Why the travel industry’s favorite new word is “no” – and what to do about it

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The travel industry’s favorite new word seems to be “no.” Sergio Lopez knows that. So does Melanie Channick.

“No” is used almost reflexively, which is a little jarring for customers who still think of travel as being part of the hospitality business. No, you can’t have a refund. No, we won’t drop our claim. “No” doesn’t have to be the final answer, but if it is, you should expect a reasonable explanation for the rejection.

Lopez and his fiancee were on their way to Iceland earlier this year when they missed their flight by a few minutes. The package tour they’d bought through Icelandair included accommodations, meals and tours, but when they failed to catch their flight, they forfeited not only their airfare but the entire vacation. The airline canceled the full package, all $2,352 worth of it.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services. Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

The couple was flying to Iceland to get married. “We had booked a photographer, a priest, a church and an additional hotel,” says Lopez, an engineer from Orlando. They asked an Icelandair representative if they could pay for a later flight, but the airline held firm. Appeals were pointless, and even when I asked, the answer didn’t change.

“He was a no-show for the flight,” says Michael Raucheisen, an Icelandair spokesman, who added that Lopez’s package vacation was “non-refundable.” Indeed, the cancellation terms were clearly spelled out in Lopez’s cancellation documents, and by booking the vacation, he had agreed to them.

Channick, a Philadelphia computer science teacher, is also contending with a hard “no” — regardless of how often she asks. She rented a car from Enterprise in Ambler, Pa., earlier this year, but before she drove off the lot, she gave the vehicle a close inspection.

“I pointed out several areas on the car bumper where I noticed some minor damage,” she says. “I was told that those were considered undercarriage damage and not to worry about it.”

She should have worried. She dropped the car off after-hours, so no one from Enterprise could check her back in. A few days later, she received a call claiming that the company had found “minor bumper damage” to the rental.

“I know for a fact that I did not cause any damage to this vehicle,” she says. “I drove it very carefully and was sure to park it away from other vehicles. Enterprise simply sent me a bill for over $900, no estimates or anything. I feel I am being unjustly targeted.”

Despite repeated requests from her and a query from me, Enterprise also held firm.

“The damage is significant and not something that could be missed on checkout,” says Enterprise spokeswoman Laura Bryant. “In addition, prior rental agreements do not show anything on the rear bumper.”

In both those cases, the travelers turned to me for help because they felt that the explanations the companies offered were incomplete or inadequate. And experts say that’s one of the keys to an effective “no” — explaining why a customer’s refund is denied or their credit card charged for damages.

“It is very difficult — and counterintuitive — to say no,” says Greg Geronemus, the co-chief executive of SmarTours, a New York-based tour operator. “It can be difficult for our clients to understand, but it is unfortunately necessary to do so.”

It’s important, he notes, to give a customer who’s asking for a full refund a crash course in the economics of package tours. Each component comes with its own terms and conditions, which is something the average traveler may not be aware of. “That can be tough for some clients to appreciate,” he says.

The trick isn’t just explaining the reason for a policy but making the explanation sound reasonable, says Todd Castor, a senior director at Marriott International. For example, though change policies at Marriott’s hotels are usually flexible, allowing guests to cancel their reservations up to the day of their scheduled check-in, its vacation rental products are more restrictive.

“At times, this can lead to some challenging customer service scenarios,” he says. “But more often than not, we’ve found our customers are very understanding, as guests are willing to accept more restrictive cancellation and change policies in exchange for the convenience and savings.”

In other words, a simple “no” without explanation, or a denial because of a written “policy,” is just going to upset a guest. But a “no” with a polite and reasonable explanation is likely to soothe an angry customer and may help the company.

Christel Shea, who has worked for two tour operators and is now the editorial director of the review site TourMatters.com, also points out that flexibility on the traveler’s part, such as accepting a credit instead of pushing for a full refund, can sometimes lead to a resolution. “Travelers who will only accept one solution box themselves out of a compromise,” she says.

The reason for turning down customers isn’t too difficult to guess: It’s money. Across the travel industry, many businesses are having their best year in a long time. (Some, like the airline industry, are predicting record profits.) Meanwhile, industry consolidation is reducing competition, meaning that you have fewer choices. Companies know the economics, and that they are in a seller’s market.

But “no” doesn’t have to be the final answer. After unsuccessfully disputing his credit card charges, Lopez, for example, is taking his case to small-claims court in Florida. “I have not given up,” he says.

This fall, you may hear “no” more often, but you should expect a reason for it. A company should either offer a plausible one — or change its answer.

Does the travel industry say "no" too much?

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104 thoughts on “Why the travel industry’s favorite new word is “no” – and what to do about it

  1. I have no idea if the travel industry says no too often. I have no basis for making a meaningful comparison. That being said, I think the travel industry plays certain games because many of their customers are not locals. Not being local means the customers tend to be less informed, less willing to spend vacation time to resolve issues, might not speak the language, etc. I would say the travel industry is more opportunistic than anything else.

    1. I think your point about non-locals is underscored by the contracts typically used by cruise lines that restrict venue to the jurisdiction in which the line has its operational headquarters (most often, southern Florida), thereby effectively closing the door to judicial resolution of smaller disputes.

      1. Every business I know of in the States writes their contracts to benefit and protect themselves. What would be the benefit to any cruise line to have un restricted jurisdiction? No one would pay more for it, and it would just cost the cruise line money.

        1. Pay for it with a credit card issued in your home jurisdiction, and have them MAIL the papers to you in your HOME. Chances are they will have subjected themselves to the court system of your state / commonwealth for having done business THERE.

          1. That strategy works if you’re the plaintiff. It allows you to sue a defendant in your home state.

            It doesn’t apply if you’re the defendant. That only means that the car company has the option of suing you in more than one jurisdiction.

  2. In the past travel companies didn’t say no as often as they should or had a right to do so. Competition, drops in travel, now were finally at a point in the travel business where airlines specifically but cruise lines and hotels can and should say no. Travelers and consumers are a big “me, me, me” generation, they want everything and they don’t want to pay anything for it. Their experience wasn’t blissful or absolute joy, time to figure out how to get some or all my money back.

    In the two cases above the travelers did get reasons, they just didn’t like them and think the world should revolve around them. In the first, the travelers were no shows, and those seats likely traveled empty. As this teacher what they would have done if one of their students had arrived late after class? Would they have done nothing, that means you’ve just given permission for every student to come late, the schedule doesn’t mean anything anymore.

    In the second example, this is a scam, scammers never back away from the scam if they aren’t caught scamming, everyone knows it, and if they don’t they should have known; by now that you NEVER believe an auto rental company when they say “oh that little/small/tiny piece of damage doesn’t matter” damage ALWAYS matters. You always take pictures or video with your phone, and you document every little thing.

    1. Pictures AND Video of the damage AND THE GUY TELLING YOU IT’S OF NO CONSEQUENCE. Include photos / video of the contract. video EVERYTHING. You DO have a smartphone, don’t you all?

      1. Joe, please don’t use all caps to make your point. It’s the online equivalent of shouting, which is unnecessary and rude.

        1. It’s also the online equivalent of adding emphasis or BOLDING a word, phrase or passage. when dealing with plain text. Typesetters use to bold a passage of text when it was underlined, with plain text editors however the convention is to capitalize whole words, passages or phrases when you want to emphasize them.

          1. Actually, the online equivalent of adding emphasis isn’t to use all caps. One can use underlines, italics, or bolding, but all caps is the equivalent of shouting. And shouting was not necessary to make your point. If you’d shouted in a discussion where everyone is physically present, you would have been told to pipe down.

          2. No, all capitals is the online equivalent of adding emphasis when using PLAIN TEXT. In such cases plain text does not use bolding, underlining, or other forms of typeface.

          3. PsyGuy, the point is, all caps is hard on the eyes and is off-putting to the very people you are trying to make your point to. And it’s rude. Stop it.

          4. PsyGuy, I disagree with you. If you want to add emphasis, then use underlining, italics, or boldface-not all caps.

          5. Then find a way to make your point without the emphasis. Overemphasis can be really off-putting.

          6. Then consider refraining from adding emphasis and let your words speak for themselves. But stop with the all caps.

    2. Unfortunately, unless the consumer uses a travel agent or is a savvy consumer, they don’t know enough to insist on the car rental company marking the damage or them taking a picture of the car when they pick it up. And those are the ones who usually get caught.

      As for the first couple – if you know that you are getting married in Iceland and you have all these other people contingent on you being there, why on earth didn’t you leave yourself more than enough time to get to the airport? I can’t stand hearing these crying stories when people simply should make sure they are at the airport hours before their flight is to leave, especially if you are dependent on traffic conditions. If you are too far from the airport, stay the night before at a hotel close to it to make sure you will be on time. It boggles me how people just think the guidelines of being at an airport 3 hours before your flight is to leave doesn’t pertain to them. These two I don’t feel sorry for and even insurance wouldn’t help you when you don’t make it to the airport on time.

  3. I’m on the fence=companies can have the policies to say no all they want, but as clients we have the right to refuse too–while the missing flight is more grey area (we don’t know why they missed, do to themselves, or who’s at fault) The car rental, we’ve been taught through the years to look over and initial, even take pictures in front of the agent (we all have cell phones these days) so renter is partially to blame.

    1. There’s no grey. Lopez is at fault. He and his fiance did not leave enough time to get to the airport. This is not the fault of the travel company.

  4. How can 44 people (as of the time I’m writing) who read the articles on this Website, vote “no?” Elliott’s topics have catalogued the misdeeds and rapacious
    dealings of the travel industry.

    Personally, I put these malefactors on my “S” list; “S” meaning, STOP, “do I really want to do business with this company?” These are constant reminders to routinely have the eyes in the back of my head examined.

    1. Elliott’s topics have catalogued the misdeeds and rapacious
      dealings of the travel industry.

      Yes, but that’s neither here nor there. Chris’ articles, by definition, are not representative of travel. He deals with a specific area, travel gone wrong, so of course he writes about misdeeds. He rarely rights about the times that the travel industry has been good or compassionate or says yes, when it could have said no. Those cases don’t cross his desk.

      I mean, if your trip was were flawless, would you write to Chris?

      1. There are times when he points out occasions when someone in the travel industry does something right. Of course, as Chris himself points out when he does, they’re generally exceptions, not the rule, but it’s not unheard of.

        1. Having sold travel for 3 decades, I can tell you while I am not a fan of some of what the carriers do, average people work for them and many do a lot to make sure travelers get what they paid for. Those who encounter road block in their travels might come to Chris, but they are a minority. Hundreds of thousand of people are traveling every day. Things will happen. I can also say that travelers have changed and they are often part of their own problems, especially now with the DIY’ers who think they know what they are doing, but don’t. That is seen here more than it isn’t.

        2. i helped over 100 people today, and no one had a complaint. every one of them thanked me, genuinely, and seemed to enjoy their interaction with me. so…. i’d say the travel industry does a ton of things right every single day.

    2. If that was true and I never did business with anyone who’s misdeeds were shamed on this site, I’d never be able to leave or travel.

      1. There’s a tendency among consumers to demand perfection. I’ve read where a user of a product that failed vowed to never buy another product from that company. Then that happened again with another company’s product. Then there was consolidation in the industry. If that’s the standard, then pretty soon there’s nobody left to buy from.

        I work in the electronics industry. You should see how long “errata lists” get. Intel had their famous “FDIV bug” with the original Pentium. That was frankly insignificant. However, Intel made the mistake of actually admitting that and ended up with a costly recall to mitigate the bad publicity.

        1. I agree that consumers demand perfection, but the problem is more there intolerance of imperfection. Now with Yelp, and social media, a single bad review or experience can really hurt a new or small business.

      2. Most of the problems are caused by the consumer, not the supplier. Either not buying insurance, or not making it to the airport on time, etc. You would think the people that ask Chris for help actually read his column on a regular basis because almost every issue that comes up has been dealt with here one way or another.

        1. I respectfully beg to differ. Undisclosed, mandatory hotel fees, bogus damage to rented cars, sham charges posted after departure from hotels for
          items missing, overbooking flights and hotel rooms which insure 100% occupancy while leaving travelers disappointed, small, grey print on the reverse side of
          a contract or Websites, are not the fault of customers, nor are unilateral changes in frequent flyer arrangements.

          They are the deliberate acts of corporations and their employees to take advantage of travelers.

          Proof the intentional aspects of corporations is that these acts are rarely perpetrated on their most frequent customers; holders of gold, platinum,
          diamond, or elite status. When those people are involved, problems are quickly solved to the customer’s satisfaction. Not so for the other victims.

          One shouldn’t blame the victims. It is unfortunate that the public must be so hyper-aware, practically paranoid, when dealing with some of the country’s
          largest corporations who encourage their employees to sell unnecessary insurance and punish customers who don’t acquiesce, and pull stunts they know
          they can statistically get away with. Changes
          like narrow seats, decreased pitch, and lost luggage are not the fault of travelers.

          1. People not showing up for a reservation they made is a major cause for overbooking. The fees got added to stop it, but it hasn’t worked. It is a two way street in regards to how everyone is treated.

    3. Because most of the stories that Chris publishes are purely the fault of the consumer because they didn’t understand what they were doing or didn’t get to the airport on time, or didn’t buy travel insurance. Very few of these complaints are actually the fault of the supplier.

      1. 100+…Chris didn’t state why the couple that was going to Iceland was late to the airport…I am guessing that it was their fault since it wasn’t disclosed.

        Basically, most of the people that comes to Chris don’t want to take responsibility or their actions or lack of actions.

  5. In flights and hotels, almost invariably the “no” is a result of a choice that the traveller made, such as choosing to purchase a heavily-restricted advance-purchase fare/room rate/whatever and then wanting the flexibility that a more expensive choice would have given. And not wanting travel insurance either, because they expect the travel company to pay up.

    Car rental on the other hand is a complete minefield.

  6. I’ve been reading this column too much! I don’t get to travel nearly as much as I would like but, after having read this column for quite awhile, I’m beginning to think that maybe that isn’t a bad thing. I know lots of people travel without incident but it feels like I should expect at least one problem to arise when traveling as opposed to travel in the past when things seemed to go more smoothly. Yes, my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek, but it does feel like you have to be overly careful when booking anything/everything, etc.

    1. That’s a good point. I think reading a travel site like this does tend to lead us to travel paranoia unless we stop and think. The overwhelming majority of travel is drama free or nearly so. If we look at the numbers we quickly realize that luggage almost never goes missing, you probably won’t be charge by the rental car company, and your hotel stay will be uneventful

    2. Problems don’t arise if you know how to protect yourself. Use a travel agent or buy travel insurance and you won’t have 2/3 of the issues that come up here.

      1. I think Michael_K might disagree with that notion. He has shown, often and quite pedantically that insurance isn’t nearly the panacea that it has been promoted to be.

        1. I really shouldn’t have laughed out loud at that one, especially since I just got home from church.

          @disqus_y8SzGZqqzq:disqus *did* say 2/3 of the time, not 100% of the time.

      2. My perception is that most travel agents do not really know much about travel; they’ve been trained in how to push buttons and book a simply air ticket. The advice to use a travel agent must, itself, be undertaken with care to get a competent and experienced agent who really knows his or her stuff (and is able to make intelligible decisions and dispense useful advice even without having to go to a GDS or other computer). Some of those professionals regularly visit this website. But sad to say, I think most agents are attracted by the glamor of destinations more so than the details of making the arrangements to get there. I use an agent when booking travel by sea (since an agent often has access to deals not available to individual DIYers) and complicated or exotic travel (since my agent has already been to many of the same places, and shares my personal interests in going there).

        The same holds true for insurance. Buying the insurance that is offered with a transportation or lodging purchase may well be over-priced and under-inclusive. Insurance simply is not a panacea. It simply transfers the risks from certain types of events from one person to another, and if the type of risk is not covered, the insurance-purchaser remains uncovered. And I would suggest that many, if not a majority, of the mishaps detailed in this website would probably not be covered by typical policies. In most cases I forgo insurance because I am able to absorb the risk myself, and I just don’t want to pay the premium to transfer that risk to someone else.

        1. As I have commented on this blog several times over the years, there is a BIG difference between the ‘Travel Protection Plan’ that are promoted and sold by travel providers and Travel Insurance Policies that are sold by sites like Squaremouth.

          First, Travel Protection Plans are NOT an insurance policy. An insurance policy needs to be licensed by the state Department of Insurance in each state that it is sold. An insurance policy is regulated by the state Department of Insurance. It needs to be sold by individuals that are licensed to sell insurance in that state. The individuals that sell travel insurance policies are governed and regulated by their state’s Department of Insurance.

          Second, the benefits of most if not ALL Travel Protection Plans are determined by the travel provider selling it. I can send you the links to a few sites that put together travel protection plans for travel providers that says this. If you don’t want to cover an event, you exclude it. If you don’t want to pay cash if a traveler has to cancel their trip then you write the plan to give credits only…no cash…doesn’t matter if the traveler (health or death) can’t travel anymore.

          Most of the problems that I have read on this blog are Travel Protection Plans. Of course, a Travel Insurance Policy isn’t perfect…a travel insurance policy doesn’t cover everything…it requires a person to read what is covered and what isn’t covered. It is designed to transfer a portion of the covered risks that you don’t can’t afford to risk.

          In the case of the couple missing their flight to Iceland, the reason wasn’t listed why they got to the airport late. If the reason was ‘they got up late’ then a travel insurance policy is NOT going to cover them. However, if the reason was that they have a car problem or had an accident to the airport then this event is usually covered by most travel insurance policies.

        2. I have always WELCOMED the client who wanted to interview me for the position of travel consultant. Not only does it put their mind at ease that I DO know my stuff, I know they are far more interested in my consultation services than in how they can save $2 off the airfare. So I can make recommendations, and know they will at least “listen” to them. 🙂

    3. I have traveled a lot (i.e. every week) for business for over 15 years. Most of the times, it has been uneventful for me as well as I can say that for my personal travels too.

      Looking back the past 10 years, my bags have never been lost but have been misplacedmisrouted twice (once for business and once for personal). One for business (a domestic trip) was delivered to my house six hours after I arrived home. The one for personal (an international trip) arrived at our hotel two days later…we didn’t mind because we had clothes in our carry-on; travel insurance and we received $ 400 USD at the airport because our bags was misplaced.

      My travel philosophy is to plan for the worst and expect the best. We purchase travel insurance (only had two claims and it was on the same trip) and hope that we don’t have to use it.

      We show up early at the airport when traveling during the holiday season. My wife hates waiting at the airport for 90 minutes. Most of the times, we can get through security in less than 10 minutes. But my wife has come to accept our 90-minute waits when I took us 60 minutes to clear security.

      Planning for the worst and expecting the best isn’t going to give you problem-free travels but it will prepare you to handle the situation.

  7. Lemme say it AGAIN for the umpthteenth time: PHOTOS! MOVIES! Movie the toad who says to you “Oh, it’s minor! No need to record it!” Fine! Get him on video. Get the existing damage on video. Say your name, location, date and time on the video. Enterprise is cute on these false claims.

      1. I’ve been meaning to obtain a dash cam. I’ve seen some reviews, but it’s difficult to sort out which are good. I hope Consumers does an article.

  8. Pardon the interruption. This morning, I received an email from a longtime reader who said she had left the site because of the tone of some of the comments. She described them as “snarky” and offputting, and I think we all know exactly what she means.

    I love a good discussion — I think we all do. It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that I’m writing about real people with real problems. They also don’t have the insider knowledge of the industry that you do.

    Please keep in mind that these comments are being read by the LWers. Often, while your comments are true, they are written in a way that comes across as hurtful. I think there’s a way of saying what you want to say without making someone feel like a bad consumer or a bad parent. We should try.

    1. Sorry to lose a reader, but I hope you never crack down on the snark here. Personally, that’s one of the things I love about this freewheeling place. Any LW who engages with our commenters HAS to know they’ll get their hair mussed. 🙂

      1. There’s a difference between snark and nasty comments, or the back & forth sniping that breaks out occasionally. Sometimes the comments are nearly unreadable, and they’re frequently unpleasant. I do agree that regular readers should know what they’re getting themselves into if Chris posts their story.

        1. I agree with Carver – most aren’t regular readers. Perhaps CE should ask them to read a few articles and comments before his LWers agree to having their real names posted. I hope and pray during every trip that I won’t have to use CE’s services, since I’m afraid that I would open myself up to ridicule if my story were to be posted.

    2. I’ve said this before, but: if I don’t want my pastor reading what I’ve written, then I don’t post it. Substitute any individual’s person or code of moral authority for “pastor” and I think that’s a good rule to live by. I’m not 100% faithful to that rule and I do love me some good snark in the articles and the comments. I don’t like personal attacks and do appreciate that the moderators have been more on top of this lately.

  9. It is always suggested “buy travel insurance”. A friend of mine bought travel insurance, but because he paid cash to the travel agency for his accommodations, even though the travel agent gave him an invoice saying “paid in full in cash”, the insurance company is trying to screw them over, asking for their withdrawal slips for the money from the bank(!)…where in the policy does it say that you HAVE to buy your travel with a check or a credit card??? It is legal to pay with cash, and insurance companies are NOT the IRS and have no legal reason to ask how one got the cash. Guess they don’t want to insure prostitutes, but then they shouldn’t sell them a policy. He sold items at a garage sale, did some cash jobs…and the insurance company is trying to screw him over. Financial planners and insurance companies…hope they all get cancer, then they can get a taste of their own industry. Frankly, compared with financial planners and insurance companies, the travel industry is lilly white and virgin pure when it comes to screwing over their clients.

    1. I was going to be couch my language but then I read the cancer comment, so I’ll be honest instead. The most likely scenario is that the insurance company never received documentation that your friend purchased travel insurance. They believe that he didn’t purchase the insurance despite the receipt, that he is attempting to perpetrate a fraud on the insurance company and the travel agent is complicit is this attempted fraud by generating a fake receipt

      That’s why they are asking for this information. Were you friend to walk into my office asking for assistance, I would require the same documentation otherwise I would decline the case.

      If I am correct and documents were not transmitted, your friend has an uphill battle. The best case for your friend would be that he paid cash for the trip as well. But if he paid with check or credit card, the insurance company will take the position that no insurance was purchased and this claim is fraudulent.

      Whether your friend is the victim of a poor choice in using cash or is indeed trying to commit insurance fraud, I cannot say.

      And like Bodega, I do not accept cash.

      1. Did you misread (or did I)? It doesn’t say he paid cash for the insurance. It says he paid cash to the travel agent for the accommodations.

        1. Then she should give him a cash receipt from the agency, as well as an invoice showing payment with cash as form of payment. Sounds like something wasn’t quite correct on what they gave him.

      2. Is that anything like the guy from Prague who visited a Russian lady of the evening in Moscow, and she told him “Sorry, but from bad Czechs, I only take cash!”?

    2. Some people have to use cash. It may be that they cannot get a credit card. It may be that they want to do something might be legal but not respectable (e.g., fly to Nevada for a brothel visit). It may be that they’re paranoid about the government being able to track their every move.

      Virginia Railway Express is a government-funded public
      transportation system that operates commuter trains between Washington, D.C. and its suburbs in Virginia. Since the system’s inception the ticket machines have accepted credit cards only, no cash. I still can’t understand how a public transportation system can disenfranchise citizens without credit cards, i.e., a population most likely to be poor and disproportionately dependent on public transportation.

      Cash is an important medium, and its users should not be made second class citizens.

      1. You make some good points. However…

        There are numerous “card” options for people without sufficient credit. There are poor/no credit credit cards. Most bank accounts come with Visa or MC debit cards.

        There are also prepaid cards which do not require credit or a bank account. You can even purchase a gift card if need be.

        If those options are not appealing, you can also purchase a money order from the post office, the bank, numerous convenience stores, etc.

        So, cash really is not an important medium in today’s society given the plethora of non-cash options available such that one or more should a viable option.

        As far as the railway goes, it is undoubtedly saving money by eliminating cash. Why should the price increase to cover the additional costs associated with cash given the ease of non-cash options available to every person regardless of income, credit history, or banking relationship.

        1. What about “Legal tender for all debts, public and private”? How do they get around that? By special exemption because they are the government, Mr Veedle, and are omnipotent? Going back further, they cancelled the gold and then the silver backing, and now the paper is WORTHLESS….. Wait for the crash…..

          1. Actually, its not an exemption. When you go to the grocery store to purchase milk, you pay the cost of the milk, in full, at the time of the transaction. Thus no debt is created and the legal tender is not an issue.

            Contrast that with the store extending credit, then the merchant might have a difficult time refusing to accept cash as a debt has been created.

          2. I’m going to beat CCF at this and provide a legal observation (and see if he concurs)

            That “legal tender” line, I believe, is to refer to US dollars as the legal CURRENCY for all debts public and private. In other words, you can’t refuse payment on a debt because you prefer gold or Euros. The US Dollar is accepted for all debts but the lender can require that the USD be transferred via money order (such as my landlord for first month’s rent), or credit card, etc.

            Regarding debit cards. I’m very leery of them. With all the hacking nowadays, I prefer the charges go to a credit card and let them deal with the mess due to fraudulent charges rather than a direct line to my account. Only for those with almost no credit should they use debit cards and even then, there are starter credit cards for people with bad credit ($300 limit and an annual fee). Not the best, but it’s a good starter card.

      2. Everyone can get either a debit card or a prepaid debit card. Yes they cost more, but the idea that plastic is simply unavailable is a myth.

      3. He had a valid insurance policy, the premium was paid. He paid cash because, a)- he had just received cash for selling goods at an estate sale, so he had it on hand; b)- there was a 5% discount from the supplier for paying with cash. He gave the travel agent cash, the travel agent’s receipt said in paid in full by cash…and the insurance company wants to know why he didn’t take the cash from the estate sale, deposit it in the bank, and then write a check! Where does it say anywhere that he has to do that? He is filing a complaint with his area’s insurance regulatory commission. That will cost the insurance company more than his claim in their legal costs to respond.

      4. True – which is why we issue both a receipt for the cash payment, and issue an invoice, showing cash as form of payment. And can see how payment was made to the vendor with our agency check or credit card.

        1. What is industry practice when a travel agent quotes a good fare, the client accepts that fare, pays the travel agent, and subsequently, and as direct result of negligence or some other office failure by the travel agent, the booking is not completed timely by the travel agent? Who has to come up with the additional fare required to complete the intended booking: the travel agent or the client? It seems to me that the failure of a travel agent to timely remit payment for a travel insurance policy would be in the same category.

          1. Cannot speak for others, but I always pay immediately upon receiving a payment. And I do NOT guarantee a rate until I actually lock it in (held with full name, etc). IF I forgot to issue, I would eat the difference – I would also cop to negligence with my rep if this was for an insurance policy with time requirement.

  10. Well, the travel industry does not say “no” to me too much. 😉

    But then I don’t make ridiculous requests either. I buy the refundable option when I am uncertain if I might not go. I buy insurance when my travel costs too much to lose my payment if something happens. I use travel agents for complex international trips so I have someone to call for help. I don’t book flights with 30 minute connection times. And so on.

    When something does go wrong, I don’t ask for a full refund or a free redo or 2 tickets in 1st to anywhere in the world, or any of the other over-the-top requests we have seen here. The few times I have asked for something, the travel provider usually comes through with an acceptable offer. There have been a couple exceptions (Airline put me in coach on an earlier flight when I had a full fare 1st ticket because weather at my connecting airport was going to cause cancellations of later flights and did not refund the difference in price paid was the worst. Told me there were no 1st seats available then upgraded 2 frequent flyers to first at boarding).

    Any industry has to have rules. Those rules need to be enforced in most every situation. They are right to say no in most situations.

    1. Told me there were no 1st seats available then upgraded 2 frequent flyers to first at boarding). PREVARICATORS……

      1. They would have already been in the upgrade queue, so no, not available to sell. Does not often happen, but it still can for the bigwigs.

  11. Regarding the Icelandic Air situation. Missing a flight is one thing. Being a noshow is another. There must be more to this story than the LW has provided.

  12. Lopez, don’t miss your flight. What were you thinking ?

    Why would anyone give you any refund what so ever.
    Car hire is different.
    A quick photo or 2, might have prevented all the anguish.
    Most rental car companies employ people on minimum wage & in the USA it seems most of these people don’t even speak English, so why on earth would you even listen to what they say ?

    1. Nobody in the USA speaks English, because they didn’t pay attention in school. They speak ‘Murican, just as they speak ‘Strine Down Under….

  13. Airlines, esp in the good ol USA have lost billions of dollars in last 30 years. TO say they are making money now is a bit misleading. Look at an average over last 10, 20 or 30 years. NOT a good investment.
    In Australia, it’s actually worse than USA if you can believe that.
    We are now back to a 2 airline system & Qantas is going broke fast.

  14. Just this weekend: The Bend, OR Double Tree said “Yes” to forgiving all guests who didn’t show up on Friday night, when all flights into Redmond/Bend were cancelled due to fog. My daughter and family were among them, meeting me and others for a big family event. The hotel said “Yes” again on Saturday when the flight cancellations continued, due to more severe weather. United said “Yes” to giving my daughter and family a hotel room and food vouchers in San Francisco, even though their first flight was only slightly delayed for mechanical reasons, and they wouldn’t have missed their connector to Redmond/Bend. After being put on a flight the next day, United said “Yes” to giving my daughter another night at a hotel in San Francisco with food vouchers when the second flight was cancelled. My daughter did miss the event and thought she would have to pay for nights missed, but thanks to willing “Yeses” by Double Tree and United, my daughter only paid for the nights she actually stayed in Bend. I know there is a lot of “No” around, but I just can’t vote “Yes.”

  15. I am seldom on line over the weekend so I do not read these postings until Monday. I am curious about the Lw missing the Icelandair flight by just a “few minutes” when the couple on on the way to their own wedding. As a frequent international traveler I know that the minimum recommended check-in is 2 hours before flight time. but that most carriers allow some leeway with this. Exactly when did they check in for the flight that caused them to miss it by a few minutes? Or did they check in on time and then miss the flight because they did not board on time? The LW did not mention why they were late for the flight which raises the usual “personal responsibility” flag with me. Unless all the details are here and show that Icelandair is being unreasonable with the LW being a few minutes late for a reason outside his control then I see no reason why Icelandair should be held responsible for the LW’s travel problem.

  16. I didn’t answer the survey since the question was a bit ambiguous (how often should they say no?)

    That being said, here’s my experience: I stayed at Hotel Philadelphia two weeks ago. They have a guarantee on their website that guarantees the price for a similar room AND free wifi. I took screen shots of a similar priceline deal and sent it to their concierge. The concierge balked a bit (their offer had free wifi while priceline didn’t) but they granted my $100 price difference. (In the end, I would have still balked if they’d said no since their website grants free wifi for the same package as a perk for booking through their website.)

    Then, instead of fast checkout I went to the front desk and it turns out there was a charge on my room: $29.95 for a movie. The check out clerk said that it wasn’t something you could click through just by hitting channel/volume. I asked my non-English speaking father in law and he claims that he hit a yellow button once (by accident) but otherwise no. She claimed/suspected he had hit the selection by accident but having gone through Video On Demand before, I know you have to hit a movie selection, then select, then yes. She wasn’t happy but took it off.

    So in two cases, I got “yes”es.

  17. “I know for a fact that I did not cause any damage to this vehicle,” she says. “I drove it very carefully and was sure to park it away from other vehicles. Enterprise simply sent me a bill for over $900, no estimates or anything. I feel I am being unjustly targeted.”

    GIANT red flag here. She knows for a fact? So it’s not possible that, even though she parked far from other cars, that car ended up hitting her parked car? I don’t think so. She may well be telling the truth (or believe what she said), but this level of certainty casts a shade over her side of the issue.

  18. It’s difficult to believe that Icelandair would cancel an entire package because they missed their outgoing flight. How can Icelandair justify such punitive action? They missed the flight, put ’em on the next one, carry on.

    1. I sounds like, to me, that they booked the package with Icelandic, but did a connecting flight to catch the outbound flight separately on Icelandic without cross referencing the two reservations. Icelandic didn’t know they were flying into that airport and when the travelers miss the cut off time for checkin, their whole PNR got canceled. That can happen when the air and package is booked on the same system in the same PNR. If Icelandic did the entire itinerary, they would have seen their partner carrier’s arrival time, a message if the passengers were a no show on the first segment. Why is the booking detail on the first fight missing?

  19. NO! NO! NO! It is such an easy term. How did Sergio miss the flight by a few moments? Did he fly into that airport? Which airline did he fly to connect to Icelandic? Did they have a relationship with the arriving airline? Not enough information to allow Icelandic to take any blame yet. When you miss a flight and do not cancel it, you are a no-show! Everything else in the reservation, cars, tours, hotels and the return are automatically cancelled because if you do not start the trip, how can you finish it. I am only guessing that Sergio booked airline 1 to New York and Icelandic for the rest of the tour. Airline 1 is a separate ticket and if it is late, it appears that it was, then how can Icelandic take any blame. Overnight and be safe.
    Car rentals – enough! Take pictures, make the idiot agent sign the contract whether they say it is recorded or not, get home, take pictures. You have said this dozens of times.

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