Why is Eleanor Johnson still waiting for a refund on her CroisiEurope river cruise? She canceled the trip more than a year ago. Isn’t that enough time?
Q: Last year, I made a $1,641 deposit for myself and a friend on a CroisiEurope river cruise in Portugal and Spain for the summer. The deposit represented 25% of the cost of the tour.
CroisiEurope’s terms stated that if I cancel the reservation 90 days or more before my departure date, they will refund the deposit less a $100 administrative fee per person.
I notified CroisiEurope via email on April 6, 2020, that we wanted to cancel our reservation. They responded that our money would indeed be refunded (less the fee) back to my credit card. They further stated, “Refunds are delayed and are taking four to five weeks.”
I never received the refund. I have contacted them several times in the interim to inquire about the refund. Each time they respond that refunds are delayed.
CroisiEurope is not disputing that they owe me the money. It has been more than a year since I canceled the booking. I would like help in getting this refund. — Eleanor Johnson, Maynard, Massachusetts
A: A year is way too long to wait for a refund. CroisiEurope promised it would return the money within five weeks. They’re really testing your patience.
At the same time, the delay is understandable. To call 2020 the worst year ever for the travel industry might even be an understatement. It was a disaster! Some companies barely survived the pandemic, and too many went under. The cruise industry was especially hard hit, as it ground to a halt.
And that’s exactly what happened.
“As I am sure you understand, we’ve faced an extremely difficult year,” Michael DaCosta, the general manager for North America at CroisiEurope River Cruises, explained. “Policies have been put in place that all guests affected by the coronavirus pandemic can be re-accommodated or adequately compensated.”
Can you make a refund move faster? Sometimes. Disputing your credit card charges under the Fair Credit Billing Act might help. You have to notify your bank so that it reaches the creditor within 60 days after the first bill. For a transaction like this one, where you purchase a river cruise months in advance, it’s a long shot. Some banks will accept the dispute, but most won’t.
Travelers in a situation like yours might have gotten a better deal by waiting for the cruise line to cancel the sailing. Typically, cruise lines offer either a full refund or (at least during the pandemic) a 125% cruise credit. But you also risk having the cruise actually sail, which might have been dangerous. I asked CroisiEurope River Cruises to review your case. It did and issued a prompt refund for the total amount, minus the administrative fee.