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Friend's illness raised cruise's cost

A friend and I purchased tickets for a cruise through Regan Cruise and Travel in December. At the time, my friend was being treated by her physician; she was told she had arthritis and was going to need cortisone shots, so she canceled the trip. I was then told I had to pay another $380 for the trip or I would have to cancel.

Knowing I had trip cancellation insurance, Jo Anne from Regan assured me I would be reimbursed for this amount. I put in a claim for this amount and included the medical forms from my friend's orthopedic specialist.

The insurance company said I would not be reimbursed becaused this was a pre-existing condition.

My friend is 80 and I am 72, and we never know what can happen from day to day. Otilie La Salata

Response: Jo Anne Di Fiore, owner of Regan Cruise and Travel in New Port Richey, said that you and your friend booked the cruise as roommates, and you both purchased the insurance. Your friend then canceled the cruise for medical reasons.

Since your roommate canceled within the time frame for receiving a full refund, she was able get her deposit back from the cruise line.

Di Fiore said you did not have a roommate after your friend canceled, therefore the cabin had to be sold at the single rate, which added $380 to your cost. She said she called the insurance company at that time and questioned whether the difference would be covered under your roommate's insurance.

One fact she was not aware of, however, is that your roommate had had a problem for quite some time with her knees and was in quite a lot of pain. The booking had been made by phone, she said, so there was no way she could have known.

Your roommate was sent the forms for her doctors to fill out and return to the insurance company. Since she had been under their care for this condition longer than the 60 days before the insurance was taken out, the insurance company felt this was a pre-existing condition.

Di Fiore said that had you made her aware of the longevity of your friend's medical problems, she would have suggested that you cancel the trip or try to get another roommate.

Di Fiore said that she has no control over the insurance company's decisions and does not think her company should be responsible for the rate difference.

Order was shipped

On March 19, I sent a check for $90 and an order to Starcrest of California. The check cleared my bank but nothing was ever received. I called and was told there was no record of my order and to send a copy of the front and back of my canceled check. I sent the copies, along with a recap of my order. About 10 days later, I called Starcrest and talked to Pat. She gave me the same litany: Nothing was showing up in the computer. She said she would search for the order and get back with me. I waited until June 11 for her reply. Nothing.

On June 11, I was told the same thing. I would need to send another copy of the check and when it was received the problem would be taken care of, etc.

I am still waiting. Ina Tigar

Response: According to Starcrest of California, your order was shipped on July 6, and you should get it soon. Let us know if you don't.

Back-ordered dress

On May 14, I ordered a dress from Beautiful Images in Phoenix. I have called three times and sent three letters trying to get either my dress or a refund. My $24.90 check was cashed. Please help. Mary Van Fossen

Response: Carin Marzano, customer service representative for Beautiful Images in Phoenix, said your order was received on May 14.

You were then sent a notice to inform you that your item was on back-order, and that a refund would be processed if the company was unable to ship the merchandise within 60 days from the order date. It did get the item in, Marzano said, and it was shipped on June 15.

Action received your complaint on June 18, so we suspect it and your dress crossed in the mail. We have not heard from you, so we are hoping that you received your merchandise.

Action solves problems and gets answers for you. If you have a question, or your own attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call your Action number, (727) 893-8171, or, outside of Pinellas, toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ext. 8171, to leave a recorded request.

Requests will be accepted only by mail or voice mail; calls cannot be returned. We will not be responsible for personal documents, so please send only photocopies. If your complaint concerns merchandise ordered by mail, we need copies of both sides of your canceled check.

We may require additional information or prefer to reply by mail; therefore, readers must provide a full mailing address, including ZIP code. Names of letter writers will not be omitted except in unusual circumstances. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

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