I'm a brand new cruiser and my wife and I are taking the plunge on an Alaskan cruise with Princess to celebrate our anniversary and her birthday. Unfortuately I may have booked my cruise with the worst travel agent/agency I've ever encountered.
Let me explain. We agreed on a price last July for a cruise in June of '07 with Esther, yes the very same Esther that was complained about here before. The price was greed upon and I made a deposit. Fastfoward to March when the final payment was due. I received a receipt saying "PAID IN FULL" and "FINAL PAYMENT" for the agreed upon price. I noticed my wife's name was spelled incorrectly as was my mailing address. I emailed her to make the changes. Two days later I received a second receipt with the corrections. I didn't check the numbers as I was only concerned with getting my wife's name correct so it matches up with the manifest. A couple of days later, I noticed a separate charge on my credit card for $97.xx. I emailed her and she said "I will check on it". A week goes by and I email again. She replied "I call and they will refund the card". I email again several days later to remind her and she said "OK I will". Another week or so I emailed again, this time asking again why I was charged in the first place and that I'm getting upset. That was the last time I heard from her! I emailed several times after, and left a phone message, and she NEVER got back to me. I finally looked on the SECOND final payment receipt, and there was an extra charge listed beneath the final payment amount that said $94.xx. What??? Did the charges change in the two days between the FIRST and SECOND receipt? Isn't the first receipt final, since it said PAID IN FULL for the agreed upon price? What's going on? All I wanted was for her to change my wife's name and our address!!! She never even called attention to the extra charge and I hadn't looked at it since I had no reason to believe the price would change in 2 days???
I call Princess and they gave me the "we can't discuss it because we have a contract with the company" so they won't help me, What kind of policy is that? So now I can't get my agent to return my call or emails. I've tried calling her supervisor and no response either. I finally got ahold of someone else in the agency and all of a sudden, there was a "note" in their computer system that said the extra charge was an increase in taxes to Alaska through Princess, even though I had called 2 hours earlier and their own finance department had no idea and there was no "note" suggesting a tax. They put me on hold while they "checked with Princess" and lo and behold, Princess overcharged me the 3 dollars, and the travel agency will cut me a check for the 3 dolloars, but the $94.xx stands. Suspicious, I call Princess immediately after and the lady on the phone said didn't receive any call. She too was confused. Unfortunately, in her effort to help me, she transferred me to someone higher up who gave me a very rude and terse "We can't discuss it. All we can tell you is you made final payment. You'll have to take it up with your travel agent. Good luck to you."
C'mon. Once I got that first receipt with the PAID IN FULL on it, isn't that it? What right do they have to continue charging my card without notification and simply send me another receipt 2 days later????
Since Princess won't say anything because they're covering their butts, and my travel agent won't return my messages, what am I supposed to do??? Anything??? It has been almost 4 weeks since she promised she would refund my money and now it's become a "tax increase". Esther isn't new to the business so if it was indeed a tax, she would've known that and not promise me a refund in the first place. NO ONE CAN TELL ME WHAT THE CHARGE WAS IN THE FIRST PLACE!! All this is so shady and deceitful. I can't believe this is how a cruise line would do business, allowing a travel agent to run rampant with your credit card and not have to explain anything from either end. I haven't set foot on a ship yet, and already I'm turned off to cruising and especially Princess.
I'm going to dispute the charge with my credit card company, but I don't know what my chances are. I may try the BBB too.
What do you all think??? Am I crazy? If this post gets someone to think twice about this company, I will gladly eat the loss. I wish I had read this complaint below before I booked with them:
You've been warned.....
UPDATE: The supervisor has at least agreed to refund my money, although with no explanation as to what happened in the first place. We'll see if he actually makes good.