After Richard Simms changes his vacation package on Travelocity, a representative assures him that he can use his credit for a new trip. But the company keeps his money anyway. Can it do that?
Q. I’ve been charged for two itineraries on Travelocity. I’m trying to get a promised refund for one of them. I recently booked an air-inclusive vacation package from Brussels to Malaga, Spain. I paid $1,128 for the first trip.
A few days later, I contacted Travelocity to make a couple of changes. I changed my departure date and added three more nights to the itinerary. A representative confirmed that I could apply the credit from my first trip to the second one. The new trip cost $1,960.
I asked the representative to confirm that I wouldn’t lose the value of my first tour. The agent clearly said,“No, you will be credited the original itinerary costs toward the changed itinerary costs.”
However, now I’ve paid for both itineraries, and Travelocity refuses to answer my appeal. Travelocity says the new itinerary was for a new trip, not a change in itinerary, and I am responsible for both. Can you help? Richard Simms, Lakeville, Minn.
A. If Travelocity said it would refund your first trip, it should have refunded your first trip. Vacation packages can be a little tricky when it comes to refund rules. Each component can have a different set of terms, and they’re not always obvious.
A review of Travelocity’s package terms suggests that at least part of your package might have been refundable. When an agent said you could cancel and reuse your credit, you might have asked for something in writing that said so. Words are meaningless when you don’t have a written record.
I reviewed the written correspondence between you and Travelocity. In it, the company sent you a series of what appeared to be boilerplate responses, denying your refund. No matter how hard you tried to explain the problem, the company simply sent you another “no.” How frustrating.
You could have escalated this to someone higher up at Travelocity, which is now owned by Expedia. I list the contacts on my site (elliott.org/company-contacts/expedia). But I think you’ve suffered enough.
I contacted Travelocity on your behalf. It investigated your claim, and a representative told me that “it appears as though an error was made on our side.”
You’ve received a full refund for your first trip, as originally promised.
Charlotte-born Christopher Elliott is the author of “How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money and Hassle)” (National Geographic). He’s also the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine and the co-founder of the Consumer Travel Alliance, a nonprofit organization that advocates for travelers. Read more tips or contact him at his website: www.elliott.org.