It doesn’t happen to every traveler or consumer, but when it happens to YOU, it’s frustrating; it’s costly; it’s time consuming; it’s [well, you fill in the space].
So, what is the it that causes these pains and anxiety?
- It’s when something goes wrong that you don’t feel is your fault. You know, things like
- The airline messes up your reservation and now you’re not seated together
- A tire on the rental car goes flat and the spare tire lasts only a few miles, long away from any place to have it fixed
- Your suitcase with all the fancy clothes arrives after the wedding
- The cruise line agent talked you into upgrading to a verandah stateroom, but the weather was so cold and windy that you could never step out onto it
- Your cell phone “dies” exactly one month after the warranty expires
- You volunteer to give up your airline seat in exchange for a travel voucher for a slightly later flight, and now your new flight is delayed so you’ll miss your connection
- The hotel website says “Breakfast in the lounge is included”; except you’re there for the weekend and the lounge isn’t open on the weekends
- You purchase an it-looks-too-good-to-be-true airfare and put down a non-refundable deposit for the hotel and buy the concert tickets only to have the airline cancel your reservation calling it a “mistake fare”
What are you going to do now?
If you’re like many travelers and consumers, you’ll scream and yell at anyone you can find. And what good does that do? Probably, nothing.
Ah, what about calling the toll-free Customer Service line? Those people are trained to speak in a low, soothing voice to calm you down. But do you get your money back or any other satisfaction? Maybe; but that’s typically less than 10% of the time.
Isn’t there anyone out there who will help me?
Yes, there is. Christopher Elliott is a consumer advocate who has been helping travelers and consumers for many years. Thanks to his inside knowledge and a network of volunteers, he has amassed a list of contacts at many travel, hospitality and retail companies so you don’t have to try to find the almost impossible email address or phone number.
Oh, yes. He and his team also advocate for consumers by reaching out to the “offending” companies to seek a satisfactory resolution to the problem. Do they “win” all the time? No, but it’s a higher percentage than you’d think.
For more information about Christoper Elliott and his team, please visit elliott.org. Once there, you can read the latest articles, sign up for his newsletter, and even volunteer to help other consumers and travelers.
Stuart Gustafson is America’s International Travel Expert® who speaks on cruise ships, writes novels, sends out an infrequent newsletter (almost every month!), is an avid TripAdvisor reviewer, and loves everything about travel. Visit his website at www.stuartgustafson.com. You can also connect with him and other travelers on his International Travel Expert page on Facebook at www.facebook.com/International-Travel-Expert-147321228683651/
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