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Refunds in Perspective


chisoxfan
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Hello. I have posted here and on the HAL Board regarding the 'delinquent' refunds that 'everyone'  is  asking about. I finally did a CC dispute to move mine along.

We had also planned to travel to France this Summer and unfortunately, we had to cancel this trip also.  Having navigated the delayed and unknown waters of the 

cruise cancellations (all well within the time frame to receive deposit refunds) I saw that I had booked and prepaid in full a tour to the D-Day beaches.

I am ashamed to admit that in the back of my mind I could see this refund be delayed or denied (I was well withing the cancellation period for full refund).

Surely I felt, this is a small tour company who must be decimated by the Covid travel disruptions. I sent an e-mail and received an immediate response from the "CEO' who said I would receive my refund within 7 days. It showed up 5 days later. I followed up with a note thanking him for his timely refund and an appreciation of how difficult these times must be for him and

commented also on my cruise refund adventures.  He replied back to me as follows:

 

Brad

 
I came in to the world with nothing but I plan to leave with a lot. I don’t mean money! We are all human and I prefer to lose my business than keep money that is not mine. I was raised in a poor family but I was always taught to do the right thing. Despite all the stress worldwide, somehow though, I have this feeling deep down that the world is changing and we are all destined for a brighter, healthier and more loving world.
 
I send you my love to you and your family.

Kind regards,
 
This was a poignant note to me and struck a chord. This gentlemen clearly was not educated in our business schools (likely a positive) and it is doubtful to me he could claw his way upwards in management of the large cruise lines we patronize.  Our Country seems to be abandoning small businesses while we bail out and coddle the most 'connected' companies  which concerns me greatly. Anyway my intent was not to get into a debate regarding the state  of 'big business' but rather to share this refreshing and honest reply by a very small company with good moral compass.  Peace and Health.
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Thanks for posting.  My husband owned a small business and so did I.  Both of us always did right by our customers.  Each of my clients thought of me as their friend and I treated each and every account as if it were my only account.

 

It sounds like this man has the same attitude....customer satisfaction.  And that's why I like doing business with "small business owners".

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Since we are trying to put cancellations in "perspective" lets consider the cruise industry and specifically MSC.  In a relatively short time MSC was forced to cancel cruises that likely involved over 100,000 reservations.   Customers all want their refunds ASAP, but MSC has also been forced to shut down much of their office operations because of COVID-19.  So, how does one process over 100,000 cancellations when most employees are not permitted to go to work?  It is a daunting task.  Most of the cruise lines are telling customers that it will be about 2 months until they can process refunds.  While this is a real bummer for those of us with cancelled cruises, I do think the delays are generally unavoidable.   Depending on what country you reside it might be wise to open a dispute/charge-back with your credit card company to ensure that there are no future issues regarding time limits on requesting charge-backs.   If in doubt it might be smart to call your credit card company (be prepared for a long holding time), explain the situation, and ask for their guidance.  I would want some assurance that if a cruise line refund does not come through in some reasonable amount of time (i.e. about 2 months) that you would still be able to dispute the charge.

 

Hank

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3 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Since we are trying to put cancellations in "perspective" lets consider the cruise industry and specifically MSC.  In a relatively short time MSC was forced to cancel cruises that likely involved over 100,000 reservations.   Customers all want their refunds ASAP, but MSC has also been forced to shut down much of their office operations because of COVID-19.  So, how does one process over 100,000 cancellations when most employees are not permitted to go to work?  It is a daunting task.  Most of the cruise lines are telling customers that it will be about 2 months until they can process refunds.  While this is a real bummer for those of us with cancelled cruises, I do think the delays are generally unavoidable.   Depending on what country you reside it might be wise to open a dispute/charge-back with your credit card company to ensure that there are no future issues regarding time limits on requesting charge-backs.   If in doubt it might be smart to call your credit card company (be prepared for a long holding time), explain the situation, and ask for their guidance.  I would want some assurance that if a cruise line refund does not come through in some reasonable amount of time (i.e. about 2 months) that you would still be able to dispute the charge.

 

Hank

I agree about getting your credit card involved.  I was able to dispute the charge on line....no long wait times or explanations. (Citibank)

I disputed it on 5/5 and was given an immediate temporary credit.  I don't expect MSC to respond.

 

Edited by MsTabbyKats
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22 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Since we are trying to put cancellations in "perspective" lets consider the cruise industry and specifically MSC.  In a relatively short time MSC was forced to cancel cruises that likely involved over 100,000 reservations.   Customers all want their refunds ASAP, but MSC has also been forced to shut down much of their office operations because of COVID-19.  So, how does one process over 100,000 cancellations when most employees are not permitted to go to work?  It is a daunting task.  Most of the cruise lines are telling customers that it will be about 2 months until they can process refunds.  While this is a real bummer for those of us with cancelled cruises, I do think the delays are generally unavoidable.   Depending on what country you reside it might be wise to open a dispute/charge-back with your credit card company to ensure that there are no future issues regarding time limits on requesting charge-backs.   If in doubt it might be smart to call your credit card company (be prepared for a long holding time), explain the situation, and ask for their guidance.  I would want some assurance that if a cruise line refund does not come through in some reasonable amount of time (i.e. about 2 months) that you would still be able to dispute the charge.

 

Hank

 

Sorry but this doesn't make sense to me . The mechanism to initiate a credit cannot be that much more complicated than that required to  initiate a payment ie. I can call MSC today and book a cruise and the deposit will show up same day on my CC.

I can understand that MSC uses some less streamlined procedure internally to process refunds but that does not account for the extended times we are seeing. If I take a tool back to HDepot I have a credit on may card within a day. Clearly the lines are playing a cash flow game which we should not be subjected to.  

This being the case in light of what is going on I think the smart move is to initiate a dispute immediately.  In the case of my MSC cruise I was told 30 days at cancellation and this went past 60 days until my dispute. I still have not seen (actual) funds but it will likely be a net 90 days before my CC is actually credited.  So MSC has 'won' the game. They delayed my credit for 60 days and then will delay the response to the CC issuer for another month - free use of funds for a quarter. It is impossible for me to believe that this process can be so cumbersome that the lines can answer two and three calls from concerned cruisers who have cancelled and seeking their monies but cannot initiate the credit.  Even giving the cruise line some benefit of the doubt (picturing an overworked clerk weighing through yard high piles of credit requests and stamping them 'approved' like some kind of cartoon from the 50's) their lack of a more streamlined, efficient process is not our fault and raises a trust level to many of us. JMHO 

 

 

 

 

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What a lovely story!! I know that my personal buying habits are changed as a result of Covid and I am buying local small business much more than in the past. BTW: We are still locked down tight here in Michigan. Businesses are starting to ignore the Governors orders and opening illegally risking a fine. We can't even get our hair cut, no possible chance of tourism opening.

Edited by BermudaBound2014
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7 hours ago, chisoxfan said:

 

Sorry but this doesn't make sense to me . The mechanism to initiate a credit cannot be that much more complicated than that required to  initiate a payment ie. I can call MSC today and book a cruise and the deposit will show up same day on my CC.

I can understand that MSC uses some less streamlined procedure internally to process refunds but that does not account for the extended times we are seeing. If I take a tool back to HDepot I have a credit on may card within a day. Clearly the lines are playing a cash flow game which we should not be subjected to.  

This being the case in light of what is going on I think the smart move is to initiate a dispute immediately.  In the case of my MSC cruise I was told 30 days at cancellation and this went past 60 days until my dispute. I still have not seen (actual) funds but it will likely be a net 90 days before my CC is actually credited.  So MSC has 'won' the game. They delayed my credit for 60 days and then will delay the response to the CC issuer for another month - free use of funds for a quarter. It is impossible for me to believe that this process can be so cumbersome that the lines can answer two and three calls from concerned cruisers who have cancelled and seeking their monies but cannot initiate the credit.  Even giving the cruise line some benefit of the doubt (picturing an overworked clerk weighing through yard high piles of credit requests and stamping them 'approved' like some kind of cartoon from the 50's) their lack of a more streamlined, efficient process is not our fault and raises a trust level to many of us. JMHO 

 

 

 

 

Its the same crap we're dealing with from the IRS right now.  Basically, if you mailed in your taxes on time this year in the US, don't expect to see any tax return for a very long time.  They're simply just not processing them right now, as practically the entire processing dept has been furloughed.

 

We filed back in March right after we got back from our Seaside cruise and its still just sitting in their offices not having been processed.  And their website is very clear that it might be months before they will get to it.

 

And this is from an agency whose only job is to file these things and process payments/returns.

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MSC has people that are processing the cancellations, they just aren't processing the actual refunds.  In early May I cancelled a cruise for 2021 and have since been watching the sailing for cabin availability.  Last week my cabin became available for booking again (for $600 more) so my cancellation was processed by someone, when I inquired they still say my deposit refund will take at least 60 days.  I see another dispute in my future.

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1 hour ago, Beardface said:

Its the same crap we're dealing with from the IRS right now.  Basically, if you mailed in your taxes on time this year in the US, don't expect to see any tax return for a very long time.  They're simply just not processing them right now, as practically the entire processing dept has been furloughed.

 

We filed back in March right after we got back from our Seaside cruise and its still just sitting in their offices not having been processed.  And their website is very clear that it might be months before they will get to it.

 

And this is from an agency whose only job is to file these things and process payments/returns.

Not to alarm you but we got a refund in March from the IRS about two weeks after filing.  The state of IL is another matter altogether.

They feel it is OK to delay return monies owed (already months late)- which is a hilarious double standard (well maybe not so funny).

When my out of state employer did not withhold state taxes from IL I always paid them in full on April 15. This was not good enough apparently and they came back at me with penalties for not withholding in advance. During this time of course there was amnesty for non filers, forgiveness, etc, etc, but no relief for the taxpayer who paid his taxes in full when owed, They finally stole the money (penalties) from an internet bank account.   The monster has an insatiable appetite and not to sound insensitive but frankly sometimes I feel it more satisfying to stop feeding the beast and just retire.  Of course I can only blame myself for winding up in this confiscatory (and bankrupt..... and corrupt) state. Sorry for the rant but good luck on your refund.

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