Greg Burton books a room well in advance through Amoma for a trip to celebrate his and his wife’s anniversary, but they find their daughter is going to have a baby — during their trip. He cancels and Amoma promises him a refund, but won’t process it without information Burton can’t provide. Can we help?
Question: I’m having a serious problem with a refund from the travel service Amoma and hope you can help. I recently booked a room in Naples, Fla., to celebrate my wife’s birthday and our anniversary. We have made this a tradition, so I made the reservation in 2016 for the trip this June.
All was well until, as life would have it, our daughter was scheduled to give birth to our first grandchild that same week. I contacted Amoma and canceled the reservation, knowing I would pay a penalty. I accepted the penalty and was told the remaining amount would be returned as a credit through the credit card.
My refund hit a snag when I had to cancel my credit card because of fraud and was issued a new one. After waiting nearly three weeks with no refund showing from Amoma, I contacted them again. I was told I would now have to send additional information so they could do a wire transfer to my bank. They asked for my account number, SWIFT number and IBAN number.
I sent all except the IBAN because the U.S. does not use IBANs. For the past two months, I have been trading emails because they continue to ask for all of this information again and again; I can only assume they must know U.S. banks do not have that number to give.
I’ve tried calling Amoma’s customer service number several times only to be put on hold for hours and then disconnected. I am beginning to lose my patience in dealing with what should be a simple process. I’ve even asked why they don’t just send me the refund in check form, since they already have my information to do that. Can you help me in resolving this issue? — Greg Burton, Pompano Beach, Fla.
Answer: Amoma should have issued a quick refund — in fact, probably would have issued a refund — if you hadn’t canceled your credit card. Most online agencies have a policy of only issuing refunds in the method of payment you used. So if you paid by credit card, they’d have to send it back to that same card.
But let’s rewind for a second. If you cancel your hotel reservation with enough time, you should be able to walk away without paying a dime. The only exception would be if you got a special “prepaid” rate, in which case you’d get nothing.
The terms of your purchase were never disclosed to me or my advocacy team. You were supposed to stay at The Inn On Fifth in Naples, and from what I can tell, you should have received all of your money back. But a partial refund is better than none at all, and that refund should have been quick.
How quick? Amoma’s terms and conditions provide that when a refund is due, “Amoma.com will refund your credit card, debit card or PayPal account within 5 working days from the receipt of your cancellation or amendment email.”
I think you’re right. The problem was the credit card, but also Amoma’s insistence that you provide an IBAN number. When you tried to protest, Amoma began to reply with an endless series of automated responses, which got you nowhere nearer to your desired resolution.
I think you could have tried appealing to someone higher up at Amoma — here are the names, numbers and emails of the key executives. You might have also reached out to your credit card company to find out if it could make any arrangements to provide Amoma with the right coordinates for the money transfer.
Bottom line: No one should have to wait that long for a refund, even with a canceled card. I contacted Amoma on your behalf, and it found a way to refund the $266 you’d prepaid for your room in Naples.