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Poor HAL Customer Service

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Let me preface my post by stating that I have nothing but good things to say about the experience my wife and I had while on-board the MS Oosterdam. The intent of my post is to let people know about the poor customer service I experienced dealing with HAL Corporate while trying to straighten out a billing issue.

My wife and I went on the Mexican Riviera cruise. MS Oosterdam sailing March 10th. The first day on-board we signed up for a couples membership to the Greenhouse / Hydro Spa. My wife was visibly pregnant when we signed up; the staff even commented on it when signing us up. They have a body temperature hydro spa so we weren't concerned with any potential health issues to the baby.

The next day when we were using the spa, a different staff member informed my wife that they shouldn't have allowed her to sign up and that HAL does not want to risk anything with pregnancy. That was fine with us...better safe than sorry. The staff said that they would reduce the billed amount to a single membership. They felt bad about the error and offered my wife a complimentary facial at the spa. She gladly accepted the offer and signed up for it.

We had an early departure the day of disembarkation and didn't have time to thoroughly review the bill slipped under our door at 7:30am. We figured we'd deal with any issues once we got home.

Once home, we noticed that not only was the spa membership not adjusted to a single person, but she was charged for the "complimentary facial". We dealt with a very nice woman with the onboard accounts department. She put in a refund for the membership adjustment and said she would have to check with the ship about the "complimentary" facial. A few days later we were informed that there may have been a miscommunication and that the staff had no authorization to offer a complimentary treatment. If we wanted to pursue this further, we would have to take it up with Guest Relations.

We discussed the issue with Guest Relations and they said they'd be unable to refund the price of the facial ($145). After more pressing, they said that they'd offer us $145 on-board credit. That was not an acceptable resolution since we should never have been charged in the first place. Additionally, with having a baby we will not be cruising in the foreseeable future. They would not change their final offer.

Long story short, I escalated the issue and all correspondence was being handled by a Walter Pagan, Special Advisor - Office of the President. I informed them that the credit was not an acceptable resolution and that we should not be the ones to have to pay for the error on their part. He insisted that the credit was a very generous settlement. I made it clear that they would be losing a future customer unless we received the refund we deserved. We were informed that the credit is all they were willing to do.

We spent quite a bit of money for this cruise. We paid for a Deluxe Verandah Suite as well as spending over $1500 on board the ship during the cruise. The fact that they are willing to lose a customer over $145 mistake on their part shows me how much they value their customers at Corporate.

Again, we thoroughly enjoyed the cruising experience and our suite was excellent, but I just can't get over their unwillingness to fix their mistake. I'm left with the feeling that they have our money, so we no longer matter.

The lesson here for others should be to get your account issues straightened out before you leave the ship, no matter how short on time you are the morning of disembarkation.

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