By Christopher Elliott
Q: I recently booked a Viking cruise as a retirement gift for my wife. I was charged the cost of the cruise, travel insurance and an airline upcharge that guaranteed us flights on Delta Air Lines.
Three days later, Viking notified us that we couldn’t get a Delta flight. A representative told me that Delta was still a possibility, but I would have to pay an additional $600. I immediately asked for a full refund. They have only refunded $4,750 of the $5,748 I paid, leaving $998 remaining.
Viking didn’t give me the correct information from the start. Had we not been guaranteed Delta, I would not have bought the cruise. This is a questionable business practice. I initiated a credit card dispute, but my credit card company ruled in Viking’s favor.
This has nothing to do with buyer’s remorse or finding a better deal. Can you help me get back the remaining $998 that I paid for my tickets and insurance?
— Brent Richter, Davenport, Florida
A: If Viking promised you Delta tickets, it should have delivered them. And if it can’t, it should have refunded your cruise.
Why do the tickets have to be on Delta? I can answer that. Delta is the top-rated legacy airline in the United States, and many travelers who are in the know will go out of their way to fly on Delta. And you probably also want to earn your frequent flier miles.
Regardless, a deal’s a deal. Although Viking refunded most of your cruise, you should have received a full refund.
A credit card dispute wouldn’t really work in this case. In my experience, disputing part of your purchase is tricky and often impossible. I have details on how to dispute your credit card purchase in my complete guide to credit card disputes, which can be found on my advocacy site, Elliott.org.
I think applying steady pressure on Viking would have yielded better results. I list the names, numbers and email addresses of the Viking customer service executives on my site as well. A brief, polite email to one of them might have fixed this problem for you.
You kept a great paper trail of correspondence between you and Viking. In it, the company guaranteed that you would get flights on Delta. Coming back and asking for another $600 was a violation of your original agreement. You had every right to ask for a refund.
In fairness to Viking, a representative contacted you after you asked for a full refund, and tried to make things right. But by then, you had already booked another cruise. You contacted my advocacy team, and we reached out to Viking on your behalf. You received a full refund. Viking also sent you $500 in cruise vouchers as an apology.
Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy (elliottadvocacy.org), a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at email@example.com or get help by contacting him at elliottadvocacy.org/help.