Charged an extra $400 for a vacation I can’t take

Yoga mats, reinterpreted. / Photo by christianyves – Flickr Creative Commons
Question: I recently booked a retreat to Costa Rica through a yoga studio in New York. Just before I was supposed to leave, I was admitted to the emergency room and had to cancel my trip.

My airline gave me a credit, minus the $150 change fee, which I accepted. The yoga studio had a $300 nonrefundable deposit, which I also understood it could keep.

The problem is the retreat center in Costa Rica. It insists on charging me a $400 nonrefundable fee for canceling, which it is deducting from an initial payment of $1,600.

Not only am I in a tight financial situation with hospital bills piling up, but I also believe this is completely unreasonable. I was never advised of the retreat center’s cancellation fees.

Is there any way you can help me with this? — Ruth Hartmann, New York

Answer: Your cancellation fees should have been clearly disclosed at the time of booking, and as far as I can tell, they weren’t. That left you to assume you could get most of your money back.

Further communication between you, your yoga center and the resort showed the hotel would charge a 50 percent penalty, which is why they were asking for another $400 for a stay you couldn’t use.

I think this is one of those times when travel insurance would have been helpful. If you were able to make a successful claim, the insurance would have covered all of your costs, including the $400 charge from the hotel.

Yours is a cautionary tale for anyone booking travel in a nontraditional way, such as a membership organization, scuba diving store, or yoga center. These are not professional travel agents or tour operators, so they may leave out a few details when it comes to the terms and conditions.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think your yoga center’s omission was intentional. Rather, as a center representative later admitted, it could have been clearer.

You need to be extra careful when you’re booking a trip in this way. Ask about the cancellation policy, and if possible, get it in writing. And do that before you make your reservation; that way, if the terms seem unreasonable, you can ask a question — or decline to book the trip.

The bottom line is that according to the terms of your purchase, the resort was well within its rights to keep your money. But as I mentioned earlier, they should have told you about it before you made your reservation.

I contacted the yoga center on your behalf. After some more back and forth with you, and in consideration of your medical condition, it agreed to send you a check for $400.

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 Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • Jeanne_in_NE

    This is a “Travel Troubleshooter” column, isn’t it?  Just a thought to help with the “headline” issues you brought up earlier this week and subsequent analyses of presented problems:  Could you change your headlines to include the category?  For instance, the headline here would be “Travel Troubleshooter:  ….”.  or “Charged an extra $400 for a vacation I can’t take:  The Travel Troubleshooter”.  Then you could include your “That’s Ridiculous!” columns and so forth.  Just my 2 cents.

  • technomage1

    I voted yes since the retreat center is free to charge whatever cancellation policy they deem fit.  However, the OP’s case was a good one given that the cancellation policy wasn’t clear in this area.  She understood all other cancellation penalties and wasn’t fighting those, which make her version of events much more believable.  I’m happy she got her refund in the end and feel it was a fair resolution.

  • Christopher Elliott

    Thanks for the suggestion. I did that for about a year, and for a variety of reasons, decided to drop it. But if enough readers second this, I will consider bringing back headline categories.

  • SoBeSparky

    What is unreasonable about a foreign yoga retreat center charging the 50% fee for a last minute cancellation?  Some similar places enforce a 100% forfeiture policy.   No refunds for no shows or those who cancel within 24 to 72 hours.

    I voted yes, because it is more than reasonable.  It is just common sense.

    If I book a butterfly retreat, or a Mt. Everest base camp tour, or hang gliding resort in Guatemala, I must pay if I do not show or allow a reasonable period of time for the resort slot to be filled.  Not only is the room lost, but so is the revenue from activity fees.  The question should have been, “Should you book your vacation through a sports gym or yoga studio?”  The fault lies with the consumer for purchasing something from an unlikely source.  After all, would you buy a local gym membership from Travelocity or Priceline?

  • EdB

    “These are not professional travel agents or tour operators, so they may leave out a few details when it comes to the terms and conditions.”

    And if they do leave out this information, intentional or not, they should be responsible for them.  In this case, it sounds like the yoga center made the error by their own admission and should cover the resort’s cancellation fee.

    Based on the wording of the story, I’m not sure what the resort’s charges are.  The OP said they sent a $1600 INITIAL payment which seems to indicate there was more due.  The resort has a 50% penalty and Chris, you wrote the resort wanted $400 MORE.  The bottom line is the OP should get *ALL* the money back they paid to the resort and the yoga center should be on the hook for that money.  Now if the OP only had sent $1600 and the resort sent back $1200, then all it taken care of.  If not, then maybe more money is due the OP.

  • backprop

    I can’t really comment too much as there isn’t a policy or website to analyze.

    That said, it sounds like it was a last-minute cancellation (based on the OP’s letter), and 25% doesn’t sound bad at all to me.

    I think playing the “Three of Bills Are Piling Up” card is unnecessary and do little to bolster the OP’s case.


  • Fly, Icarus, Fly

    While I sympathize with the OP, surely she knew that a last minute cancellation would incur some kind of penalty from the hotel for (likely) not being able to sell the room. Hard to know whether $400 was excessive when we don’t know how many nights that represents and how full the hotel was (ie. was it peak season?) If it worked out that she didn’t have to pay any penalty at all, kudos. But I think it’s a case of the property backing down and even taking a loss to avoid bad publicity (and they didn’t even get a mention!) rather than do what’s probably fair and charge at least one night’s fee. And yeah, I’d be very reticent to book through a non-professional like a NY yoga center that cobbled the package together…

  • commentfromme

    You handled it correctly and the Yoga Center did the right thing.  Glad they  accepted their responsibility. Good resolution. 

  • Raven_Altosk

     Maybe use tags on the post instead?

  • TonyA_says

    Re: I was never advised of the retreat center’s cancellation fees.

    Since cancellation fees are LIQUIDATED DAMAGES, then the customer must be advised about it before s/he can agree to it.
    If the OP never was advised then she could not consent to it and therefore does not owe it. Am I missing something to this legal concept?

  • Raven_Altosk

    Ugh. I want to be sympathetic to the OP, but I really can’t, especially after the “tight financial situation” line. I used to say, “Don’t spend money on a non-refundable trip you can’t afford to lose.” And I think that applies here.

    I only booked ONE dive tour through a dive shop/club. I never did that again. The hotel was substandard, the equipment rental that was “included” really wasn’t, and a lot of people on the tour weren’t savvy travelers and kept making stupid tourist mistakes. You know, falling for the “currency exchange” at the airport despite my telling them it was a rip off. And then getting mad when they realized I was right?! (I’ve done this a few times, k?)

    Anyway, she got her $400 back, so she should be happy.

    And now, since I have the day off and I’m not traveling, the baby and I are going to play some video games.

  • LFH0

     The issue is not so much whether 50 percent (or for that matter, any other percentage) is a reasonable amount. The issue is what were the terms of the agreement. There’s enough reported here for me to assess what those terms were.

  • LeeAnneClark

    It sounds to me as if the property itself didn’t back down, but the yoga center ponied up.  Which, given the facts presented, was the right outcome:  regardless of whether the cancellation policy is reasonable or not, it needs to be disclosed in advance.  In this case, the yoga center openly admitted that it didn’t do so clearly.  Hence, it’s their mistake, and they needed to make it right with their customer.

    And no, not every hotel will charge a penalty.  Many hotels, in fact, DON’T.  Many hotels allow cancellation up to the last day.  If it was not disclosed that the reservation was non-refundable, then she was entitled to all her money back.

    I do agree I would be reticent to book a trip through a yoga center…and if I did, I would certainly want all details in writing in advance.

  • LeeAnneClark

    I agree.  However, I believe the situation here is that the yoga center made the booking, knew about the cancellation fee, and didn’t disclose the cancellation fee to the customer.

    Hence, the right outcome occurred.  The yoga center made the mistake, and did the right thing by reimbursing the customer.

  • LeeAnneClark

    I hear ya, Raven.  We’ve all gotten sick and tired of the “I’m a special snowflake because I have these problems and so I deserve my money back more than others who don’t have these problems.”

    I keep waiting to hear from someone who says “I’d like my money back, but in all honesty I’m quite wealthy so don’t really care, but hey Christopher, if you can get it back for me that would be way cool.”

    Don’t think that’s gonna happen, tho.  ;-)

    Seriously, though, just looking at the bare facts (and ignoring the human aspect), she made the purchase through the yoga center, which neglected to inform her of the cancellation fee.  Hence, she deserved all of her money back.  Which she got, from the yoga center.  Right outcome.

  • TonyA_says

    Re: Not only am I in a tight financial situation with hospital bills piling up.

    I think this matters.

    There are two kinds of travel distribution. The new kind – one based on online and rather anonymous players and interactions. And the old kind – one based on face to face interactions between people have some relationship with each other.

    The new kind is quick, efficient and very transactional in nature. You cancel, you pay this. You change, you pay this. You no show, you lose everything. No one is interested to know why you cancelled, needed to change or failed to show up. Rules are rules. After all, the rules are programmed into these online computer systems.

    In the old kind, experienced and empowered workers and managers have some latitude and know how to work around the system. People are there to
    help and they have something machines don’t have – the ability to
    sympathize and empathize. Of course there are limits to what employees
    can do or they may lose their jobs.

    Advocates know how to work the system, too. If a person is indeed going through some hardship, then it matters since recovering a little amount of money can go a long way.
    Advocates and customer service reps are similar. They do get a sense of
    satisfaction when they have helped someone in need.

    IMO, the OP said what she said as a cry for help and not to justify why she should get her money back. The justification was based on the fact the no one told her about the hotel’s cancellation policy.

    {Note edited to fix the formatting issues.}

  • ExplorationTravMag

    This isn’t very Zen-like of the yoga center, is it?  I can see a cancellation policy like this so people won’t cancel at the last minute for some other reason but, the OP was in the hospital/sick!

    Good on you, Chris, for getting this resolved.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    @LeeAnneClark:disqus , @Raven_Altosk:disqus , @backprop:disqus : I have to admit that I feel a little more sorry for the OP because of the medical bill situation.  My last trip to the ER wiped out my high annual deductible AND my co-pay out-of-pocket limtit for the year.  That’s $7500, for those of you keeping score at home.  Ms. Hartmann may have had a similar problem, where the loss of an additional $400 might become a real concern.  I thought it was germane to her plea, especially since the ER visit and the financial penalties for canceling the yoga retreat were related.

    Mind you, I’m in a particularly empathetic mood this morning.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    Chris, I’m not sure you should change a thing, other than, perhaps, the tags suggested by Raven. 

    It just seems to me, this is your column and it’s already an easy read.  I feel including the category would make for longer titles (which can be a no-no in cyber world, under the right conditions) and, frankly, I’m don’t believe it really matters what “kind” of posting it is for people to come read it daily. 

    To be honest, it might even hurt your page hits were someone to see the category and decide to come over to your “house”.  Do you remember as a kid being asked to stay for dinner at a friend’s house and asking, “I don’t know.  What are you having?”  

    To some people, some of your categories could be the cyber equivalent of liver.

  • john4868

    If the OP were told of all of the terms when she signed up, I’d agree with the initial outcome. 
    It really sounds like it wasn’t hidden between the studio and the resort but the studio didn’t make it clear to the OP when she signed up. That being the case, it sounds like the studio did the correct thing.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    We must be on the same wavelength this morning, Tony!

  • ExplorationTravMag

    This comment kind of bothers me, not just because of its condescending tone (which DOES bother me), but because a person’s financial picture/status can change in an instant due to illness.

    Case in point: I was gainfully employed six years ago and my family was doing quite well.  Not rich, but our bills were paid and we had just bought a house.

    Six months after buying the house, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and wasn’t working any longer.  Our finances took a nose dive and our savings was depleted w/n another 6 months due to co-pays, prescriptions, trips to Tucson seemingly every other week to see specialists, etc.  We nearly lost our house because of it, until we were able to get a secondary insurance to our TriCare Standard and work our way through the pre-existing condition clause.

    A single hospital stay can get into the tens of thousands very quickly and the average person has to pay 20% of that, assuming they have insurance.  It might not seem like a great deal to you, someone with a money tree in their back yard, but to someone struggling financially, $400 could pay their electric bill AND buy groceries.

  • bodega3

    NY has a Seller of Travel Policy.  This is a brief description.  Tony if this is incorrect, please advise.  The Yoga center was acting as a seller of travel and was required to provide the OP with all information. 

    While New York does not require travel agents to register with the state, the New York Truth in Travel Act prohibits fare discounting and rebating and misrepresentations in advertising. The law also requires sellers of travel to disclose certain booking information to customers. Sellers of Travel are not permitted to knowingly give rebates to customers or offer to sell travel services at less than the rate specified by the carrier’s tariffs. The Seller of Travel is required to provide the customer with written disclosure of all limitations and terms of the purchase within five business days of the date of the agreement

  • Nigel Appleby

    This is anoither time when Travel Insurance would have come to the rescue. Although some companies might have not covered the losses if the cause of the trip to ER was a pre-existing condition. Different companies have different rules – it’s always worth checking.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    The reason I suggested it was mainly because people read the story and say Chris should do this or that or that the OP should do or should have done this or that.  Then Chris comes on and says that the story falls under such and such a category and it’s not up for debate as to what he should do, since it’s already been done, etc., etc.  Which led up to Wednesday’s post on commenting (please go back and re-read so I don’t have to make this a lengthy re-cap).  Just thought I’d try to reduce the amount of frustration that Chris feels. 

    Your argument that a longer title is a cyber no-no is a good one.  The tag compromise should be a simple identifier.

  • TonyA_says

    I realized that many people come to Elliott for help and not to get insulted in his blog. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa!.

  • Carver Clark Farrow II

     Tens of Thousands?  Try Hundreds of Thousands.  I went to the Hospital for 4 days.  The pre-insurance hospital bill was $178,000 and it was just high blood pressure.  Nothing exotic or rare.  The doctor’s bills were another 20k.

    Fortunately, I had insurance.

    I think that what some people are missing is that at the time you purchase the non-refundable trip you might very well have been able to afford it. However, as circumstances change such as an unexpected medical bill, losing that money may now be problematic.

  • Carver Clark Farrow II

     +1000.  Especially the cry for help.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Et ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus
    Sancti.  (I can’t get italics to work on here.)


  • bodega3

    If you can’t afford to lose the money, then you shouldn’t travel or get travel insurance.  Basic rule of thumb in the industry.  Even if you travel you could encounter unexpected expenses.  You need to be prepared.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    Extremely well said, @yahoo-OEPJGQPIEB75YYDE5CJY6R3VFE:disqus .  It doesn’t take much to wipe out someone’s financial world.

    I always thought my husband and I prepared financially for the eventuality of something like this.  Boy, was I incredibly wrong.  

    My husband and I were always pretty healthy people.  I was active, I played sports (into my 40’s and not easy sports – softball, flag football, basketball, etc.), my BP and cholesterol have always been great and I was told by my doctor I have the heart and lungs of someone much younger.  We never felt the need for any insurance beyond Tricare Standard because we simply didn’t go to the doctor that much for anything beyond physicals.

    That all changed with one simple diagnosis and our money was quickly gone.  By the time we knew we needed TriCare Prime, it was too late, we were already broke and couldn’t afford it.  It wasn’t the monthly premium, that’s easy at only $40 a month. It was the pre-payment they wanted to cover the cost until the automatic deduction kicked in.

    Once you’re spiraling down a hole, it’s hard to grab hold and steady yourself.

  • TonyA_says

    We do not have to REGISTER  like we have to do in CALIFORNIA, but NY has laws on the books (General Business, Article 10-A)  to follow – mainly against misrepresentation, false advertising, lack of disclosure and fraud. We have to register to sell TRAVEL INSURANCE.

    Given that there are so many shysters here in NYC and since we are a center for Nigerian type of scams, unless there is blood flowing from your body then do not
    expect the law to help you. If there is a scam in the USA it was probably invented here.  :-)

    IMO, the Yoga Center did not violate our NY “Truth in Travel Act”. They certainly did not willfully try to scam or shortchange the poor gal. Personally, I would buy a yoga trip from my yoga club before I buy online. I liken it to buying a Taekwondo trip to So. Korea from our dojo instead of from some unknown flashy website. I don’t think they gave my son any disclosures. My son just says “Yes Master”. But at least I can talk to someone if something goes wrong.

    I am glad this ended up well for the OP.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Totally agree.  It sounds like she was perfectly able to afford the trip up until the medical emergency.  If she was on a high deductible insurance plan (and we won’t even go into the horrors if she had no insurance or a really crappy plan) this sort of thing can be a huge financial drain on all but the wealthiest people.

  • LeeAnneClark

    LOL well I see that Raven’s and my brand of snark is not going over well today!

    Just for the record, I did not “insult” the OP.  I was responding to Raven’s comment about how including her financial need in her complaint did not make him feel any more inclined to be sympathetic.  To those of you who’ve been around this blog for a while, this should not be an unfamiliar scenario. 

    My comment was not even about the OP, it was about all of the many people who include details of their financial hardships or special needs in their stories to Christopher, even though they are not germane to the story, just to make themselves seem more deserving. Some are way more egregious than others – “I deserve my money back because this was supposed to be the trip of a lifetime!”  Does that mean someone who’s trip was just another vacation is LESS deserving?  “I deserve my money back because my grandmother’s cousin Ruth has cancer and we’re all really sad about it!”  So someone who isn’t experiencing family medical dramas doesn’t deserve their money back? 

    See the point?

    Whether y’all want to accept this or not, extraneous personal details such as that are NOT germane to the case.  Sure, they can make the story a more compelling read, but when it comes down to dollars and cents, whatever their personal hardship is, it has no bearing on whether they deserve their money back.

    In this case, the OP deserved her money back because she was not informed of the cancellation policy.  Whether she was a billionaire or a homeless beggar in the street, the response would be the same. 

    Also for the record, I am not a heartless soul.  (And neither is Raven, although he might not want to admit that!)  ;-)  I did feel for the woman…it’s certainly not a fun experience to have to lose out on vacation over a serious medical situation.  I’m glad that the outcome was in her favor, especially in light of her financial and medical situation.  I don’t mind Christopher including the personal details in the stories, as they do make them more compelling and human.

    But the bare fact is, financial hardship does not make someone more or less worthy of a refund.  The facts of the case do.  And in this case, she was deserving of it simply because of the lack of disclosure.  Had she received disclosure in advance, the response would be different – she would not be entitled to a penny…hardship notwithstanding.

  • LeeAnneClark

    I feel sorry for her too, and I’m glad that it worked out in her favor.  Medical expenses suck.

    However, it didn’t change the facts of the case.  Had she been informed of the cancellation policy in advance, she woulda been outta luck.

  • LeeAnneClark

    “I think that what some people are missing is that at the time you
    purchase the non-refundable trip you might very well have been able to
    afford it. However, as circumstances change such as an unexpected
    medical bill, losing that money may now be problematic.”

    Isn’t that the purpose of buying travel insurance – to guard against these types of situations?

    Buying a non-refundable vacation without travel insurance is a gamble.  If one takes the gamble, one must be willing to accept the consequences if the gamble doesn’t pay off.

    Even the OP seems to grasp this – she completely accepts the parts of her trip that she was aware were non-refundable. The part she didn’t accept was the part that wasn’t disclosed to her in advance.

    Hence, the right thing happened here – she was reimbursed that part.  Good for her!  She deserved it.  And I hope her health improves and she is eventually able to take her vacation.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Exactly.  That’s all I’ve been saying all along.  Somehow I became demonized in this conversation, which makes no sense to me.  And frankly ticks me off.

  • flutiefan

     Poll Question:

    Was the resort’s cancellation fee reasonable?



  • Barry Moss

    I have a hard time voting on this one. The cancellation fee is reasonable, only if the customer is informed before a booking took place. Perhaps they did disclose this to the yoga centre who arranged the bookings, in which case the yoga centre should have been responsible for passing along that information or covering the cancellation costs themselves. It looks like that’s how it turned out, so good on you Chris for advocating for this consumer. But I can’t give a proper vote given the ay the question is phrased.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Another good reason to buy travel insurance.  If you buy a non-refundable vacation and don’t insure it, you are willingly taking a gamble. 

    Unexpected medical emergencies do not change that basic fact.  In fact, they are the very reason to buy travel insurance.

    If you don’t buy it, and you have a medical emergency, you lose the gamble.

    Even the OP seems to get this concept, as she does not expect to get reimbursed for the fees she knew were non-refundable.  She only wants to get refunded the fee she was NOT told was non-refundable.

    And she was.  Which is the right outcome.

  • LeeAnneClark

    By the way, I sure would like to know where you got the completely false notion that I have “a money tree in my backyard”. Do we know each other? If so, then you know that this is completely not true.

    If we don’t, then where did you get this bizarre notion, and what possessed you to say it publicly about me? This one’s a head scratcher, that’s for sure…

  • TonyA_says

    Re: I’d be very reticent to book through a non-professional like a NY yoga center that cobbled the package together…

    True, you probably are not going through some [recognized] tour operator. But, a lot of these “closed user group” travel are not bad. Maybe their yoga instructor corroborated with a local resort to create some kind of retreat. Is is pretty easy to buy airline tickets to Costa Rica and within Costa Rica (both Sansa and Nature Air are online). If the resort can make local pickup arrangements from the airport, then what else do you need? I can’t see how a tour operator can add much to such a simple plan. The resort can discount the place since it does not have to pay any commissions or it can give the group the bulk rate. Small is beautiful.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    I’m sorry if I came across as “demonizing” you.  I really am.  It wasn’t my intent.  We both have elderly mothers we look out for, so we’re kind of kindred spirits.

    My intent was to point out that the 2 things ($400 cancellation fee and medical bills) were related.  I think it’s separate from the “single mother with 8 kids who wants her entire airfare refunded because she was an hour late in getting back home” kind of reference where nothing is related for which we’ve made up a deck of cards. 

    I see your point, and @Raven_Altosk:disqus ‘s and @backprop:disqus ‘s.  And I see you kinda sorta see mine.   Great – let’s leave it at that and go out and have a wonderful weekend, okay?

  • Carver Clark Farrow II

    I don’t disagree.  My issue is that we shouldn’t belittle the OP for asking for a little sympathy.

  • Carver Clark Farrow II

    That’s where we disagree. It may not be germane to you, but to many people, myself included, the reasons for a request are critical.  I think a refund is predicated on one of two scenarios.  Either you deserve it, in which case stick to the facts, or you don’t “deserve” it but because of your special circumstances, a goodwill gesture is appropriate.

    I remember on the way to the airport my father fell and broke his leg necessitating a trip to the hospital, he had emergency surgery,was on tons of pain killers and downright loopy.  He failed to inform the airline prior to the flight so technically the entire fare was forfeit.  The airline waived the rule that requires you to inform the airline prior to departure solely because he had a good reason.

    Of course, the sympathy card should only work if it’s a legitimate reason and should be done without any sense of entitlement and with appropriate humility.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Well then, based on your explanation, the reality is that we don’t disagree…I actually agree with you! And you with me!

    Sometimes a company will be willing to grant an accommodation that they don’t legally, contractually or even ethically need to grant, simply for a goodwill gesture.

    My point in THIS case was that the refund was due REGARDLESS OF THE FINANCIAL HARDSHIP. The medical and financial issues were not germane to THIS story, because she was due the refund based solely on the facts of the case. You yourself said, if they deserve it, they should “stick to the facts”. Well, she did deserve it, so the facts were really all that were necessary.

    I’m glad she got it. And knowing her financial and medical situation does make me even happier she got what she deserved, because it sounds like she’s had enough trouble going on in her life without having to be faced with a company unfairly keeping her 400 bucks.

    Now, if there’s a story in which someone is NOT actually due a refund, but has a hard-luck story that might appeal to the humanity of the provider, then I agree those details would be germane – in fact, they would be the ONLY details that might get them the refund!

    See? We actually do agree on this.

    Of course the problem is that too many people will try to play the sympathy card whether they are entitled or not. So it’s hard for any company to make a determination which are the valid hard-luck stories worthy of a little humanity, and which are just those who lost the gamble and are trying to manipulate the system to avoid their loss. It’s enough to make a company just decide to stick to the rules…which is often what happens.

    But I do like to see a company show a bit of humanity when it’s warranted! It makes me more likely to use them myself.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Agreed!  :)

  • Christopher Elliott

    I already categorize these as the travel troubleshooter in the system, so you can view it under “categories.” But I can also do that in the tags.

  • jpp42

     I’ve read this column for a number of years and I am still not sure what the different categories mean in terms of what exactly Chris is doing with them.  A more obvious “subtitle” with a link to a FAQ or something explaing the categories would be very helpful.

  • LeeAnneClark

    Who belittled the OP?  I certainly didn’t!

  • LeeAnneClark

    Or we could just read the articles and take them at face value.  :-) 

    I guess I just don’t feel a need to know exactly what category an article fits in – I read it, answer the poll if I have an opinion, and post comments if I feel I have anything to add.  I’ve never really found myself wondering what “type” of article it is.

  • technomage1

    I took the medical bill comment differently.  Losing $400 might not be a big deal to the OP normally, but with the unexpected medical issue it became one.  

    The real issue here is that the fee wasn’t disclosed up front, and she had a legitimate case about that.  I tend to believe her in this instance because she understood the other fees and did not try to get those back.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Cool :)

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    Glad to read that the
    yoga center step up to the plate and pay the money to the OP since they failed
    to disclose the terms and conditions.


    However, the OP made
    some mistakes in the planning of this trip. 
    The first mistake that the OP made was to book travel through the yoga
    center.  As Chris stated, the yoga center
    is a not a travel agent or tour operator so there is an increase probability that
    they will leave out a few details when it comes to the terms & conditions,


    The second mistake that
    the OP made was not to purchase travel insurance.  Things like losing a job, getting sick, death
    in the family, terrorist events, etc. can happen.  The purpose of insurance is to cover the
    risks that you are not willing to assume.


    The question for the
    poll should have been “should the yoga center refund the money?” instead of “was
    the resort’s cancellation fee reasonable?” since the issue was the failure of
    the yoga center to disclose the cancellation fees of the resort.


    I think that the 50%
    cancellation fee is fair for a foreign resort to charge since it is very
    unlikely that they can book that room for another guest at the last minute.  Again, the yoga center failed to disclose the
    cancellation fees of the resort to the OP.