Hey, what’s this disposition fee from Hyundai?

When Kim DeBiase ends her lease for a Hyundai Sonata, the dealership demands a $400 payment for a disposition fee. And that puts her in a bad disposition. Does she really have to fork over the money?
Read more “Hey, what’s this disposition fee from Hyundai?”

AT&T offered a deal on a phone — then it reneged

When AT&T offers Enaruna Aideyan a special rate for two Samsung Galaxy S8+ phones, he jumps on it. Then AT&T refuses to honor the deal. What’s going on? Read more “AT&T offered a deal on a phone — then it reneged”

They missed their New Year’s Eve cruise by a whole year. Are they entitled to restitution?

Sara Zalkin planned a special New Year’s Eve celebration with her husband and 16 friends aboard the Carnival Conquest, and they booked through the travel agency Legendary Journeys. But when the group arrived at the embarkation terminal, Carnival refused to allow them to board the ship: Their boarding passes were for Dec. 31, 2017, instead of Dec. 31, 2016. Read more “They missed their New Year’s Eve cruise by a whole year. Are they entitled to restitution?”

Why a verbal contract is worthless on Airbnb

Andrew Laughlin’s circumstances are unfortunate. First, he lost his home to a hurricane this summer. Then he needed to spend three months in Houston for cancer treatment.

And then, Airbnb kicked him out of his rental.

At least that’s how he sees it. Read more “Why a verbal contract is worthless on Airbnb”

Can Palladium Travel Club keep my $8,174?

Rowena Cruz buys a membership in Palladium’s travel club but almost immediately regrets the decision. Why won’t the company refund her $8,174?

Question: We recently stayed at the Grand Palladium Bavaro in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. While we were there, we were invited to attend a sales presentation for the Palladium Travel Club. We paid $8,174 as initial payment, which included a deposit and administrative fee, using our credit card for a 30-year package with 60 all-inclusive weeks.

My husband and I soon realized that the membership is not beneficial to us and that we can’t afford it. Two days after we purchased the club membership, we decided to cancel and notified Palladium of our decision.

About two weeks later, I received a call from the sales manager of Palladium Travel Club, advising that I can’t cancel my membership because there is no cancellation clause in the contract. I believe I have the legal right to cancel my membership and we want to exercise that right. Can you help me get a refund? — Rowena Cruz, Ontario, Canada

Answer: You have the right to cancel your contract — if not legally, than ethically. But before we get to that, let’s take a closer look at what happened to you while you were visiting the Dominican Republic. There you were, minding your own business on an all-inclusive vacation, and out of the blue someone invites you to a “brief” sales presentation.

That presentation for Palladium’s club took almost all day and, if its website is any indication, it was filled with lofty promises and hyperbole. How could you not want to sign up for something that offers “endless possibilities to change your way of traveling forever”?

Palladium seems to gloss over the costs and it’s also vague on the benefits of its “club.” Sample question from its site: “How can I get the best out of my membership?” (Hmm, you might start by telling me how much it costs?)

Disclosure: I’m a travel club skeptic. As I wrote in my book, How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler, there’s only one travel club I trust: AAA. From what I can tell, Palladium’s club is a curious combination of loyalty program, timeshare and all-inclusive. And I see no reason to change my opinion about travel clubs.

But let’s give Palladium the benefit of the doubt. Let’s assume this whole operation is on the up-and-up and that you had signed up in good faith. Should you be able to cancel your membership within a certain period of time? You believed your contract was governed by Mexico’s laws, which require a cooling off period. The Palladium representative to whom you spoke said there’s no such requirement because the contract is governed by Spanish law.

Frankly, I don’t care whose law applies, and neither should Palladium. It sold you the club membership in a high-pressure environment when your defenses were at their lowest, while you were on vacation, and it should immediately refund the money.

I list the names, numbers and emails of the Palladium Travel Club executives on my consumer advocacy site. A brief, polite email to one of them might have helped your cause.

I contacted Palladium on your behalf. Your cancellation is being processed.

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