An empty vacation package from Expedia

Gladys Martin’s Expedia vacation package is missing two key components. Should she have to pay for its mistake?
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Hey Travelzoo, you call that a winery tour and gourmet lunch?

Alexander Chaikin/Shutterstock
Alexander Chaikin/Shutterstock
Bob McIntyre and his wife have just suffered through the worst meal ever at a struggling winery. Can they get their money back?

Question: I purchased a $29 “local deal” winery tour from Travelzoo. It included a tour, signature wine glasses, and a gourmet lunch for $29. The list price on it was $62.

I called several days before we redeemed the voucher to make a reservation. When we arrived, there was only one other couple in attendance. A young woman offered us a tour of a withered collection of staked vines. Most of them were not alive.

We then returned to the main building — a converted biker bar — and viewed an empty room that was to have contained last year’s crop, which had been eliminated by a cold snap in May.
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The mystery of the reappearing $400 cancellation fee

Question: We signed up for a two-year contract with DirecTV back in the fall of 2011. At about the same time, DirecTV released new equipment called the Genie. I called up to see if we could get the new equipment and was told we could. There was no mention of a contract extension for the new equipment.

In January of this year, we were looking to cut some costs and we looked at lowering our DirecTV package to save some money. I called customer service and asked to get switched to a less expensive package. I also asked if my new customer credits would be affected and they said they would not be affected if I changed programming. So as a result, I went through with the change.
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Is this a scam? A vacation package never received

the-oceanThe offer looked like an incredible bargain. For just $1,749, Judy Citko and her fiancé could fly from California to Florida and enjoy a three-day Caribbean “cruise and stay” package.

But that’s not all. The price covered three adults and six children – a total of nine travelers.

The catch: Citko had to pay for it with a wire transfer from her bank. No credit cards accepted.

No surprise that the tickets never came and that the vacation didn’t happen. (What gave it away? The wiring money or the too-good-to-be-true price?)
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No refund for mom’s Priceline package and no appeal

Question: My mother-in-law had a very bad encounter with Priceline, and needs your help. She booked a package deal to San Diego that included round-trip airfare, rental car and a hotel stay. She found out literally right after she booked it that the hotel was in a bad part of town.

We called Priceline and went through several people to see if we could have the entire trip credited back and then we explained we planned on re-booking a more expensive package. Her sister had died recently, and after much arguing, a Priceline representative agreed to credit everything even though their policy was to only credit hotel and rental, as long as a death certificate was sent.

Priceline eventually credited back all but the airline tickets. The company refuses to honor a manager’s word. Is there anything we can do? — Paul Cantrell, Albuquerque, NM

Answer: If a Priceline representative promised your mother-in-law a full refund for her vacation, she should have received one.

But did the representative speak out of turn? Priceline’s vacation packages are highly restrictive. Read the terms and conditions on the site for yourself. Each component — air, car rental and hotel — has its own refund rules, so unless the manager researched each one while you were on the phone, he wouldn’t have been able to offer a blanket refund.
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Wacky package price blamed on “anomaly” in program

When you buy a travel package through an online travel agency, you expect the price to be significantly less than if you booked each item separately, right?

So did Thao Tran when he was shopping for a trip to Chicago on Orbitz. But just for kicks, he asked for a price quote for the hotel and airfare.

Shockingly, the a la carte price was less than the package rate.

What the …?
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