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Can cruise companies refuse to give money back for cancelled cruises and give ONLY FCC?


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Originally booked 7 cabins for June 2020.  When that was cancelled, we were offered a refund or FCC with perks to reschedule, which we did.  Now this rescheduled cruise is cancelled.  Half of the group no longer wants to reschedule, but we have been told that since THIS cruise was booked with FCC, that is the only refund we can get.  And even though we took insurance, the insurer is saying that we will not have lost anything as long as the cruise line offers full credit.  We booked this in 2019, knowing nothing about a pandemic and made the decision to rebook a full year out assuming all would be well by then.  But cruisers who booked during the pandemic knowing the full risks, ARE getting full refunds when their cruises are cancelled, not FCC.  How is this fair?  We allowed NCL to hold onto our money for an extra year.  And now we will only have 18 months to "use it or lose it".  Has anyone had any luck getting a refund rather than the FCC?  Any suggestions on how to handle this?

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There are a number of threads here about this, but generally the answer is no, you won't get a cash refund.  The terms of the FCC are pretty explicit that once you accept FCC (which you did) it no longer has any cash value, and cannot be refunded to cash.  There have been a couple of people who have claimed to get their cash back by disputing the charge on their credit card, but I think those instances are the exception rather than the rule.  

 

One thing to note - the FCC is transferrable, so you may be able to give/sell it to someone else (I don't think it's allowed to sell FCC on CC, but there are other places you can).  That way if you're really unable to use it, it might not be a total loss.

Edited by kaprin02
clarity
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It's pretty simple: if you accepted FCC, then that is all you can get. People who booked during the pandemic with cash should be entitled to the same in return. I've seen this happen in retail all the time: someone buys something with cash or check/credit card, then returns the item and gets a store credit. Later, the person says he doesn't want the store credit and demands cash back. It's too late at that point. I would talk with my travel agent and see if there's any flexibility, but once you accept a future cruise credit, that's likely all you can get back. My wife and I are in a similar situation, we accepted FCC for a cancelled 2020 cruise and now it's possible the one we rebooked will be cancelled, too. We won't be entitled to our money back now, but we're okay with that because we know we'll eventually use it. Good luck and hope it all works out for you!

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There are no guarantees in life.  With all the fcc being issued and reissued, when does it stop?  With all the people getting covid and many have died, what's next?  I read too many obits.  Saying that you know that eventually you will use the fcc is being hopeful. I hope you are right.

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16 minutes ago, kaprin02 said:

There are a number of threads here about this, but generally the answer is no, you won't get a cash refund.  The terms of the FCC are pretty explicit that once you accept FCC (which you did) it no longer has any cash value, and cannot be refunded to cash.  There have been a couple of people who have claimed to get their cash back by disputing the charge on their credit card, but I think those instances are the exception rather than the rule.  

 

One thing to note - the FCC is transferrable, so you may be able to give/sell it to someone else (I don't think it's allowed to sell FCC on CC, but there are other places you can).  That way if you're really unable to use it, it might not be a total loss.

Thank you.  I didn't realize that the FCC was transferable... it was NOT when we first got it last April, but I see that this was changed in May.  That will at least give us an opportunity to use it.

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2 hours ago, Cinziaeye said:

When that was cancelled, we were offered a refund or FCC with perks to reschedule, which we did.  Now this rescheduled cruise is cancelled.  Half of the group no longer wants to reschedule, but we have been told that since THIS cruise was booked with FCC, that is the only refund we can get.

 

NCL didn't "refuse to give money back", you chose to take the "FCC with perks".

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3 hours ago, Trimone said:

If you’re in Europe you could apply for section 75 chargeback with your credit card company.

I do it all the time with Amex.

Not when a refund isn't warranted.  In this case, the cruise line is right, they are not entitled to a refund.

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25 minutes ago, drew69 said:

Not when a refund isn't warranted.  In this case, the cruise line is right, they are not entitled to a refund.

It’s not down to the cruise line, it’s down to the CC company if they believe and you can prove the credits are unacceptable because a year as passed, you have attempted to rebook, and cancelled again, the credits are not fit for purpose, in the eyes of section 75 sale of goods act, the company isn’t providing what it sold you, covid or no covid.

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18 hours ago, Two Wheels Only said:

 

NCL didn't "refuse to give money back", you chose to take the "FCC with perks".

"We could use that money right now," they said. They may have a case or they may not, but to the extent that cruising is a leisure activity (according to some), they never should have gambled their "real" money away to begin with. Our vacation money is vacation money, not money for essentials. Anyone who pays money to a cruise line for a vacation should not be doing it if that money might be needed to pay bills or a mortgage/rent. Furthermore, while their aggravation is completely understandable (we've had 2 cruises and several land vacations canceled due to Covid-it's not fun), the fact is that they agreed to NCL's terms and it's not unfair for them to be held to those terms. Lastly, people rarely seem to talk about this, but when passengers sue because the cruise line is just sticking to its end of the bargain, everybody else ends up suffering. If NCL or any other line has to refund people in these situations, they'll likely: a) raise prices, b) do away with some perks or c) revise their Terms and Conditions in a way that punishes others, like requiring higher and/or nonrefundable deposits, moving out the final payment date, etc. People so often criticize the cruise lines for only looking out for themselves. So? That's what this couple is doing, why should the cruise lines be any different? Sheesh.

Edited by DCGuy64
edited one word
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This is why DW & I both read the terms VERY carefully when our April 2020 TA was cancelled & we were offered either a full cash (credit card) refund or a 125% FCC.  We took the cash because once you choose the FCC it's "Monopoly Money" with no cash value.  The previous poster who compared it to a store credit was spot on!

 

Good luck!

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1 hour ago, tomk3212 said:

This is why DW & I both read the terms VERY carefully when our April 2020 TA was cancelled & we were offered either a full cash (credit card) refund or a 125% FCC.  We took the cash because once you choose the FCC it's "Monopoly Money" with no cash value.  The previous poster who compared it to a store credit was spot on!

 

Good luck!

Exactly!! I always opted for refund, even if Covid went away too many variables in life to have my money tied up in a FCC.

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On 2/19/2021 at 8:40 AM, DCGuy64 said:

"We could use that money right now," they said. They may have a case or they may not, but to the extent that cruising is a leisure activity (according to some), they never should have gambled their "real" money away to begin with. Our vacation money is vacation money, not money for essentials. Anyone who pays money to a cruise line for a vacation should not be doing it if that money might be needed to pay bills or a mortgage/rent.

 

While I generally agree with this, over the course of a year  that could understandably change. You could have had a good job with insurance benefits and a 6 month emergency fund in the bank in Jan 2020. Laid off in March. Filed for unemployment for as long as you could. Lost insurance benefits so have to start paying out of pocket. By Jan of this year you could still have no job, no insurance, and no money in the bank. Then yes, getting the cruise money back could be the difference between paying your mortgage this month or not. 

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To answer the OP, it all depends on what is in the contract of the FCC. In most cases, the cruise lines have made refunds to the same form of payment that was received. The first cruise you had was cash/cc. You were given the option of a refund or FCC. You chose FCC for the new cruise. That is the last form of payment to be refunded. 

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6 hours ago, sanger727 said:

 

While I generally agree with this, over the course of a year  that could understandably change. You could have had a good job with insurance benefits and a 6 month emergency fund in the bank in Jan 2020. Laid off in March. Filed for unemployment for as long as you could. Lost insurance benefits so have to start paying out of pocket. By Jan of this year you could still have no job, no insurance, and no money in the bank. Then yes, getting the cruise money back could be the difference between paying your mortgage this month or not. 

Hypothetically, yes, but then that scenario could apply to absolutely ANY purchase you made before the pandemic, not just cruising, right?

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You made a choice not to take the money back when you could have. You chose the FCC because you thought you were going to get more of something. We're all responsible for our decisions and sometimes it doesn't work out the way we hoped.

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4 minutes ago, winterbliss said:

You made a choice not to take the money back when you could have. You chose the FCC because you thought you were going to get more of something. We're all responsible for our decisions and sometimes it doesn't work out the way we hoped.

I know this response was for somebody else, but in our case, we opted for the FCC not so much for the extra 25% but because of what I call "keeping hope alive." Had we simply taken the cash, it would have been like saying "there's no more cruising for now and who knows when it'll return?" So for us, it was nice to know we had that money to use on a future MSC cruise. FYI we're talking less than $2,000, so not a gigantic investment. I wanted to believe that MSC would restart (which it has, just not for us), so the 125% FCC is fine. But others have different views and priorities. I would never dream of assuming that everyone should do as we did.

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I hear you. But the same applies though. If it doesn't work out then I don't think it's fair to blame the cruise line. I get upset over making a decision based on lies and deception. Otherwise, it's on us. Loved MSC Divina by the way.

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33 minutes ago, DCGuy64 said:

I know this response was for somebody else, but in our case, we opted for the FCC not so much for the extra 25% but because of what I call "keeping hope alive." Had we simply taken the cash, it would have been like saying "there's no more cruising for now and who knows when it'll return?" So for us, it was nice to know we had that money to use on a future MSC cruise. FYI we're talking less than $2,000, so not a gigantic investment. I wanted to believe that MSC would restart (which it has, just not for us), so the 125% FCC is fine. But others have different views and priorities. I would never dream of assuming that everyone should do as we did.

Meant to quote you in previous post!

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17 minutes ago, winterbliss said:

I hear you. But the same applies though. If it doesn't work out then I don't think it's fair to blame the cruise line. I get upset over making a decision based on lies and deception. Otherwise, it's on us. Loved MSC Divina by the way.

 

9 minutes ago, winterbliss said:

Meant to quote you in previous post!

It's all good, @winterbliss. We agree, once someone agrees to a certain refund, it's not really fair to blame the cruise line. Certainly, one could agree to something at one point and then later regret it, but that's on the individual. Now, maybe we were naive to expect that a 125% FCC wouldn't come along with cruise prices that were *surprise surprise* 25% higher (or more). But that's just how it goes. We're happy with our decision and have had no problems with MSC. I'd also note that it's possible we got our FCC sooner (3 weeks from when we requested it) than if we'd asked for cash.

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2 hours ago, DCGuy64 said:

Hypothetically, yes, but then that scenario could apply to absolutely ANY purchase you made before the pandemic, not just cruising, right?


yes. Whether you suddenly regret purchasing that new car last year or taking the fcc instead of a refund back in March. Hopefully most families have recovered since then but if a family hasn’t, that doesn’t necessarily make that cruise purchase in 2019 irresponsible

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11 minutes ago, sanger727 said:


yes. Whether you suddenly regret purchasing that new car last year or taking the fcc instead of a refund back in March. Hopefully most families have recovered since then but if a family hasn’t, that doesn’t necessarily make that cruise purchase in 2019 irresponsible

I read something last year on here that I liked in that regard. The person said that the cost of a vacation is a sunk cost, meaning that you never expect to get your money back, you expect to go on a vacation. If it's canceled, you simply forego the experience of the vacation. In essence, the money was going to be gone anyway. That's a good way to look at it, in my view. We had a trip to the DR cancelled due to Covid last month. I'm still trying to get the insurance company to refund us, since we took out trip insurance including Covid, as a precaution. I'll be annoyed if they don't refund us, but the money was gone anyway, we just didn't get the trip.

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On 2/18/2021 at 11:10 AM, Cinziaeye said:

Originally booked 7 cabins for June 2020.  When that was cancelled, we were offered a refund or FCC with perks to reschedule, which we did.  Now this rescheduled cruise is cancelled.  Half of the group no longer wants to reschedule, but we have been told that since THIS cruise was booked with FCC, that is the only refund we can get.  And even though we took insurance, the insurer is saying that we will not have lost anything as long as the cruise line offers full credit.  We booked this in 2019, knowing nothing about a pandemic and made the decision to rebook a full year out assuming all would be well by then.  But cruisers who booked during the pandemic knowing the full risks, ARE getting full refunds when their cruises are cancelled, not FCC.  How is this fair?  We allowed NCL to hold onto our money for an extra year.  And now we will only have 18 months to "use it or lose it".  Has anyone had any luck getting a refund rather than the FCC?  Any suggestions on how to handle this?



The REAL question is can a cruise company hold you to the terms of a legally binding contract that you agree to.  The answer is yes.

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