“It is so unjust to poison someone and get off scot-free”

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Lynn Friedman’s daughter, Emma, became violently ill during her family vacation to Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun. When she returned to the States, she was hospitalized for five days. The diagnosis: acute food poisoning.

“Based on the timing and the test results, the doctors are convinced that she was poisoned at the resort,” says Friedman.

She wants a refund for her vacation from either her travel agent, tour operator or the resort. But so far, her efforts have come up short.

“No one will claim responsibility,” she says.

Friedman wants me to help. But as I review the details of her case, I’m not sure who to ask for relief — or even where to start. And that’s where you come in, dear readers. Please tell me what to do with this one.

The visit, which happened in April, was supposed to be a relaxing family vacation. But shortly after their arrival, Emma started to feel sick.

“We knew Emma was ill on the trip,” explains Friedman. “But we did not understand the cause.”

Emma had her own room, and wanted to give her family space to enjoy their much-needed vacation. Friedman says, in retrospect, her daughter was probably more ill than they suspected.

“She simply carried on and told us she didn’t feel like eating. Only on the plane home was it clear that she was very ill. I took her to the doctor our first day back home,” she says.

The doctors back in the States said she had Salmonella. That’s no tummy ache — more than 400 people die of Salmonella every year.

Friedman says she’s certain the resort is to blame, because the family only ate at the hotel.

She adds,

For the last six weeks, I have devoted hours of my time and much emotional energy emailing and faxing two managers at Secrets Maroma, a supervisor at Apple Vacations, and two individuals (the travel agent and the owner of the company) at Travel House of Barrington.

I have sent medical records (including the test results and diagnosis, dates of hospitalization, etc.) and impassioned letters.

My daughter has been suffering terribly, we have spent a huge amount of time and a great deal of money because of someone else’s inappropriate behavior, and we cannot seem to receive the compensation we believe we deserve.

It is so unjust to poison someone and get off scot-free.

Friedman’s demand is simple: She wants her $5,753 back, which represents the entire amount she spent on her all-inclusive vacation package.

She believes the hotel is trying to throw her case out on a technicality.

In my distress, I accidentally told the hotel that Emma was poisoned at our first meal at the resort; I later corrected that error and told them that she was poisoned at the hotel on our first full day there. They used that understandable error as the excuse to throw out our LEGITIMATE case.

So far, her travel agency has asked her to fill out a medical claim form, but Friedman says she already has medical insurance. She just wants her money back.

I get a fair number of tainted food cases, and the problem is conclusively proving the poisoning happened at a restaurant, hotel or on a cruise ship. In defense of the hotel, the incubation period for Salmonella is 24 to 48 hours, so Emma might have been infected from another source.

I’m not sure if Friedman’s travel agent or tour operator are responsible for this vacation gone wrong in any way, other than that they might have recommended the hotel and helped her make the reservation.

Also, refunding the entire vacation seems like a tall order. After all, the family flew to their destination, enjoyed the accommodations and at least some of the food at the resort.

Should Maroma Beach refund everything, or just part of the vacation? What responsibility, if any, should the agency and tour operator bear?

Is Friedman owed anything for the Salmonella episode, or should she just chalk this up to an expensive, and exceedingly painful, lesson learned about watching what you eat when you’re traveling abroad?

I don’t know. This is one of the more difficult cases to cross my desk in recent memory.

Should I mediate Lynn Friedman's case with Maroma Beach?

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on our help forum.

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  • Reporter1

    My question with this is: Did anyone else get sick? Anyone in her family? Anyone at all at the resort. If not, I would say she must have contracted food poisoning somewhere else. I just can’t believe that only one person would have gotten sick.

  • polexia_rogue

    law-suit. that is all.

    seriously –asking nicely and presenting lots of evidence, will not work. either jump in to the (lawsuit) pool with both feet or get out (and chalk it up to bad luck).

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    From a legal perspective, getting a complete refund is appropriate. When you are injured as a result of someone else’s negligence you are entitled to appropriate pain and suffering. That being said, there is first the problem of proof. Proving that it was the resort’s fault. Second, its a foreign jurisdiction which makes the problem that much more complicated.

    Can you mediate? I can only give my one experience. Years ago I came down with food poisoning in Belgium. The hotel denied any responsibility, although I easily demonstrated that they were the most likely culprit. The hotel stonewalled me thinking that once I returned to the States it would be too difficult, but I was tenacious. I was such a pain in the *ss that it capitulated.

  • It could have been a latte at the airport. How do you prove anything? I remember getting the flu during a week long ski trip. Sometimes you lose.

  • AJPeabody

    Sickness started before the she was at the resort for the incubation period, implying infection before arriving at the hotel. Salmonella via food is generally not a one off, but a mass infection of multiple simultaneous victims. More likely, someone on the plane or at the airport or previously on the cab or … you get the idea …had salmonella, contaminated a surface, and the unfortunate daughter picked up a secondary infection. No mediation.

    Just a complaint about using “poisoning” in a scare headline. We pedants note that used alone, the word “poisoning” implies willful harm, while “food poisoning” does not. Just a bit of click baiting, eh, Chris?

  • Blackadar

    Simply no.

    First, there’s no proof that the hotel caused the illness. The incubation period for Salmonella (typically caused by under cooked meat or raw eggs) or ranges from a few hours to two days. So this could have happened before or on their property. There’s no way to prove otherwise. She could have gotten it from their first breakfast together or eating an egg-salad sandwich in the airport. There’s just no way to tell.

    Second, I find the request unreasonable. If anything, she should be seeking a refund for just her daughters’ portion of the stay. After all, it’s obvious from the letter that the rest of the family enjoyed their vacation, so why should that be refunded?

  • MarkKelling

    More likely it was airplane food or airport food or maybe the scrambled eggs she had for breakfast the morning before they flew down to start the vacation. Not sure how old the daughter is, but maybe she slipped out for a drink off premises and picked it up at some cantina.

    If it could be proved the hotel where they stayed on vacation was the culprit, why is it apparently only this one person who got sick? Salmonella in this situation is usually something that impacts a group of people during the same outbreak. it’s not like they singled her out and fed her something containing salmonella.

    I think the proper payment that should have been requested if the resort could be proven at fault would be to cover the medical expenses.

  • FQTVLR

    I contracted severe food poisoning on a trip to the UK 14 years ago. I had to go to the hospital for 24 hours for treatment and was in such pain I was afraid I was not going to die. The doctors said it was salmonella, a diagnosis confirmed by my doctor when I returned home as soon as I was fit to travel. But pinning down the source was next to impossible. Was it food from the flight? From the airport where I got a snack between connecting flights? Was it at the hotel where I was staying? I feel for the daughter as this is a nasty illness. But based on my experience it is almost impossible to determine the source of the illness, especially when she was the only person in the family to get ill.

  • John Baker

    Take a pass Chris…

    First, you have the issue of timing. Her own description the timing doesn’t really work (she seemed to be sick before the lower end of the 24 hr incubation period was up much less the long end of 48 hr). Second, you have the amount issue. She basically states that the rest of the family had a normal vacation but she’s looking for a refund for them too? I might have some sympathy if she was looking only for the daughter but the whole family seems to be a money grab to me.

    Timing doesn’t work and unreasonable demand says take a pass for me.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I’m not sure that’s true. Say that there is a salmonella contaminated chicken. If all but one piece is cooked properly, the cross-contamination notwithstanding, only the unfortunately soul who ate that piece is at risk.

    It’s easily conceivable that only one person gets sick

  • John Baker

    If the LW hadn’t used the same phrasing, I might agree that it was a stretch but she accused the resort of poisoning her daughter…

    “It is so unjust to poison someone and get off scot-free.”

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    The doctors believe that the salmonella poisoning occurred at the resort. Since I have no better facts, I’ll trust their judgment.

  • sirwired

    Yay! The SirWired Elliott.org Headline Rule Scores Yet Another Victory!: If a word denoting something illegal appears in the headline, and it’s in quotes, nothing of the sort took place. Okay; maybe a partial victory. Food-borne illness is, I suppose, technically also referred to as “food poisoning”. But just the word “poisoning” (without the “food”) brings to mind a deliberate act, which did not take place.

    Because of the incubation period of Salmonella, unless others were sick, I think it’s unlikely (though certainly not impossible) that she caught it at the resort. People have a tendency to blame the last place they eat when they get food poisoning, but it virtually never strikes that quickly.

    And why is she asking for a refund for the whole family? To be blunt; only one person was sick; a full refund for the whole family is asking too much. And she needs to lay off the travel agent too; I don’t see how you can blame the agent for referring the customer to a tour operator, who further sent the family to a particular resort.

  • sirwired

    Unless this was a REALLY high-end resort (unlikely, since it was through Apple), I don’t see a full refund as appropriate, as it appears she’s asking for a refund for the whole family, even though only one person was sick. It’s certainly not a matter of not being able to separate out costs; the daughter had her own room.

  • sirwired

    Yeah; refer to my post about the Elliott Headline Reading Rule. Usually it’s “fraud”, “theft”, “scam”, etc. Though we have seen “murder” featured too.

  • John Baker

    Based on the rest of the rest of her letter, I’m not sure that the doctors are convinced that it occurred there or that she merely interrupted interpreted what they said in the best light and decided it meant they were convinced.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    I’d like to know how old Emma is, and for how long the “much-needed” vacation was.

    My reaction, with the information as presented, is that the mother is feeling guilty for not noticing that Emma was ill, and is hoping that a total refund of the vacation will not make her feel guilty anymore. Nasty, I know, but there it is.

    Since the family otherwise enjoyed this vacation and got all the benefits of a vacation from the experience, it seems a great deal more logical to me to go after the resort, if culpable, for Emma’s medical bills.

  • hooterville_mom

    Actually it is a high end resort. Our doctor vacations there.

  • jerryatric

    At most a refund for her daughter’s portion of the trip only.
    The rest of the family had no problems, and as mentioned no real proof hotel was responsible.
    We were at Sandals, St Lucia ($500 a night) with a group for a wedding & 8 of us got very sick. Went to see their nurse & was advised to go to their store & buy medicine. This was an all inclusive resort & it was 3 days into the trip so food poisoning had to be their fault.
    The resort would do nothing! We even had to buy our own medicine!!!

  • Annie M

    First of all, she needs to file the medical claim form as the start of a claim against the resort. Having medical insurance means nothing. She needs to file a claim against the resort so I don’t understand why she refuses this.

    The resort is the only one responsible not Apple or the travel agent and she certainly isn’t due a full refund. Perhaps for her daughters portion of the trip.

    I have a difficult time believing that the resort may be fully responsible. Did they all eat at the same restaurant and no one else got sick? Did anyone else get sick at the resort? (Which is part of the purpose of a medical claim, to document the illness). If the daughter felt ill as soon as she arrived it is totally possible she was already sick when she arrived. Did the daughter eat on the plane or at the airport? If she did, how do they know she wasn’t sick from whatever she ate on the plane or at the airport? Did the daughter seek medical treatment at the resort? If she didn’t why not?

    Too many variables but she doesn’t deserve a full refund for everything, and perhaps nothing if she didn’t report it to the resort.

    She needs to fill our the medical claim form and start a poper investigation.

  • naoma

    Food poisoning is quicker than that! Have had it several times. I tell the place I became ill, but NO REAL PROOF EXISTS. She could have contacted it from the airport. Or anywhere. Also, as a doctor told me years ago: NEVER, EVER DRINK FROM A PUBLIC FOUNTAIN. No mediation, Elliott! As an attorney I once knew told me: “if you find a bug in your food — no lawsuit. If you find ‘half a bug’ you MAY have a case.

  • Annie M

    Just because your doctor goes there doesn’t mean its high end. I met the owner of the “Life is Good” company at Riu Resort in Costa Rica and I’ve also seen NFL players at Riu in Cancun. Those certainly aren’t high end resorts. Perhaps he likes value fòr his dollar.

  • bpepy

    Mediate, but not for the whole cost. That’s being greedy. No one else got sick and sounds like they enjoyed their vacation. Just the daughter’s portion. And how old is she, anyway?

  • frostysnowman

    I think the daughter probably got sick from something she ate just prior to the trip. There’s no way to prove it. The resort could offer a partial refund as a good-will gesture, I guess. But I don’t think you should mediate this case.

  • Christina Conte

    This exact same thing happened to my husband at a resort in Mexico. He was the only one out of 6 of us who got sick, so the hotel sent a doctor w/some meds and he stayed in the room for the rest of our stay. Did we cry foul, or expect a refund? No, because only one of us got sick. Now, if all 6 of us had food poisoning, then that would be a different story. This sort of thing happens all the time, and I don’t think this is a precedent you want to set, Chris, or you’ll have people coming out of the woodwork for you to negotiate refunds for them!

  • Michael__K

    My father was hospitalized with salmonella years ago, and there was nothing he ate that my Mom and/or I didn’t eat from as well.

    The doctor was not surprised. He told us the contamination very likely came from pizza (the only thing we hadn’t prepared at home), and that this is common. One slice can be infected, and everyone else eating from the same pie could be fine.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I should be clearer. It’s not exactly a refund of the entire amount. When you are injured your monetary damage exceeds the out of pocket costs. In California its roughly 3x the medical bills. The additional compensation is for the pain and suffering.

    Not sure how its high end status comes into play.

  • Reporter1

    Thanks for the information. I wasn’t aware of that.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Perhaps, but I would point out that the lower end of the incubation period is 12 hours, not 24.

  • Freehiker

    I feel for the OP, but asking for a total refund is ludicrous.

    The OP can’t prove it was the resort food that made the poor girl sick.
    Maybe she had something bad on the airplane, or a snack in the airport. As mentioned in the article, there is an incubation period for Salmonella. Honestly, nobody will ever know the true source unless there is a confirmed outbreak at the resort that they can tie it to.

    I’d file this one in the “This sucks, sorry” folder and move on.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    That seems to be a sticking point with many folks, the erroneous belief that everyone would get sick.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Proof generally isn’t as hard as one might think. The easiest way would be credit card receipts demonstrating that the family ate all meals at the hotel. its not 100%, but its greater than 50%

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I’m pretty sure that’s not true.

    From webmd…

    What causes salmonellosis?

    You can get salmonellosis by eating food contaminated with salmonella. This can happen in the following ways:

    Food may be contaminated during food processing or food handling.

    Food may become contaminated by the unwashed hands of an infected food handler. A frequent cause is a food handler who does not wash his or her hands with soap after using the bathroom.

    Salmonella may also be found in the feces of some pets, especially those with diarrhea. You can become infected if you do not wash your hands after contact with these feces.

    Reptiles, baby chicks and ducklings, and small rodents such as hamsters are particularly likely to carry Salmonella. You should always wash your hands immediately after handling one of these animals, even if the animal is healthy. Adults should also be careful that children wash their hands after handling reptiles, pet turtles, baby chicks or ducklings, or small rodents.

    Beef, poultry, milk, and eggs are most often infected with salmonella. But vegetables may also be contaminated. Contaminated foods usually look and smell normal.

  • John Baker

    Chris lists 24 – 48 hrs in the article… Mayo says 8 – 72 hours in their article while the CDC has 12 – 72 hours. Either way… if she felt ill on arrival day, 8 hours is even a stretch. If its the first full day, she might make the 12 hr mark but the 72 hours also opens up an entire extra day that she could have been inflected prior to arrival. Looking at the CDC website, I was surprised on how common outbreaks are in the US (3 this year already from ingested food and 3 from animal contact). Last year there were 5 from ingested food with one of those still open.

  • sirwired

    I mentioned it’s high-end (or not) status only to try and demonstrate that it probably didn’t cost $5k+ just for one person, and that a refund for the whole family was unreasonable.

  • mdy2k1

    Chris, you know better. She’s trying to hit the “no bad publicity” lottery.
    Here are the signs:
    1) The hysterics of the mother, accusing the hotel of “poisoning” her daughter
    2) Refusal to fill out the medical form as requested by the resort.
    3) The use of all caps in “LEGITIMATE”
    4) The demand for a full refund for the entire family.
    5) The martyrdom of “devoted hours of my time and much emotional energy”

    This is in addition to the uncertainties of actually trying to pin down the source of the infection.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I have no idea where Chris got 24 hours, but let’s go with 8-12 as the shortest incubation period.

    If she felt ill upon arrival, i.e. under the incubation period that would exonerate the resort. The question isn’t to get 100% proof, but merely what is the mostly likely scenario. Sadly, we don’t nearly enough details to make an informed conclusion so I’m assuming the doctors are correct.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Agreed. If the LW has sufficient evidence, file in small claims court (I’m sidestepping jurisdiction issues for the moment), present the case. Ask for the jurisdictional limit of the court, usually between 3-10K. Present the evidence establishing liability and damages and let the court decide. Fairly simple process.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    In a court, it would be a reasonable and easily obtainable number (pain and suffering) provided she proved her case. First though, she would need to speak to someone to learn how to present herself better.

  • Nigel Appleby

    Exactly my thoughts, couldn’t have put it better.

  • JewelEyed

    If she had her own room and her family barely saw her despite knowing she was not feeling well, I’m guessing Emma is a big girl.

  • Helio

    I was thinking about the same. It seems OP wants a refund for all members of the party, not only the daughter’s share.

  • emanon256

    I’m going to go with no today. She was given a medical claim form and refused to fill it out, that would be the best place to start. Its like she is sabotaging her own resolution. If she did get sick on day one, and it takes 24 to 48 hours for salmonella to show symptoms, then it is hard to prove it came from the hotel. If in fact the food poisoning happened at the resort, then I do think the OP is due to have 100% of her daughters medical expenses covered, which it sounds like they were trying to offer, I also think they should give her something else back, like perhaps 100% of the food costs for her daughter as well. I can’t believe the OP wants a 100% refund back for everyone trip instead. I think the OP is going about this all wrong.

  • JewelEyed

    Drinking from a public fountain is a lot less germy than handling money. Hard surfaces being what they are.

  • The Original Joe S

    I thought it came from bad salmon…..

  • Helio

    But it is still possible that the contamination had occurred 3 days prior the trip, and she had departed home already sick.

  • sirwired

    I missed the bit about the medical claim form… yeah, why DOESN’T she want to have her medical costs covered by her insurance?

  • emanon256

    Not that my experience in any way equals the OPs, but a little over year ago I ended up in the hospital with Salmonella. I asked how I could have gotten it as I was not traveling, didn’t eat out the whole time, brought my own food to work, and we are very safe with our food at home and no one else in my family got it. The Dr. said the #1 way I probably got it was that someone used the bathroom, didn’t wash their hands, touched the door handle, I touched the same door handle an later put my finger in my mouth or rubbed my eye. He said the person who didn’t wash their hands probably didn’t even have salmonella symptoms at all, it can live in their GI tract without affecting them.

    I always, always, always use a paper towel to touch door handles now.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Sorry man. That really sux.

  • Deepstardiver

    It’s a MEXICAN RESORT, you get what you pay for and where you go. In the US a lawsuit would be the method to get compensation in this case, a hotel or chain might pay as a quick way to get out of a lawsuit, but in Mexico lots of luck with there legal system. The same is with car insurance and liability waivers, all favor the Mexican national. To be fair the same is true in many other countries but Mexico stands out because it is such a convenient “exotic” destination. By per capata visitor the amount of claims may be similar to many other locations, it just that so many more people visit Mexico than say Saba (in the Caribbean).

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Yes, that is entirely possible. As I mentioned though, the standard is merely more probable than not, i.e. is it 50% likely that she got it from the resort. That’s all that’s needed to hold the resort liable. Since the doctor’s appear to think so, I’m going with them.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Does it have a US presence? if so they can be sued in the US. Since it probably takes VISA/MC you could presumably levy those accounts, or if it has a US bank account you could levy that.

  • emanon256

    If in court, couldn’t the hotel then state that the OP may have used cache in some places? Especially airport kiosks and food stands?

  • emanon256

    That stinks. On my last trip to Cancun my wife and I got really sick. I only used bottled water and was very careful with what I ate. In my case, I couldn’t pinpoint it on anyone as I left the resort. We were both sick for weeks afterwards and ended up having to take medication which cleared us right up. I just chalked it up to things that happen in Mexico.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    “From a legal perspective, getting a complete refund is appropriate.”

    ___________

    Are you talking complete refund for the daughter or a complete refund for the entire family? By the OP’s letter, absolutely nobody else was affected because they didn’t even realize the daughter was all that sick. Given that fact, I’d think it would be difficult to justify everyone getting a free vacation, as opposed to everyone spending the entire vacation tending to the ill person or sitting in a hospital waiting room.

    I’m also curious if the age of the daughter might come into play. The letter never gives an age but she was obviously old enough to have her own room. If she was past 18 would that have any impact on the parents’ ability to sue? The wording of the letter talking about how the daughter “wanted to give her family space to enjoy their much-needed vacation” almost makes me think she was a young adult and that some younger siblings may have been staying in the other room with mom and dad.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Agreed. If the entire vacation for everyone had been ruined as they sat in a hospital or tended to her, then I’d be sympathetic to the full refund request. But they freely admit that they didn’t even realize she was all that ill.

    And just a side note, but I’m not entirely sure the daughter was a minor and that would also have some impact on how I view the refund request. She had her own room and there is some odd wording in the letter if she was a minor. “Emma had her own room, and wanted to give her family space to enjoy their much-needed vacation.” That’s a strange way of wording it if she was a teenager living at home. Almost sounds like a young adult who is no longer at home all the time.

  • TonyA_says

    I have only one advice to these kinds of people – do *not* visit a foreign country if you cannot risk drinking their water or eating their food. Stay home.
    As for me, I’ll take the risk anytime :-)

  • Denis Begin

    In America (at least) even if it is proved conclusively that the a Hotel/restaurant was the source of a Food Borne Illness, they are not liable for damages unless negligence is proved. The Business is covered by a “reasonable care” defense, in that if they show they took steps to prevent illness (Temp logs, handwashing, etc.) then they are not liable. Food Borne Illnesses happen all the time and can be as much about the person eating (High risk populations) as the food served

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Fair questions

    As I referenced earlier, it’s not that the family is getting a refund, but rather that would be a rough measure of damages. The daughter would be entitled to 3x her medical bills. A minimally skilled litigator would likely receive

    1. Refund of the daughter’s travel costs arguing that the food poison rendered the vacation useless, i.e. not getting the benefit of the bargain

    2. A reimbursement of the medical bills.

    3. Pain and suffering damages roughly equal to twice the medical bills.

    Together that would probably easily be more than the 5k requested. That’s why I’m saying what is asked for is easily within what would likely be received should the hotel be found liable.

    If the daughter is over legally competent and over 18, the parents can’t sue. Period.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    The hotel could. Evidence for the family would be

    1. Testimony by the family that it doesn’t and didn’t
    2. Evidence that the family used cards for everything, including small purchases. For example, is they used credit cards to purchase $1 items such as newspapers, parking meter fees, etc.

    For example, I generally only use cash when I do out with friends so we don’t have tons of credit cards to annoy the server.

    But in any event, its not 100% certainty that we need, merely that its more probably than not. The hotels’ speculation wouldn’t be enough to overcome hard evidence by the family.

    Now, if the family lacks evidence, then its SOL.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Only problem with the doctors’ opinion in this case is they have no reason to disagree with the OP about this point. The OP clearly thinks it happened at the resort. It’s immaterial to the doctors where it occurred, so why upset the OP by arguing with them? The doctors also have nothing to go on but the timeline the OP and the daughter has provided which may or may not be particularly accurate. So, not only do they have no reason to want to argue with the OP, but their opinion is going to be governed almost entirely by the details provided by the OP.

  • That would only be true if she started displaying symptoms 3-4 days into her trip which doesn’t look like that’s what happened here.

  • If the demand was more reasonable, I’m pretty confident the resort would give her or her + 1 a do-over. But for all of them and a cash refund? Not a chance. The daughter should ask nicely for a do-over for two people, not including flights.

  • TonyA_says

    More than $4k a week a room. Not shabby :-)
    But I would not pay that rate for Mexico.

  • bodega3

    Secrets Maroma is a 5 star property and is for adults only, so the daughter had to be over the age of 18. If the agency asked for a medical form to be filled out, my guess is that there was some sort of insurance on the package.

  • bodega3

    This is a vey high end resort and very, very nice.

  • bodega3

    Yes, this is a very high end resort.

  • The Original Joe S

    Just because she said her doctor vacations there doesn’t mean that “Actually it is a high end resort.” is dependent upon his vacationing there. Two separate statements. You draw conclusions not based on valid premises.

  • The Original Joe S

    As in, it ruined the vacation for the lot of them?

  • bodega3

    It is a high end resort and her doctor vacations there. Lucky him!

  • amystery726

    She could have been exposed on the plane or at the airport (happened to me). It appears they enjoyed their vacation and that her lack of appetite didn’t impede the others enjoying their holiday nor even her not enjoying part thereof.

  • pauletteb

    A FULL refund? Please! With the incubation period, the daughter could well have contracted the bug before the trip. The OP says that since the daughter had her own room, they might not have been aware of how ill she really was. Sounds as though she and her husband still managed to have a pretty good time while not paying very close attention to their daughter’s condition.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Check my other post about damages. That would be easier than reposting it here.

  • pauletteb

    We have only her word for what the doctors said.

  • TonyA_says

    A very, very high end diarrhea indeed.
    Best place to have one.

  • TonyA_says

    Sorry not me. I am surrounded my doctors in my extended family :-)
    I don’t believe anyone who go to the extent of isolating the strain of bacteria for one person, especially if they are getting better and not on their death bed.
    I’ve heard this Salmonella or E.Coli crap so many times from them, that I want to laugh each time I hear it. Funny because your body has most of this bacteria all the time.
    What doctors believe and what they really do and can prove are 2 different things.
    You need to prove the food is contaminated with it and the source was negligent to get anywhere.

  • ORguest

    It might be reasonable to ask for help with medical expenses, IF there were indications her “poisoning” likely happened at the hotel. Otherwise, her notion that she should receive a full refund is ridiculous. Things happen, people get sick. Looking for someone to blame (and pay) has become all too popular in our increasingly litigious culture, and it’s sad.

  • Grant Ritchie

    “In my distress, I accidentally told the hotel that Emma was poisoned at our first meal at the resort; I later corrected that error and told them that she was poisoned at the hotel on our first full day there.” It sounds as if what she’s really saying is “In my distress, I accidentally told the hotel the truth. Now that I realize I gave them an out, I’m trying to massage the ‘truth’.” How wormy.

    Don’t mediate.

  • MeMyselfandI

    But it would be logical to assume that she wasn’t the only one. Others would have likely been ill as well.

  • bodega3

    Not my type of vacation spot.

  • TonyA_says

    Well I meant if you are gonna get sick and need a bathroom, I prefer a 5 star one than a 3 start one.
    Any you won’t see me in a Secrets location either.
    A stroll in Lyon, perhaps.

  • TonyA_says

    Bottom line, there ain’t no smokin gun on this one.

  • TonyA_says

    The doctors supposedly said she had Salmonellosis.
    You can get a stool sample and try to isolate it.
    But you cannot say where it came from unless you go to the source and find the same strain there.
    The doctors cannot prove it came from the resort.

  • MeMyselfandI

    We only have the LW word for that. Did they really say that or is that what the LW wanted to hear? I deal with the public and that is very common – hearing only what you wanted to hear.

  • TonyA_says

    They never heard of Montezuma’s Revenge?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    True, but alas, that’s usually all we have here.

  • Travelnut

    With 5-star you might even get a bidet.

  • TonyA_says

    Yes I love those Toto Washlets. Heavenly buns.
    I have one at home :-)

    Added: by the way, for me getting food poisoning is always a risk.
    So I come prepared. I bring a hand held bidet (Panasonic).
    And, I bring a ton of good bacteria vials, too.
    I have antibiotics and imodium as well.
    With the good bacteria, I can recover in one day :-)

  • Chris Johnson

    The daughter got food poisoning and the hotel doesn’t give a damn. It happened in – Cancun! What a surprise. The results would be the same in Cabo or Cozumel too. One more reason to not visit these tourist trap destinations overrun by drunk college students and timeshare sales people that practically assault you on every corner. Those destinations will never get another dime of my money. Other places in Mexico? Maybe, if there are no timeshare salespeople around.

    Anyway, I voted yes, but no way in hell this woman deserves a full refund. The rest of the family enjoyed the whole vacation. Perhaps that’s why the hotel and travel agency are ignoring her, because she’s making such a preposterous demand.

  • TonyA_says

    Perfectly situated on the Yucatan Peninsula, Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun beckons along a shoreline recognized as a ‘World’s Best Beach’ by the Travel Channel. This exquisite AAA Five Diamond resort boasts sublime ocean views from 75 percent of its suites, as well as ground floor suites with direct swim-out access.
    Indulge in the privileges of Unlimited-Luxury® including 24-hour room service, limitless top-shelf spirits, pool and beach wait service and more.

    But they still have Salmonella? :-)

  • vacaygirl

    They will never get a refund for the medical bills that were not incurred in Mexico. Especially as she was not diagnosed until back in the states. Also, understand they did not speak up that she was I’ll while in resort, why would Secrets take responsibility if they were not even given the opportunity to send a doctor to see her?

  • TonyA_says

    Really? I think you need to some checking first.

    This year’s new AAA Five Diamond Hotels are:

    Château du Sureau, Oakhurst, Calif.

    Wynn Tower Suites, Las Vegas

    Montage Deer Valley, Park City, Utah

    Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto

    Banyan Tree Cabo Marques, Acapulco, Mexico

    Secrets Maroma Beach Riviera Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Mexico

  • TonyA_says

    Maybe the daughter sneaked out to have some real Mexican fun?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Michael_K experience shows that its not. For example, a contaminated chicken will only be dangerous to the extent a piece was not cooked sufficiently. So if one piece was undercooked, only the person who eats it will be sick

  • TonyA_says

    Travel House of Barrington is a Virtuoso member. I was quite surprised this deal went through Apple Vacations. I guess that is because apple bought Travel Impressions.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    This is true, people tend to hear what they want to hear. However, in this forum we generally only have the LWs word for anything, so I tend to give them the benefit of the doubt, until these is a reason not to, i.e. they lie elsewhere or their statements are contrary to common sense, logic, and common experiences.

  • ORguest

    “…why would Secrets take responsibility if they were not even given the opportunity to send a doctor to see her?” That is the key.

  • TonyA_says

    I can’t wait to see Aussie_Traveler make a comment about how litigious American tourists are.

  • emanon256

    Reminds me of a Mexican resort I stayed in that only had running water a few hours per day. And they claimed to be 5 star. Oh, and even when the water was available, TP couldn’t go in the toilet.

  • TonyA_says

    Even more strange – to take a daughter with them to a very expensive romantic resort? She stayed alone in a very expensive room, I guess.
    Which brings to me to the question of money. Did they have medical insurance?
    Who paid for the hospital stay in the USA?
    You think they needed the 5K to pay for the deductible or something?

  • TonyA_says

    In Japan, even truck stops have Toto bidets.
    Last year on a road trip to Kyoto and Nagoya, my brother asked our driver for a pit stop. I stayed on our private bus. When my sister and brother came back, they were all smiles and pretty shocked. They told me the bathrooms were so new and clean that it looked like those in 5 star hotels. Mind you a public bathroom. Now you know why we always go back to Japan. Very clean, very polite, no crime, and very, very good food. What else do you want? Sorry no beach unless you go to Okinawa :-)

  • MarkKelling

    Some of the European toilets along the auto bahn are very nice too. Several have a system where when you enter the stall and lock the door the toilet seat is scrubbed and dried for you automatically so you know it is clean. Of course you have to pay a bit to use these, but it is worth it.

  • TonyA_says

    Ouch man. I’m taking Purell with me from now on.
    I have those Chlorox or Lysol wipes but I’m too lazy to take them out of my carry on.

  • Travelnut

    Oh my, I’ve been educated today. I had no idea the handheld bidets existed! Would have been very nice for my Cuba trip. Love this disclaimer for the Toto version: “Not for use as squirt gun, drinking water dispenser, or for other recreational purposes.”

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Why do you say that?

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    If they litigate, then that’s irrelevant.

  • TonyA_says

    I have a real weak gut. I found out from my brother that there is a super concentrated vial of good bacteria called erceflora (a local Philippine brand name for a French drug firm). So whenever I am in SE Asia (or any family member), I score some of these. I keep them in the fridge here at home so I can prolong its shelf life.

    This erceflora is awesome. I love eating street food because the taste and ambiance are incomparable. But, admittedly it is probably not the cleanest food. So I take a few of these vials with me. If I get sick, which usually happens very quickly, I pop a vial with some orange juice. I repeat after about 2-4 hours. Usually by the second vial, I’m fine. Without this good bacteria, it’s usually a few days in bed for me.

    Many folks are hospitalized for dehydration. There is not much you can do about the bug itself since I don’t think you can have passive or active immunity. Some anti-bacterials may help but they also kill the good bacteria. A couple of doctors who treat third world patients told me they use degassed Coke (shake a little bit) to help stop the spasm and diarrhea. It works! If you cannot get this erceflora, at least take a bunch of electrolyte powder with you. The last thing you want is to dehydrate because they will need to IV you with fluids if you go too far. Salt and Sugar mixed together also works :-)

  • bodega3

    Yes, I had looked up the agency and wonder why a Virtuoso agency would book with Apple. My understanding is that the two companies will remain separate.

  • TonyA_says

    One thing in common between the Germans and Japanese is cleanliness. I guess there are other traits too – promptness, eating quietly, …
    Unfortunately, other than the beer and wine, I am not fond of German food. So maybe I will not get food poisoning there :-)

    Next time I drive the autobahn I will check out those toilets.

  • emanon256

    I will never forget the bathroom toilet in Japan. It lined itself, had massage features, warm or cold air, a heated seat, and a bidet.

  • TonyA_says

    What color do you want?

  • TonyA_says

    Costco had a Toto model on sale for about $600 I think.
    Added: remember in Japan they eat a lot of raw food.
    So that place better be clean. You don’t see them spitting around in the market place like in China.

  • TonyA_says

    I was wondering about this. Suppose she had a huge hospital bill or insurance copay.
    Was she better off asking for some help from the exclusive resort to share the expenses? Is this a better approach?

  • emanon256

    Yeah, so my thought is the OP was probably more likely to get Salmonella from someone else not washing their hands, than from the food at the resort.

  • Raven_Altosk

    I had salomonella in 2001. I got it from a chicken-wing restaurant, but could not prove it and thus did not legally pursue it. Anyway, it was miserable and I spent five days on the couch taking Cipro (which was in short supply due to the anthrax scare). I existed on my doctor’s orders to “eat” jello and gatorade, both products are ones I can’t stomach today.

    TL;DR version: It sucked. I survived. This woman needs to climb a ladder and get over herself.

    Also, if her kid was sick after the first meal, that doesn’t make sense because it takes 1-2 days for salmonella to happen.

  • TonyA_says

    How about the insurance angle? I can’t believe they did not insure an expensive trip. So why is the insurance not kicking in? You think it is because she was hospitalized after the return? Any ideas?

  • Raven_Altosk

    GIMME FULL REFUND BC MY KID MIGHT HAVE GOTTEN SICK IN A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY.

    Yup, that’s the OP here.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Ding ding. How old is this kid anyway?

  • Raven_Altosk

    Or they lied about the kid’s age and now that she’s “a victim” she’s fodder for a lawsuit.

  • TonyA_says

    I was wondering if she did not drink enough Tequila to prevent this problem? Underage? Hmm… that’s why they go across the border for that, right? I’ve noticed my friends who drink a lot of alcohol never get food poisoning :-) Do you have any experience to share?

  • Raven_Altosk

    “Do you want to see a donkey show?”

  • TonyA_says

    Was it hooters?

  • TonyA_says

    No, I will need more than CIPRO for that :-)

  • Raven_Altosk

    No, college bar. Probably burned down now.

  • Extramail

    This is why I read this columns’ discussions – a) I always learn something and, b) its usually from the digressions that have nothing to do with the matter at hand!

  • bodega3

    I carry them and use them constantly. I clean the arms of my seat on a plane, the entertainment controls, the tray table. At the hotel, I use them to clean the door knobs, the light switches and TV remote. You would be surprise how dirty they get just cleaning these up in a hotel room…yuck!

  • Extramail

    I would think five days of hospitalization cost more than the $5000 the OP is asking.

  • emanon256

    Thank you!!! I need to buy some of this. I tend to have a cast iron gut most of the time. I went to Cabo, drank the water, ate a lot of local food, and was fine. Same thing in Thai Land. I also at the hottest curry in the world, and didn’t have any digestive issues (Yes I finished it an my name is on the wall). I also love street food and generally have no issue. But every once in a while something happens. The Montezumas revenge I experienced was bacterial, and was cleared up with an antibiotic. This pro-biotic could have cleared it up faster and with less side effects. Every time I get an antibiotic I suddenly have the weakest gut on the planet and have to take weeks of pro-biotics and often go on a yeast free diet to get things back to normal.

  • TonyA_says

    Based on what you just wrote, why aren’t they asking for medical reimbursement first? Why ask for a refund of everyone’s stay?

  • PolishKnightUSA

    I drink from airport water fountains all the time (but NOT in Mexico!) I suppose I’ve just been asking to get sick. But good point. Maybe it makes sense to ask the local starbucks or coffee shop for fresh water for my thermos. Or… maybe those survivor tablets that dissolve in water and kill bacteria? Or do those do more harm than good?

    In old Polish films, they often show Poles drinking from a public drink vending machine. You put a glass on a chain onto a stand and the machine washes it for you and puts water into it. Then you put the glass back. I can’t imagine a westerner drinking from it…

  • PolishKnightUSA

    Note, I don’t work for the company (I’m just a happy consumer). Polish bitter stomach vodka. It’ll kill (a lot) of bad stuff and it tastes great (not bitter!) Made many friends into true believers in Poland’s ability to produce superior vodka:

    Wódka Żołądkowa Gorzka

    I’ve had nights where I ate mystery meat and worried I was going to have a bad week and then downed a shot every 2 hours for 2 hours or so and didn’t bring stuff back up. My sister claims that Polish vodka also seems to have the ability to make all of her beef steaks soft via marinade. I cried when I heard her using it for that purpose (that’s like taking Dom Perignon and using it for cooking wine…)

  • emanon256

    Sadly no. I drink, but not heavily, though I have overindulged a few times. One time I got food poising the day after drinking and eating sushi. I had more to drink than usual and I was convinced it was the alcohol that made me sick, when it got even worse later and went to the Dr. the Dr. was convinced it was bad food and had nothing to do with the alcohol, and sadly the alcohol didn’t help me in that scenario. The time I got sick in Cancun I didn’t drink much, perhaps I should have drank more.

  • Jim

    Did she get poisoned from the food there? Maybe, maybe not. Should she get the whole price back? No. I say fair is refunding the daughters cost and give a credit towards a future vacation. Apple should step up to the plate under customer service and then go back after the hotel.

  • Lindabator

    But that is a bacterial response and NOT food poisoning – Canada actually sells OTC meds you can take before you go that helps combat exposure to that bacteria – so no REVENGE! :)

  • Judy Serie Nagy

    No, no and NO. The word for this situation is indeed ludicrous. This is a terrible thing but there are many things in life far more terrible. Someone else is not responsible for the fact that her daughter got sick and got sicker during the trip. Don’t know how old the daughter is, but obviously someone should have paid more attention to her … her parents, not the hotel/tour operator/restaurant manager. Mexico, among other countries, is often the source of digestive problems; this fact is easy to research before a trip. I love most things about Mexico, but I can vacation there for 3 days only, on the fourth day I drink a bottle of Pepto Bismol and go home. I am beyond careful what I put in my mouth, it doesn’t matter, something makes me sick in Mexico. And of course I learned this the hard way 30 years ago when I got so violently ill that I thought I would surely die. It’s easy to find out all kinds of things about an area you are going to spend time in. If you don’t know (as I didn’t all those years ago) the potential problems, you cannot blame someone else for your misfortune.

  • Lindabator

    Actually Secrets Maroma is an American managed company (owned by Apple) and is a VERY nice resort.

  • Lindabator

    Actually, this is an adults only resort – NOT a minor.

  • Lindabator

    this is an adults only resort – so TEQUILA! HAHA.

  • Lindabator

    She would have to be an adult – as the Secrets Maroma is an adults only resort. Hmmm….

  • Lindabator

    And given how close to Playa the resort is, not out of the question here.

  • Lindabator

    I don’t see how he can, as it doesn’t appear they let anyone at the hotel even KNOW during their stay, so those folks are gonna be more than just a bit skeptical at this point, unless she files a medical claim.

  • Lindabator

    it is owned by the same folks who own Apple Vacations, and is managed by an American company. And the resort DID ask her to send in a medical claim, she just didn’t feel like being bothered – so the real question becomes WHY.

  • Lindabator

    Yep – owned by the same folks who own Apple, and is an American management company. But when the resort asked for the medical claim, why did she refuse? Since they had no issues raised by these people DURING their stay, it makes sense they fill out the form afterwards, so they can look into the problem. So why is the CLIENT stonewalling the resort on this form?

  • Lindabator

    but they asked for a medical claim form to be sent, and she BALKED. RUN CHRIS!!!!!

  • Lindabator

    that could very well be – especially since she did NOTHING during the stay!

  • Lindabator

    only adults at this resort. :)

  • VoR61

    For all those who are criticizing the AP (aggrieved party) for not submitting the claim (“stonewalling”, “balked” …) the article says: “Friedman says she already has medical insurance. She just wants her money back.” Furthermore, she states: “I have sent medical records (including the test results and diagnosis, dates of hospitalization, etc.)”

    Nothing nefarious, stubborn, or irresponsible. She has medical coverage of her own, which she has already used, and from which she has forwarded the relevant information.

    I don’t see an issue with that …

  • emanon256

    If one guest didn’t wash his/her hands after using the restroom and had contaminated their hands, then touched a surface, then the OP touched the same surface and touched her eye or mouth, it makes no difference how nice the resort is. Same for the plane. Same for the airport.

  • emanon256

    When I fist found out about CE it was because I was injured at a hotel. The hotel was clearly negligent and I had medical bills ($500ish range) as a result. It was so obvious the hotel caused it the Dr. even stated that the hotel caused it. The hotel even offered in writing to pay the bills before I went to the Dr. Then when I sent the bills it was radio silence. They ignored me for months. After CE contacted them, they sent me a medical claim form, the Dr. had no problem filling it out, and their insurance reimbursed my medical costs, and the manager refunded one of my nights (I didn’t even ask for that). I just can’t fathom why the OP wouldn’t fill out the medical claim form.

  • emanon256

    If they told the hotel she was 18, and really she was under 18, and the medical form is asking for her age, they may not want to fill it out.

  • EvilEmpryss

    Doesn’t insurance only cover medical costs during the trip and (if necessary) the cost of flying one home for treatment? If they incurred no costs from the sickness while vacationing, didn’t cut the trip short due to the illness, and didn’t get medical help until the day after they got home, then it will be on the OP to prove first to the very dubious insurance folks that it was something covered by the policy.

  • bodega3

    We don’t know the whole story, but if they went with a package, age has to be submitted for the air and they were traveling with passports. Adult only resorts are pretty good at not letting in under age guests.

  • bodega3

    They have to give the age and if they bought air with the package, DOB is required and it must match the birth certificate.

  • bodega3

    How many nights were they at the resort? Her dollar amount requested for the refund is pretty low for 3 adults, with 2 rooms at this 5 star resort over spring break. A week, with air from SFO in April would be $10,000-$11,000. I am questioning how long the daughter was sick before flying home.

  • vacaygirl

    It is the very bad is for most trip protection plans. By proxy, the courts will use that guideline by which to rule. There is no way to hold the resort responsible for something you are only surmising originated there. And unless the pax want to take on the airline for the same case, which would negate their claim with Marona, the airline did nothing wrong. No air issues = no air refund.

  • vacaygirl

    *basis*

  • SierraRose 49

    Traveler’s diarrhea (aka Montezuma’s Revenge) is usually caused by a bacterial infection. Bacteria such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), Campylobacter, Shigella, or Salmonella are the most common causes. These bacteria are in water contaminated by human or animal stools.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I can’t speak for her thought processes, but in general, you cannot do a matter piecemeal without specific writing. So, if she were to get the medical reimbursement, she could be estopped (prevented) from getting any further compensation. It could be construed as a settlement of the entire matter.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I have no idea. I’d have to talk to her and see the medical form in order to have a considered opinion.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    You know, I was just thinking about that this morning, wondering, “When is that guy going to start whingeing about Americans again? Glad I’m not alone.

  • bodega3

    They couldn’t have stayed at week for what the mother is asking to be refunded.

  • Raven_Altosk

    I remember reading an ombudsman article on USA Today a few years ago when a Mexican Adults Only resort allowed children for a week without alerting their previously booked guests, soooo

  • Raven_Altosk

    Or the resort is scummy like Le Blanc which subjected people expecting an adults only experience to family bedlam because someone’s money was green enough. Google it. It was an ombudsman case on USA Today a few years ago.

  • Travelnut

    Purple, of course! I was just imagining the physical logistics of aiming the water efficiently… hmmm not sure how that would work. But that is getting wayyy off topic. Maybe Chris can have a “what is your favorite travel gadget” discussion.

  • mythsayer

    I miss living in Japan desperately. My absolute favorite rest stop was hamamoto, but they are ALL great compared to ones here. And the one right before you drive onto Kyushu is nice, too. Great bridge. Ahhhh… Memories.

  • mythsayer

    Yeah warm seats are very common there. You get spoiled by living there.

  • mythsayer

    No… It’s just that for her amount of pain and suffering that amount would be reasonable.

  • mobiuschic42

    Uh, Japan is an island nation so there are tons of beaches. Maybe you can’t swim year round the way you can in Okinawa, but I went to the beach in my north-western Honshu town on Sunday, and it was definitely there!

  • TonyA_says

    I was wondering how they serve zamzam water to millions of worshippers during Hajj pilgrimage (to Mecca)?

  • TonyA_says

    Enter the role of private equities. They have their fingers in almost everything. Mitt Romney’s BainCapital made an equity investment in Apple Leisure Group in Jan 2013 which owns AMResorts which Secrets is part of.
    The OP should check if they also own the hospital. Maybe they can just forgive the bill.
    I guess there is a connection with the seller and the hotel and they have presence in the USA.

  • TonyA_says

    At more than 4k a room in low season, her demand for 5k looks like it is for only Emma’s room. Once again we have a case where you have victims not asking in the PC way so she didn’t get the sympathy of the public. Compare her approach with the Boston mom with the peeing kid. She got an apology plus 5k donated to charity for peeing on the plane. You need some PR advisor nowadays to launch a social media backed complaint.

  • RetiredNavyphotog

    Kind of like the toilet in a restaurant I visited in Istanbul – sign in the bathroom not to put the toilet paper in the toilet, but to put it in the wastebasket.
    Big yuck factor.

  • Lindabator

    That’s why I said a BACTERIAL RESPONSE. (Not food poisoning)

  • Lindabator

    They would have had to start the claim by visiting a doctor there, and then it would usually cover continued expenses out of pocket once back here. But the resort never was informed, so…….

  • Lindabator

    Actually, they were offered other resorts instead – and it was because it was SUCH a large group that this exception was made — I would have gladly taken the offer those folks got (upgraded rooms, free tours, etc)

  • Lindabator

    Since these folks NEVER bothered to inform the resort WHILE she was ill, why should they just take their word now that they are asking for money? This is an upscale resort, and no drunken college students – just a nice resort for adults to enjoy.

  • Lindabator

    But since she never approached the resort DURING their stay, the resort has no way to know if there was a problem WITHOUT investigating, hence the medical claim. IF she does not want to send in, then she needs to be prepared to let the matter drop. I have medical insurance, and auto insurance. But if I drive a friend’s car, and their company requires a claim form, I fill it out, regardless of what coverage I have, and whether I feel I should submit it or not.

  • Raven_Altosk

    The report on Trip Advisor says they were offered a free massage. Nothing about an upgraded room…and that alcohol and normal food were shut off 24 hrs before the arrival of the group. I would’ve been pissed.

  • Michael__K

    she seemed to be sick before the lower end of the 24 hr incubation period was up much less the long end of 48 hr

    Where did you get that from? And if her doctor is “convinced that she was poisoned at the resort”, what do you think you know that her doctor doesn’t?

    The incubation period ranges from several hours to two days

    http://www.mayoclinic.Org/diseases-conditions/salmonella/basics/symptoms/con-20029017

  • John Baker

    According to Chris’s article, which is what I wrote the post on, the incubation period is “24 to 48 hours.” She was sick before they had been at the resort 24 hours. Therefore, she was sick too early in the stay to have contracted it there. The same website that you point notes that incubation could be as long as 72 hours increasing the likelihood that she contracted it prior to arrival.

    I’m not convinced that the statement about the doctors is entirely true. I think its just as likely as the mom took the statements the doctor’s made in the best light possible. There’s no means for the doctors to know where the infection came from. They can speak in probabilities (overseas travel is one of the factors the CDC lists) but they can’t speak in certainties unless they investigated the resort itself and found a matching sample. I’m making a bold assumption that they didn’t make that trip. According to a recent article on CNN, there are over 42,000 reported cases of Salmonella in the US annually. (http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/04/health/salmonella-chicken-recall/) This raises the probability that she was sick prior to arrival in Mexico.

  • Lindabator

    ONLY if they chose to stay at LeBlanc – but they were offered much better options at the other Palace Resorts. :)

  • Michael__K

    Okay, where did Chris get 24 hours from? I’m quoting from the exact same web page that he references.

    Of course we’re dealing with probabilities. 100% certainty is not possible, especially days after the fact. Her doctor presumably knows more about where/what she ate before departure.

    We know that Mexico accounts for 38% of travel-associated salmonellosis.
    http://wwwnc.cdc.Gov/travel/yellowbook/2014/chapter-3-infectious-diseases-related-to-travel/salmonellosis-nontyphoidal

    If we know how many of the 42,000 reported cases were in fact acquired inside the US, and if we know the number of travelers to Mexico we could do some math to calculate probabilities.

  • vacaygirl

    With what proof? How does Apple say to the resort that the kid got sick there? Apple cannot prove that. If the kid was sick there she should have spoken up when there. You can not eat an entire steak dinner, send the plate back empty and then claim it was no good and you don’t want to pay for it.

  • vacaygirl

    At least 18 to have her own room. It is also adults only.

  • vacaygirl

    Trip protection will only cover bills incurred during travel. She didn’t speak up while there, didn’t see a doctor while there, had no bills while there…therefore, travel insurance won’t cover anything (much like the hotel shouldn’t have to).

  • vacaygirl

    Wrong. Secrets Maroma is not owned by the company that owns Apple Vacations.

  • vacaygirl

    Again, you are wrong. Secrets Maroma is not owned by the company that owns Apple Vacations.

  • Jim

    Customer service… They are happy afterwards and will buy many more vacations from Apple. If they cry wolf again in the future, it’s a pattern and tell them no. So what if you lose a little money now if the family and the daughter but more vacations in the future. It’s about building loyal customers, not making a profit on every single vacation sold. Would you rather make $500 now and nothing again, or lose a little (if anything) now and make $500 ten times down the road. (obviously I’m making up numbers)

  • Lindabator

    You are mistaken – Secrets & Dreams Resorts are part of AMResorts, and are all owned by the Apple Leisure Group.

  • vacaygirl

    AM Resorts does not own the hotels, they are only a branding and marketing company.

  • Lindabator

    Do you work for Apple Vacations, or know a rep who does, as I do? They are NOT just a marketing company. AM Resorts stands for American MANAGED (which is what they do).

  • vacaygirl

    Neither, I just did some howmework. AM Resorts apparently stands for ATKINSON & MULLEN (founders)….NOT AMERICAN MANAGED.

  • Lindabator

    It means american managed – I speak with my Apple Reps DAILY (yes, was named after the owners, but they wanted to distinguish between MEXICAN, EUROPEAN & AMERICAN owned and manged) – was easiest way to do so.

  • bodega3

    I hadn’t given thought to the mother requesting just her daughters refund.

  • bodega3

    To answer your question. No. They picked Apple based on price, not loyalty.

  • Raven_Altosk

    I was going to book at Le Blanc and then read that story. It was enough to deter me.

  • bodega3

    AM Resorts parent company is Apple Leisure Group.

  • bodega3
  • bodega3

    Alejandro (Alex) Zozaya, president and founder of AMResorts

  • Jim

    Where does it say that in the article? Obviously we are going to disagree on this but the company that takes care of their customers (whether right or wrong) will see repeat business. Apple steps up and takes care of the problem and the customer will remeber that and buy from them again.

    Does it always happen? No, but it’s better to try and make them happy so they buy from you again.

  • Liz

    Food poisoning IS a bacterial response :-) We just tend to use layman’s terms.

  • bodega3

    The company that takes care of their customers would be the TA. They will sell the TO that works best for a travel need. Apple is not a top of the line TO and since this agency is a Virtuoso agency, there is a question to why they booked with Apple to begin with. As for being a repeat client, the LW would go with whatever TO the agent comes back with. In this case, Apple is right in its stand, so the agent won’t have a bad feeling about them regarding how they treated their client.

  • Skeptic

    Salmonella sucks — I got a bout from eating chicken at a Boston restaurant when I used to live there. But life is life and responsibility for enforcing health laws rests with local health authorities, not vacation package providers. The Beantown restaurant did not compensate me for a long weekend spent in agony in my bathroom, and if Boston’s health dept. fined it, the money went towards the compliance program, not into my pocket. While it would have been nice for the hotel to have done something special for Emma (hard to imagine what, though, given her condition — flowers?), if you want to be sure you get compensated when you get sick on vacation, spend an extra $25 and buy trip insurance.

    Not all tragedies in life are reimbursable.

  • Lindabator

    Actually a VERY nice resort – I wouldn’t let one instance in years put you off — :)

  • John Baker

    AM Resorts is a hotel management company much like Starwood. Each individual property may have a different owner but the resort management and operation is provided by the management company.

    For example… Turnberry in Scotland is owned by Donald Trump but managed by Starwood.

    So technically you could both be correct.

  • Jim

    Ok.

  • Raven_Altosk

    How can I be certain they would not repeat this garbage?

  • innchfromnj

    Food poisoning is nasty. I think that the resort should do something to placate this traveler, but a refund for the whole trip is unreasonable. Perhaps a pro rated amount for HER portion of the trip. Or a credit for a future visit.

  • LeeAnneClark

    OMG…I’m laughing so hard I’m crying. :) :) :)

    I’m going to Bali in a couple of months. Having been there, I’m well aware that it’s highly unlikely I will make it through the whole three week trip without a bout of Bali Belly. I’m buying one of these!

  • wendye

    Did she have travel insurance? That might have helped.

  • Cronk

    Since the bug could have come from anywhere and be spread by anyone, you can’t hold the hotel responsible for having it on their premises. It’s unreasonable to expect them to follow every guest and wipe every surface they touch with a bleach-soaked rag. This is a big bummer, but could have been less so if the girl had admitted how sick she was and sought out some Cipro or other antibiotic. I don’t see a case for the family to recover costs, just an expensive lesson in travel preparedness.

  • Daddydo

    How can any medical person define a day that salmonella began. If that were an exact science, then what food caused it? Delete.

  • GG

    Four Seasons Hotel, Toronto?

    That’s a joke when compared to other similarly priced properties. AAA and high-end hotels… what can one say.

  • anacoluthon

    Exactly. This is a difficult case, but the OP must understand that it’s impossible to prove that the daughter became sick at the hotel. The incubation period for salmonella is 24-48 hours, so if she became sick during the first day, it’s unlikely that the hotel food was the culprit.

    This is a case why travel insurance and health insurance that covers travelers is so crucial. The OP is being totally unreasonable by asking the entire vacation cost to be reimbursed. If she had asked for just the daughter’s portion to be refunded, that would have been reasonable and the hotel probably would have complied.

  • aerix88

    I voted yes, but with the caveat that they don’t deserve the entire vacation refunded, seeing as though it didn’t impact anyone but the daughter (as heartless though that may sound). I also don’t feel the tour operator or TA would owe anything either.

  • Randy Culpepper

    I haven’t been anywhere in Mexico or Central America, high end or not, where you can flush the tp.

  • naoma

    I believe this is an “entitled” person who claims all charges be refunded. Glad Elliott
    did as he did. Anyone can get food poisoning. And from even a fine place. It is
    awful, but…