Here’s an odd case with a surprise ending that would probably make David Mamet proud. It’s about a refund gone awry and and unlikely solution that even this ombudsman wouldn’t have known to recommend.
Michael Sawyer is a National Guardsman who booked a hard-earned cruise on a Royal Caribbean ship two years ago while serving in Iraq. He made an initial $500 deposit, but as his vacation drew closer, he decided that because of his busy work schedule, he would have to cancel the reservation and receive a full refund.
At the time of cancellation, I made a point of instructing the reservation agent to not send a credit to the debit card as I had canceled the card, but rather, to send a check direct to me. The agent agreed to do this.
But instead, Royal Caribbean tried to credit his closed US Bank card. The bank just sent the refund back to the cruise line.
The harder Sawyer tried to get his money back, the more difficult it became. Royal Caribbean insisted that “too much time had passed” between now and his cruise date. Then it simply ignored his further attempts to secure a refund.
I contacted Royal Caribbean, too, and got the same response: nothing.
So Sawyer decided to go after his bank, which had returned the deposit to Royal Caribbean.
I sued US Bank in a local small claims court for the overdraft fees they charged my account and also for the $500 deposit that was never returned. Their legal department called and offered to settle out of court, and I accepted.
Very interesting. Just goes to show that you can’t leave any stone unturned when you’re working a case. That’s a lesson learned for this ombudsman.