I wanted to write a post to stress the importance of reading all the details before signing up for any promotions, products, services and booking vacations. Most of us take it for granted that whatever it is we are signing for is exactly what we expect it to be.
For example, perhaps you may be overly excited about the item you are signing your name to on a contract. This can relate to anything from purchasing a new cell phone to an agreement for services you may be applying for. In the case of the cell phone, you would need to be very cognizant of the terms you will be locked in for per say a ‘free phone’ and for services, we have to make sure that we will be getting what we paid for and if we are not, we must look for the compensations and return and cancellation policies and what we receive in return for breaking the contract. It’s no different for hiring services from an editor, a cover artist or even booking travel insurance for a vacation. We always need to read the fine print for those little clauses that aren’t covered in a policy or if we aren’t happy with a service, how we can end the agreement without having to pay the full price or how we can get reimbursed.
But today I’m going to share a little glitch I ran into when I booked a lovely week vacation for this coming fall to Arizona. I was cautious as usual when I was searching for a good deal and as a seasoned traveler, I made sure to check that all taxes and surcharges were inclusive in the price for the vacation I had chosen. There were a couple of drawbacks I wasn’t thrilled about, like no offering of transfers from Phoenix airport to the twenty mile away resort I was going to stay at in Scottsdale, but because everything was such a great deal I overlooked the approximate $150 it was going to cost to get to and from the airport. The booking was explicit in highlighted text that all other fares and taxes and surcharges were inclusive in the package price. As I was so excited about my upcoming trip I went online to peruse the beautiful resort I was booked to stay at. As I went through the lovely list of accommodations, I noticed that it said that all rooms would incur a ‘resort fee’ added to their room bill of $29 U.S. plus applicable taxes. What is this I just saw? Was that another $230 U.S I now had to the expense of added to my vacation? I know very well in the past two years U.S. hotels had begun charging this bogus ‘daily resort fee’ in hotels and I had to succumb to it but being that the trip I paid for had said everything was included, it got me thinking if that meant the additional resort fees were also included, so naturally I called the airline which I had booked my trip with and voiced my concern. I was told by a pleasant girl that the resort fees were extra and not included. I begged to differ. I told her that their website clearly states ALL TAXES AND SERVICES AND SURCHARGES were included. I was adamant and continued my speech by telling her that a major airline should not be misleading the public. We all work hard for our money and we budget for a vacation and people need to know all the costs involved.
After pleading my case for well over a half an hour and being placed on hold several times, the girl requested I send her a copy of the inclusive charges listed on the page of my booking copy. I suppose it also didn’t hurt that I mentioned to her that I was a writer and I would be only too happy to write about the injustice of this airline. I scanned and forwarded her a copy of my booking and the stated terms and within two hours I had a return phone call. It went something like this:
Girl: “Hello Mrs. Gies, I am just calling to let you know that our company does not pay for resort fees incurred by the hotel properties, but in your case we are making an exception. Please keep your receipt upon checking out from your hotel and submit it to us at this address . . .and we will promptly refund you for the extra charges.” I thanked her for rectifying the situation and suggested the airline update their page to read correctly as to not mislead the public into thinking EVERYTHING was included. I also couldn’t help but wonder why they had made an exception for me . . . could my mention of being a writer had anything to do with it?
Now, I am quite sure nobody else argued these charges or I’d have to assume the list of inclusions would have already been rectified. But the moral of the story here is READ THE FINE PRINT and if you feel justified in what you have signed for, you have nothing to lose, only to gain, by calling up the company and defending your rights.
Note: I haven’t mentioned the name of the airline because they were courteous and helpful in resolving the issue with me and I don’t wish to mar their name, but if I don’t get my refund upon my return . . . you can be sure they and you will be hearing about it again.
Update: Oh yes I did get reimbursed by the airline!