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Andi Land

Refund Update: posted to Facebook

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I knew using the IRS as an example would set off a few rants.  They are so well liked by millions of Americans. 😋  

 

  • The IRS does this every year.  They have systems designed to do this every year.  Oh, and they don't really have to worry about shareholders and staying in business and taking care of their employees by trying to get them home.
  • The problem with this theory is that one of the main functions of the IRS is to process tax returns, including refunds. Thus they have a large number of people dedicated to the task, and their systems are set up specifically and directly for it.
  • My IRS return was 75 pages, it took my accountant a few months and then it was ready for my review, after that he e-filed. There was a lot of prep work before the IRS had to "push" the button. It took the IRS about 4 weeks to "push" the button with everything verified by a CPA to get my personal refund.

    The IRS didn't have to to do the preparation math.

We really do like Holland America, as evidenced by our 5-Star Mariner status.  We believe that their onboard service is an excellent value and are as anxious as anybody else to step foot on one their ships as soon as possible.  What we have unfortunately noticed over the last few years is that their head office management team is certainly not up to par with their onboard teams.  As I have said before ... a multi-million dollar international corporation managed like a corner store.  Hopefully, this terrible pandemic will open some eyes and changes will be contemplated to ensure a brighter future.  The changes at the top have already started and we look forward to what is to come. 

 

p.s. Your cheque is in the mail !

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4 hours ago, fusion927 said:

 

SMH... And this is why I've almost stopped reading this forum.

 

Yeah, and suppose if someone working at a multi-million dollar international corporation said we need to get spend precious (and they are all precious in the IT world) dollars to support a system to be able to refund six months of our entire future booking within 30 (or even 60) days, though it has never happened to any modern industry ever before (at least that I know of).   Not to mention that we have to do it while our employees are all working at home and dealing with a Pandemic.  It would have been so low on the priority list that it wouldn't even come up for discussion until 2059.  

 

The IRS does this every year.  They have systems designed to do this every year.  Oh, and they don't really have to worry about shareholders and staying in business and taking care of their employees by trying to get them home.

 

HAL (and Carnival corporate) are pretty much flying by the seat of their pants.  They had to get employees secure access to the internal systems remotely (I'm sure that triggered a few PCI compliance issues), they have to automate some processes that were done by hand before.  They have safeguard our information and CC details.  And their IT staff has to do all this remotely while dealing with their own personal issues.

 

And, believe it or not, they have to get it right the first time.  You know the hackers are surrounding them 24x7 looking for holes to get the CC and other private data.  After 35+ years in Software Development (and more that a little knowledge about IT Ops), as much of a challenge this is, I'm sure glad I'm not in the fire on this one.

 

Sorry, that comment really set me off which is why the rant.  I will now return back to my own little sandbox.

 

Mark

 

 

 

 

Well Mark, taxmantoo’s post was no reason to leave the forums, sorry.

 

He makes good points and you do too, but let’s try this in a simple situation.

 

All HAL had to do was COMMUNICATE to people what was going on and how long it was REALLY going to take to process refunds.  And as to refunding?  There is no reason it couldn’t have been done in an orderly fashion.  Yes people would have waited (and I’m guessing they would have waited with understanding) but because of the LACK of COMMUNICATION and the LACK of ACTION,  people are perplexed, frustrated and losing trust so now, disputing claims which I am sure is disrupting the refund process.

 

People are uneasy and understandably so.  A bit of communication would have solved that.  If they need to borrow software from the IRS, let them.

 

The bottom line is that sadly HAL’s head office has not matched the service on the ships for a number of years.

 

And yes, I’m a 5* Mariner too and I do love sailing HAL but I am also a retired business person and there is a fair way to deal with the customer.

 

It’s understandable if they can’t refund everyone at once but if they had communicated at all - I think it would have made a big difference.  JMO.

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2 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

Well Mark, taxmantoo’s post was no reason to leave the forums, sorry.

 

He makes good points and you do too, but let’s try this in a simple situation.

 

All HAL had to do was COMMUNICATE to people what was going on and how long it was REALLY going to take to process refunds.  And as to refunding?  There is no reason it couldn’t have been done in an orderly fashion.  Yes people would have waited (and I’m guessing they would have waited with understanding) but because of the LACK of COMMUNICATION and the LACK of ACTION,  people are perplexed, frustrated and losing trust so now, disputing claims which I am sure is disrupting the refund process.

 

People are uneasy and understandably so.  A bit of communication would have solved that.  If they need to borrow software from the IRS, let them.

 

The bottom line is that sadly HAL’s head office has not matched the service on the ships for a number of years.

 

And yes, I’m a 5* Mariner too and I do love sailing HAL but I am also a retired business person and there is a fair way to deal with the customer.

 

It’s understandable if they can’t refund everyone at once but if they had communicated at all - I think it would have made a big difference.  JMO.

 

I'm not going anywhere... I've just been trying to avoid threads that are going to set me off, which right now is most of them.  Unfortunately I thought this one would be less contentious.  Oops ☹️

 

Believe it or not, I actually agree with you.  On board the ships it seems they have a tendency to over communicate (how many sales flyers can fit in your mailbox!).  But it appears that the head office does not share that attribute.  

 

I think that 95% of the issues would be non-issues if each day or week they had a status announcement, something like 'Today (or This week) we processed xx number of refunds and are now at xx% processed.'  Dollar amounts (and possibly absolute numbers) wouldn't be allowed by the legal department, but it could still be a tangible sign that something is happening.  The Facebook post was a start (actually I think this was the 2nd similar posts), but give us more (and put it on your blog so the non-Facebook people can see it).  I don't think it is possible to over-communicate factual information.

 

I don't think he did a bad job overall, but the corporate culture to communicate was one area that does seem to be lacking.  Hopefully the new head honcho will realize this and make it one of his (many) priorities.

 

Mark

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Woofumz said:

Their decision to not program the cancellation page correct from the beginning

If you mean when the site was designed the lack of a cancel button is to give them a last chance to personally try to get those those cancelling to move to another cruise or time, before they process a refund. If you mean they should add a cancel button online its probably the same sales team logic along with they want to controll the process / run on the bank.

 

In November I wasn't sure what trip I was going to take and they had $25 deposits, I booked 3 cruises while I made up my mind and on one of them I paid in full instead of the $25. I called to cancel two and upgrade 1 and I had my money back in about 2 days (I cancelled the one paid in full) but they wanted that last chance to make a sale.

 

I moved the booking to BB TA and used their online form to pick refund or FCC, I received my FCC 2-3 weeks ago. I had cancelled all my excursions and internet and the stuff I bought online in early March when Canada closed the Vancouver port until July 1 so that money came back in about 3 days.

 

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24 minutes ago, fusion927 said:

I think that 95% of the issues would be non-issues if each day or week they had a status announcement, something like 'Today (or This week) we processed xx number of refunds and are now at xx% processed.' 

 

I completely agree with you 🙂 

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7 hours ago, taxmantoo said:

A lot of thought went into this but this is simply not the way that a multi-million dollar international corporation is supposed to do business. Really? In 2020?  If the IRS worked its refund processing like this, you would get your 2020 refund in 2059.  It is time for cruise lines to use some of their profits to update their information technology systems.

 

Sorry but this has nothing to do with info/technology. Living here in Seattle, I can tell you that both HAL and Seabourn, who are CCL companies and based here just laid off hundreds of employees so the OP's assumption is correct that no where near 125 people are working on refunds/FCCs/cancellations. In fact once you get through and ask about a refund, I truly would believe that they are putting future sales (that are bringing in money they desperately need) before refunds. 

 

When reading threads like this I often wonder when people that say that they have not heard from HAL have thought about booking with a TA. And getting your TA to find for you?

 

Jim

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5 hours ago, AlanF65 said:

We did a project at downtown Disney in LA about 25 years ago when it first opened. It was a 2000 sq foot bookstore and Cafe. They had me fly down to take measurements in May for a September delivery. After a half hour of parking rigamarole and walk to the site the PM told me they were a little behind and walked me over to an empty lot, said they would be read to measure on July 1.

 

I ask if I can come down after the 4th and no I need to be there on the 1st. I check in a week before an we are on schedule so off I go. Still an empty lot. We go over schedule with my drop dead dates to be able to open on time. I return late in august, still no building but this time we are meeting with a Big dog from Disney. He guaranteed it would be ready in 3 weeks.  I show in 3 weeks and still no building and comment to Big Dog that its going to be a time crunch.

 

His comment was I don't care if you have 2000 man hours to produce the product and 400 to install. Just hire 4800 people and get it done in half an hour if that's what it takes.

 

There wasn't room for 800 men in a 2000 square foot building. We ended up working Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New years Eve and New Years Day to get it done so we could install in time for it to open for a huge party in January.

 

We did all the woodwork, metal work and coordinated all the "props".1.thumb.jpeg.164cf5b2590c701b8e12a292c0c93f7f.jpeg

 

2.thumb.jpeg.7b91b19972abc8a08ac44fe2d42662a2.jpeg

 

3.thumb.jpg.2ac7fa56792380b41af79991cd456daf.jpg

 

4.thumb.jpg.9dfe16b14e71d28c4063532bcb8864bc.jpg

 

 

Some things take time regardless of how it looks from the outside. This store is gone now, people don't want these type of retail spaces anymore. This was a beautiful store for kids. It was designed to give the sense of exploration of a time long gone. I wish I had better pictures.

 

A-

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a lovely space. Definitely something to be proud of. It grieves me that print books and book stores are becoming a thing of the past. The hours I have spent wandering through the shelves of book stores are precious.

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23 hours ago, AlanF65 said:

 

I was just playing with the math while this was being posted and made some ASSUMPTIONS based on GUESSES not facts.

 

HAL averages 35,000 passengers a week

So I take 35000/2 to come up with a guess at how many refunds / bookings per week (17,500)

There are about 30 weeks at least of cancellations so that's 525,000 cancellations they have to do.

at .5 hrs per cancellation that's 262,500 man hours.

If you have 125 employees working on refunds 8 hours a day that's 131 days to process refunds.

If it takes two hours it slows down by 4x. I am sure the first cancellation with people at sea or in transit are the hardest because of so many moving parts and different offers.

I am sure some are simpler and some are harder but I would be sure they need to.

1) verify that the customer actually paid (fro cruises that never left) and it hasn't been reversed.

2) refund port fees and txes first

3) then refund online extras

5) then refund to each card and method used for payment in the currency used.

6) then get approval before it sends out.

 

It doesn't excuse their communication or lack there of but it might explain why its taking so long.

If you expand it across the whole CCL line its about 3.5M refunds /cancellations they have to process with what was probably a small part of the various office staffs.

Sure they are trying to hold on to the money but I think its more they just can't get it done as fast as we think..

 

A-

 

 

 

 

I was willing to take a cruise credit but have now been waiting 61 days for the return of my taxes and port fees which I was originally told I would receive in two weeks.  

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37 minutes ago, fatcat04 said:

What a lovely space. Definitely something to be proud of. It grieves me that print books and book stores are becoming a thing of the past. The hours I have spent wandering through the shelves of book stores are precious.

The owner recently retired but their mission carries on, they still have children's areas and authors. I think they have dropped most magazines because of the return policies.  If you are ever in the SF Bay Area drop into one of their stores or that old time tactile experience.

https://www.booksinc.net/storeinfo

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2 hours ago, kazu said:

All HAL had to do was COMMUNICATE to people what was going on and how long it was REALLY going to take to process refunds.  And as to refunding?  There is no reason it couldn’t have been done in an orderly fashion.  Yes people would have waited (and I’m guessing they would have waited with understanding) but because of the LACK of COMMUNICATION and the LACK of ACTION,  people are perplexed, frustrated and losing trust so now, disputing claims which I am sure is disrupting the refund process.

 

People are uneasy and understandably so.  A bit of communication would have solved that.  If they need to borrow software from the IRS, let them.

 

The bottom line is that sadly HAL’s head office has not matched the service on the ships for a number of years.

 

And yes, I’m a 5* Mariner too and I do love sailing HAL but I am also a retired business person and there is a fair way to deal with the customer.

 

It’s understandable if they can’t refund everyone at once but if they had communicated at all - I think it would have made a big difference.  JMO.

 

One of the huge reasons that no cruise line has been able to keep up with accurate communications is because the situation has been changing daily. At HAL it has been worse due the change of management (for good or bad). This situation is unprecedented and they have to keep making one decision after the next only to find that the game is changed the next day with entire countries saying the won't except cruise ships until...

 

Lastly, they had to wait to see what was going to happen at the CCL Corp with their new financing. In all honesty, if they hadn't gotten the financing from Saudi Arabia in late March, there might have been no refunds and no FCCs at all. 

 

Yes, they should have done it better but sometimes they just couldn't. 

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43 minutes ago, darstamp said:

I was willing to take a cruise credit but have now been waiting 61 days for the return of my taxes and port fees which I was originally told I would receive in two weeks.  

I found out on Monday that the taxes and port fees, along with the cancellation fee were placed as credits to our next booked cruise.  HAL had promised a refund to the card used.  HAL did not ask if I approved of this unannounced change.  My PCC figured it out and let me know.  Not thrilled and erodes trust further.

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51 minutes ago, DrKoob said:

One of the huge reasons that no cruise line has been able to keep up with accurate communications is because the situation has been changing daily. At HAL it has been worse due the change of management (for good or bad). This situation is unprecedented and they have to keep making one decision after the next only to find that the game is changed the next day with entire countries saying the won't except cruise ships until...

 

 

 

I'm sorry on this we can agree to disagree.

 

If my bank can keep me up to date on covid 19 and what they can do to help then HAL needs to improve their IT (which we all knew) big time.

I have been one to say the situation is unprecedented but that doesn't stop companies from communicating with their clients.

There was no communication while Ashford was in charge so the change in management is no excuse IMO.

 

I love HAL, don't get me wrong, but the lack of communication has really been dismal to say the least.  Heck my hairdresser has better communication that HAL.  Sad but true.

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24 minutes ago, kazu said:

 

 

I'm sorry on this we can agree to disagree.

 

If my bank can keep me up to date on covid 19 and what they can do to help then HAL needs to improve their IT (which we all knew) big time.

I have been one to say the situation is unprecedented but that doesn't stop companies from communicating with their clients.

There was no communication while Ashford was in charge so the change in management is no excuse IMO.

 

I love HAL, don't get me wrong, but the lack of communication has really been dismal to say the least.  Heck my hairdresser has better communication that HAL.  Sad but true.

Maybe if the OP’s “Friend” aka as The Brand Ambassador would spend his time communicating rather than posting trivia  there would not be such unease.

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49 minutes ago, 1ANGELCAT said:

Maybe if the OP’s “Friend” aka as The Brand Ambassador would spend his time communicating rather than posting trivia  there would not be such unease.

 

LOL I belive you just might put hit the nail to the head. 😉 

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1 hour ago, Crazy For Cats said:

I found out on Monday that the taxes and port fees, along with the cancellation fee were placed as credits to our next booked cruise.  HAL had promised a refund to the card used.  HAL did not ask if I approved of this unannounced change.  My PCC figured it out and let me know.  Not thrilled and erodes trust further.

I spoke to them two days ago and they said my refund was in progress. I had a cruise booked in September but cancelled that about a month ago.  If they credited my taxes and port fees to that cruise then they have to return it along with my deposit.  I agree. If I wait much longer that will erode my trust in taking future cruises with HAL.

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14 hours ago, 1ANGELCAT said:

Maybe if the OP’s “Friend” aka as The Brand Ambassador would spend his time communicating rather than posting trivia  there would not be such unease.

 

I'm with you on this!  The trivia posts strike me as both tone deaf (for cruisers waiting for refunds) and cold-hearted (for crew who are not yet home).  I find them incredibly offensive 😞

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, DrKoob said:

 

One of the huge reasons that no cruise line has been able to keep up with accurate communications is because the situation has been changing daily. At HAL it has been worse due the change of management (for good or bad). This situation is unprecedented and they have to keep making one decision after the next only to find that the game is changed the next day with entire countries saying the won't except cruise ships until...

 

Lastly, they had to wait to see what was going to happen at the CCL Corp with their new financing. In all honesty, if they hadn't gotten the financing from Saudi Arabia in late March, there might have been no refunds and no FCCs at all. 

 

Yes, they should have done it better but sometimes they just couldn't. 

 

Excellent post. Thank you. 

 From what I hear it has been 7 days a week work for some top Seattle people, just trying to get crew home and for those in other departments making decisions on the fly with changes daily upsetting all the work they put into it.  

 

 

Edited by SilvertoGold

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