Never do this — unless you want big debit card problems

Shelby Harding’s kindness led to big debit card problems — 250 of them to be exact.

She allowed a friend to use her debit card for a stay at a Super 8. The hotel and local police say the friend caused a commotion at the property and smoked in the room. Now Harding is being charged $250 to clean up this mess. And she would like our advocacy team to help get her money back.

But is she owed anything other than a life lesson that you don’t use your debit card to book a “friend’s” hotel room?

When French America Line fails, a credit card chargeback can help

When French America Line cancels Frank Magarowicz’ second scheduled cruise, his story becomes one of an increasing number of refund complaints against the company and its sister company, Uncommon Journeys.

When in Rome (or Florence) don’t drive your Enterprise rental car in restricted areas

Driving in a new city frustrates many travelers, especially when navigating an unfamiliar, foreign location with strange rules. Larry Moyer learned just how frustrating when he made a big mistake while driving this Enterprise car rental in Florence. Now he is faced with heavy car rental fines and he wants to know if he must pay them. 

Austrian Airlines bumped me and then gave me empty gift cards as compensation

Austrian Airlines overbooked Robert Raffanti’s flight from Venice to Vienna and asked for volunteers to take a later flight, promising compensation of 125 euros. Raffanti and his wife agreed, but the airline never loaded their gift cards. Can we help Raffanti, or will Austrian Airlines continue its infamous silent treatment of both its customers and with us?

Trapped inside a hotel bathroom twice — and charged $900 for the hotel room damage!

After his first night in Atlanta, Greg Stafford just wanted to take a shower in the bathroom of his America’s Best Value Inn room. Moments after entering the bathroom, he discovered he was stuck — the door wouldn’t open. After he made multiple attempts to free himself, management finally came to his rescue — and charged him $1,000.  Stafford admits he caused the hotel room damage, but believes the hotel should take responsibility for his predicament. He wants his money back and he asked for our advocacy team’s help.

Some things in life are free. Transferring miles isn’t one of them

When James Barbeau decided to use some of his wife’s Southwest Rapid Rewards miles, he visited the Southwest website and successfully transferred 40,000 miles from her account to his. He claims he was shocked to see a $400 charge appear on his credit card statement for the transfer and wants his money back.

Barbeau first appealed to Southwest Rapid Rewards for his refund, but the company refused, stating that “transferred funds are nonrefundable and nonreversible,” and that “the terms must be upheld in order to maintain the integrity of our program.”

Are some travelers still being given free TSA PreCheck?

Security lines at some airports are long and require that passengers arrive even earlier than the airlines suggest in order to make their flights. Several years ago, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) began Trusted Traveler Programs, including TSA PreCheck, which allow passengers who have paid a fee and submitted to a background check to benefit from expedited screening. Travelers with TSA PreCheck do not have to remove laptop computers or liquids from their carry-ons, and are allowed to keep their shoes and sweaters on as they are screened.

This Greek YOLO cruise might make you glad that you only live once

Among the promises made by Sail In Greece Adventures is that the cruise will be “an unforgettable memory that will be kept forever.” But the memories that international travelers Chelsea Hudson and Samantha Weiss took away from the cruise are nothing like the ones in the company’s promotional video.

Her cruise to Cuba was scuttled, but what about the refund?

A cruise to Cuba is a dream for many people, but there are specific rules that a company must follow and a special certification it needs to run a cruise. When Pamela Gillet booked her dream cruise to Cuba with Pearl Seas Cruises, she assumed the company had secured permission to run the trip it sold her.

Not expecting a package from DHL? Don’t click on that link

Philip Brown smelled a scam.

He wasn’t expecting a package delivery. But a suspicious email in his inbox said otherwise. Specifically, it was an email with the subject line DHL Parcel Arrival Notification REF No:677644359[FS#6562989.

The message contained a link that DHL allegedly wanted him to click. The notification promised him he’d be taken to the DHL website so he could track his package or make alternate arrangements for delivery.

They missed their New Year’s Eve cruise by a whole year. Are they entitled to restitution?

Sara Zalkin planned a special New Year’s Eve celebration with her husband and 16 friends aboard the Carnival Conquest, and they booked through the travel agency Legendary Journeys. But when the group arrived at the embarkation terminal, Carnival refused to allow them to board the ship: Their boarding passes were for Dec. 31, 2017, instead of Dec. 31, 2016.

Here’s why showing up at the gate just 15 minutes before takeoff is a bad idea

When Stephen Oualline and his daughter arrived at the gate in Kona, Hawaii, for their Alaska Airlines trip San Diego, they were told that the plane had already departed. After a rebooking and an unplanned overnight in Oakland, Calif., Oualline wanted the airline to reimburse him for the money he spent to get them home, but it refused. Now he wants us to help him — but can we?

Injured on a flight? Don’t forget to file a report

“Please be careful when opening the overhead bins, as items may have shifted during flight.” If you’re a frequent traveler like me, you’ve heard that phrase so many times that you could give the instructions yourself.

But what happens when a flight attendant fails to heed that warning? Sin Nga Ho found out on a recent flight, and she asked us to help her get compensation for her injuries.

Get smart. Sign up for the newsletter.