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Crystal still hasn't processed my 5 figure refund from a cancellation in February


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Not totally wanting to make excuses for Crystal but if, as a company, you don't have much experience with refunds it isn't just one of those things that you can hire a few temps to do the job.  Those who are doing the refunds have a bunch of private and financial information about the customer and so you need to make sure you have the right people doing that job.

Again, 90+ business days is, to me, another indication of financial issues.  Look at the big companies that have declared bankruptcy during this financial crisis.

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On 4/5/2020 at 8:56 PM, BookLover102 said:

Had an Asian centric cruise cancelled in February that was set to sail in early March.  Despite Crystal's promise to provide a complete refund of the amount, I still have yet to receive a refund.  Hopefully the solvency of Crystal is not impacting its processing of these refunds.  

 

They have not responded to my repeated inquiries.

 

My patience is wearing thin.  If Crystal can take deposits for future cruises via credit card, they certainly can process refunds just as easily.

 

There are a variety of reasons as to why they aren't, but one that can be financially injurious to me is if they don't have the working capital to process them.  

 

We canceled an August 2020 cruise on Symphony in early March. As of today middle of June we have yet to receive our refund but they have no problem accepting future cruise bookings thru the numerous promotional emails they send out almost daily. Yes, I totally agree Crystal needs to resolve ALL refunds before they start accepting future cruise bookings. I attempted to call their toll free number several times hoping to talk to a live person but apparent their number has been either disconnected or no longer in service which is not a good sign. We also canceled a June 21-day Mediterranean ocean cruise on Viking in March and we received our full refund within 14 days. We will not hesitate to book future ocean or river cruises with Viking but we doubt very much we'll do business with Crystal in the future. 

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I have a refund outstanding from a cruise - cancelled by Crystal in March 2020.

 

Today the '90 days since cancellation'  clicked in, so I asked my TA to chase. (My TA in London is probably the largest customer of Crystal, and also has 'other' significant connections to Crystal's UK Office).

 

I received a response from the UK office, an extract from which really sums up the situation with Crystal - in the UK at least :- 

 

At this time I do not have the refund for machotspur but I am repeatedly asking for this refund along with many others which have already passed the 90 day deadline.

 

One can of course form one's own opinion as to the reason for 'many others' not receiving refunds, even within 90 days.

 

I will of course file a Section 75 with the Credit Card company however, in the UK at least, this is often not as straightforward as it seems. I have made a filing with regard to another land based travel cancellation. The CC company state 6 weeks to deal with it. Then you chase it and find they've not got round to it yet. After 8 weeks - in the UK at least - one can file a complaint with the financial regulator, however I am advised that the regulator/ombudsman is taking at least 12 weeks to determine complaints. So that's 140 days, on top of the 90 that the cruise operator has already taken (assuming they don't cough up in the meantime of course).

 

In the UK this whole situation has led to many pieces of consumer protection becoming worthless. There is a piece of legislation that states that in the event of a cancellation the operator must return the full sum paid within 14 days (and yes I do believe it applies to cruise companies).  In reality there are hundreds of tour operators around the UK refusing refunds, stating that they don't have the money. The Government won't step in for fear of being accused of destroying an industry. 

 

In my opinion the cruise operators - like the tour operators - are fully conscious that the majority of customers are unlikely to take any action against them, or withdraw their future custom, so they have little motivation to take action to accelerate the refund process.   

         

   

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I canceled our Sept 1 Symphony cruise on April 7. It is now over 70 days and I’ve heard four fifths of nothing from Crystal despite repeated emails. I did get one boilerplate response on Twitter which essentially said “You’re on the list.”  

 

I had a non-refundable BA flight booked to connect from Cunard to the Symphony. I didn’t cancel it, hoping BA would so I could get a refund. Yesterday I got an email offering a future travel credit if I want to rebook, so I applied. The auto response said I’d have the voucher in 7 days. An hour later it was in my inbox.

 

If BA can do it in an hour, and Crystal has had over two months to sort out their act, there is absolutely and unconditionally no excuse. This would have been my first Crystal cruise but after this contempt, why would I even consider it?

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54 minutes ago, Sopwith said:

I had a non-refundable BA flight booked to connect from Cunard to the Symphony. I didn’t cancel it, hoping BA would so I could get a refund. Yesterday I got an email offering a future travel credit if I want to rebook, so I applied. The auto response said I’d have the voucher in 7 days. An hour later it was in my inbox.

 

If BA can do it in an hour, and Crystal has had over two months to sort out their act, there is absolutely and unconditionally no excuse. This would have been my first Crystal cruise but after this contempt, why would I even consider it?


Re your comparison with BA and Crystal I believe if you compared like for like ie accepted a future cruise credit as you’ve accepted with a future travel credit from BA you would have had that available to you in a similar time frame. I wonder what would have happened if you’d asked for a cash refund from BA?

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48 minutes ago, Stickman1990 said:


Re your comparison with BA and Crystal I believe if you compared like for like ie accepted a future cruise credit as you’ve accepted with a future travel credit from BA you would have had that available to you in a similar time frame. I wonder what would have happened if you’d asked for a cash refund from BA?

 

I can answer that !

 

The BA flights I had booked, associated with the cancelled Crystal cruise I refer to in Post 353, were refunded to me (not future flight credit) - within 7 days.   

Admittedly it was - conveniently - a BA cancellation, but then so was the Crystal cancellation. 

 

So, as Sopwith has stated, if BA can do it why not Crystal ? 

As is seen on the various CC boards, everyone has an opinion on this. As stated above, mine is that Crystal are taking so much time, because they can !   

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When the outbreak began and mass cancellations and refund requests began, I had a fairly good level of understanding and sympathy (if you can be sympathetic for a company, really) for Crystal and other travel related companies.  However, what I have personally experienced recently is quickly changing my respect (or lack thereof ) for Crystal in particular.  Please let me explain:

 

I have a Crystal Symphony cruise for September of this year, which we booked over a year ago.  The final payment date, I believe is sometime this week.  A little over a week ago, Crystal contacted my TA saying that our cruise is going to happen, and advised him to contact us about this.  Why would Crystal be doing this, when they are supposedly “too busy and understaffed?”  I am not completely clueless, so I still know that there is a very good chance this cruise will be cancelled.  And since we paid their final payment early (before the outbreak was in full swing here in the US), the unsolicited “confirmation” of our September cruise could not have changed our behavior.

 

However, I think it is rather shady of Crystal to reach out to the TAs and “reassure” them that this cruise is still on, when we don’t know exactly when the European ports will be opening.  Even if Crystal ends up not cancelling the cruise, the unsolicited message is at best not done in good faith.  At worst, they are just trying to maximize the $$$ they would gain as part of a (hopefully short term) loan through the “Crystal Money Lending Club” that many of us have been inducted to.  By collecting the final payment, it would effectively make their slow-walking of the refunds more worthwhile for Crystal.

 

I know that Crystal did not cause the outbreak, and they are suffering as a company.  However, I expect Crystal to still act in good faith if they don’t want their customers to accuse them of grossly underhanded business practices.

Edited by Psoque
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Our Gate 1 trip for September has been cancelled 3 weeks ago, so it's pretty safe to assume the cruises will be cancelled as well. Gate 1 refunded our money after 1 week!

 

We are now at 80+ days since we requested a refund from Crystal, and we just got the following response from them:

 

We show the refund is still currently pending. As you may be aware Crystal has had to cancel many voyages over the last several months due to the virus. This has resulted in thousands of unanticipated refunds. For this reason, we have advised up to 90 days. However, this is an estimated timeframe and not a guarantee. We can assure that our refund team have been working diligently to process the refunds as quickly as possible but due to the workload the process may take longer than estimated. Unfortunately, this department only cancels the booking and does not have control over the speed at which the refund is issued.

 

The way companies treat their customers during this pandemic will have a huge impact on how customers treat the companies when all this is over. Unfortunately, at this point Crystal is not one of the "good guys". 

 

Edited by ak1004
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I am now at Day 106 from our cancellation of a July cruise.  At the time we cancelled, our TA was told that we would get a full refund (>$10K) less a $100 per person cancellation fee and that the refund might take 2 to 3 weeks to process.  After 3 weeks, the TA followed up and was told it was now up to 90 days to process.  While unhappy with that, I understood the difficulties they must be having and decided to wait.  About Day 85, I asked TA to followup again and he was told that by 90 days, it should be there.  Of course no refund so I followed up Day 95.  I was told then that all March cancellations were being processed that week and I should have no later than Friday, June 19th.  Again no refund so I called on Monday, 

June 22 which was Day 105 and am told (after being on hold for over 1/2 hr when I called) that I am ” close”  but that he could not tell me where I am in the queue (we cancelled on March 9 officially).  The agent is claiming a lack of manpower for processing the thousands of claims they have.  I may believe that but that same manpower processed a $500 deposit for a future cruise on the same day I signed up for it in April.  Must have been a different group.........

 

I am now so angry with Crystal that I wish I hadn’t made that $500 deposit but at the time, I still had very positive stance on Crystal after sailing with them so many times in the past.  They have to know they are really eating into their loyal fan base. 

 

 

 

Edited by ScarlettMick
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 I share in your frustration - I am now upwards of 100 days waiting for a refund and my travel agent has already made two inquiries.  I'm inclined to follow up with American Express and may do that if the refund doesn't appear in the next few days.  I can tell you that I will never book anything on Crystal again because of this...extremely poor customer service.  Surely they could deploy more personnel to expedite the refunds (or at least deliver the refunds within the promised 90 days), but they have chosen not to.

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15 hours ago, Benita said:

For those of you looking to file a credit card dispute, make sure you do it within 90 days of the day the cruise was to start. 

 

I respect your useful 'heads up' on this, however for the avoidance of any doubt this statement doesn't apply in the UK .

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, which is the piece of legislation that covers credit card chargebacks in the UK, has a time limit of 6 years I believe.  

Edited by machotspur
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1 hour ago, machotspur said:

 

I respect your useful 'heads up' on this, however for the avoidance of any doubt this statement doesn't apply in the UK .

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, which is the piece of legislation that covers credit card chargebacks in the UK, has a time limit of 6 years I believe.  

I was referring to the US and more specifically the Chase credit cards. With the way Crystal is dragging its feet, the 6 year limit might come into play- LOL

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So new question - Is ANYONE still getting refunds from Crystal.  We are at day 107 and still NOTHING.  I am just wondering if they are even issuing credits at all???  I guess I am finally ready to file a dispute with my credit card company.  Has anyone done this?  Results?  Thank you!

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So new question - Is ANYONE still getting refunds from Crystal.  We are at day 107 and still NOTHING.  I am just wondering if they are even issuing credits at all???  I guess I am finally ready to file a dispute with my credit card company.  Has anyone done this?  Results?  Thank you!

I just received my refund yesterday at day 108
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17 minutes ago, swanheaven said:

So happy for you!  And that is the tiniest bit encouraging!  Thanks for sharing, anyone else?  

I suggest looking at the refund roll call thread.

 

Roy

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38 minutes ago, swanheaven said:

So new question - Is ANYONE still getting refunds from Crystal.  We are at day 107 and still NOTHING.  I am just wondering if they are even issuing credits at all???  I guess I am finally ready to file a dispute with my credit card company.  Has anyone done this?  Results?  Thank you!

 

I was just carrying out some basic analysis of the the informative spreadsheet that SusieQft has helpfully compiled in the thread Crystal Refund Roll Call.

 

A couple of key points :- 

20 out of 45 have received their refunds, with 11 of these taking longer than 90 days

62% had to wait, or are still waiting longer than the 90 days !

 

As many probably know the 90 days is a pipe dream for most !       

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FYI I just filed a claim with American Express after waiting over 100 days for my refund.  They immediately credited the money back to my account and will follow up with Crystal.  I can't imagine what they are thinking with the delayed refunds and poor communication and follow up, but I am over and out with Crystal.  They have lost us as customers over their handling of this matter.

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6 hours ago, TUCKERTOOTS said:

108 days waiting for two refunds.😢😡

Crystal found a way to have interest-free loans for 120 days or more!

 

My refund is a deposit refund for a cruise I cancelled before all the pandemic cancellations. It is over 90 days now waiting for the refund.

Our excellent TA works for a great travel agency. They happen to be a high volume seller for Crystal.

Their guest relations department follows up on refunds with directly with cruise companies.

 

Here is the reply I received:

"I’ve contacted Crystal to get an update on the refund. They have advised it is still currently pending but it is in the pipeline to be processed. I have asked to speak with a supervisor at Crystal to see if we could escalate the refund and make an expedited request since the 90 days has past. Unfortunately Crystal is not accepting expedited refund requests at this time. ...

advising it could extend up to 120 days for total refund processing."

 

!up to 120 days for total refund processing!  Crystal found a way to have an interest-free loans from us for 120 days and most likely longer. Crystal refund time-line promise first started at 60 days (at the time of my cancellation), then extended to 90 days and now to 120 days.

 

Disputing a transaction with a credit card company to get a refund takes 45 days maximum - way better than 120 days :).

A temporary credit gets issued in 1-2 business days.

If a merchant refunds on its own before a dispute with credit company is finalized, there is an option to close this dispute.

 

 

 

 

 

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