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Crystal Refund Roll Call


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Today is the 135th day of waiting for Crystal to refund our cruise deposit, a lengthy period of time which appears to fly in the face of how the luxury line describes the experience customers can expect from it. Specifically, I am referring to the following statement which appears in most of Crystal’s PR and marketing materials: “Only the world-renowned Crystal Experience offers an unwavering, unparalleled standard of excellence and luxury across four distinct cruising options…”

Reading this statement in the current context of Crystal’s inability to provide refunds in a timely manner reminds me of a rabble-rousing politician named Hyperbolus who lived in Athens during the 5th century B.C. Like Marketing and PR executives at Crystal, Hyperbolus often made exaggerated promises and claims that sounded sweet but were not entirely true.

So, I thought it might be helpful if Crystal adopted a more accurate slogan that contained less hyperbole as follows:

“At Crystal, we’re not happy unless you’re not happy.”

It certainly works for me!

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43 minutes ago, commodoredave said:

Today is the 135th day of waiting for Crystal to refund our cruise deposit, a lengthy period of time which appears to fly in the face of how the luxury line describes the experience customers can expect from it. Specifically, I am referring to the following statement which appears in most of Crystal’s PR and marketing materials: “Only the world-renowned Crystal Experience offers an unwavering, unparalleled standard of excellence and luxury across four distinct cruising options…”

Reading this statement in the current context of Crystal’s inability to provide refunds in a timely manner reminds me of a rabble-rousing politician named Hyperbolus who lived in Athens during the 5th century B.C. Like Marketing and PR executives at Crystal, Hyperbolus often made exaggerated promises and claims that sounded sweet but were not entirely true.

So, I thought it might be helpful if Crystal adopted a more accurate slogan that contained less hyperbole as follows:

“At Crystal, we’re not happy unless you’re not happy.”

It certainly works for me!

I guess we cancelled same day - Day 135 and still waiting.  And I can't say "waiting PATIENTLY" anymore. 

 

 

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Another data point:

We canceled our Sept 1 cruise on April 7.  Crystal subsequently canceled it altogether.  The initial info from Crystal said we would receive a refund less US$200 in 90 days.  The 90 days came and went, we are now at 115 days.  Two recent emails from Crystal say we are in the queue but they don't know when it will be processed.  "Be patient."  My patience ran out about a week ago, so I initiated a charge-back on my TD US$ Visa account.  The refund for the full amount was posted in 4 or 5 days, so we now have the money.  What I'm not sure of is whether this is an interim refund processed by Visa while they deal with Crystal, or whether it was initiated by Crystal.  The most recent email from Crystal came at about the same time as the refund was posted.

 

I'm actually hoping Crystal goes ahead and processes a refund directly, which would result in a double payment.  I would have to send it back, of course, but I would take immense pleasure in telling them it will take 90-120 days to process the refund. 😈

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1 hour ago, Sopwith said:

The refund for the full amount was posted in 4 or 5 days, so we now have the money.  What I'm not sure of is whether this is an interim refund processed by Visa while they deal with Crystal, or whether it was initiated by Crystal.

I strongly suspect that this is a “temporary credit” issued by the bank till the dispute with the merchant is settled.

It should state where the money is from - temporary credit vs Crystal.

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1 hour ago, Sopwith said:

I'm actually hoping Crystal goes ahead and processes a refund directly, which would result in a double payment.  I would have to send it back, of course, but I would take immense pleasure in telling them it will take 90-120 days to process the refund. 😈

The temporary credit from Visa will be automatically reversed when Crystal pays.  Whatever you do, don't send the money back to Crystal.

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This is for our 9/20/20 cruise on Crystal Symphony that was cancelled by Crystal.  We received the "final payment" portion of the cruise payment refunded to us on 7/28/20.  This was the portion of the payment that Chase chose to dispute with Crystal.  Chase decided not to dispute the deposit part (25% of the total payment) with Crystal because it was paid last year.  So, unless this is just a fluke, disputing charges long time before the magical 90 days is a good idea.

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1 hour ago, Psoque said:

So, unless this is just a fluke, disputing charges long time before the magical 90 days is a good idea.

Perhaps.  It remains to be seen if/how this will affect the refund for your deposit, which hopefully will come through eventually. 

 

You should not have any admin penalty/FCC since the cruise was cancelled by Crystal.  Someone has posted that the FCC could be in jeopardy for those who do have one and dispute the charges.  So far, I would categorize that as just speculation, and hopefully unlikely.

 

No one has responded yet to my request for confirmation of their actual experience with the FCC portion after they dispute the refund portion with their credit card.  Can anyone shed light on this question?

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So far we have had 4 cruises cancelled out from under us

Oceania 1 -- took 60 days

Regent - 47 days

Oceania 2 - still waiting but only 30 days

Carnival -- AMAZING -- 14 days for a full refund after submitting an on line form request

Crystal -- just started submitted form today for our December river cruise cancelled last week.  Would have liked to apply this to another cruise but there was no incentive (100% FCC credit) and alot of risk in doing so.

 

Our next booking is not until August 2021 on Oceania and is a $500 cruise with FCC's being used.

Hopefully Crystal is still in business for our cruise in 2022 but I have my doubts.

 

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Paul -- I too have my doubts

And I keep bumping my deposits from cancelled cruises to future bookings late 2021 and 2022.  I have thousands tied up in deposits.

 

Only two days ago I was optimistic they MAYBE cruising could resume by April -- not an unreasonable date for a vaccine to be widely available.  Today there is an article from the WHO that left me speechless.  Now I am not sure 2021 is possible for cruises.

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11 hours ago, SusieQft said:

No one has responded yet to my request for confirmation of their actual experience with the FCC portion after they dispute the refund portion with their credit card.  Can anyone shed light on this

 

We disputed our Crystal deposit refund around mid July, received the refund less $1,000 admin fee to be used on a future cruise, about 5 days later.   We have until one year from the date we cancelled (4/2) to make another reservation.  We are waiting to see what happens the rest of 2020 to book something.  So theoretically the $1,000 is still hanging out there.

 

Another thought re the WHO article.  Is everyone aware of the CDC’s latest cruise industry antics?  They are now “conducting a survey to get input from the public about the cruise industry returning to business.”   My quotes.   There was an article in the cruise critic news about it.  Think we who love cruise travel best respond.  

 

 

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2 hours ago, PaulMCO said:

Oceania 1 -- took 60 days

Regent - 47 days

Oceania 2 - still waiting but only 30 days

Carnival -- AMAZING -- 14 days for a full refund after submitting an on line form request

How's this?

Viking and AMA 3 days for each one!. It can be done under 120 days.

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We cancelled our August cruise back in April.  Unfortunately we had paid in full.  So we requested a refund.  It is well past 90 days and we disputed the charge with our cc.  I also wrote to Crystal via Facebook messenger.  They responded immediately stating they are working diligently through the queue in order of filing and have processed millions of $ in refunds.  Personally, I believe they don’t have the manpower or money to make the refunds.  As much as I love Crystal, if we do not receive a refund, we will not cruise with them again.  We have cruises booked for February and July 2021 with other cruise lines.  The February cruise is a charter on Silverseas.  There is a penalty for cancelling and we will lose substantial monies.  
 

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5 hours ago, Paulchili said:

How's this?

Viking and AMA 3 days for each one!. It can be done under 120 days.

Got my money back:

Viking 7 days; and AMA 45 days. And Hebridean Cruises took just one week to give me a future cruise credit with no deadline for a non-refundable deposit I had made on a cruise that I cancelled.

Crystal is the outlier. More on this tomorrow.

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@SusieQft  Crystal Serenity, sail date 10/29/2020, cancelled by Crystal.   Seeking refund of deposit.  Date requested:  8/3/2020.

 

( given Crystal’s track record, I’m not optimistic about the 90 day window, so I’ll give them some room before I place a dispute on my CC)

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We were very excited about the Bali to Cairns cruise (10/15/20200 and booked it on 8/15/2018 then Covid hit and the shipyard building the Endeavor closed down. On 4/8/2020 we were notified of the cancellation of multiple Endeavor cruises including our own due to the ship not being completed in time for our cruise. We immediately requested a full refund of our deposit and were told we would receive our refund between 60-90 days. Today is Day 116 and we have not received our refund, only please accept our apologies for the delay with no ETA for the deposit. For the past 2 months the refunds have been stuck in mid-March with no discernible progress. As of today all cruises on the endeavor have been cancelled through May 1, 2021. I know this is not the right place to post this but I suspect Crystal is having trouble paying out refunds as they have no income from the cruises. It is unclear if or when we will receive our Deposit.
 

On Jul 23 response from the office of the president.pdf CrystalCruises_bookingconfirmation_2090109.pdf_081518070827.pdf Refund request.pdf 98th day request for payment.pdf RE_ Important Update Regarding Your Cruise - YEN201015-16.pdf

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FYI,  Looks like the airfare portion of my refund, approx $6300, hit my card over the weekend.  Chase had given me a temporary credit immediately on 7/14 when I filed dispute, so at the moment two credits for this charge show on the card.  Still awaiting anything from Crystal the other two charges.

Edited by Texas Ed
typo
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We cancelled our August 2020 Crystal Symphony cruise on March 21, 2020, a few days before our final payment was due. It's been over 210 days (today is Aug 3) and still no refund for our deposit. Crystal customer service did say they had just finished processing refunds for people who had cancelled on March 19 and they said it should be "soon" for us. However, we are not going to hold our breath because we had called Crystal on June 15 about the refund and we were told they had just finished processing refunds for people who had cancelled on March 15. It took them a month and a half to move from March 15 to March 19 so my guess is it'll take them likely another 1.5 to 2 months to process our March 21 refund if they have any cash left. What a joke! There's simply no way in hell we'll sail with Crystal again with this experience.

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15 minutes ago, YWW said:

We cancelled our August 2020 Crystal Symphony cruise on March 21, 2020, a few days before our final payment was due. It's been over 210 days (today is Aug 3) and still no refund for our deposit. Crystal customer service did say they had just finished processing refunds for people who had cancelled on March 19 and they said it should be "soon" for us. However, we are not going to hold our breath because we had called Crystal on June 15 about the refund and we were told they had just finished processing refunds for people who had cancelled on March 15. It took them a month and a half to move from March 15 to March 19 so my guess is it'll take them likely another 1.5 to 2 months to process our March 21 refund if they have any cash left. What a joke! There's simply no way in hell we'll sail with Crystal again with this experience.

It's not just the lack of refunds for over 200 days, as bad as that is, it's the outrageous lies they tell people like we are stupid that offends me most.

For YYW & PAllinson - you should file credit card disputes ASAP (if you haven't already)

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On 7/31/2020 at 7:40 AM, CaliforniaAlan said:

 

I disputed the 2 Crystal charges, 2018 and 2019, for the same cruise with Citi on July 13. Citi immediately put a conditional credit on our account for both charges, pending investigation.  

 

On July 27, Citi made 2019 charge a permanent credit.  The 2018 charge is still conditional, pending investigation. 

Citi has now denied the dispute for the 2018 charge.  They said that they generally do not accept disputes for charges more than 1 year ago.  I've asked Citi for reconsideration.

 

Citi also told me that the permanent credit they provided for the 2019 charge was put through by Citi, not by Crystal.

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It’s Day 137 of my pending refund.

Crystal’s failure to provide “an unwavering, unparalleled standard of excellence” with respect to refunds when other luxury lines are paying in shorter timeframes raises a number of questions.  For example, is Crystal’s reluctance to pay up a result of cash flow issues caused by a shaky financial position? Is it simply a matter of their accounting staff being overwhelmed by the volume of cancellations requiring refunds?  Is it incompetent management? Or all of the above?

We don’t really know because Crystal’s management has not been very adept at letting us know what’s going on. So, as a public service to Crystal’s Marketing and PR Department, I have drafted a letter that Crystal’s President can send to everyone waiting for a refund. My suggested letter reads as follows:

"Dear long-suffering Crystal Client,

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to write you and explain what is happening with your refund. However, since we’ve already blown by our two deadlines of 90 and 120 days to return your money, I’m feeling a little foolish. It’s not that we can’t count at Crystal. It’s just that we don’t like to.

I mean, put yourself in my shoes. I’ve got these weird bosses at Genting in Asia who are big into the gambling business. They’ve even laid odds on whether I’m going to keep my job when this fiasco is over, and right now I’m a long shot unless I can hoard enough cash to keep this cruise line afloat. Even my mother is betting against me.

Then there’s our staffing problem. My bosses made me lay off a bunch of employees to stem the losses and stop the financial hemorrhaging.  But don’t worry - most of them worked in the refund department, and the two employees still there are keeping their heads above water while they wade through the thousands of refund requests on their desks. In fact, at this rate we expect to surpass the current Guinness World Record for delays in refunding money. And while it may be the only award we get for service this year, I know that our Marketing and PR folks with their gift for hyperbole will somehow make it sound like a great accomplishment.

Finally, I’m thinking I may not get a big fat bonus at the end of this year because the cruise industry in general is not doing well, and in particular things at Crystal suck.  I mean, we borrowed billions of dollars over the last 5 years to build new ships for the river and expedition cruise markets, and now all our ships are floating idle and losing money. Thank goodness we never went ahead with that dumb idea to resurrect the SS United States!

All of which is to say is that your impatience is not helping.  We’ll get to you when we get to you. What’s a few thousand dollars anyway? Get a grip and stop whining.

Sincerely,

The Prez"

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Finally received my credit from Crystal on day 139.

 

I had filed a dispute with Capital One on July 13th.

 

Whether it was the result of my credit card company applying some additional pressure, who knows.

 

Good luck to all !!!!

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1 hour ago, commodoredave said:

It’s Day 137 of my pending refund.

Crystal’s failure to provide “an unwavering, unparalleled standard of excellence” with respect to refunds when other luxury lines are paying in shorter timeframes raises a number of questions.  For example, is Crystal’s reluctance to pay up a result of cash flow issues caused by a shaky financial position? Is it simply a matter of their accounting staff being overwhelmed by the volume of cancellations requiring refunds?  Is it incompetent management? Or all of the above?

We don’t really know because Crystal’s management has not been very adept at letting us know what’s going on. So, as a public service to Crystal’s Marketing and PR Department, I have drafted a letter that Crystal’s President can send to everyone waiting for a refund. My suggested letter reads as follows:

"Dear long-suffering Crystal Client,

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to write you and explain what is happening with your refund. However, since we’ve already blown by our two deadlines of 90 and 120 days to return your money, I’m feeling a little foolish. It’s not that we can’t count at Crystal. It’s just that we don’t like to.

I mean, put yourself in my shoes. I’ve got these weird bosses at Genting in Asia who are big into the gambling business. They’ve even laid odds on whether I’m going to keep my job when this fiasco is over, and right now I’m a long shot unless I can hoard enough cash to keep this cruise line afloat. Even my mother is betting against me.

Then there’s our staffing problem. My bosses made me lay off a bunch of employees to stem the losses and stop the financial hemorrhaging.  But don’t worry - most of them worked in the refund department, and the two employees still there are keeping their heads above water while they wade through the thousands of refund requests on their desks. In fact, at this rate we expect to surpass the current Guinness World Record for delays in refunding money. And while it may be the only award we get for service this year, I know that our Marketing and PR folks with their gift for hyperbole will somehow make it sound like a great accomplishment.

Finally, I’m thinking I may not get a big fat bonus at the end of this year because the cruise industry in general is not doing well, and in particular things at Crystal suck.  I mean, we borrowed billions of dollars over the last 5 years to build new ships for the river and expedition cruise markets, and now all our ships are floating idle and losing money. Thank goodness we never went ahead with that dumb idea to resurrect the SS United States!

All of which is to say is that your impatience is not helping.  We’ll get to you when we get to you. What’s a few thousand dollars anyway? Get a grip and stop whining.

Sincerely,

The Prez"

You are brilliant!  I love your style.  If it was not so true I would laugh even more.  Good to keep a sense of humor.

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