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Hotel Europe St Severin, won't refund 4 cancellation due to volcano, ideas?

Hotel Europe St Severin, won't refund 4 cancellation due to volcano, ideas?

Aug 13th, 2010, 07:57 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 100
Why would you take out insurance when you could cancel 48 hours prior; no one anticipated a volcano cancelling all flights. Customer service has gone out the window; I would not book with this hotel under these circumstances...one night penalty if they must charge something should have been sufficient!
Sominex is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 08:16 AM
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"Why would you take out insurance when you could cancel 48 hours prior;"

Because you might get sick, suffer a bereavement etc etc etc?
alihutch is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 09:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,427
I think you should buy travel insurance if you are going to get bent out of shape if some unexpected thing happens and you have to pay your hotel because you can't cancel in time. That is exactly what it is for. Whether it is a volcano or any other reason. You are fixating on the volcano, but lots of things could happen that would make one unable to get there the date of the reservation. I buy it sometimes but not for that reason, as I would be willing to take the monetary risk of that event and I would not expect the hotel to waive their policy. I agree to the policy when I book the room. I think it would be really nice for hotels to do that, but wouldn't expect it in any way. It wasn't their fault and they are running a business.
Christina is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 09:18 AM
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By the way, I checked their website and this is a budget hotel (which I knew, they often can't be so generous). However, the rates I saw said that if you didn't cancel within 48 horus, they would only charge you one night. I checked both the rack rate and the "best available" which is discounted about 25%.

Of course I don't know what terms they had for their rate, maybe it was during a holiday or something, but it does appear their normal terms are to only charge one night. But these folks should have documents showing the terms they agreed to, and if it is not the entire stay can be charged, they should do something about it. If it does state the entire stay will be charged due to some special rate they got, well, they agreed to that.
Christina is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 09:23 AM
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Fixating on the volcano? No, just stating a fact! NO ONE could go anywhere! Like someone else said customer service has gone out the window. Yes it is their right, but things are not always b&w.

Also, for all you fixated on travel insurance, that point is
moot. Now we are trying to get a business to act decently, I guess that's harder then just being a robot & repeating their policy.

And going back by dec 29 is a silly option when you live 6000 miles away... Oh well we'll see what will happen when they speak to a person live!
lyb is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 09:24 AM
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I book extremely discounted non refundable (and prepaid) rates regularly and just keep my fingers crossed until that time.
kerouac is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 09:45 AM
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I'm sorry but I think that the business did act decently; they have offered the room until the end of this year. Again, why is their fault that your friends are unable to travel? It appears that the only 'decent' offer that your friends really want is a full refund. I agree with those who have said this is what trip insurance is for - yes, some businesses dealt with this volcano situation differently, but I do feel your friends got a decent offer.
socaltraveler is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 10:46 AM
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socaltraveler, no, a total refund is not the only thing she will accept, if the hotel had said they needed to keep $100 or even $200, she would have understood.

But I will repeat again, not everyone can just take another vacation and go off to Europe at the drop of the hat. So the hotel makes the offer knowing damn well, that most likely they've got the money and can smile.

I am amazed that so many traveleres on fodors have drank the kool-aid and think that the hotels have all the rights and can say, oh, so no there was no way in hell you could get here because ALL flights were cancelled, so too bad for you.

So I'm sure that all of you never complain about a phone bill, a cable bill, etc... 'cause after all those companies are just trying to run a business. Wow, I'd love to do business with all of you, I'd be making money like crazuy!

very interesting....
lyb is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 10:50 AM
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You do know, I hope, that the vast majority of the people who come to Paris do not fly there? Closed airports could not have affected more than about 15-20% of the bookings in Paris.

Just about everybody drives to Paris or takes the train.
kerouac is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 10:55 AM
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Definitely, which is even more reason for the hotel to understand and to also understand that they can't just fly there anytime they want. Maybe, the hotel doesn't realize that they don't live in Europe?
lyb is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 03:41 PM
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The hotel is in business and "understanding" is not their job. If all their people do not show up due to volcano are they supposed to just take the hit . Again, trip insurance is because s*it happens: deaths, broken legs, volcanoes, strep throat...
jubilada is online now  
Aug 13th, 2010, 05:00 PM
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I guess the airlines are real fools then because I know of at least 3 people who got full refunds - dumb dumb airlines!
lyb is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 05:17 PM
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They should only be charged for one night. Happened to us when we were stranded in Germany on the way to Ireland because of fog. We were booked for 4 nights and were only charged for one night. We never thought it would be anything else.
Micheline is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 05:20 PM
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I'm not sure comparing airlines giving refunds for flights that didn't fly to a hotel who held a room for someone who couldn't make it is the way for you to go here.

I don't know what was agreed to when the reservation was made, but I often book rooms and car rentals at a good rate with the condition that I am pre paying. If I don't make it I lose my money.

From everything I've read here your best approach might be to try to transfer the deal the hotel is offering you.
cwra is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 05:26 PM
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I think the hotel offering to let them use the money is a very generous offer.

Granted the volcano was not your friend;s fault - but it wasn't the fault of the hotel either.

And the fact that your friend's husband has an immovable vacation is not their problem either (many/most people would reschedule in this situation).

IMHO agree this is why they need travel insurance - esp if their requirements are so stringent.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 05:37 PM
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I understand her frustration.

1) I would inquire why they weren't only charged for one night ?
- they cancelled one night less than 48 hours, the rest of the stay was cancelled greater than 48 hours.

2) I would call American Express back. Do they have automatic travel insurance ? Or have her pull her benefits summary. I know when we were worried about a trip this spring, our apartment was the only big ticket item that was non-refundable. I looked at the credit card it was booked on and we had travel insurance through them. As it turned out, we didn't need it, but we were glad it was there.

3) I understand she can't get there by December 2010, but could she find another taker at half price to use the room ? She would at least recover some of the cost...

good luck!
surfmom is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 07:26 PM
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There's a difference between the hotel and the airline:

The airline didn't fulfill its "contract" with your friend, in that they didn't fly them to Europe. Even though it wasn't the airline's fault, some DID offer refunds, which was nice of them and the decent thing to do because, again, they didn't provide the service.

Had there been an earthquake in Paris that day and the hotel toppled, it would behoove it to refund your friends because they would--through no fault of their own--NOT be able to provide the service of a room.

The hotel, however, DID provide the service. They had the room ready and waiting. They most likely turned down people--perhaps people driving to Paris--because the room was committed and paid for. So the people who tried to get that room after your friend booked were turned away.

I think it's interesting that you feel your friends were right to forego trip insurance but they want the BENEFIT of insurance. That is--that someone else pays for the room they didn't use.

One more thing. I think it's extremely generous of the hotel to offer your friends the room through December. It's not their fault that the husband can't reschedule his vacation. I would have thought that, once the trip was cancelled, he'd go back to work and try to go later.

The friends don't take out insurance KNOWING they can't reschedule because of hubby's job? That seems extremely foolish to me.
MelJ is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 08:06 PM
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"But I will repeat again, not everyone can just take another vacation and go off to Europe at the drop of the hat."

That is the single, 100%, absolutely definite reason this couple should have bought travel insurance. Anyone who has no flexibility should get insurance.

lyb, (and I hope this doesn't come across wrong - but here goes) you are normally pretty clear eyed, post terrific advice, and seem totally sensible. However - on this one you are seriously vested in this problem and seem angry that most don't agree w/ you/your friends.

Please read back over everyone's posts - most are explaining why your friends are not due a refund and how they could have prevented this mess.

The only thing not totally clear - there is some suggestion the hotel has a one night penalty for canceling. IF they did book a regular, non-discounted rate it seems the penalty should have just been one night.

But - my guess (just a guess) is they booked a discounted/prepaid rate that is totally non-refundable. If so, the hotel did go way beyond by offering something - even if it is something your friends can't use.
janisj is online now  
Aug 13th, 2010, 08:31 PM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,130
I was about to mention "force majeure" when Cowboy did.

Agreed, they should have charged one night, if that's what their rules say, you need to see what your friend agreed to online or in writing,

but I would pursue the matter with American Express which understands a volcano and force majeure very well whether you
had insurance or not.

AND I understand that people are automatically insured for their trip if they pay for trip through American Express. This is another matter for your friend to question American Express about, who happens to own the insurance company "Access America". It is within American Express' power to take back the money from the hotel by the way. And I'm surprised they are not supporting their clients, your friend.

In addition to the above, Kerouac who lives in France has given you an address for your friend to write to, and it should be done promptly since the volcano was in April was it ?

All in all,some Fodorites have given you some very good advice for your friend, dont you think?
Mahya2 is offline  
Aug 13th, 2010, 08:37 PM
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I'm not angry, I happened not to agree with most that's all...but here's some more information I got from her today.

She had booked two rooms through Booking.com, since her daughter and a friend were also going, when she found out her flight was cancelled, she immediately calling Booking.com and she was told, No problem at all, of course she would be refunded her deposit because this was an act of God. Today when she called Booking.com, the representative agreed with her about the time she called and that there was a note in the account stating it shouldn't be a problem, given the situation. Apparently Booking.com agreed to something without checking with their hotels... Once the charge appeared on her credit card, she called American Express and they also said that there was no way the hotel would charge given the circumstances. Yesterday is when she received the notice that the hotel was not going to refund the money.

Given that Booking.com told her it should be no problem, and the hotel didn't, I'm starting to think that booking.com has a huge responsibility and perhaps they need to step up to the plate.

She doesn't take insurance because if she's ever had to cancel a hotel, which is very rarely, and it's because of illness or change of plans, and she has to lose a deposit, she figures, it's her fault and she should eat it. In fact, 2 years ago they had booked a trip to Milan and other parts of Italy, she had pre-paid the hotel in Milan, because of health issues with her mother-in-law, they couldn't go. She didn't complain and didn't expect her money back, she knew what she signed up for.

But this situation, I find it very bad PR from the hotel's point of view. Maybe it's because I've been in PR or other kind of public oriented careers all my life that as a hotel owner, I wouldn't give it another thought refunding someone's money when it is because there was no possible way for them to get to Paris. The good PR that it would bring would be worth much more than the refund, and the potential business in the future. Of course, if someone cancelled at the last minute just because they changed their mind, no money would go to them.

I think it's basically a different philosophy that I have, in my entire career, every business I've ever worked for, the customer came first, because you never know what future business one customer can bring in the future.
lyb is offline  

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