Q: I had to cancel a trip to Iceland when my fully vaccinated daughter and her boyfriend, who was supposed to travel with us, contracted COVID-19. I had to cancel all the prepaid components of our trip, which required many emails and phone calls. I was within the cancellation window for all the components of our vacation.
Most refunds were prompt. But I’m having trouble with the Blue Lagoon, a resort hotel, and a snorkeling trip. The Blue Lagoon will not respond to any inquiries, even though I received confirmation of cancellation. I have not seen a refund from them.
DIVE.IS, the snorkeling tour company, claims they never received my emails to cancel. They later responded to my inquiries via email — so the company must be receiving them — and also via Facebook. They said their tech team would “look into it,” but that was more than a week ago, and I have heard nothing since.
I contacted them again but have received no response. I’m just wondering what else I can do to get results from a company in Iceland. I have told them that we will rebook someday, so I want to be able to do business with them again. I am worried that both of these companies will just ghost me, and I have no recourse.
Can you help me get a refund of my prepaid Blue Lagoon and snorkeling tickets?
— Kim Josund, Lake Forest Park
A: Both the hotel and the tour operator should have promptly acknowledged your cancellation and returned your money.
And I realize you’ve heard this before, but it merits repeating: Things got a little crazy during the pandemic when it came to refunds. Companies that normally respond to a refund request quickly have taken weeks or months to respond. There’s no excuse for that.
Let’s take these cases one by one. Blue Lagoon appeared to be in business during the time of your visit but apparently deprioritized refund requests. So, when you contacted it, the hotel just put your request on the back burner. You were, indeed, within the cancellation window. You kept a paper trail of your correspondence with the resort, even though no one responded.
It was just a matter of being persistent and polite with Blue Lagoon. That’s really difficult when you’re dealing with a large cancellation like yours. And frankly, you shouldn’t have to wait for a refund. They took your money in a few seconds — is it asking too much to return it in a timely manner?
On the snorkeling tour refund request, a look at your records reveals that they hadn’t acknowledged your timely cancellation of the dive trip. If you don’t receive an acknowledgment, you shouldn’t assume the email was received. So, you reached out to them again.
I contacted Blue Lagoon on your behalf. It offered a full refund, which you should have received under the terms of your purchase. DIVE.IS offered you a voucher for a future trip. You accepted both and plan to reschedule your trip to Iceland.
Christopher Elliott is the chief advocacy officer of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers resolve their problems. Elliott’s latest book is “How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler” (National Geographic). Contact him at elliott.org/help or firstname.lastname@example.org.