Help! My refund is a no-show for this Show Of The Month Club trip

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By Christopher Elliott

Mary Roberts has been waiting nine months for a refund for her canceled train trip with Show Of The Month Club. How much longer should she hold on?

Question

I booked a weekend train trip from Portland to Brunswick, Maine, last year through Show of the Month Club, a tour operator. They contacted me in June to cancel the trip due to the pandemic. In August, they contacted me again to verify my address so they could issue the refund.

I’ve received no money from Show of the Month Club. It’s been nine months. Can you help me get my $600 back? — Mary Roberts, Plaistow, N.H.

Answer

You’re right — that’s way too long to wait for a refund from Show of the Month.

Typically, a refund should take about two to three weeks. During the pandemic, you might give a company a few weeks. But nine months? That’s really testing your patience.

My readers have had this problem time and again during the last year. I can understand why a business, particularly a tour operator, would be slow to issue a refund. Some of the money you paid to the company may already have been paid out to a rail operator or hotel. And even if it’s still with the tour operator, that business might need the money to make payroll or cover other operating expenses.

The long-term solution is for firms to improve their business processes to issue a fast refund while not endangering the company. It’s a discussion that’s way above my paygrade as a consumer advocate.

Could you have avoided this refund problem with Show of the Month?

Could you have avoided this? You had no way of knowing we were about to have a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. And Show Of The Month Club seemed like a reputable operator, from your perspective. No, I don’t think there was any way you could have seen this coming. (Related: My hotel was overbooked — why can’t I get a refund?)

Generali Global Assistance has been a leading provider of travel insurance and other assistance services for more than 25 years. We offer a full suite of innovative, vertically integrated travel insurance and emergency services. Generali Global Assistance is part of The Europ Assistance (EA) Group, who pioneered the travel assistance industry in 1963 and continues to be the leader in providing real-time assistance anywhere in the world, delivering on our motto – You Live, We Care.

What about a credit card chargeback? You can dispute your credit card charges under the Fair Credit Billing Act. (For more information about credit card disputes, see our ultimate guide.) You have to notify your bank so that it reaches the creditor within 60 days after the first bill. But for a transaction like this one, where you booked a train excursion months in advance, it probably wouldn’t work. Some banks will accept the dispute, but most won’t.

I contacted Show Of The Month Club on your behalf and it soon sent your $600 refund.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in Panamá City.

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