Many airlines, hotel brands and cruise lines have issued voluntary refunds for cancellations due to COVID-19, but one man says his refund fell through the cracks.
David Chavez and his wife enjoyed their 2019 Carnival Cruise vacation so much they booked another cruise set to sail in April 2020.
Chavez paid $2,451 for the six-day Caribbean cruise, but as concerns over the coronavirus grew, he chose to cancel the trip.
“The agent called me back and said they are offering full refunds, or I could keep my money with them, and I decided no, I am going to get my full refund,” Chavez said.
He says he got a refund for $1,000 immediately, but says he was told the remaining balance of $1,450 would be sent in a check since the bank account he used to purchase the tickets was no longer active.
When weeks went by without a full refund, he called the cruise line back.
“They kept saying the bank has your money, you need to call the bank,” Chavez said.
He says his bank didn’t have the money either.
“I thought they were going to keep my money and I wasn’t going to see my money again,” Chavez said.
After months of back and forth, Chavez called NBC 6 Responds.
When we reached out to Carnival Cruise Line, a representative told us in a statement, “The volume of cancellations is something we have never seen, and frankly, could never have imagined. We annually sail more than 5 million guests. We have cancelled cruises for more than six months – from March through October, including the very busy spring break and summer vacation periods. So there are millions of cancellations we have processed. There might still be some small pockets of refunds that are still in process and those are due to some back-end technical glitches where the refunds were literally stuck in a queue that we could not see. So we have had to go in and manually pull, sort and process them.”
The representative went on to say, “These were mostly transactions where guests had used multiple forms of payment, or some group bookings through travel agents. For the most part, we are caught up, and sincerely apologize and promise that we are working on getting any remaining guests their refunds as quickly as possible and thank them for their patience and understanding.”
Less than a week after we contacted Carnival, Chavez says he got a check for the remaining balance of his refund.
“You can’t give up, you worked hard for that money,” Chavez said.
Chavez is still waiting on roughly $200 he paid for shore excursions. A Carnival representative told us that shore excursions go through a different refund process but that Chavez should expect to receive his money back for those too.