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Celebrity Cruise Refund Question


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Cruise refund question: When we cancelled our April Celebrity cruise we were given the choice of 125% credit for a future sailing or a refund. I couldn’t find a future cruise we wanted to take so we opted for a refund. We were only refunded roughly 75% of the cruise cost and when I called, Celebrity said they were aware of the problem and I could expect the rest to be refunded in 4-6 weeks.
 
After six weeks I called and was told they couldn’t do anything because it was a “group” reservation, which it was not. (I booked using a travel agent I found using *****.com). They told me to contact our travel agent. I emailed and he responded “Anything that they didn't refund we will give you as a future Cruise credit toward a future Cruise date.”
 
I’m guessing that the difference is possibly his commission or something While I am very sympathetic of the impact the pandemic is having on the travel industry, needless to say I am NOT happy. Has anyone dealt with anything like this? Do I have any recourse?
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Travel agencies, especially large companies,  often put passengers in a group booking.  Usually, as in your case, the passenger isn’t even aware of it. Because you booked through a travel agency, only the travel agency can deal with your problem.

 

By the way, we are not allowed to name travel agencies on Cruise Critic. Your post may be deleted. It has already been edited to remove the name of the travel agency, but it may go away all together.

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I would demand the refund from Celebrity.  Have them get the commission from the TA then refund it to you.  If you made payment to Celebrity, the other recourse would be to dispute the amount with your credit card company.

 

On one of my cancelled cruises, my TA refunded me the commission right away whereas it took several weeks to get the funds back from Celebrity.  🍷

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8 minutes ago, cruisestitch said:

Travel agencies, especially large companies,  often put passengers in a group booking.  Usually, as in your case, the passenger isn’t even aware of it. Because you booked through a travel agency, only the travel agency can deal with your problem.

 

By the way, we are not allowed to name travel agencies on Cruise Critic. Your post may be deleted. It has already been edited to remove the name of the travel agency, but it may go away all together.

Ahhhh...I didn't name the travel agency. I named the website that you use to request bids - Cruise Compete. Thanks for the advice.

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7 minutes ago, Wine-O said:

I would demand the refund from Celebrity.  Have them get the commission from the TA then refund it to you.  If you made payment to Celebrity, the other recourse would be to dispute the amount with your credit card company.

 

On one of my cancelled cruises, my TA refunded me the commission right away whereas it took several weeks to get the funds back from Celebrity.  🍷

Thanks! I guess I will call again.

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You say that you cancelled your cruise and were offered the choice of a 125% FCC or a 100% refund. While that has been the case for cruise cancelled by Celebrity, I'm not aware of such an offer to passengers who have initiated the cancellation. As @cruisestitch points out, TAs frequently include passengers in group bookings, and once you book with a TA instead of directly with a cruise line, you are meant to address any issues with the TA, not the cruise line.

 

As you seem unfamiliar with the whole process, which can be quite understandable, I would recontact your TA by telephone and determine exactly why you aren't being refunded the outstanding amount. TAs have varying policies on cancellations, which should have been fully explained to you at the outset. 

 

Once you have a better understanding of exactly what is going on, if you still can't get a refund, come back to us and walk us through the full details. One question I'll ask now, as it can have quite a significant bearing on how you might proceed further down the road: was your payment for the cruise made to the TA or directly to Celebrity?

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@Fouremco has a key point.  Check you credit card statement and see if your payment went directly to Celebrity or was it to the TA.  The amount you paid directly to Celebrity is what they owe you in a refund.  

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Right now the OP is only guessing it’s the commission that is still out.  As you read all the threads about refunds you see that nearly everyone has had their refunds come in “installments”.  I got one refund where the amount corresponded to the taxes and fees, another where it was equal to airfare.  The next installment didn’t match any amount I could figure.  A month later came two more amounts but I was still short $330.  It finally showed up a couple of weeks later and then the total amount was what I expected.  This may happen to the OP as well.  It’s a frustrating process.

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3 hours ago, catharine said:
Cruise refund question: When we cancelled our April Celebrity cruise we were given the choice of 125% credit for a future sailing or a refund. I couldn’t find a future cruise we wanted to take so we opted for a refund. We were only refunded roughly 75% of the cruise cost and when I called, Celebrity said they were aware of the problem and I could expect the rest to be refunded in 4-6 weeks.
 
After six weeks I called and was told they couldn’t do anything because it was a “group” reservation, which it was not. (I booked using a travel agent I found using *****.com). They told me to contact our travel agent. I emailed and he responded “Anything that they didn't refund we will give you as a future Cruise credit toward a future Cruise date.”
 
I’m guessing that the difference is possibly his commission or something While I am very sympathetic of the impact the pandemic is having on the travel industry, needless to say I am NOT happy. Has anyone dealt with anything like this? Do I have any recourse?

Here's my best guess as to what's happened, and why Celebrity has referred you back to the travel agency:

 

Lets say the "brochure price" for your cruise is $10,000.00. 

 

By getting a large block of rooms, a travel agency can secure better pricing.  Lets say they get the rooms for $7,500.00 each.  They then take their block (Celebrity considers this a "group" booking, since they sold a block of rooms to the agency) and sell each room to individual customers, at whatever price the market will bear.  You would have been one of the customers, and consequently part of the group.

 

In normal times, every thing about your booking would be handled by the agency and, had you called Celebrity in an effort to service your reservation, they would have referred you to the agency.  With the COVID-19 situation,  Celebrity as allowed customers to initiate refunds directly, even when booked through an agency. 

 

You did that, and Celebrity refunded you the amount they received.  You clearly paid more, and it was money retained by the agency.  Normally this would be a commission paid by Celebrity to the agency, but in this case it's likely the agency made their money on the difference between the price they paid Celebrity (AKA wholesale price) and the price they charged you - retail price.  Celebrity isn't going to pay you more than they were paid, and they have referred you to the entity that has the remaining funds; the travel agency. 

 

Good luck,

 

Harris

Denver, CO

Edited by omeinv
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I really appreciate all of the feedback. As suggested, I went back and looked at my credit card statements. Sure enough, the payments were made to Celebrity for part and to a company called Nexion for $450 and "Travel Agent Service Fee" for $900 - totaling the amount that is missing from my refund. Am I screwed? Should I dispute these charges with Citibank?

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19 minutes ago, catharine said:

I really appreciate all of the feedback. As suggested, I went back and looked at my credit card statements. Sure enough, the payments were made to Celebrity for part and to a company called Nexion for $450 and "Travel Agent Service Fee" for $900 - totaling the amount that is missing from my refund. Am I screwed? Should I dispute these charges with Citibank?

Wow, that is a lot they took out.  I would once more fight with them demanding a cash refund, then dispute with your credit card.  🍷

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15 minutes ago, catharine said:

I really appreciate all of the feedback. As suggested, I went back and looked at my credit card statements. Sure enough, the payments were made to Celebrity for part and to a company called Nexion for $450 and "Travel Agent Service Fee" for $900 - totaling the amount that is missing from my refund. Am I screwed? Should I dispute these charges with Citibank?

Good luck with your quest to get your money back. I hope it all works out for you. Note to yourself. Never ever, ever use the TA you used again. I always book with Celebrity and most of the time (but not always) transfer the booking(s) to a TA. I have never ever had issues like you are having with a TA. I also wouldn't use a TA that charges cancellation fees or that doesn't pay Celebrity directly for your deposit and balance for your cruise. 

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I had a similar issue with a agency that I found through the same site.  After that I found a good Company based on recommendations from many people we met onboard cruises.  Hope you can get the remainder of your money refunded.

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Wow, not only did the TA take part of your booking fee, but apparently a third party as well. I've no idea why Nexion was cut in for $450, or what their role is, but I'd definitely dispute both of these charges.

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12 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

Wow, not only did the TA take part of your booking fee, but apparently a third party as well. I've no idea why Nexion was cut in for $450, or what their role is, but I'd definitely dispute both of these charges

Has as lot to do with the cancellation charges the original OP agreed to with his "travel agent" when he booked.  He may or may not have a case with a charge dispute.  

 

Obviously, Celebrity did their part.  Live and learn people. 

Edited by PTC DAWG
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Just now, PTC DAWG said:

Has as lot to do with the cancellation charges the original OP agreed to when he booked.  He may or may not have a case with a charge dispute.  

 

Obviously, Celebrity did their part.  Live and learn people. 

Yes, Celebrity is in the clear on this one. The TA and Nexion, maybe not. Clearly the OP was taken by surprise, which might indicate a lack of attention paid to the T&C when exploring and then making the booking, or possibly a lack of full disclosure by the TA.

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