My Rui resort credit is missing in action. Help!

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By Christopher Elliott

Where is this traveler’s Rui resort credit? It seems like a simple question — so what’s going on here?

Question:

We need help with recovering a missing resort credit. Earlier this year, we booked three rooms at the Riu Palace Tropical Bay in Negril, Jamaica, for a family reunion.
The reason we booked this resort over going to others in the Negril area was that it advertised a $470 resort credit per room if we booked through Orbitz.

When we checked in, the Riu gave us coupons for services at the hotel. We explained that we were to receive $470 in resort credit per room. The staff told me that they could not honor this and that I needed to take it up with my booking agent.

Instead of wasting time on vacation, we waited until we returned and spent a total of seven hours on the phone with Orbitz in hopes to clear this situation. In the end, Orbitz made claims in writing, stating that they do not take responsibility for this mishap and, in fact, the hotel is to be held responsible for remedying this situation.

A coupon is not a credit. A credit is money that can be used up to the amount of the credit. A coupon is a discount on any additionally purchased services.

We feel that the hotel advertised something enticing enough to lure us into booking and they did not honor their advertisement. It is unfair and not right. Can you help us?
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Rohita Land, New York

Answer

You’re right — a resort credit is not the same thing as a coupon. Orbitz, the site through which you booked your stay at the Riu Palace Tropical Bay, should have worked with the hotel to secure your credits.

I know you didn’t want to let this problem interfere with your vacation, but the sooner you say something, the easier the resolution. A quick appeal to a manager or someone at a higher level at Riu might have fixed this problem while you were still in Jamaica. We publish the names, numbers and email addresses of Riu Hotels & Resorts in Elliott Advocacy’s company contacts database (accessed through a button at the top of our homepage).

International Citizens Insurance helps expats, travelers and anyone far from home find the right insurance plan. Our knowledgeable agents will help you find the best plan at the right price and be your advocate for the life of your policy.

Ultimately, this was something your online travel agency should have fixed — either during or after your stay. But Orbitz simply deferred to the Riu. By the way, I publish the names, numbers and email addresses of Orbitz’s customer service executives. (Related: Can Venmo really freeze my account like this?)

In fact, Orbitz decided to split hairs on your definition of “credit.” “Orbitz cannot accept responsibility for what you felt was the misuse of the word ‘credit,’?” it wrote. “Please understand that Orbitz has advocated on your behalf to the property on several occasions requesting compensation due to this matter, in which we have been unsuccessful.” (Here’s how to fix your own consumer problem.)

The good news: Here is your Rui resort credit

Orbitz offered you a $270 refund and a $200 coupon as a resolution, but you were unhappy with that. I contacted Orbitz on your behalf, and it offered you $940 in Orbitz credit, which you can use for a future trip. You accepted the offer.

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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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