Rocky Mountaineer canceled our tour of Canada and refused to refund our $6,339. Help!

Rocky Mountaineer canceled Kay Nelson’s rail tour through Canada last year. Then the tour operator gave itself permission to refuse her refund request and give her an expiring voucher instead. What’s happening here?

Question

I need your help getting a refund of $6,339 for a Canadian rail tour from Rocky Mountaineer. Our package included airport, train, and hotel transfers, with nights in Calgary, Banff, and Vancouver.

Rocky Mountaineer canceled the trip, scheduled for May 2020, which we booked in February 2020. The company offered a 110 percent nonrefundable credit to use against a new booking that can be applied to the 2021 season and would have had to have been used by the end of November.

I would prefer Rocky Mountaineer give me a full refund rather than credit for a trip we may not ever take.

Rocky Mountaineer has refused our direct request for a refund. I filed a chargeback through my credit card, but Visa sided with the tour operator. Is there anything you can do? — Kay Nelson, Chapel Hill, N.C.

If Air Canada sent you an extra $4,282 refund, would you just keep it?

Scoring an Air Canada refund during the pandemic has been nearly impossible. The airline has consistently ignored the Department of Transportation’s refund rules for most of the past 20 months. Instead, the carrier has been automatically issuing flight credits — even when it owes passengers cash refunds.

Which makes this story particularly improbable…but true.

Renette Frank was one of the lucky ones who actually received her Air Canada refund last year. So imagine her surprise when the airline recently sent her another $4,282. Even more surprising: When she tried to return the extra money, the airline made that impossible, too.

Now she’s asking the Elliott Advocacy team to help facilitate the return of the duplicate Air Canada refund.

This case is from our “Weird and Silly” files for Thanksgiving. Readers often ask why company mistakes never lean in favor of the customer. But the truth is, we do receive these types of cases from time to time. And, unbelievably, these consumers have hit the same frustrating hurdles as we’ve seen in our standard cases. Here Air Canada made a mistake and sent Frank a refund that it had already given her. So why is the airline making it so difficult to return the cash? Should she just keep it??

United Airlines stranded us in Morocco! How will we get home now?

It’s ok for United Airlines to fly a family to Morocco, cancel their return flight, and leave them stranded there. Right?

Wrong. But the airline seems to think so.

Ahmed Benidamou purchased economical, round-trip tickets from Tulsa to Casablanca directly through the airline’s website. He, his wife, and two small children flew to Africa as scheduled. But then, United Airlines suddenly canceled their flight home and offered no alternatives, leaving the family stranded there.

Now, still stuck in Morocco with no affordable way home, the troubled father is asking for our help. He’s hoping that we’ll convince United Airlines to try a little harder to get his stranded family back to Oklahoma.

Benidamou’s experience is yet another example of just how far customer service has fallen during the pandemic. United Airlines has a vast network of partner airlines spanning the globe, in addition to its own giant fleet. But United repeatedly rejected the bewildered family’s plea for help and simply abandoned them.

Can we find out what is going on here and help get the Benidamous home by Thanksgiving?

This cruise ship passenger arrived just in time — to be denied boarding!

Could a cruise ship passenger be denied boarding even if they have all of the required documents for sailing?

Lee Bolland says he knows the answer to that question is “Yes” because it happened to him. In September, he and his wife planned to cruise through the Mediterranean on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Epic. The couple flew to Spain to begin their adventure, and all was going well — until it suddenly wasn’t. At the port, NCL employees shockingly denied Bolland boarding and abandoned the couple there.

Now Bolland wants our team to show NCL the evidence that proves it mistakenly denied him boarding the cruise.

And he wants his money back.

But did NCL mistakenly deny boarding of the cruise to Bolland, or does the mistake lie elsewhere? That’s the question for today.

Don’t bother booking a cruise if you’re not fully vaccinated. Here’s why

Well, that didn’t take long. The first wave of unvaccinated and partially vaccinated passengers who’ve been denied boarding their cruise ships has washed ashore.

As the cruise industry begins to return to the waterways, mass confusion about the requirements for cruising has ensued. One of the first casualties of this chaos was Joshua Maxwell and his fiancee. They showed up at the dock earlier this month, planning to set sail on Celebrity Cruises’ Equinox. Unfortunately, they weren’t fully vaccinated, and the cruise line rejected the couple and sent them home.

The twist? Maxwell says vaccination requirements confused cruise line employees, too. As a result, he says the duo were allowed to board the ship and settle into their cabin before being forcibly removed by security hours later.

So what’s going on here?

Can the cruise line cancel my trip and keep my money?!

The coronavirus pandemic has devastated the travel industry — that’s for sure. But in these unusual times, can a cruise line really cancel your trip and also refuse your refund request?

Of course, the answer to that question is “no.” But Elizabeth Ramirez says that’s exactly what NCL did to her — canceled her cruise and kept all her money.

Now Ramirez is asking the Elliott Advocacy team to investigate and retrieve $7,300 from Norwegian Cruise Line.

This case is a strong reminder of the importance of keeping detailed records of all your refund requests. It’s especially true during this pandemic when thousands of other travelers are making similar requests — all at the same time. Unfortunately, Ramirez’s tale also shows that sometimes even when a consumer does everything right, things can go all wrong. (Reprint)

How do I get a refund for this canceled boat tour?

Gerald Stanton canceled a planned boat tour of the Panama Canal after suffering a terrible accident last fall.

That day trip through the canal was scheduled for January of this year — before the coronavirus crisis began. So why is the operator of this excursion blaming the eight-month refund delay on the pandemic?

That’s the $252 question that faces the Elliott Advocacy team today. (Reprint)

Why did Orbitz cancel my flight, leaving me with a $3,400 bill?

What if a booking agent made a mistake and canceled your return flight home from vacation, leaving you stranded abroad?

During a pandemic. Thousands of miles from home.

That’s what Aruna Krishnamurthy says happened to her last January. She was attempting to come home from India when she discovered Orbitz had inexplicably canceled her flight. That error cost her $3,400 — and hours of stress and anxiety.

Now she wants Orbitz to pay for the high-priced walk-up flight it forced her to buy to get home. But hold on — Orbitz says Krishnamurthy actually canceled the flight, and it doesn’t intend to pay for her mistake.

Can we figure out what’s going on here?

Forced off the cruise with no vouchers included! What went wrong?

Just days before the coronavirus shut the entire cruise industry down, John Buchan and his husband boarded MSC’s Grandiosa. They were looking forward to a relaxing voyage through the Mediterranean. Unfortunately, things started going wrong immediately when they opened their cabin door and found a naked couple already inside. But within hours, that shock was overshadowed by another unpleasant surprise. That’s when MSC summarily canceled their cruise and forced the couple off the ship before it even set sail.

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