The difference between “cancel” and “postpone”?

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Jul 28, 2020
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Vantage has sent out a message indicating that all cruises through the end of the year will not take place. I was scheduled for a Seine River cruise in September and suspected that it would likely be canceled. So I was disappointed but not surprised.

The problem is that they are not saying that my program has been canceled. They are saying that it has been postponed, and in a later message they used the word “rescheduled.” But here’s the thing, the reason I signed up for this program when I did was that Vantage announced many months ago that 2020 would be the final year they would offer programs on the Seine.

I just now finally managed to get through to a live person on the phone after an hour on hold. David informed me that they just had a meeting and it was "determined" that they would not be making any refunds on programs that were scheduled to take place in 2020 based on wording in the contract of terms and conditions. The contract very clearly says “If the tour is canceled by Vantage for any reason, Vantage shall have no liability beyond the prompt refund of all tour participants’ payments received by us.” (I read and highlighted these words in the contract before making my final payment.) They are clearly avoiding use of the word “canceled” and are encouraging people to look at offerings in 2021. I have looked at other offerings, but there is nothing that appeals to me … or “floats my boat.” This is clearly not a postponement or even a “change of itinerary.”

He said they are discussing the possibility of offering the Seine program in 2021, but no way to know if that will happen. So if I don't want to switch to a currently scheduled 2021 program, he said, I could opt for a "pending reservation" (i.e., cruise credit) with a 10% bonus, which of course, means that I would be giving up any possibility of getting a refund -- which he assured me I would not get because ... "they said." I told him that I am NOT accepting that offer and will wait for Vantage to reach out to me. (I asked him to make sure to note in my file that I am not accepting a cruise credit.)

My question for the community here: Do you have any insights or suggestions for how to deal with Vantage’s reluctance to actually utter or write the word “canceled”? I know to be polite, patient and persistent and to keep a record of all communication, but I hope to hear from others who may have successfully cut through this kind of situation to obtain a refund rather than a cruise credit.

Thank you.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
Here are the Vantage contacts: https://elliott.org/company-contacts/vantage-deluxe-world-travel/

Stop calling them. It is a waste of your time and anything you are told on the phone is not documented anywhere and can/will change the next time you talk to someone else.

You need to decide what you are looking for; is it only a refund or a reschedule on a Seine River cruise in 2021, and then present your wishes by email to Vantage. Start at the first level of customer service and escalate your contact to the next level until you reach a decision-maker level. What you have been told on the phone is not anything you can rely upon. You may reach someone who actually knows what is planned for 2021.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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Did they have anything in their terms for “force majeure”? That’s what this is considered and would override a regular cancellation policy.
A force majeure clause only works in this situation if it provides that if the cruise is cancelled credits rather than refunds may be offered. We’ve seen such clauses which in airline contracts of carriage. If the force majeure clause simply states that in the event of an act of God, pandemic, etc., the operator can cancel and the operator’s sole liability is to refund what was paid (and I‘ve seen such clauses), then a credit is not a permissible substitute.
 
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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
I have checked the terms and there is no force majeure wording in it. The OP is correct that the terms they mention above are the only terms on the website. I would suggest they grab a screen print of that and hang onto it.

OP can contact their credit card company if the supplier isn’t providing the refund their terms have in writing.
 
Jul 28, 2020
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I have checked the terms and there is no force majeure wording in it. The OP is correct that the terms they mention above are the only terms on the website. I would suggest they grab a screen print of that and hang onto it.

OP can contact their credit card company if the supplier isn’t providing the refund their terms have in writing.
I have downloaded a copy of the full terms & conditions (updated Jan 2020). I had previously annotated the summary version.

The only reference to "force majeure" is in this paragraph:
"Responsibility. Vantage is not responsible for any injury, loss, or damage to person
or property, death, delay or inconvenience in connection with t or resulting from, acts of
God, acts of government, force majeure, acts of war or civil unrest, insurrection or revolt,
strikes or other labor activities, criminal or terrorist activities of any kind, or the threat
thereof, or for any other cause beyond the direct control of Vantage."

Side note: Since the discussion with the agent, I went back to my trip portfolio and found that the contents about my specific trip have disappeared. (I had previously downloaded/taken screen shots.) Unfortunately, I paid in echeck (to get a piddling discount) so appeal to cc company is out.

Sounds like my best bet will be a snail mail letter to an individual stating what resolution I want: Refund. (I may consider booking with them in the future, but have no interest in a cruise credit at this time. In other words, I could still be a future customer.)

Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts so far.
 
Jul 28, 2020
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Em
Here are the Vantage contacts: https://elliott.org/company-contacts/vantage-deluxe-world-travel/

Stop calling them. It is a waste of your time and anything you are told on the phone is not documented anywhere and can/will change the next time you talk to someone else.

You need to decide what you are looking for; is it only a refund or a reschedule on a Seine River cruise in 2021, and then present your wishes by email to Vantage. Start at the first level of customer service and escalate your contact to the next level until you reach a decision-maker level. What you have been told on the phone is not anything you can rely upon. You may reach someone who actually knows what is planned for 2021.
Email does not appear to be a viable option at this time. Robo-response only directing me to call. Sounds like I should start composing a snail mail letter to someone with a real name.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,452
23,416
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
They may be trying to hide behind that force majeure clause even though it doesn’t really cover that IMO.

You aren’t the only one with this issue:


If writing to them doesn’t help (I would suggest you email, not write) you should file a complaint with the Attorney General in Massachusetts.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,452
23,416
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Em


Email does not appear to be a viable option at this time. Robo-response only directing me to call. Sounds like I should start composing a snail mail letter to someone with a real name.
Why isn’t email viable? You have the emails to the Executives who are usually the ones that solve problems that come here.
 
Jul 28, 2020
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Why isn’t email viable? You have the emails to the Executives who are usually the ones that solve problems that come here.
Yes. I will try the email to a named exec, which I subsequently found here on the site. What I meant was that email to the general address is pointless since they are not responding to email sent to that address with anything but a robo-response.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,452
23,416
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
This is how to write. Skip the customer service email and write to the first executive and leave at least a week in between emails:

 
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Jul 28, 2020
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We have received many submissions on this company, many with the same type of issue. Unfortunately, they haven't responded to our inquiries. We are encouraging consumers to file a complaint with their State's Attorney General
Thanks for the heads up and advice.
I have just composed, read and re-read a letter (email) to the first executive on the list and sent it off. I appreciate all the assistance on this site -- both on this forum and in the articles. I figure I will try two rounds -- depending on how/whether they respond -- before filing a complaint with the State Attorney General for MA.
 
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Sam

Jan 22, 2015
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Colorado
Due to the Covid mess, I might wait up to 2 weeks between emails instead of the normal one week advocated here in the forum, as I'm sure they are overwhelmed with emails
 
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