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Silversea refund processing time


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2 minutes ago, alexandria said:

If you are anxious to know US law on the subject, I provided the text of the applicable statute in a previous post:   

It is a subsection of Regulation Z which can be viewed many places online, including the CFPB here:  https://www.consumerfinance.gov/policy-compliance/rulemaking/regulations/1026/

 

 

 

Thank you.  

 

But this information is at odds with TLCOhio's statement that he had spoken 

"with my experienced Congressman who is on the U.S. House Financial Service Committee and has been in the banking business himself," and that "he was clear.  Federal law mandates that the credit card companies are required to post any and all refunds within 24 hours of them receiving that money back from the merchant.  Or else the bank is in big trouble with the government officials and violating Federal law!!  For those in the U.S., do not believe the "shell game" if they try to claim it is the bank's fault."  

 

The accusation regarding the "shell game" is a serious one, impugning the reputation of vendors who claim they have transmitted refunds to credit card companies and that the delay may be with the credit card company.

 

Clarification has been promised, and I for one await it.

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20 minutes ago, alexandria said:

a subsection of Regulation Z which can be viewed many places online

 

Thank you Alexandria.  I spent some time and half a glass of wine trying to understand the regulations and I simply couldn't.  I thought the engineering curriculum was tough when I went through it, but I have a new respect for what 4 years in Law School must be like.

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20 minutes ago, Observer said:

 

Thank you.  

 

But this information is at odds with TLCOhio's statement that he had spoken 

"with my experienced Congressman who is on the U.S. House Financial Service Committee and has been in the banking business himself," and that "he was clear.  Federal law mandates that the credit card companies are required to post any and all refunds within 24 hours of them receiving that money back from the merchant.  Or else the bank is in big trouble with the government officials and violating Federal law!!  For those in the U.S., do not believe the "shell game" if they try to claim it is the bank's fault."  

 

The accusation regarding the "shell game" is a serious one, impugning the reputation of vendors who claim they have transmitted refunds to credit card companies and that the delay may be with the credit card company.

 

Clarification has been promised, and I for one await it.

 

I can share that as to our refund, our credit card issuer has verified that it has not been transmitted to them by Silversea.  Compare that to my refund from insuremytrip.com which posted to my credit card on October 11, two (2) days after being notified by insuremytrip.com that they refunded my payment in full.

 

It is clear from all of the Silversea communications concerning cash refunds that Silversea is delaying the transmission of refunds to credit card issuers (in violation of US law).  For example, the email we received a few days after our cruise cancellation in mid-September noted that "The cash refund you have requested on Booking XXXXXXXXX, Voyage XXXXXXXXX, in the name of Mr XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, Mrs XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX has been processed today.  Please note that due to the exceptional volume of refunds we are managing at the moment it will take more than usual for the refund to show on your credit card.   We estimate this credit card refund to show on your statement between  10/23/2020 and 11/02/2020, subject to your Credit Card provider processing time." (emphasis added).

 

Also note the language used in the Silversea notice cancelling our sailing "The cash refund of the booking cruise fare paid to Silversea will be credited to the original method of payment and could take up to 90 days to process, but will typically be received within 30 to 45 days of guest’s request, due to exceptional workload Silversea is facing." (emphasis in original).

 

Has Silversea claimed that it timely transmitted all of these refunds that have taken 45, 60, 90 days or longer?  If so, I have not seen any such communications or reports from Silversea.  Have other cruise lines also made such claims?  Do you have any evidence that it is the credit card issuers who are responsible for the delays?  It would be very odd indeed if refunds processed by cruise lines are delayed because they are being "held up" by a multitude of credit card issuers, both here in the US and abroad, while refunds from every other industry are being promptly posted by those same issuers.  The simple answer is the correct answer...refunds are being delayed by Silversea, not the credit card issuers.

 

Therefore, based upon the facts and evidence that I have seen, I know of no basis to lay the issue of delayed refunds at the feet of credit card issuers.  Instead, all available evidence (including the explicit language explaining their refund delays in Silversea communications) points directly to Silversea as being responsible for delays in processing and transmitting refunds for cancelled cruises.  And while IANYL, in my considered legal opinion, Silversea is doing so in violation of 12 USC § 1026.12(e).  And while the "exceptional volume of refunds" and "exceptional workload" explanations may have been reasonable in the initial weeks of the COVID crisis, considering that it has been over seven (7) months since COVID resulted in cancellation of cruises, Silversea has had more than ample time to reassign or hire staff and train them to process refunds.  At this point, there is really no excuse.

 

Of course, reasonable minds can disagree...😀

 
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40 minutes ago, alexandria said:

Do you have any evidence that it is the credit card issuers who are responsible for the delays?  It would be very odd indeed if refunds processed by cruise lines are delayed because they are being "held up" by a multitude of credit card issuers, both here in the US and abroad, while refunds from every other industry are being promptly posted by those same issuers.  The simple answer is the correct answer...refunds are being delayed by Silversea, not the credit card issuers.

 

My evidence is my own experience.  Please note:  I am not suggesting that the credit card issuers are largely/primarily responsible for delays.  Clearly, the SS refund review process is taking the largest amount of time.  I am, however, suggesting that credit card companies contribute to the delays.

 

I refer you to post #129 in this thread.  I had charged the same (expensive!) cruise to three different credit cards.  I have no doubt that SS sent the money to all three at the same time, on July 16.  One credit card issuer posted that credit to my account that very day.  Another posted it five days later (but made clear that the transaction date had been July 16.  I copied the detail from the credit card issuer in my post.)  The third issuer posted the credit on July 27.

 

To repeat:  I am not proposing that credit card companies bear the largest responsibility for delays in credits reaching customers.  But I do believe (and my experience confirms) that they may in some cases bear partial responsibility for delays.

   

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As promised previously, I am reporting on the status of my refund:

 

On September 1, 2020 I requested a refund for cancelation of my booking on the January 7 departure from Ft Lauderdale to Aukland NZ.  Silversea said I could expect a refund with in 30 to 45 days.  That put the window for refund from October 1 to October 15.  I am happy to report that the refund was posted to my credit card today October 14.  

I did not get a notice from SS, (although one may still appear later today), but I am very happy that they were good to their word and refunded without any issues in the time frame quoted.

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@alexandria  Is it possible that a "simple" explanation is that when  Silversea says it has "processed" a cancelled cruise, it means something different than one might think? "Processed" could mean that they have reviewed the booking and the cancellation request, found everything in order, and approved the refund. But then it is sent to the trenches of the accounting department for staff to determine what amounts get sent to which credit card companies and/or re-posted to FCC, a process which can take an additional week or two. 

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As far as US law is concerned, it doesn't matter.  The clock begins running when Silversea cancels the booking (or when it accepts a passenger-initiated cancellation).  The applicable language reads "When a creditor other than the card issuer accepts the return of property or forgives a debt for services that is to be reflected as a credit to the consumer's credit card account, that creditor shall, within 7 business days from accepting the return or forgiving the debt, transmit a credit statement to the card issuer through the card issuer's normal channels for credit statements."

 

The word "shall" in this statute is considered mandatory, not directory.  That means the creditor (Silversea in this case) is required to comply and certain consequences apply for failure to follow the applicable code section.

 

Hopefully that makes sense.

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59 minutes ago, cruiseej said:

@alexandria  Is it possible that a "simple" explanation is that when  Silversea says it has "processed" a cancelled cruise, it means something different than one might think? "Processed" could mean that they have reviewed the booking and the cancellation request, found everything in order, and approved the refund. But then it is sent to the trenches of the accounting department for staff to determine what amounts get sent to which credit card companies and/or re-posted to FCC, a process which can take an additional week or two. 

In the U.K. processed means Silversea have approved the refund and it’s in the queue.

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3 hours ago, Silver Spectre said:

In the U.K. processed means Silversea have approved the refund and it’s in the queue.

 

But my question is what "approved the refund" and "in the queue" mean. "Approved the refund" could mean that they have verified the cancellation and approved sending money back to the customer, but perhaps haven't yet reviewed the method(s) of payment(s) and entered them with the credit card company(ies); if there's a backlog for doing the latter, it could add days or a week or more until the money is processed with the credit card company(ies). 

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17 minutes ago, brimary said:

Simple as explained by Silver Spectre.Only question is ‘How long is the queue?’Sadly No answer!


And it seems that the queue is socially distancing, keeping a good 2 metres between everybody in it. In reality. It takes seconds to process a refund once everything has been signed off. 

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My reply probably will be from my hystrionic heart!  I cancelled and I was big time in need of the money because of my husband's medical condition.  It did take over a month--I was hysterical, on this very board.  I got the refund about October 10.  Not sure now how many days--it was on Amex--and they TOOK IT AWAY because they didn't want a big refund on the books.  They did mail a check and I got it a couple of weeks later.  OMG, I will never book Silverseas again.  No way.

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Carol  

 

Having had health issues in the family there are a few rules

 

1. Never, ever book anything you can't afford to let slide.  insurance says ......

 

2. Never book anything that you didn't have twice the excess funds to cover

 

3. If you get into a pickle it isn't always the company you are dealing with. Other factors come into play

 

4.  Converse directly with the company on the phone if you have problems

 

5. The minute you go "it's all the companies fault" discussion breaks down

 

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14 hours ago, Caroldoll said:

My reply probably will be from my hystrionic heart!  I cancelled and I was big time in need of the money because of my husband's medical condition.  It did take over a month--I was hysterical, on this very board.  I got the refund about October 10.  Not sure now how many days--it was on Amex--and they TOOK IT AWAY because they didn't want a big refund on the books.  They did mail a check and I got it a couple of weeks later.  OMG, I will never book Silverseas again.  No way.

 

Glad it was finally resolved for you.  As far as AMEX sending you a check, that is standard practice when a cardholder has a significant credit.  Frankly, it is better for you as you can spend the money as you need, whether in cash, check or a credit card of your choosing.  Otherwise, you'd be stuck having to use your AMEX to access those funds.  Hope your husband's medical condition improves.

 

I do agree with Mrs. Waldo that it is always advisable to have a significant "rainy day" fund for expenses that may be unforeseen.  Many financial planners recommend three to six months of expenses be kept for such needs.  However, I certainly don't blame you for how you handled the refund issue.  You tried to work it out directly with Silversea and you waited patiently for thirty (30) days (well past the time that federal law requires for such a refund to be transmitted to your credit card issuer) , contacted them again directly and only filed your credit card dispute after they continued to tell you to wait.  You were more than patient and the delayed refund was entirely Silversea's responsibility and their delay was both unlawful and unreasonable.

 

Again, I'm glad you finally received your refund.  All the best!

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1 hour ago, alexandria said:

 However, I certainly don't blame you for how you handled the refund issue.  You tried to work it out directly with Silversea and you waited patiently for thirty (30) days (well past the time that federal law requires for such a refund to be transmitted to your credit card issuer) , contacted them again directly and only filed your credit card dispute after they continued to tell you to wait.  You were more than patient and the delayed refund was entirely Silversea's responsibility and their delay was both unlawful and unreasonable.

 

 

This seems to be a fair enough description of the matter (which has not been explained very clearly IMHO by Caroldoll.)  But one factor is missing.  The OP stated in one post that she had a travel agent who was involved in this booking and who offered her some advice regarding the booking.  In my experience, if a booking was made (and is effectively "owned") by a TA, the vendor will not deal directly with the traveler but insists that all dealings are via the agent.  What was the TA's role in this?

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I'm happy for Caroldoll that her refund situation and all the anguish it caused her is now resolved. I just want to note for others reading this, for the future, that in some cases filing a dispute with the credit card company can prolong final resolution of a matter rather than shorten it. That's not absolute, and there are multiple factors that come into play that can affect the timing; in this case, while Caroldoll felt desperation to receive a refund and filed a dispute with Amex, there's a good chance it lengthened the time to get a final resolution.

 

Her original cancellation was back about August 22, and when she posted her concern over not getting a refund two weeks later, I and others here noted that people with recent cancellations seemed to be taking about 45 days to receive their refund. Before 30 days had passed, she filed a dispute with Amex, saying "I think 30 days is enough time to wait for them to click a button and give me a refund." Of course, I think we all agree 30 days should be more than enough time, but that simply hasn't been the experience for almost anyone, with any of the luxury cruise lines, during this pandemic. (She also wrote, "I generally sail on Regent and they are prompt in circumstances like this." But that's likely a comparison to pre-pandemic times, when everything was different; an ongoing "refund roll call" thread over on the Regent Cruise Critic forum details very similar delays -- some longer, some shorter -- in getting refunds from Regent.)

 

Caroldoll received an immediate credit in her Amex account, but didn't want to spend it until the issue was finally resolved; Amex a few weeks later reversed the credit and issued a refund check, which was received around October 10 — about 7 weeks after the original cancelation and request for refund. We'll never know how long it would have taken without involving Amex, but based on the reports of others who had cancellations in this time frame, she might have received the refund from Silversea within 45 days, which would have been by October 3, or a week sooner.

 

My take-away is not to let one's personal frustration with the situation drive which buttons to push. Sometimes involving the credit card company might be a good move, particularly if one needs to immediately use some of the temporary credit, but often being patient a little longer -- as frustrating as that can feel -- with a process that's already pretty far along will result in the fastest resolution.

 

We're fortunate that these forums give us a great opportunity to crowd-source other people's recent experiences, which is important because the situation is evolving and ever-changing. Refunds now are being processed differently than they were six months ago, and the refund experience is likely to continue to go through changes in the months ahead. Reading threads across the Silversea, Seabourn and Regent forums, it's clear all these cruise lines faced similar personnel and procedural problems (and similar delays), none of them did a great job communicating with their customers as this all unfolded, and all of them are better-equipped and doing things somewhat better (and faster) than they did earlier this year. Hopefully, they'll continue to get better/faster at refunds and communicate better as we go forward. (Well, the real hope is that cancelations and refunds won't be much of an issue in the year ahead — but a lot of things need to fall into place for that to be the case!)

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Poor Carol has received a fair amount of bewildering attention.

 

A few observations and corrections.

 

1.  Filing a dispute with a credit company doesn't delay it's resolution.  The credit card  company will ask for the customer to try and resolve the dispute, but the customer is not obligated to accept an unacceptable delay in refund as an acceptable  resolution.

 

Opening a dispute might delay contact between the merchant and customer either directly or through an agent, and that is the deception that cruise companies are using to blackmail  and stop customers opening disputes.  But that delay is of no practical consequence. This is because the credit card company will immediately a dispute is opened promptly contact the company and send them a "request for information".  It will ask the merchant (a) if they dispute the transaction and (b) if they do that what documents they must provide and when is the final deadline that they must be provided.  This time is days rather than months. If they agree that the dispute is valid - and in the case of promised delayed refunds they have no option other than to agree, or if they fail to repond within time the dispute is marked as being resolved in the customers favour.   All credit card companies follow similar approaches.   So as a generality anyone opening a dispute with a cruise company the moment that the crusie company states  that they must wait longer than the "legal" refund time will have the reversal on their account and a speedy resolution.   Amex also refunds automatically and without consultation with the merchant if that merchant has received what Amex call "a lot of disputes".  Cruise lines not offering prompt refunds might find themselves in this situation.

 

2.  I'm not clear that Carol sought lifestyle advice or financial advice from anyone, but I think it perfectly rational for people to decide to book a "cruise of a lifetime" later in life as she has done.  Her cruise cost her $38,000 and to suggest that she was foolish to do so because of the situation she found herself in seems to ignore what actually happened to her, and it was a set of cicrumstances most people could not have handled financially from liquid assets. To remind you all, when Carol booked this cruise, she didn't know that her house would burn down and that she would be without shelter and food and clothes;  she didn't know at the same time that her husband's cancer would need urgent expensive treatment and more importantly she didn't know of the pandemic or could she have known that cruises would be cancelled and that cruise lines would refuse immedicate refunds and that she wouldn't get her $38,000 back when she asked for it and needed it.   I'm not certain how much multiples of $38,000 other people posting advice here keep in liquid form for emergencies but I doubt many or perhaps any could have dealt with her problems and better than her.

 

For what it's worth, I think Carol should be congratulated for how she dealt with this terrible issue.  She resolved it and got her refund much more quickly than many others have managed and I'd love to see a bit more sympathy and empathy rather than judgements.

 

Jeff

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Good Morning Tothesunset - Just a quick ' Heads Up ' on the use of a Large Credit Balance on your Credit Card Account - it is not recommended as The Card Companies believe its a Fraud Risk - They suggest getting such a balance removed immediately to another Account. Just be careful.

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In the U.K. my credit card is with the same bank as my current account, so when I eventually got my various refunds, I was able to transfer them to my current account and then into my saving account.

 

i have been critical about the Silversea refund process in the early stages of the lockdown but Crystal is much worse.  They cancelled my Christmas river cruise on August 1 and they said the refund would take them 90 days.  They are now saying that as it took them two weeks for the initial paperwork, I will now not get my refund until mid-November. Crystal refund process makes Silversea look like a paragon of virtue. 

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6 hours ago, Mayflower1 said:

Good Morning Tothesunset - Just a quick ' Heads Up ' on the use of a Large Credit Balance on your Credit Card Account - it is not recommended as The Card Companies believe its a Fraud Risk - They suggest getting such a balance removed immediately to another Account. Just be careful.

Good tip but I'm now down to the last £200. It's gonna be a shock having to pay real money for things again! 

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