Remember the post about copying me on complaints? Some of you thought I was blowing smoke when a reader claimed (and I concurred) that the simple act of copying me on a complaint was enough to get it prioritized.
If you’re among the skeptics, let me introduce you to John Luther. He also copied me on a note to Princess Cruises and achieved some impressive results.
Luther had a complicated problem for a sailing in June on one of Princess’ Alaska itineraries. His booking, he explains, was a “Three-for-Free” promotion that included a “Free Stateroom Upgrade, Free Gratuities and a free Specialty Dinner for Two.”
The problem: He wanted to switch staterooms with another couple, and they hadn’t been offered the same special. The workaround was an upgrade offer made through their travel agent — and upgrade offer that–you guessed it–Princess then refused to honor. The cruise line says it goofed when it made the change.
“I want Princess to honor the mini-suite cabin change and the promotional credits worth $218 on the original booking,” he says. “This was not our fault and Princess needs to take responsibility for the mistake.”
Turns out Luther didn’t really have much of a paper trail; he’d done a lot of the negotiating by phone and through his agent. In order to make an informed decision, he needed to sharpen his pencil and start writing.
And he did. He sent a polite email to Princess and copied me on it.
Let me repeat: he copied me on it.
“This should be a slam dunk,” he added.
I should probably say a few words about the merit of Luther’s case before we get to our exciting conclusion. If he’d been able to show me a tidy thread between Princess and himself, in which the company refused to honor an agreement it had with him in writing, we probably would have jumped in. But generally speaking, we are not in the business of helping people secure upgrades on a cruise. We don’t have the resources to get involved.
Would it surprise you if I told you Luther received a call from Princess within the hour of sending his email?
“Although I did not get exactly what I wanted, Princess came up with an acceptable alternative: the mini-suite for no additional cost — a savings of $303 — and a Deluxe Balcony Room Service Breakfast for Two. All-in-all, it was an acceptable offer. I’m sure listing you on the CC-line helped Princess make their decision. Thank you for your help.”
I’m starting to believe that the CC trick really does work. If it does, then it’s bigger than me and bigger than us, including the advocates who work on this site. It’s an email address that underscores you mean business.
I’m honored to be the guy who owns the address. (Feel free to email me anytime!)