A death in the family cuts short this honeymoon, but is a refund due?

Evan Grober’s honeymoon is interrupted by the news that his father had passed away. The resort hotel promises to refund the balance of his stay. However, seven months go by, and Grober has yet to see a refund. Can our advocates help make a terrible situation a little better?

Question: I am going through an extremely hard time in attempting to receive my refund from a vacation I took in the middle of February. My mother informed me of you and your work and encouraged me to reach out to you after months of being stuck in a rut with this company.

My wife and I were married on February 17 and left for our honeymoon on February 20 to the Dominican Republic. We checked into the Secrets Cap Cana Resort in Punta Cana later that afternoon. Unfortunately, the very next day, my father passed away in Chicago, unexpectedly. I was informed that day by Booking.com that they would refund me the remainder of the trip. I have supporting emails from them in regard to this matter.

We left that day and flew home to Chicago. I had to swipe my credit card for over $3,000 at that time to pay the entire balance of the stay, being reassured I would later be refunded. Since then, my wife and I have contacted Booking.com over 10 times, providing them with everything they have asked for, ranging from credit card statements to death certificates. I reached out to them on Facebook Messenger as well.

I truly hope you can help us in this situation or at the least push us in the right direction. I very much appreciate the time. — Evan Grober, Houston

Answer: I can’t imagine how horrible it must be to suffer a tragedy like losing a loved one while celebrating one of the happiest moments of your life.

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You did the right thing by contacting Booking.com right away to see if you could get a refund for your unused days. You also submitted all the documentation that was required in order to produce the refund. The representatives of the hotel suggested that this would be a goodwill gesture on the part of the hotel and that you could expect to see the money soon.

You probably would have received a quicker refund if you had purchased an insurance policy for your vacation. We answer frequently asked questions about how to insure your trip on our website.

Unfortunately, months went by without a refund, and your next effort was to threaten the company, via email, with legal action. “My lawyer will be contacting your company in regard to this matter on June 12,” you wrote. “If this matter can be solved and my money can be refunded before then, no legal action will be necessary.”

We definitely don’t recommend threatening companies as a way to get your demands met. Our website has a section devoted to how to write a complaint letter that works.

We would have recommended writing a simple, polite letter to executive contacts at Booking.com. We list their contact information on our website.

Instead, you turned (as your mother suggested) to our advocates to see if we could help expedite your payment. We contacted Booking.com on your behalf.

You soon heard from representatives from Booking.com, who requested bank information from your wife. This information helped expedite your refund, and we’re glad we were able to help.

Mark Pokedoff

Four-time Emmy-award-winning television sports production specialist and frequent traveler. Longtime freelance writer and travel blog enthusiast. Proud papa of four amazing kids who have been upgraded to first class more than all their friends combined. Read more of Mark's articles here.

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