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NSW P&O Cruises Upgrade Not Given - Should I Ask for Refund?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by swee h ang, 25 April 2014.

  1. swee h ang

    swee h ang Active Member

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    I approached a travel agent with a brochure stating "free upgrade to balcony" for P&O Cruises. I asked the travel agent to check if the "free upgrade" is still available. I booked and paid when she replied "yes".

    When checking in on the day of sailing, I was told I was upgraded. I asked whether I am upgraded to the "balcony" and the receptionist said "yes".

    However, when I boarded the cruise ship and went to the allotted cabin, it was an "inside" cabin. Thinking it was a mistake, I spoke to the ship's receptionist about the problem. He said he has to contact the shore for confirmation and contact me. While waiting for reply from the ship's receptionist, the ship set sail.

    Later I was told the ship was fully booked and no "balcony cabin" is available. My wife told me that 3 days after I paid for the booking, the "inside cabin" was advertised for $300 less than "balcony".
    Who should I seek a redress from? The travel agent and/or travel agency or P and O Cruises?

    Am I entitled for a full refund or a partial refund base on lower price for the "inside cabin" advertised after I had booked and paid for the "free upgrade to balcony" under Australian Consumer Law?

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi Swee,
    Do you still have the brochure from the travel agent (or any other marketing materials from P&O Cruises) in relation to the "free upgrade to balcony" offer? If yes, what does it say?
     
  3. swee h ang

    swee h ang Active Member

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    Thanks.
    Yes I still have the brochure. The price on the brochure actually is exactly the same for inside cabin and balcony but also state "free upgrade to balcony".

    My gut feeling is the travel agent did not make a mistake but deliberately make my booking as an "inside cabin".
     
  4. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi Swee,
    Does the brochure have an asterisk near the "free upgrade to balcony" text or any terms and conditions in the brochure that discusses, for example, that the free upgrade to balcony is subject to certain requirements and/or availability? If yes, please reply with this text.
     
  5. swee h ang

    swee h ang Active Member

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    :

    Hi John,

    The brochure has no asterisk. Under the Special Offer column it said : Free inside to Balcony Upgrade(highlighted in Red).
    Terms and Conditions in Brochure: Fares are per person in AUD, in complete twin stateroom as specified, based on lead categories per meta stated(unless otherwise stated, inclusive of all discounts taxes and charges(which are subject to change).Some oceanviews and balcony staterooms may have an obstructed view. To be read in conjunction with the Terms and Conditions contain in the latest Cunard/P&O world cruising brochure which passengers will be bound by. A limited number of cabins have been set aside at these special fares, once sold fares may revert to a higher fare or the full fare. Complete Cruise Solution reserves the right to do so at any time. Conditions apply. Whilst all informations are correct at the time of publications, offers are subject to change. Please check with Complete Cruise Solution at the time of booking. Terms & Conditions apply to this fare, please check at time of booking.

    Thanks for the reply.
     
  6. Elle W

    Elle W Active Member

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    Hello there Swee!

    Ok this is a bit confusing. Do I understand correctly?

    (1) So you actually paid for an inside cabin price but there's an offer of free upgrade to balcony.
    (2) You were only "told" that you will get to upgrade;
    (3) But still end up in the inside cabin because there's no available balcony.

    for the above 3 statements, I don't think you can file a complaint because even though there's no asterisk, there are still terms and conditions indicated in the brochure that it is subject to change and only "A limited number of cabins have been set aside at these special fares".
     
  7. swee h ang

    swee h ang Active Member

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    Hi Elle

    1) When I approached the travel agent the the first thing I asked the agent to do was check whether the 'free Inside to Balcony Upgrade' was still available. The agent said 'yes' and asked me whether I wanted to book and pay, I told her to proceed. Had the agent said 'no' I would not have told the agent to proceed with the booking.

    2) On the day of embarkation, the receptionist (on shore side) checking us in approach his supervisor, who then picked up a slip of paper and reading from it said to me "you have been upgraded". I then asked the receptionist who handed me the boarding papers whether we were 'upgraded' to a balcony cabin and he replied "yes". On boarding the vessel and entering our assigned cabin I realized it was an inside cabin and not a balcony. I immediately went and spoke to the the ship's reception officer about the problem and he said he has to contact the shore's side that did the check-in and let me know the outcome. In the meantime the ship set sail, the ship's reception officer did not get back to me about my
    problem. Later I found out that the ship was fully booked from P&O representative on board. With the exception of private suites, this vessel only have inside or balcony cabins,. i.e the only upgrade is from inside to balcony cabins.

    3) Yes, I end up with inside cabin but only because the travel agent did not make my booking as "free inside to Balcony Upgrade" as I had instructed. In any case the price listed in the brochure for inside and balcony cabins are exactly the same price.

    Thanks.
     
  8. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi Swee,
    1. Have you written a complaint letter/email to your travel agent (I assume Complete Cruise Solution) in relation to the issue? Assuming that you are in NSW, the NSW Office of Fair Trading has a good guide and sample letter templates to assist.
    2. If your travel agent is unable to resolve your complaint, you can submit a complaint online to the NSW Office of Fair Trading.
    3. You may also consider reviewing the NSW Office of Fair Trading's guide on what to do when travel goes wrong.
    Please keep us updated as to your progress.
     

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