A cruise can be a terrific culinary experience, from fine dining restaurants to the midnight buffet. But customers don’t expect to be on the menu. Continue reading…
Alma Luz Villanueva lives in Mexico but visits the United States frequently. When she does, she rents a car from Thrifty in Los Angeles. She flashes her Mexican license, and off she drives. Continue reading…
When Joel Miller rents an uninhabitable beach house, can he get his money back? Continue reading…
Debi Garlick’s Panama Canal cruise from San Diego to Miami on the Celebrity Infinity seemed to last forever. That’s because the cruise line showed her the cabin door halfway through the cruise, while they were docked in Cabo San Lucas.
Mexico doesn’t need any more bad press. Between drug violence and natural disasters, it’s had enough, thanks very much.
All of which makes Dave Dudar’s story so difficult for him to tell — and for me to write.
Dudar has been a frequent visitor to Cancun since 1998. He’s also worked in the tourism industry as a former marketing official for Meet College Park Georgia, the convention and visitors bureau for the Georgia city that houses Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, as well as with Vail Resorts and United Airlines.
“This is the fourth time I have rented a car in this country in four years,” he told me.
It is probably the last.
I’m really excited to introduce a our newest columnist, Stuart Gustafson. His weekly feature, “Should I Cross That Line?” dovetails with his area of expertise: international travel. Gustafson spent his career in corporate sales at HP and today is an acclaimed novelist and sought-after public speaker. I can’t wait to see where he takes us next .
It’s the dead of winter. I bet you’re tired of the weather by now, and the prospect of six more weeks of cold. I know I am.
So where’s the easiest place to find a little warmth?
As far as ridiculous stories go, Nina Radkiewicz’ ranks right up there with the best of ’em. Or, depending on your perspective, the worst of ’em.
Next time you’re in a tourist town and you think about renting a scooter, remember Shasteana Wikenheiser.
Marnie Bute didn’t enjoy the Mexican getaway she booked through Sun Country Vacations. Actually, that may be an understatement. She hated it and she wants every penny refunded.
Normally, when someone asks for a full refund, it triggers a predictable amount of eye-rolling here in the office. It couldn’t have been that bad, we say to ourselves.
Then we read her story.
It begins with a frantic note to Sun Country on the day of Bute’s arrival at the Royal Decameron Los Cabos resort in San Jose Del Cabo.
Nancie Thomas had no reason to believe the owner of her vacation rental in Akumal, Mexico, would keep her $1,000 deposit. Her friends had rented the same house on three separate occasions, “and had a great experience each time,” she says.
Alas, the fourth time wasn’t a charm for Thomas.
Her first warning? The method of payment.
“We were surprised when the owner asked for a deposit check rather than credit card,” she recalls. “But we confirmed with our friends that they had always made the deposit by check.”
(Let me stop right here and say it: Always, always insist on paying by credit card. If Thomas had done that, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.)
Consumer advocate William Leeper recently accepted a “Mission Impossible” case involving a questionable timeshare purchase in Mexico. What’s that? We had you at “timeshare”? But it gets worse. Much worse. I’ll let him explain.
Today’s timeshare story comes from reader Mark Golder and the timeshare he bought — or thought he bought — from Grand Solmar in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I’ll let him pick up the story.
Diane Austin’s problem isn’t that unusual, which is why I’ve decided to write something about it. In April, she booked a $730 roundtrip ticket in April through Orbitz on American Airlines to fly to Puerto Vallarta.
The purpose of her visit? To volunteer in a school in Tepic, Mexico, for two weeks. In order to cover her fare, Austin’s 80-year-old father used money from her Alzheimer’s-stricken mother’s bank account. After all, it was for a good cause.
But the trip wasn’t meant to be. When her partner arrived in Tepic a few days ahead of her, she says the area turned suddenly unsafe.
Hold on to your wallet. Businesses don’t just want to get their hands on your cash when you’re on the road — they also want more of your money, and on their terms.
Take what happened to Gordon Angell when he was visiting La Paz, Mexico, recently. Many restaurants in town display the “Visa” and “MasterCard” stickers, signifying that they accept credit cards.
But on Angell’s first evening, after finishing a meal at a restaurant, his server informed him the credit card machine didn’t work, and pointed to an ATM. He paid in pesos.
“The following evening we went to another restaurant called The Three Virgins,” he says. “We made sure that we asked them if they accepted credit cards and they said ‘yes.’ Surprisingly, when we offered to pay our bill, it was a repeat of the previous evening. Their machine was ‘not working.’ They told us to use the ATM.”
From time to time, a case comes across my desk that gets me turned upside-down, because it doesn’t make sense on so many levels. Julie Yu’s dispute with Dollar is one of them.
A few weeks ago, I shared a problem of one reader’s mandatory car rental insurance charge in Mexico. Basically, her vehicle ended up costing a lot more than she thought it would, even though she’d purchased insurance through a third party.
Turns out this happens often. But Yu experienced the same problem — with a dark twist.
Question: We booked a ten-day vacation package in Cancun, Mexico through Hotels.com that included air, hotel and a rental car. Taxes were included in the price of the rental car.
When we arrived at the Hertz rental counter, we were told there was an additional tax of about $55. I paid the additional tax at checkout, expecting to be reimbursed from Hotels.com.
I’ve written two emails to Hotels.com, but both have gone unanswered. When I called the company, a representative told me the $55 charge was a “deposit” that would be returned to me. But a call to Hertz confirmed it was a tax and no refund was due.