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Vantage (again) - "No timeline for refunds" Guidance please?


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Ural guy, scroll up a few posts and read what options we were offered at about the same time. We simply re-booked the same tulip-time cruise for the April 6th date you are referring to, using option #4. When we originally booked we got a great deal too, especially on the airfare. When we got the initial voucher for the new cruise, the airfare showed at what they were showing for 2021, and as we all know, that along with the cruise price had increased for 2021. That's  pretty much standard procedure with cruises, at least for our other cruises we had booked for this year. After a few days, the voucher was adjusted to what we paid for this year's trip, so we are not out anything right now nor do we need to pay extra. Only time will tell if this cruise will even go next April. If it doesn't, who knows what the options will be like by then?

 

You could always call, asking fro the same deal that people will offered back in March (don't recall the exact date we switched). The worst they can say is No. No one predicted this pandemic would alter travel so extensively or would go on for so long, so probably isn't surprising that they have had to alter their offerings.

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Yeah, I reminded them of that original #4 offer, but that was then...as you say, it was more that the cruise has gone up so much compared to the Veteran's Day offer we had.  Also reminded them that on each of our previous 2 cruises with them, there has been an issue; missing the first 5 days of sailing in 2018, and having a port (Constanta) dropped on the Eastern Danube cruise along with low water stopping us short of Ruse.  And yet, I still booked with them, and hadn't yet called once to gripe or complain.  She agreed, and thanked me for being pleasant. 

 

I did mention that had I gotten the money back, it would just sit to the side until I got one of the Vantage mailers with the sales listed individually on the colored paper, typically good deals there.  And the Labor Day sale in a few weeks....

 

2 or so months back, on Vantage's Last Minute Deal page, they had the 13 night Douro cruise ( 3 nights Lisbon, 7 nights river, 3 nights Madrid), 3 day extension to Madeira, airfare to Madeira ane roundtrip to US for $2600 usd.  The sailing dates kept getting pushed back, then finally dropped completely.  That would have been a great trip at an amazing price.

 

And I agree, I have no idea if Spring 2021 will be a go.  I know that I won't be heading to Poland in 5 weeks, no matter optimistic LOT airlines are right now.  Keep waiting for them to cancel, I would be happy with a voucher.

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Trying to figure out a good price for a cruise is as bad as trying to do one for airfare. All of the cruise lines diddle with their offerings. On one offer the cabin price is lower, but other things cost more. Airfare is cheap but the cabin price goes up. It's all a big game. As is said with airfares, when you find a price you're comfortable with, go for it and don't look back.

 

We also missed 5 days of sailing on the Rhine & Moselle in 2018, because of low water. We did do the Douro cruise last Fall and enjoyed it. A bit different, as there aren't many towns along the river with much of interest, so you do so some bus excursions for the day. Hotels in both Madrid and Lisbon were very nice. If you like wine tastings, you're all set!

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I need employees names and email addresses.  Are there Vice-Presidents?  Henry Lewis doesn't work alone at Vantage.  Is there a Board of Directors?

 

I just received detailed notice that my Iceland Air refund is being sent to my credit card.  I have pursued them as hard as I have pursued Vantage.  I got lots of help on the Iceland forum of TA.  We all shared information, names, and email addresses.  Several of us now have refunds coming soon (hopefully).

 

We need to share the same kinds of information here to bring pressure and receive our refunds.  The last emails I sent out out to Vantage, and Iceland Air were very professional and brief, and I put my  Iceland Air case number in the subject line of the airline emails so it didn't end up in trash.  I got a reply within 12 !!! hours.

 

 

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Born-  Nothing from the credit card company yet?

 

I reread your posts, the one about 'no refunds after 7 May' was funny, my cruise canceled around 15 or so March, so they weren't even processing cash refunds then, or I just didn't rate.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

I've been reading all the refund problems we are having with Vantage Deluxe world Travel I've been told I am due a refund, but they can not give me a timeline.  

All you waiting for your refund from Vantage Deluxe World Travel.... After endless telephone calls, emails and not getting results for a refund, I filed a complaint with the Massachusetts BBB. I asked, "How can a company who treats so many customers so badly get an A+ rating with BBB?" They responded, "Well, there are ONLY 69 complaints. If you know people who are also waiting for a refund, have them file with us." So, perhaps if you ALL complained to BBB and mentioned your grievances, things might change for us.

 

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My husband and I postponed a June 2020 river cruise with Vantage to June 2021, so I have been following your ordeal attempting to receive your refund.  On Channel 7 in Boston, there is a consumer program called Solvit7 that seems to be very successful in solving this type of problem.  We live in Southeastern Massachusetts and Vantage is out of Boston.  Not sure where you are located and if they service MA residents only, but if they can't help you perhaps you have a local television station that has this type of program.  Companies hate bad press.  Good Luck!

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We have taken 3 very extraordinary Vantage trips: Irrawaddy, Mekong, and Peruvian Amazon with Sacred Valley and Machu Pichu.  We have been seriously considering a couple of segments on their new Expediation Ship BUT with the problems that are surfacing on this thread we will definitely NOT book with them unless very close to departure.

 

Please let us know if issues get resolved.

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I have a land trip to Africa booked with Vantage for February 2021. It no longer shows up as being available (the first date they show is July 2021 and there are dates that show as sold out. It still shows up in My Portfolio. I chatted with a rep last week, and they claimed that the trip is a go, and that they sometimes remove trips that are sold out. I have less than 2 months until final payment. Unless something changes drastically before that date, I will not make final payment. I'm hoping that they cancel before then, although I don't know about getting my deposit back. If I get only a credit (assuming that they do actually cancel) like @deec any trip I would book would be much closer to departure.

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Bornfree,

 

Your experience with Vantage is no different than thousands are experiencing wit other cruise lines. Read thru posts for other cruise lines here on Cruise Critic as well as the "Cruises" forum of TripAdvisor. People are complaining about being unable to contact the cruise line and especially about lack of refunds and/or the time it's been taking to getting them, if at all. Refunds have not even been an option in many cases, so people have had to accept a voucher (usually for an additional 25% or more)  or re-book at the time of cancellation for some additional perks (upgraded cabin, beverage packages, etc.).  I've been waiting 7 weeks to get a voucher for a US river cruise (not with Vantage). While I was told 6-8 weeks, I do think it is ridiculous for any cruise line to take this long to basically send an email and update your account with the applicable credit.

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I made my final payment one month before Vantage cancelled my trip. I have received many mixed messages about a refund. I would never travel with them again. Your decision about what to do but you might be kissing your money goodbye. 

I agree. At most I will lose my deposit. I’ve accepted that. I don’t want to lose more. Sorry for your difficulties.


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On the other hand, Viking has been outstanding with prompt credits or refunds for those individuals that I personally know!  We had 3 trips cancelled since March with Viking.

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1 hour ago, deec said:

On the other hand, Viking has been outstanding with prompt credits or refunds for those individuals that I personally know!  We had 3 trips cancelled since March with Viking.

I read an article yesterday by Forbes magazine that said Viking's CEO has seen his personal wealth drop from $6.2 to $2.1 billion and that the company is strapped for cash after having to issue so many refunds.  It's currently trying to raise $600 million at high interest rates to keep the company going until cruising can resume.  I suspect that other cruise lines are having the same issues although I haven't seen financial reports on other lines.   Vantage might be in the same predicament and may be why Vantage is so slow to issue refunds.  

 

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I am in the same boat (So to speak!).,Vantage  cx my Tulip Trip in March. I opted for a full refund and was told it would be 8-10 wks. I’ve been calling back every month for the last 6 months and get the same answer.....we are working in it. The last time they checked to make sure they had the right bank acct #(they did).

 

They lied to me when I made the reservation and the previous five trips I’ve taken with them. Every time when I asked about paying with a credit card I was always told they don’t take credit cards. In talking to friends on the same cruise, they paid with their CC.

Any ideas what my next step should be? And no, I don’t want to put it on a future trip with them. I want my money back, then maybe I would travel with them again, but only if I put it on a CC.

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Rorygirl4528-  Seems like we might have been on the same cruise, or at least were supposed to be.  Your next option would be to file a complaint with the Massachusetts BBB.

 

I think it's just as Kathy speculates.  They don't have the money.  They are probably scrambling to make payroll.

 

I'd like to have my money back also, fortunately it's less than $5k usd due to a previous low water credit, I understand some are out $20k plus.  I've called twice, once when the cruise canceled, and once a month or so ago.  Done the live message, to make sure my low water credit gets extended.  I figure they're getting beat up all over, these are unprecedented times, and I'm going to roll with it.  We are supposed to be on our second day of a independent Poland trip today, didn't get to see our daughter in Alaska earlier...and then they're are folks who have it a million times worse.

 

So there are ways to let Vantage know how ticked off you are, but don't think it will accomplish much at this point, other than to raise your stress level.

 

You say they lied to you on your previous 5 trips....any good stories?  Mine:  I am astonished that the phone center can tell you that your trip WILL be boarding on schedule, and you know it's been stuck on the wrong side of low water.  It's like they think it's pre-internet, and you can't go to a web site that tells you exact location details.  Ah, Fall 2018, when a drought was your big worry, but you could at least get on the plane safely. 

Edited by ural guy
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IMO, all of the cruise & tour companies are pretty much in the same situation, as are the airlines. They simply don't have the money to pay out all of the refunds that are due and have little money coming in as people wait to see what the coronavirus situation will be before booking. Carnival, who owns several cruise lines  announced about 10 days ago that they are adding a couple more ships to the list they are selling. They are also keeping 4 ships in dry-dock for the first half of 2021 and some trips will be cancelled. Holland America, Princess and Costa are also selling ships. It's not a good situation for any travel-related business right now, with tens of thousands of people losing their jobs.

 

As for the complaints about refunds, complaints are in the thousands on TripAdvisor. At least with Vantage you don't have the possibility of a shoddy 3rd-party OTA between you and Vantage, as so many do. These 3rd-party OTA's are assessing fees to get the refunds from the airlines, cruise lines, and tours companies. Some are reasonable IMO, but others are not. Even with the fees, people are still waiting months to get their money, if at all,  and most can't even get in contact with the companies.

 

I've never seen anything that says you can't pay by credit card. Yes, they do push paying electronically and give you a bit of a discount for each month up to 4 (I think) that you pay in advance of your trip. This of course is just simply that they don't have to pay the fees to the credit card company. Road Scholar also likes you to pay electronically, pointing out that they pay $XXXXX each year in cc fees. I think Viking offers a 3% deduction for electronic payments. It's an individual decision as to how and when to make payments and whether you want to pay electronically. With electronic payments you give up some of the protection you have thru a credit card, such as a chargeback.

 

Like others, we've 3 cancelled cruises, all with different companies. Since our Vantage cruise was one of the earlier cancellations, we had the option to roll the money to the same cruise next year at the same price. That option went away once the pandemic started to be extended. Even in March , when they had far fewer refunds to deal with than they have now, we were told 90 days for a refund. With the other two companies refunds were not even an option. One was just a credit so we just re-booked to next year, but changed weeks so we will owe about $400 more. The other one I am still waiting for a voucher  after 7 1/2 weeks. They did say 6-8 weeks to get that, but that seems a bit ridiculous to send an email with the voucher details and put a credit on our account.

 

Between the 3 trips we have well in excess of $25K tied up and nothing yet to show for it. The way things are going with the coronavirus, we have no way of knowing if the April Vantage trip will be postponed again and what will happen then? Will we end up trying to roll it to 2022 but have to pay any fare differences? Right now, it's purely a guessing game.

 

Like ural guy, we're just rolling with the punches at this point, hoping for the best. Not much else we can do until the coronavirus situation improves and we hopefully have a vaccine.

 

 

Edited by bebtwice
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Reading all these posts reminds me of why I won't pay for cruises and tours with a debit card or e-check.  You just don't get the protection that you do with a credit card.  It's tempting to go the e-check route when discounts are offered, but not worth the grief and aggravation many of you are experiencing.  Hang in there!

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deec - no even those who have paid by credit cards are not necessarily getting their refunds either.

Even with using credit cards, many are finding they are having problems. Those that have tried going the charge-back route have not always been successful. Depending on the bank, there is often a time limit for filing for a charge-back. For many, they  have filed too late. Another issue is that the vendor is given a time frame in which to dispute the charge-back. Some vendors have disputed and won, so the charge-back has been denied.  At that point the credit card company will close the case against the vendor.

 

These are unprecedented times and nothing anyone has experienced before. Fortunately my husband and I can wait the situation out with the different companies and see what happens, but not everyone is in the same financial position.  Then there's of course whether or not all of these travel-related companies are going to survive so people can use all of the vouchers and credits that have been extended.

Edited by bebtwice
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