Even the most well-prepared travelers can encounter some problems during a trip. Here are some tips to help you get these problems resolved.
Experience has shown that it's better to try to resolve any problems you face on the spot, if possible. Even if your complaint does not get resolved right away, you will have registered your dissatisfaction should you decide to pursue your complaint after your return.
Here are some other steps to take:
If you still have a complaint after you return home, we suggest that you first review the materials you were given by the travel firm to determine the validity of your claim. Realize that some events, such as bad weather, are beyond the control of any company. If you are satisfied that your complaint has merit, write a letter to the firm that you feel is responsible. Provide adequate detail to substantiate your complaint, as well as the steps you feel should be taken to rectify the problem. Be realistic in your request and send a copy of this letter to your travel agent.
If the problem is with a tour company, hotel or other supplier, you may enlist the aid of your travel agent, who will often pursue the matter for you. In addition, your agent will appreciate being advised of your problem so that your experiences can be considered when other clients inquire about this company. Remember, however, that your travel agent acts as an "agent," selling travel services on behalf of the airlines, cruise lines, car-rental companies, hotels, tour operators and other travel suppliers. He or she will not, in most cases, be the source of these services.
If the problem is with your travel agent, provide your agent a copy of the complaint letter and request the opportunity to discuss the issue. We suggest you limit your initial contact to only those parties directly involved in the matter. Ask for a response, and allow the firm adequate time to investigate your complaint
Sometimes your complaint cannot be satisfied by dealing directly with the firm involved, or perhaps you cannot get a response to your email or letter. You may wish to contact a Better Business Bureau, a government consumer affairs office, or the Consumer Affairs Department of the American Society of Travel Agents. One of the main functions of ASTA's Consumer Affairs Department is the informal mediation of travel-related complaints on behalf of consumers. Before the Department will become involved in a dispute, it first determines that the complaint meets the following criteria:
Once the above criteria have been met, send a summary of the complaint, including documents which support the claim and the names, addresses and complete contact information for all involved parties to:
Or by regular mail to:
Consumer Affairs Department
675 N. Washington Street, Suite 490
Alexandria, VA 22314
Please note that ASTA's Consumer Affairs Department provides informal mediation for travel-related disputes only. The Department cannot act as a judge, impose penalties, assess fines, or force a company to issue refunds.
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