How to avoid vacation rental cleaning fees? Do this before you check in

If you’re planning a vacation rental stay, you need to do one thing before you kick off your shoes and unpack — if you don’t want to end up with surprise cleaning fees. Grab your phone and start taking pictures.

Lots of pictures.

I speak from personal experience. I just checked out of a vacation rental and got broadsided with one of the most outrageous cleaning fee claims in my career. More on that in a minute. Read more “How to avoid vacation rental cleaning fees? Do this before you check in”

Where is the refund for my upgrade that never happened?

How long does it take to get a refund for an upgrade that never happened? Margaret Carroll has been waiting four months for hers. Can we help move things along? Read more “Where is the refund for my upgrade that never happened?”

Where is the 125 percent cruise credit Royal Caribbean promised me?

When Royal Caribbean cancels Rich Kanuchok’s voyage to New England and Canada, it promises him a 125 percent cruise credit. But when the voucher arrives, it’s clear that the cruise line’s math is way off. Now Kanuchok just wants a full refund instead. Is that allowed? Read more “Where is the 125 percent cruise credit Royal Caribbean promised me?”

Losing your case: Did you get what you deserve?

Do you ever lose a case?

That’s the most common question I get from readers. And it’s understandable since my nationally syndicated travel column has an almost perfect track record. The answer, regrettably, is yes — I’m also an expert at losing cases.

Even more regrettable: Sometimes, I deserve to lose. Read more “Losing your case: Did you get what you deserve?”

TAP Air Portugal rescheduled my flight — can I get a refund?

TAP Air Portugal reschedules — and then cancels — John Schmidt’s flights and he wants a refund. So why is the airline only offering a voucher? Read more “TAP Air Portugal rescheduled my flight — can I get a refund?”

How consumer complaints work: The guide they don’t want you to read

To really understand how consumer complaints work, you need to know Murphy’s Law.

No, not that Murphy’s Law. The other one. That would be Dee Murphy, who contacted us after losing almost $4,000 on a trip.

Murphy — still talking about the other one — contacted me this weekend to thank me.

Sort of. Read more “How consumer complaints work: The guide they don’t want you to read”

Will I ever see my refund from Pacific Holidays?

After the coronavirus forced Pacific Holidays to cancel Helene Rosenthal’s tour last March she agreed to postpone her journey. But months later, her circumstances changed and Pacific Holidays promised to give Rosenthal a refund.

Or did it? Read more “Will I ever see my refund from Pacific Holidays?”

Time may be running out to get your Vantage refund

Julie Mann wants an $18,266 refund from Vantage Travel. Last year, she and her husband Frank booked an anniversary cruise to Norway.  But Vantage canceled the trip during the pandemic. Then the company automatically rescheduled the couple for August of this year without their approval. Mann wants her money back instead — and she’s losing her patience.

She has the right idea. Because when it comes to Vantage Travel refunds, patience may not be a virtue. Read more “Time may be running out to get your Vantage refund”

Can Lufthansa really cancel the flight and keep our money, too?

Did Lufthansa cancel Po Yee Fan’s flight during the pandemic and keep her money, too? That’s certainly what it looks like.

But no worries, the Elliott Advocacy team is here.

Read more “Can Lufthansa really cancel the flight and keep our money, too?”

I won free gas for life! I’m still alive, so where is my prize?

Most would agree that if you won free gas for life, you could assume that your gasoline bill would be covered forever.  That’s why Matthew Reimer is so confused. He won a “free gas for life” contest from BP. He’s still alive, but the company seems to have deactivated his prize after just 15 years. Can we help? Read more “I won free gas for life! I’m still alive, so where is my prize?”