This is how to save your canceled trip

I love reading stories from readers like Harriet Spitz. I never tire of publishing them because her DIY advocacy rescued her canceled trip — and it could do the same for your next consumer problem.

Spitz and her husband had to cancel a trip they planned for last September. Thanks to the expert guidance and numbers we list on this site, they persuaded their insurance providers to cut them checks for more than $12,000. Wow!

Her story is a reminder that our techniques work (and I should know because I follow them every day). Of course, my advocacy team is always here to help. But just in case, you already can fix almost any problem. Seriously.

A long journey to a resolution

Spitz’ husband, who is 81, had fractured his ankle just before their trip. For reasons that are unclear to me, and probably to Spitz, her insurance companies (Trip Mate and Allianz) declined to honor the claim.

As I’ve explained in previous stories, insurance companies often turn down your claims because they don’t have enough information.

“I sent hospital reports of his two-week hospital stay, of the two months he spent in a wheelchair,” she says. “I sent X-rays. I filled out numerous forms.”


“It was a nightmare,” she says.

Sadly, this happens when there’s a complicated claim. The process can seem endless, filled with confusing forms and frequent denials. Spitz was undeterred.

“I finally followed your advice”

Then Spitz, who reads my column in the San Francisco Chronicle, remembered my advice. She found my website and started reading. And then she realized she wasn’t powerless at all.

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“I finally followed your advice and contacted the customer service executives,” she says.

It worked. The executives intervened on behalf of the octogenarians. They helped them cut through the red tape and file a successful claim.

“Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge,” she says.

Don’t mention it! Actually, I should be the one thanking you, Harriet. If people would explain in plain English how simple the problem-solving process is, as you just did, then more would try it. And more would succeed.

So, back atcha. I don’t think I would have a consumer advocacy site without readers like you.

Lessons learned on saving a trip

Spitz’ situation is a beautiful case study about the importance of persistence (one of the three “Ps” of problem-solving; the other two being patience and politeness). You can solve almost any consumer problem if you try hard enough.

Of course, my reliable team of consumer advocates is always there if you fail. You can reach the Elliott Advocacy team by filling out this form, and we’ll be glad to give you a hand.

Next time you run into any kind of problem, remember Harriet Spitz and her unwillingness to take “no” for an answer. She has more than $12,000 in her account now. I’m so happy for her.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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