Can you find our miss­ing re­sort credit at the Riu?

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - TRAVEL - By Christo­pher El­liott

A: You’re right — a re­sort credit is not the same thing as a coupon. Or­b­itz, the site through which you booked your stay at the Riu Palace Trop­i­cal Bay, should have worked with the ho­tel to se­cure your cred­its.

I know you didn’t want to let this prob­lem in­ter­fere with your va­ca­tion, but the sooner you say some­thing, the eas­ier the res­o­lu­tion. A quick ap­peal to a man­ager or to some­one at a higher level at Riu might have fixed this prob­lem while you were still in Ja­maica. I pub­lish the names, num­bers and email ad­dresses of Riu Ho­tels & Re­sorts on my non­profit

We need help with re­cov­er­ing a miss­ing re­sort credit. Ear­lier this year, we booked three rooms at the Riu Palace Trop­i­cal Bay in Ne­gril, Ja­maica, for a fam­ily re­union.

The rea­son we booked this re­sort over go­ing to oth­ers in the Ne­gril area was that it ad­ver­tised a $470 re­sort credit per room if we booked through Or­b­itz.

When we checked in, the Riu gave us coupons for ser­vices at the ho­tel. We ex­plained that we were to re­ceive $470 in re­sort credit per room. The staff told me that they can­not honor this and I needed to take it up with my book­ing agent.

In­stead of wast­ing time on va­ca­tion, we waited un­til we re­turned and spent a to­tal of seven hours on the phone with Or­b­itz in hopes to clear this sit­u­a­tion. In the end, Or­b­itz made claims in writ­ing stat­ing that they do not take re­spon­si­bil­ity for this mishap and, in fact, the ho­tel is to be held re­spon­si­ble to rem­edy this sit­u­a­tion.

A coupon is not a credit. A credit is money that can be used up to the amount of the credit. A coupon is a dis­count on any ad­di­tion­ally pur­chased ser­vices.

We feel that the ho­tel ad­ver­tised some­thing that was en­tic­ing enough to lure us to book and they did not honor their ad­ver­tise­ment. It is un­fair and not right. Can you help us? con­sumer ad­vo­cacy site.

Ul­ti­mately, this was some­thing your on­line travel agency should have fixed — either dur­ing or af­ter your stay. But Or­b­itz sim­ply de­ferred to the

Riu. By the way, I pub­lish the names, num­bers and email ad­dresses of Or­b­itz’s customer ser­vice ex­ec­u­tives.

In fact, Or­b­itz de­cided to split hairs on your def­i­ni­tion of “credit.” “Or­b­itz can­not ac­cept re­spon­si­bil­ity for what you felt was the mis­use of the word ‘credit,’ ” it wrote. “Please un­der­stand that Or­b­itz has ad­vo­cated on your be­half to the prop­erty on sev­eral oc­ca­sions re­quest­ing com­pen­sa­tion due to this mat­ter, in which we have been un­suc­cess­ful.”

Or­b­itz of­fered you a $270 re­fund and a $200 coupon as a res­o­lu­tion, but you were un­happy with that. I con­tacted Or­b­itz on your be­half, and it of­fered you $940 in Or­b­itz credit, which you can use for a fu­ture trip. You ac­cepted the of­fer.

Christo­pher El­liott is the om­buds­man for Na­tional Ge­o­graphic Trav­eler mag­a­zine and the au­thor of “How to Be the World’s Smartest Trav­eler.” You can read more travel tips on his blog, el­, or email him at [email protected]­

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