The complaint has been investigated and
resolved to the customer's satisfactionResolved Viking River Cruises — travel protection plan
resolved to the customer's satisfaction
On March 27, 2013, my partner and I booked a cruise to China, Booking #1644443, with Viking River Cruises. The trip was scheduled for September 2014. At the time of booking I were told several times by Mr. Igor Soludukha, that all charges, less $100 per passenger, were fully refundable as long as the trip was cancelled prior to 121 days before the cruise. Mr. Soludukha also told me in that phone conversation that Viking provided Travel Protection insurance for $599 per person or a total of $1198. We purchased the insurance from Viking River Cruises at that time. I also paid an extra $100 ($50 per person) for the special travel access. On April 20, 2013, due to a personal turn of events involving my family, we were forced to cancel this trip, less than one month after booking, and 17 months before the scheduled trip. I was informed at that time that, as promised, all of our money except $100 per person would be refunded to us.
On April 22, 2013, I was informed that the Travel Protection insurance I had purchased while buying our tickets, was non-refundable. Since I had never been told this information previously, I was extremely shocked and upset. I was then informed that if I were not happy with this information, I would have to contact the Travel Protection department separately because, although the Travel Protection was governed by the Viking policy, the travel insurance was separate from Viking River Cruises.
I called Travel Protection and was informed that the $1198 insurance we had taken through Viking River Cruises was non-refundable and, in fact, was told that even if I had canceled one minute after I took the insurance, it was nonrefundable. I told Travel Protection that I had never been informed that the travel insurance was non-refundable. The individual I was speaking with said this information was in the travel insurance contract. Since I had paid the $1198 over the phone during the same conversation in which I booked the trip, the contract was not in my possession, and I was never informed that the money paid for this insurance was non-refundable.
I again called Viking and asked to speak with a manager. I was put in contact with someone named Carlo, who said he was a manager, and said he would look into this issue. Approximately two days later he called my home phone, left a brief message that said he had researched it and denied the refund. He also informed me that the fact that the insurance was non-refundable was on my invoice (which turned out to be the last line in a 6 page document), which I also did not have in my possession when I purchased the insurance.
Summary of Facts:
1. When I booked this trip and purchased the insurance, I was told several times that as long as we cancelled the trip more than 121 days before the trip, all of our money with the exception of $100 per person would be refunded.
2. I was never informed that the travel insurance, $1198, was non-refundable. The fact that this information may have been in the contract or on the invoice does not apply since I did not have either the contract or the invoice in our possession at the time I paid.
3. If this travel protection plan was so above-board, why did Viking River Cruises fail to make it clear that the insurance was non-refundable? Viking was very clear about what monies would and would not be refunded if we cancelled the trip, but said nothing about the travel insurance. This insurance is supposed to be trip protection, not trip rip-off.
4. I cancelled this trip less than one month after booking it, 17 months before the trip was to take place (well outside the 121 day time frame).
5. Viking River Cruises is going to penalize us $1, 498 ($1, 198 travel protection + $200 cancellation fee +$100 for special travel access), even though canceling our trip did not even involve using our insurance. Had we not taken the insurance, the only costs to us would have been the $100.00 per person since we were well outside of the 121-day window.
6. I wrote letters to both the CEO and the Complaint Department of Viking River Cruises on April 30, 2013, and have had absolutely no response from either.
We dealt fairly with Viking River Cruises and we expect that same fairness in return. We would have understood if Travel Protection, like Viking River Cruises, wanted to withhold $100 for each person as a penalty for cancellation, but wanting to keep the entire $1198 for insurance that we had for less than a month is unreasonable and unacceptable.
We will genuinely appreciate anything you can do to help us with this issue.
The complaint has been investigated and resolved to the customer's satisfaction.