O Captain! My captain, why are you keeping my deposit?

Tim Clark chartered a fishing excursion to celebrate his son’s upcoming wedding. When inclement weather caused the entire trip to be canceled, he expected his $500 deposit to be quickly returned.

The captain had other ideas. Read more “O Captain! My captain, why are you keeping my deposit?”

Hey VRBO, what happened to the security deposit on my vacation rental?

I’m a longtime admirer — and critic — of VRBO, the dominant vacation rental site. I like the way it consolidates a disorganized business like vacation rentals into a cohesive online marketplace and makes it easy for consumers and rental owners to find each other. But one thing I’ve never been able to understand is how it disingenuously feigns neutrality in disputes between managers and customers.
Read more “Hey VRBO, what happened to the security deposit on my vacation rental?”

Help, my Mexican vacation rental pocketed my deposit!

Blue Orange/ShutterstockNancie 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.)
Read more “Help, my Mexican vacation rental pocketed my deposit!”

I canceled my window order, but where’s my refund?

Question: I am at my wits’ end and need your help. I purchased and moved into a “not so new home” this summer. I am a senior on Social Security disability and on a limited income, but I had a little money left over from the sale of my small home in another city, so I decided to put it into more energy efficient windows that would help conserve energy.
Read more “I canceled my window order, but where’s my refund?”

Was this Grand Canyon vacation rental a grand scam?

Hey, where did my deposit go?
The rental cabin in Williams, Ariz., she found through VRBO.com had three bedrooms — the perfect size for her family. So last year, Trudi Wood sent the owner a $839 check for a deposit.
Read more “Was this Grand Canyon vacation rental a grand scam?”

Did my rental company just disappear with my deposit?

Tom Frankel rented an apartment last fall through an agency called UsaParis. When he left the rental, he says it was in immaculate condition, and like any responsible renter, he expected to get his $500 security deposit back promptly.
Read more “Did my rental company just disappear with my deposit?”

Is this enough compensation? You missed your deadline — here’s a voucher

It was supposed to be the vacation of a lifetime for Johanna Robles and her extended family of 19, which included her husband, children and grandchildren. But when she tried to book the “Great Rivers of Europe” tour through Grand Circle Travel, the experience was less than great.

Since Robles and her husband were paying for the entire cruise — we’re talking tens of thousands of dollars — they wanted to make sure they understood the terms of their deposit. By the way, they’re clearly disclosed on GCT’s site.
Read more “Is this enough compensation? You missed your deadline — here’s a voucher”

Cancellation denial called “arbitrary and unfair” — but is it wrong?

Selma Sobelman wants to know. She booked a Panama Canal cruise through Overseas Adventure Travel, with the understanding that she’d have 30 days to cancel her trip, if necessary. But when she called the whole thing off, she learned the truth.

“We were told we would lose our deposits,” she says.

Did OAT misinform Sobelman when she made the original booking, and if so, should it refund her $500 deposit?

We received “Cancellation Claim” Forms from Trip Mate, which said we could only be reimbursed for reasons of death or illness. None of
this was disclosed to us at the time of booking. My friend is 85 years old and I am 78.

We feel this is an arbitrary and unfair way to do business. Could you help us with this?

Read more “Cancellation denial called “arbitrary and unfair” — but is it wrong?”

“It has now cost me $1,200 to go nowhere”

Award tickets are not free. Victoria Casey knew that when she made plans to fly to Europe on US Airways this summer. Each reservation cost her $50, in addition to the 320,000 miles she spent for four first-class tickets.

But Casey never imagined she’s be paying the airline for nothing — and paying it a lot more than $200.

Hers is a cautionary tale about the value of frequent flier mileage programs.
Read more ““It has now cost me $1,200 to go nowhere””