To help! My vacation package is missing a hotel

After her hotel closes for renovations, Amber Sharma’s vacation package seems to be falling apart. Now the online agency she bought it with won’t help her fix it.

Question

I recently booked a vacation package to Cozumel, Mexico through Priceline. I called hotel guest services yesterday to ask a question, at which point I was informed that the hotel was closed for construction and would remain closed until next year.

I called Priceline today to get a full refund for the package. They said they couldn’t confirm the hotel was closed because no one answered the hotel phone – because, well, they’re closed – and even so they could only offer a refund for the hotel. Perhaps the best they could do was a credit from the airline for the cost of the ticket.

I tried to politely tell them that I had booked a package, not a flight and hotel separately, and that there would be no point in me going if I couldn’t stay where I needed . The hotel I had booked is all inclusive and has good prices. It also caters to divers by having a private jetty with boat pickups etc. I am also, as a young woman, traveling alone and on a budget, and only felt comfortable at this hotel because I have stayed there in the past.

Help me please. I would really appreciate anything you can do. — Amber Sharma, Washington

To respond

Priceline should have contacted you when the hotel announced it was closing for renovations and offered you a comparable package. But ultimately, since Priceline sold you the package, it’s responsible for making sure you can actually use all the components of the trip as advertised.

It’s unclear why this didn’t happen, but to be fair to Priceline, it has to track tens of thousands of hotels in its system and then match each hotel to a reservation. Maybe your hotel didn’t notify Priceline of the temporary closure. It may be, but Priceline was unable to find your reservation and then contact you.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance. Allianz travel insurance company has built its reputation by partnering with agents around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance to their customers. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a full list of coverage.

Looking at your file, I notice that you tried to solve this problem over the phone. It would have been the right way to solve this problem if you had landed in Cozumel and found yourself without a hotel (thank goodness it didn’t come to that) but when you still have some time before your vacation, sending an email works best. Also, Priceline records suggest that you only gave the company two hours from when you contacted them to when you wrote to me. I might have given the company a little more time.

Remember, there is no record of a phone conversation, but you can keep a thread and forward it to a supervisor – or me. Priceline email addresses follow the format [email protected] and you can find a list of its handlers online.

I also list the names of Priceline executives on my site.

Fortunately, none of this was necessary. In fact, apparently neither do I. By the time I contacted the company on your behalf, they had already agreed to issue a full refund.

About Brad S. Fulton

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