it was a non-refundable item that was purchased, and they have offered fully transferrable credit for 3 years in light of these extreme circumstances. Many recipients will be able to use it, and if not they can pass it on in some way. I believe that is a fair compromise to a situation out of both parties control.

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16 minutes ago, The_Big_M said:

 

Except in this case, it was a non-refundable item that was purchased, and they have offered fully transferrable credit for 3 years in light of these extreme circumstances. Many recipients will be able to use it, and if not they can pass it on in some way. I believe that is a fair compromise to a situation out of both parties control.

We'll beg to differ.  My hotel accommodation in Melbourne was non refundable non transferable and some other non.  That small hotel chose to give me a full refund.  It meant so much to me, I was chocking back tears, when I thanked the wholesaler.  It wasn't the money, it was the fact that someone understood my disappointment in not being able to attend my first Melbourne Garden Show.  I can assure you that small hotel will be more than amply rewarded over future years.  After all, we are people, with feelings, not just a business transaction with terms and conditions.  

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  • 1 month later...

Having been on the Sydney Bridge Climb, I have a (hopefully) helpful hint for those interested in climbing the bridge once you can again go to Australia.  I have done the climb three times.  The first two were magnificent, one a day climb and one at twilight.  The third was a day climb, but on that day it was absolutely POURING DOWN RAIN  and freezing cold.  They provided fleece jackets and raincoats, but it was a very unpleasant experience.  I vowed that if I ever wanted to climb again, I would only book the day of, or possibly day before, the climb.  Their policy is no refunds and no date or time changes, and they climb in all conditions except electrical storms.  Do yourself a favor and be sure you have a favorable day for your climb.

Edited by nwcruiselover
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  • 1 month later...

I wanted to check in and give you an update on how this all worked out for us (or, more to the point, did NOT work out for us).  Many of you were very supportive and helpful, and I thank you.  We contacted our credit card - they were great, fully understood the problem.  They clawed back the money from BridgeClimb, but, BridgeClimb's bank took it back.  Then, our credit card, once again, took the money back.  And, once again, and that was the final volley, Bridge Climb took their money back.  And that, our credit card company explained, was the end of the "dance".  They were sympathetic, but BridgeClimb is within their legal, if not moral right, to keep the cash even though they could not provide the service.  

We filed complaints with the ACCC and with the NSW Fair Trading - both agencies were empathetic and completely understood the problem. However, when all was said and done, we had no practical resource available to us to hold Bridge Climb legally responsible. 

So, we are left with a credit to use within the next 3 years, a credit which we will never use.  We live half way across the world, the climb was a part of a once in a lifetime 3 month extravaganza, a trip that we will simply never have the chance to do again because of life circumstances, etc - you all can understand, you wouldn't be on Cruise Critic if you didn't understand how these sorts of trips are highly choreographed and scheduled.  

This virus has effected us all in so many ways, sadly many of which were tragic and horrific.  I know that in the scheme of things, I have a lot to be grateful for.  But that's not the point of my thread - the point is that a business took our money and kept it - a GLOBAL PANDEMIC kept us from even entering the country.  Bridge Climb has no right to not refund money for a service they could not provide.  All of the other businesses/hotels/tour operators/cruise company, large and small, with which we dealt, have refunded us in cash - all but Bridge Climb.  They took our cash for a service they could not provide, and they're keeping it.

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20 hours ago, lexmiller said:

They took our cash for a service they could not provide, and they're keeping it.

 

To correct this as it's crucial to the issue, they can provide the service, just not on the originally booked day. Hence, that's why a credit voucher has been offered.

 

As the voucher is transferrable, as said previously which would have saved a lot of time, the simplest thing is to sell it on if you have no further need for it.

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  • 6 months later...

 

On 3/21/2020 at 8:58 AM, lexmiller said:

In December, we booked the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb for our upcoming visit to Sydney this spring - obviously, we, like all other cruisers, can't go - and the Bridge Climb will not refund our money to us. 

 

On 6/12/2020 at 12:51 PM, lexmiller said:

BridgeClimb is within their legal, if not moral right, to keep the cash even though they could not provide the service.  

.....  They took our cash for a service they could not provide, and they're keeping it.

Actually the bridge climb is available so they can fulfill their part of the 'agreement.' You, the customer, are unable to get there so you elected to cancel. Hence they accommodated you with a voucher that you're not happy with (not their fault, it's a pandemic). 

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As much as I love Sydney and Australia another area of disappointment for us is the Opal card policy.  We pre-purchased two Opal transit cards for my wife and I and loaded them up with money to use on the ferries and various trains and such but it turns out they won't refund unused money as well.  The usual response is come back and enjoy us some more.  If you are a local with a local bank you can get the money but not for foreigners.

 

 

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2 hours ago, zalusky said:

As much as I love Sydney and Australia another area of disappointment for us is the Opal card policy.  We pre-purchased two Opal transit cards for my wife and I and loaded them up with money to use on the ferries and various trains and such but it turns out they won't refund unused money as well.  The usual response is come back and enjoy us some more.  If you are a local with a local bank you can get the money but not for foreigners.

 

 

As much as I sympathise with you, it comes back to reading and understanding all the terms and conditions. May I ask how much money you had left? Whenever we are in Sydney, we only put enough money on our card to cover the cost of our trips and top up if required which is easy to do. 

 

Leigh

 

 

 

Leigh

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1 hour ago, possum52 said:

As much as I sympathise with you, it comes back to reading and understanding all the terms and conditions. May I ask how much money you had left? Whenever we are in Sydney, we only put enough money on our card to cover the cost of our trips and top up if required which is easy to do. 

 

Leigh

 

 

 

Leigh

I think we have $30 on card and $90 on another.  We purchased these cards in 2016.

 

Seems like there should be some sort of Ebay market for these unused cards.

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