SANDALS Refund vs. credit

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Apr 7, 2020
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My wife and I were supposed to travel to a SANDALS resort in St. Lucia April 4-14. Obviously, this didn't happen due to Covid-19, everything was shut down and of course for very good reason.
I booked everything through SANDALS including the airfare. I've never done everything through a resort like that. Normally, I use Delta Vacations or similar. However this trip was for my wife and my 30th Anniversary and I wanted a certain room that I could only get by going directly through Sandals.This was a very expensive vacation by our standards, but 30 years is something to splurge on.
SANDALS cancellation policies are very strict and laid out straightforward in their terms. Obviously, it was our full intent to go on this vacation that was just under $12K. SANDALS insists that they are doing us a favor by waiving their rescheduling fees. ( are you kidding me with that). The fact is, THEY cancelled. It wasn't their fault, but it sure as heck wasn't ours either. We gave them money for services that they could not provide. This isn't exactly adjusting a dinner reservation we are talking about. Additionally, I spoke to Delta Airlines and asked what the dollar value of our fares are. They told me that they don't know because they sell blocks of seats to various resorts/travel agencies, etc and they resell the seats and a markup that they are not privy to. It gets a little worse.... once everything was booked, I went onto Delta Airlines website and upgraded our seats to comfort class (4 flights in total outbound and return). That was $36 pp x2 x4, so $288.
Here's what I have done after emailing the top brass at SANDALS and getting no where other than " we are happy to reschedule you within the next 18 months"
I filed a dispute with my credit card company ( they have given me a temporary credit pending) so that's definitely not set in stone.
I filed a claim with Trip Mate...I bought the policy at the time I booked that is specific for SANDALS. They are so backed up. who knows when I'll get an answer.

I realize that Covid-19 has rocked the travel industry. I know that patience is needed. I'm wondering if there is anything else I should be doing. I booked the trip in early January of this year. SANDALS obviously cannot predict when they will be able to reopen, too many variables will be involved. I'm a bit worried that the more time that goes by, it'll be easier for them to sweep MY money under THEIR rug.

Thanks for reading and I appreciate any advice.

Tim Tokarz
 

justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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What did the terms you booked under say about when Sandals cancelled? That's going to be a big factor. Though filling a credit card dispute might throw a wrench in things.

What does your insurance cover if the travel provider cancels?
 

Neil Maley

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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
Sandals is not providing refunds even if they closed the resorts. They have infuriated their customers by doing this because many are trying to rebook their stays and the resorts are full.

You filed a credit card dispute and you’ll have to wait and see how it is resolved. Travel disputes are taking up to 90 days because the credit card companies are overloaded with disputes and need to research all of them- they are not simply refunding.

If you have the terms and conditions you agreed to at the time you booked and they say if Sandals cancels your stay they will provide a refund, or they do not have a force majeure statement in their terms, you have a chance of winning the dispute. Sandals has since changed their terms but they can’t change them for bookings that were already made.

Did you send a copy of the terms and conditions you received from Sandals when you booked with your dispute?

Good luck and please let us know the outcome.
 
Apr 7, 2020
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What did the terms you booked under say about when Sandals cancelled? That's going to be a big factor. Though filling a credit card dispute might throw a wrench in things.

What does your insurance cover if the travel provider cancels?
I can find no language in booking terms nor trip mate policy that refer to the provider canceling. Credit card dispute seems to my biggest hope right now.
 
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Apr 7, 2020
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Sandals is not providing refunds even if they closed the resorts. They have infuriated their customers by doing this because many are trying to rebook their stays and the resorts are full.

You filed a credit card dispute and you’ll have to wait and see how it is resolved. Travel disputes are taking up to 90 days because the credit card companies are overloaded with disputes and need to research all of them- they are not simply refunding.

If you have the terms and conditions you agreed to at the time you booked and they say if Sandals cancels your stay they will provide a refund, or they do not have a force majeure statement in their terms, you have a chance of winning the dispute. Sandals has since changed their terms but they can’t change them for bookings that were already made.

Did you send a copy of the terms and conditions you received from Sandals when you booked with your dispute?

Good luck and please let us know the outcome.
Thanks for your input. I can find nothing that addresses cancellation by SANDALS. I did not send a copy of the terms and conditions to my credit card company yet. I've talked with them on the phone a few times. They have issued a credit and SANDALS gets 90 days to respond to the dispute, if they don't respond, I win the dispute. However, as you suggest and as my credit card company has suggested, I do have the documentation at the ready.

I will certainly respond back once this is resolved. By the way, I put a bad review on Trip Advisor for Sandals which they posted. However, they've since taken it down. ...makes me wonder even further.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
I think the dispute is your best option. We have honeymooners who have a July booking and haven’t made their final payment. We told them that if they can’t reopen, Sandals is only offering a credit and they now have to decide if they want to cancel or your a chance. It is a terrible decision to have to make.
 
Apr 7, 2020
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I think the dispute is your best option. We have honeymooners who have a July booking and haven’t made their final payment. We told them that if they can’t reopen, Sandals is only offering a credit and they now have to decide if they want to cancel or your a chance. It is a terrible decision to have to make.
First off... Neil, I really appreciate your input. It’s given me at least a glimmer of hope. On the bright side, I’ve gained a few social media friends who are in the same “ pickle”. You stated earlier that guests who have tried to reschedule are unable to because they their resorts are full? If that is in fact true, I’m wondering if I should try to do that. If they cannot accommodate me, that would be even THE MORE REASON for them to give me MY money back. I’m beginning to wonder what new name they might reopen under...
Any thoughts on the Trip Advisor thing?
 
Apr 7, 2020
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First off... Neil, I really appreciate your input. It’s given me at least a glimmer of hope. On the bright side, I’ve gained a few social media friends who are in the same “ pickle”. You stated earlier that guests who have tried to reschedule are unable to because they their resorts are full? If that is in fact true, I’m wondering if I should try to do that. If they cannot accommodate me, that would be even THE MORE REASON for them to give me MY money back. I’m beginning to wonder what new name they might reopen under...
Any thoughts on the Trip Advisor thing?
Also on the bright side is that I found this site. I’m grateful for the work you guys do! I hope you are healthy and staying safe.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,021
22,975
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
The dates that were for people who were off during spring break and could only travel when school was out.

Sandals won’t change their name- it is their identity.

Don’t go the TripAdvisor route if you are trying to get them to make a change. That should be a last resort.

I would suggest posting on their Social Media accounts about the policy and using our company contacts to try and see if they will make an exception for you. It’s better to go the polite route - you get more with sugar than vinegar.

Click for our Sandals contacts-

And this is how to file a complaint:


Frankly, I wouldn’t do anything at all now. Wait and see what happens with your dispute.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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My wife and I were supposed to travel to a SANDALS resort in St. Lucia April 4-14. Obviously, this didn't happen due to Covid-19, everything was shut down and of course for very good reason.
I booked everything through SANDALS including the airfare. I've never done everything through a resort like that. Normally, I use Delta Vacations or similar. However this trip was for my wife and my 30th Anniversary and I wanted a certain room that I could only get by going directly through Sandals.This was a very expensive vacation by our standards, but 30 years is something to splurge on.
SANDALS cancellation policies are very strict and laid out straightforward in their terms. Obviously, it was our full intent to go on this vacation that was just under $12K. SANDALS insists that they are doing us a favor by waiving their rescheduling fees. ( are you kidding me with that). The fact is, THEY cancelled. It wasn't their fault, but it sure as heck wasn't ours either. We gave them money for services that they could not provide. This isn't exactly adjusting a dinner reservation we are talking about. Additionally, I spoke to Delta Airlines and asked what the dollar value of our fares are. They told me that they don't know because they sell blocks of seats to various resorts/travel agencies, etc and they resell the seats and a markup that they are not privy to. It gets a little worse.... once everything was booked, I went onto Delta Airlines website and upgraded our seats to comfort class (4 flights in total outbound and return). That was $36 pp x2 x4, so $288.
Here's what I have done after emailing the top brass at SANDALS and getting no where other than " we are happy to reschedule you within the next 18 months"
I filed a dispute with my credit card company ( they have given me a temporary credit pending) so that's definitely not set in stone.
I filed a claim with Trip Mate...I bought the policy at the time I booked that is specific for SANDALS. They are so backed up. who knows when I'll get an answer.

I realize that Covid-19 has rocked the travel industry. I know that patience is needed. I'm wondering if there is anything else I should be doing. I booked the trip in early January of this year. SANDALS obviously cannot predict when they will be able to reopen, too many variables will be involved. I'm a bit worried that the more time that goes by, it'll be easier for them to sweep MY money under THEIR rug.

Thanks for reading and I appreciate any advice.

Tim Tokarz
Tim, I totally understand your frustration, but Sandals is not out to ruin your life. There are far more things involved with this crisis than planned trips. They're not trying to cheat you, they're offering rebooking of your trip. That's what most travel providers are offering, at least the ones who care about their customers. A corporation does not have access to millions of dollars in cash to give out in refunds when their entire operation shuts down for reasons totally beyond their control. I'm very glad to read that you bought travel insurance. I advise that you cancel the CC dispute. Sandals is unable to deliver your vacation at this time, but they are not trying to cheat you. Let your travel insurance take care of you, that's why you purchased it. If your claim is denied, then the next step would be a CC dispute. Filing the dispute now just muddies up the waters. Read all the terms and conditions of your policy. Set up some communication with your insurer so you know what to expect and when. Know that eventually you'll be able to celebrate your anniversary in style ... and don't feel like the Lone Ranger ... everyone's in the same boat when it comes to our travel plans.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,021
22,975
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Tim, I totally understand your frustration, but Sandals is not out to ruin your life. There are far more things involved with this crisis than planned trips. They're not trying to cheat you, they're offering rebooking of your trip. That's what most travel providers are offering, at least the ones who care about their customers. A corporation does not have access to millions of dollars in cash to give out in refunds when their entire operation shuts down for reasons totally beyond their control. I'm very glad to read that you bought travel insurance. I advise that you cancel the CC dispute. Sandals is unable to deliver your vacation at this time, but they are not trying to cheat you. Let your travel insurance take care of you, that's why you purchased it. If your claim is denied, then the next step would be a CC dispute. Filing the dispute now just muddies up the waters. Read all the terms and conditions of your policy. Set up some communication with your insurer so you know what to expect and when. Know that eventually you'll be able to celebrate your anniversary in style ... and don't feel like the Lone Ranger ... everyone's in the same boat when it comes to our travel plans.
Unless they had a CFAR policy, insurance is not covering this.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,730
10,525
113
San Francisco
Unless they had a CFAR policy, insurance is not covering this.
We don't know the details of the insurance. I advised the OP to check on them to see what kind of coverage he purchased. I am not about to tell anyone what their insurance covers and what it excludes.
 
Mar 25, 2020
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Tim, I totally understand your frustration, but Sandals is not out to ruin your life. There are far more things involved with this crisis than planned trips. They're not trying to cheat you, they're offering rebooking of your trip. That's what most travel providers are offering, at least the ones who care about their customers. A corporation does not have access to millions of dollars in cash to give out in refunds when their entire operation shuts down for reasons totally beyond their control. I'm very glad to read that you bought travel insurance. I advise that you cancel the CC dispute. Sandals is unable to deliver your vacation at this time, but they are not trying to cheat you. Let your travel insurance take care of you, that's why you purchased it. If your claim is denied, then the next step would be a CC dispute. Filing the dispute now just muddies up the waters. Read all the terms and conditions of your policy. Set up some communication with your insurer so you know what to expect and when. Know that eventually you'll be able to celebrate your anniversary in style ... and don't feel like the Lone Ranger ... everyone's in the same boat when it comes to our travel plans.
Tim, Hopefully you didn't listen to JSN55. The CC dispute is likely your only hope. I was in the same boat and feeling sorry for a company who spends your money before they've earned it is not a valid reason to not give you your money back, but is what they are going for. Unless you have a "cancel for any reason' insurance policy or a DR's not saying someone was actively sick and you canceled the trip before they closed then insurance will not pay for it. I just got that call from my insurance today. I was able to force Sandals to provide a 50% refund since legally that's what was mandated for me cancelling it within that timeline. Hopefully you kept the credit card challenge active because SANDALs will NOT do the right thing unless absolutely forced and the credit card company is the only one with that power.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,730
10,525
113
San Francisco
Tim, Hopefully you didn't listen to JSN55. The CC dispute is likely your only hope. I was in the same boat and feeling sorry for a company who spends your money before they've earned it is not a valid reason to not give you your money back, but is what they are going for. Unless you have a "cancel for any reason' insurance policy or a DR's not saying someone was actively sick and you canceled the trip before they closed then insurance will not pay for it. I just got that call from my insurance today. I was able to force Sandals to provide a 50% refund since legally that's what was mandated for me cancelling it within that timeline. Hopefully you kept the credit card challenge active because SANDALs will NOT do the right thing unless absolutely forced and the credit card company is the only one with that power.
This thread is two months old.
 
Apr 7, 2020
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Unfortunately, The Credit Card dispute didn’t work. Sandals actually lied about their response to me. They said that they are offering us to rebook during the 18 month period following our original dates. Trip insurance ( after waiting forever) has issued a credit to rebook also. Neil... just so you know going forward... Sandals is a VERY DISHONEST business entity and I’m not happy with VISA nor Trip Mate. I guess I never realized that when I book a trip and pay for service as agreed upon that I become a stake holder in such business. Sandals Resorts are a bunch of lying thieves. I’m done being angry and upset. I honestly hope they go bankrupt. I cannot enjoy a vacation at their resort. I Hope they choke on MY money.
 
Apr 7, 2020
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I forgot.. Sandals issued me a cancellation number. I sent everything to my VISA as requested. VISA said to just provide a statement that I paid for services not received. I did. I provided lots of documentation. Sandals Resorts are crooks and VISA and Trip Mate are supporters of it. End of story.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,021
22,975
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Unfortunately, The Credit Card dispute didn’t work. Sandals actually lied about their response to me. They said that they are offering us to rebook during the 18 month period following our original dates. Trip insurance ( after waiting forever) has issued a credit to rebook also. Neil... just so you know going forward... Sandals is a VERY DISHONEST business entity and I’m not happy with VISA nor Trip Mate. I guess I never realized that when I book a trip and pay for service as agreed upon that I become a stake holder in such business. Sandals Resorts are a bunch of lying thieves. I’m done being angry and upset. I honestly hope they go bankrupt. I cannot enjoy a vacation at their resort. I Hope they choke on MY money.
Sandals did allow you to rebook within 18 months. They did this for all reservations they canceled. You stated it in your original post.
 
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Sandals did allow you to rebook within 18 months. They did this for all reservations they canceled. You stated it in your original post.
In the absence of a contractual provision, such as force majeure, or a new law, as in Italy, our OP is entitled to a return of his funds. Our OP has not told us what Sandals told the credit card company.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,021
22,975
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www.promalvacations.com
I can tell you from experience that the credit card companies are not unilaterally finding in favor of the cardholders. This isn’t the first case we’ve seen of a declined charge back by a credit card company when the supplier has given client a credit. We have a list from the cc companies with answers on what they will consider for a dispute.

The only other suggestion I have is that the OP file a complaint with the CFPB. We’ve seen some reversals after consumers filed complaints.

 
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I can tell you from experience that the credit card companies are not unilaterally finding in favor of the cardholders. This isn’t the first case we’ve seen of a declined charge back by a credit card company when the supplier has given client a credit. We have a list from the cc companies with answers on what they will consider for a dispute.

The only other suggestion I have is that the OP file a complaint with the CFPB. We’ve seen some reversals after consumers filed complaints.

I have, on a number of occasions, persuaded a credit card company that it was wrong.