When Rohita Land books a room at the Riu Palace Tropical Bay Hotel through Orbitz, the site offers her a $470 room credit. But the resort gives her a coupon instead. Is there any way to recover this missing resort credit at the Riu?
Q: We need help with recovering a missing resort credit. Earlier this year, we booked three rooms at the Riu Palace Tropical Bay Hotel in Negril, Jamaica, for a family reunion.
The reason we booked this resort over 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 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 of clearing this situation. In the end, Orbitz made written claims stating that they do not take responsibility for this mishap and, in fact, that the hotel is to be held responsible to remedy 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 that was enticing enough to lure us to book and they did not honor their advertisement. It is unfair and not right. Can you help us? — Rohita Land, New York
A: 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 Hotel, 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 to someone at a higher level at Riu might have fixed this problem while you were still in Jamaica. I publish the names, numbers and email addresses of Riu Hotels & Resorts on my nonprofit consumer advocacy site.
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 also publish the names, numbers and email addresses of Orbitz’s customer-service executives.
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.”
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.