Nancy Caruso’s AAA travel agent quotes her a $386 rate for a rental car. So why does Hertz charge her an extra $72? And why won’t AAA refund the extra money she had to pay? “Hertz charged me an extra $72. Can I get a refund?”
When Jennifer Trotter contacted me with her problem, I thought she had an excellent chance of getting a partial refund from her travel insurance company.
I thought wrong. But her case may not be over yet.
Question: I recently received a letter from AAA saying that my membership was due on Jan. 1. However, I was not to return the statement because “annual dues will be charged to your credit card.” This is the procedure that had been in effect for years.
In December, I received a telephone call from an AAA representative, informing me that the company was unable to process the membership dues through my AAA-branded Bank of America credit card despite trying twice to charge my card. I asked AAA to try again, and to call me if they were unable to charge my card. I did not receive a phone call.
A few weeks later, I received a letter stating that I was to pay my dues directly because Bank of America would not take the membership fee from my AAA credit card. I did. Then I discovered that AAA had billed my card, too. When I asked for a refund, it told me it couldn’t do that — they could only send me vouchers which could be applied to my membership purchase.
“Get me out of AAA renewal hell, please!”
David and Dorothy Juergens are looking forward to their fourth Princess cruise next month. There’s just one little problem: Their airline rescheduled their flight, and that messed up their schedule — and cost them money.
Airline schedule changes are a fact of life, and it’s usually unrealistic for passengers to expect a carrier to compensate them for lost wages or extra expenses incurred as a result of change in flight plans. But this just might be one of those rare exceptions.
I’ll let you decide if this trip can be saved.
“A rescheduled flight — and a lost night at a hotel”
I have been a loyal and happy AAA member since 1988, when my late uncle Clyde helped me buy a used Chevette for my junior year in college. But after today, I’m not so sure how loyal or happy I am anymore.
I got an urgent call from Kari this afternoon, who was over at the preschool to pick up our daughter. Our car wouldn’t start.
“Don’t worry,” I told her. “I’ll call AAA. They’ll be right there.”
Only, they weren’t right there.
When I phoned AAA’s roadside assistance department, they asked me if I was with the vehicle. No, I explained, I was at home.
“We won’t be able to help you today,” a representative explained in a matter-of-factly tone. Not until I added Kari to my membership, which would cost another $30.
“How would you like to pay for that?” the operator asked. She knew I didn’t have much of a choice.
“AAA: Pay us $30 or you’re on your own”
Like millions of other Americans, Yvonne Chan is planning a road trip this summer. She and a friend decided it might be a good idea to get a AAA membership — they’re both students — so they signed up through the organization’s site.
And that’s the problem. They both signed up at the same time. Only one of them meant to become a member, but because of crossed wires, they both ended up with memberships.
Which is where Chan’s trouble started.
“Oops, I didn’t mean to sign up for AAA — how ’bout a refund?”
It happened this morning.
The battery on our Honda Accord died — a battery we bought through AAA less than three years ago. I tried to call AAA Emergency Roadside Services for help, but after navigating my way through a confusing menu, and enduring about five minutes of elevator music, my call was disconnected.
Then I remembered something the automated greeting had mentioned: Try sending a roadside assistance request online. I hadn’t thought of that. And I won’t bury the lede here — it worked like a charm.
“AAA Emergency Roadside Services: Don’t call us — summon us online”
The Oberramergau Passion Play is a once-in-a-lifetime experience — an event held every decade — and this was to have been Bente Krarup’s year to experience it. But then tragedy struck twice, and now she is may have paid for a trip she can’t take.
Her unfortunate story underscores the need for reliable travel insurance and sound advice from a qualified agent, particularly for travelers who may have health risks.
“Tragedy strikes twice for Passion Play widow”
Shannon Stark’s mother is about to leave for Venice, but there’s a little problem with her trip. Someone overcharged her by $400 for her accommodations, and she’d like to get that taken care of before her vacation begins.
Seems like a reasonable request. But finding the right person to talk to about the overbilling issue at her Northern California AAA office hasn’t been easy.
“Overbilled for my Venice hotel — where’s my travel agent?”
Good news, fellow travelers: The worst of the travel downturn may be over.
If nothing else, there’s some evidence that the dark days of customer service are history.
Our friends over at AAA released their end-of-year forecast yesterday. It predicted 87.7 million Americans will be traveling 50 miles or more away from home during the year-end holidays — up 3.8 percent from a year ago. That’s the largest projected increase for any major holiday this year.
“Is that a light at the end of the tunnel?”