Edward Palisin and his wife prepaid their Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour in Alaska, but they cannot join in — unless they pay a second time.
Their question: Why won’t the booking agent issue them a refund?
Question: We purchased a land/cruise package to Alaska for August 2016 through RCI Travel Packages. The Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour was included in the package deal. While at the orientation meeting the night before the tour, we were informed we were not on the roster. The company conducting the tour (Premier Alaska Tours) had a cancellation and said we could join in if we paid another $350. We were traveling with two other couples and were looking forward to this tour, so we paid the fee … again.
When we planned the trip in November 2015, we wanted to ensure we would all be booked on the same flights, cruise, and tours. We got together as a group and contacted RCI via speakerphone to finalize each of our arrangements at the same time. We all paid the same amount for the cruise package that included the four-day land tour of Denali, and we received a written confirmation.
My wife and I were the only two who were bumped from the tour. The other two couples were listed as participants. RCI had inadvertently scheduled us for a different tour.
We would like a refund from RCI Travel Packages (administered by International Cruise & Excursion Gallery Inc., doing business as Our Vacation Center and/or ICE). When we returned in August, we requested the refund and have followed up several times. It is February, and we still have not received a refund.
Can you please help us resolve this matter? — Edward Palisin, Strongsville, Ohio
Answer: It is disappointing that you have had to wait so long for a refund on a tour that you paid for twice. RCI Travel Packages should have reimbursed the $350 back in August.
You made a wise decision by booking your cruise, flights, and tour package at the same time with the same agent. Ordinarily, this would work to your benefit. Even though the confirmation you received from RCI was correct, an error occurred when it actually scheduled the tour, putting you and your wife on the wrong excursion.
Mistakes happen — but how companies respond to these oversights is what determines their repeat business and defines their reputation.
This case reiterates the importance of keeping a paper trail and any correspondence as proof of what was agreed upon and payments that were made. You did a great job. Unfortunately, RCI has been treating your request with disregard for almost six months. That is a long time to wait for a refund.
The attitude you displayed in your correspondence with RCI was very positive, and that is commendable. Even though you were the recipient of the error, you were not critical of the agent, nor did you downgrade the company. You were considerate and had a simple request — you just wanted a refund.
Since you ran into a brick wall, so to speak, and were getting nowhere in your requests, you contacted our advocates at Elliott.org. In their initial correspondence with RCI, they encountered the same treatment — their requests were ignored.
The defining moment occurred when our advocates informed RCI that Elliott.org would be doing a story on this case and wanted its stance on the matter.
RCI will now be issuing you a refund for the tour. Maybe it just needed a nudge in the right direction.