I canceled my Vantage cruise in 2020. I'm still waiting for my refund
September 22, 2022
David Maddox has been waiting years for a refund for his Vantage Travel tour. Why hasn't the company responded, and is there anything he can do to speed up the process?
Back in 2019, I made a reservation for my wife and myself to go on Vantage Travel's Croatia & Culinary Gems of the Adriatic Coast tour. Other members of our family were also planning to join us on this trip. I made the final payment of $20,655 for our trip in October 2019.
As part of the cost of the trip, I paid $999 per person for a "cancel for any reason" travel insurance policy from TripMate. Part of the reason was in case my sister-in-law's cancer recurred. Unfortunately, it did, and she died before the trip.
In early 2020, we canceled our tour and initiated a refund request through Vantage Travel. I also submitted a claim to TripMate. Because of the pandemic, Vantage canceled our tour before its scheduled departure.
TripMate reviewed the claim and approved it in mid-2020 but said payment would be made by Vantage.
I have emailed Vantage multiple times and have made several phone calls. Twice on phone calls, a representative provided projected dates when we would receive a refund. However, we have not received any refund or a written assurance as to when we will receive one. Can you help me get my $20,655 back?
David Maddox, Arlington, Va.
I'm so sorry about the loss of your sister-in-law. You should have received a quick refund on your prepaid, nonrefundable expenses after TripMate approved your claim. I don't know why you didn't, but I know you aren't alone. Many travelers had the same problem during the early days of the pandemic. It was a confusing time.
You handled this one by the book. You bought the correct insurance for your needs. A "cancel for any reason" policy will allow you to cancel your vacation for any reason and receive a partial refund. But some restrictions apply. Your TripMate policy was a little different from the standard "cancel for any reason" policy. It lets you cancel, and you'll receive your entire prepaid, nonrefundable trip cost "in the form of a Vantage Travel Certificate for the cancellation penalty amount."
So the best you could have done was a voucher. But Vantage also canceled your cruise. In that situation, you should have had a choice between a voucher and a refund. It looks like things got confused between your claim, the Vantage cancellation, and your refund request.
I publish the names, numbers and email addresses of the Vantage executives on my consumer advocacy site. A brief, polite email to one of them might have un-confused the process.
Bottom line: You should not have to wait years for a company to refund your purchase.
I contacted Vantage on your behalf, and it refunded your cruise.
Christopher Elliott's latest book is “How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler” (National Geographic). Get help by contacting him at http://www.elliott.org/hel
© 2022 Christopher Elliott