Holland America refuses transfer of booking from one agcy to another

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
Jun 3, 2019
3
0
1
63
#1
I want to share as broadly as possible my experience with the cruise line’s failure to treat me as a loyal, 4-star Mariner.
For ease of reading, I’m using a timeline for the facts. Also, the names of the two agencies involved have been replaced by (Agcy 1) and (Agcy 2).
June, 2018: booked the HAL World Cruise for 2020 with (Agcy 1). The plan was to benefit from the Early-Booking Benefit by paying the fare in full by May 31, 2019.
May 3, 2019: (Agcy1) HAL informed (Agcy 1) that the hosts for this cruise would not be chosen until “the end of May.” As I was getting anxious about the benefit of the time-limitation of my early booking, and I wanted to make sure I was with hosts I knew from before, my friends suggested I join their hosted group which was booked through (Agcy 2). Hence, I cold-called their agent to verify the benefits and amenities, and decided I wanted to transfer agencies.
May 13, 2019: I completed a formal transfer request for HAL.
May 14, 2019: HAL (Shirley Bloomfield) acknowledged receipt of my request, but also said they needed an “agency acceptance letter signed by a manager or owner.” (Agcy 2) promptly completed that paper work.
May 16, 2019: HAL’s World Cruise Desk told me the paper-work was “sitting on the desk of the supervisor.” Moreover, I was told, HAL now had a 60-day penalty rule so that bookings could not be transferred within that time frame, which took effect from the date of booking. When I pointed out my booking was made almost a year ago, when no such rule was in effect, and this retroactively applied rule would therefore not affect my booking, the HAL rep conceded I was right. Setting aside any legal considerations of the proposed retroactive application of a new rule, the public relations fall-out of doing otherwise is devastating.
May 20, 2019: (Agcy 2) informed me HAL had decided I fell within the 60-day penalty rule and, therefore, HAL would not accept a transfer of my booking with (Agcy 1).
May 20, 2019: Concerned with losing out on the 3% Early Booking discount due to expire on May 31 (paying double fare as a single, this in itself amounted to a nice savings), I emailed the HAL President, Mr. Ashford, with a cc to the Sales Manager, Anthony Cooper, to dispute the retro-active application of a new rule. I also left a telephonic message for Mr. Cooper, drawing attention to the email, and requesting an acknowledgment of same.
May 21, 2019: No acknowledgement from Messrs. Ashford or Cooper, so I left another (polite!) message for the latter, expressing my concern over the time element potentially affecting my early discount negatively. Now feeling the growing financial pressure, I decided my situation called for also keeping Messr. Goodwin and Kruse in the loop. See Email 1, below.
May 23, 2019: Mr. Cooper called. In response to my concern over the delay in getting a simple acknowledgment of my emails, he said – with what I interpreted as being a snarky lecture to an ignorant passenger – that when someone goes up the corporate ladder “that’s what happens.” Later this day, I received the most stunning email (Email 2, below) from Ms. McQuillan, “a manager in the Guest Programs” for HAL, in which I was told of Mr. Cooper’s statement that I had agreed to remain with (Agcy 1)! It boggles my mind that he took my very clear sentiments – expressed twice during our conversation (once right before we finished what can best be described as a polite exchange of viewpoints) – and mis-represented them to someone I can only presume are his superiors at HAL. Surprisingly, he had not seemed interested in discussing the retro-activity of “the 60-day rule,” but instead repeated his request for what he called a “reasonable reason” for my desire to transfer my booking. There was no telling who on the corporate ladder would decide what’s "reasonable." I immediately responded to Ms. McQuillan (Email 3, below) but, as we were heading towards a holiday weekend, I received an automatic out-of-the-office reply. To date, I have not heard back from her.
May 31, 2019: (Agcy 2) informed me HAL has once again denied the transfer. Clearly, the dead-line for any Early Booking discounts had now passed.
In conclusion: As I resent being a pawn in whatever corporate politics practiced by a variety of HAL-reps – perhaps even its parent company, Carnival Cruises – I cannot let this gross injustice just go away, without making some attempt to make “the executives” that Mr. Cooper referred to, aware of what has transpired. Also, the public needs to know how HAL treats a loyal, 4-star Mariner. Coincidentally, the Miami Herald, in its Business Section on June 1, featured Carnival’s seemingly continued failure to abide by court-ordered environmental regulations, and in that context the reporters noted all that passengers want sometimes is to be heard. That certainly holds true for me. What I want from HAL is an acknowledgment of my grievance, with the appropriate apologies from top mngmt.
Since I will no longer travel on HAL I do not seek the initial request for resolution (which was a booking transfer from one agency to another).
(emails referenced in text above: )
EMAIL 1 (names of the two agencies have been replaced here with #1 and #2)
Subject: Revision of retro-actively applied company policy
May 21, 2019
pgoodwin@hollandamerica.com;
skruse@hollandamerica.com
Dear Mr. Goodwin,
as a shareholder in Carnival Corp and a 4-star passenger of HAL I feel at liberty to ask of your office, and/or that of Mr. Kruse for a timely resolution to a problem with my booking of the 2020 World cruise since neither Mr. Ashford nor Mr. Anthony Cooper have acknowledged or responded to my email of May 20 and two telephonic messages left for the latter. Surely, someone in your organization understands the value of even the briefest of a response to an aggrieved customer, particularly as time is of the essence.

The facts, as I previously expressed are as follows: On May 13 I formally requested my booking for the World 2020 (made in June, 2018) to be transferred from (Agcy 1) to (Agcy 2). Receipt of this request was received and acknowledged by HAL on May 14. My reason for the transfer was simply that, traveling alone, I wanted to be a part of the same group as my friends. At no time was my business solicited by (Agcy 2); my decision was a purely personal one based on an old friendship and, therefore, a perceived sense of security.

On Monday, (Agcy 2) advised me that the transfer has not been approved by HAL because of a new rule having taken effect sometime in April (uncertainty seems to prevail on the exact date) so that bookings made in the last 60 days could not be transferred.

While I understand your desire to protect the agencies you deal with, I am appalled by HAL’s decision to put me in the middle of its effort to retroactively apply the new rule. As we know, not even our courts have upheld retroactive application of laws and regulations. How much more important, then, for a cruise line to satisfy a full fare-paying customer in her simple request not to be held to a retroactive rule, the purpose of which only those in the travel industry may understand. At a very minimum, this is a very poor business decision on the part of HAL.

Unless corrected in a timely manner so I can still benefit from the early discount by an imminent payment of the outstanding balance (due to HAL by May 31), I'm sad to say I will cancel the reservation. In fact, my future as a HAL passenger will then become uncertain.

Again, please favor me with a prompt acknowledgment of my grievance. Hopefully, it will also include a positive resolution to my situation.

(sign-off, with contact info, including phone nr.)
EMAIL 2
May 23, 2019
Dear Mrs. (name),
My name is Katie McQuillan and I am a Manager in Guest Programs for Holland America Line. I am responding back to your recent correspondence to our executives Stein Kruse and Paul Goodwin regarding a request to move your 2020 World Cruise reservation to (Agcy 2). I am pleased to hear you had the opportunity to speak to our Sales Director Anthony Cooper today to discuss this request. He has updated me on your conversation and has advised that you will remain booked with (Agcy 1).

We are looking forward to having you back on board with us for another spectacular World Cruise! It is 4 star mariners like yourself that continue to make this special voyage second to none!

Wishing you a very happy and safe Memorial weekend,

Warm regards,

Katie McQuillan
Manager, Guest Programs
Holland America Line


EMAIL 3
May 23, 2019
Dear Ms. McQuillan,
Thank you for your email, where you share Mr. Cooper's creative recollection of his and my conversation. Apparently - and quite disingenuously, I might add - he advised you that I will remain booked with (Agcy 1). Since we both spoke English, I find it hard to believe that there would have been any kind of honest misunderstanding and his statement to you was wishful thinking.

I made it abundantly clear that if my transfer request was not approved by HAL I will not only cancel my booking, and ask for a full refund of the small deposit, but I'm also committed to not cruise with HAL again. As Mr. Cooper was also quick to point out - and if I'm to believe what he said - that particular cruise is overbooked by 22 reservations so I can only assume that the implied message to me was that HAL didn't care whether it lost me as a current or future passenger.

As my notes to myself show, Mr. Cooper was asking me for a "reasonable reason" (his words, not mine) for my request. I also specifically corrected him when he misquoted me regarding (Agcy 1). I believe my previous email to him (never acknowledged) and then the follow-up to the named executives have now said it all.

(usual sign-off)




 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
1,786
1,787
113
Maui Hawaii
#2
There are several problems you have encountered.

Because you called HAL (Cooper) on the phone, there is no record of your conversation. You need to keep ALL of your communications in writing (email).

Further, you have stated "Since I will no longer travel on HAL ", and "I will cancel the reservation. In fact, my future as a HAL passenger will then become uncertain" HAL has absolutely no reason to deal with you now or in the future.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
18,181
16,298
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#3
Weihlac is correct. What are you talking about as far as a “host” you knew? It sounds like you booked into an agencies group space - and seemed happy with the deal you originally had but shopped around much later and found what you felt had better perks,correct?

One other thing to know- Agency 1 had to agree to allow your booking to be transferred to the other agency. They may not have and that could be why HAL didn’t do it for you. So your option was to cancel and rebook it at current rates and whatever the new rates were.

You didn’t opt for that - I assume due to the new pricing. So you have to make a decision- stay with the better pricing you have and whatever the current perks are on the new agency. Or cancel your booking.

As weihlac said- you have told them you will never cruise with them again so why would they want to work with you?

I don’t know who Mr. Cooper is but he is not listed on our Company Contacts. You could try to escalate this to the contacts we have and appeal to them but I would suggest you re-write this letter and not threaten them. They have no reason to do anything for you if you say you won’t book with them again.

Politely write and ask again and see if you can convince one of these people to bend the rules and allow you to transfer but there is a reason they do this- because people constantly take advantage of shopping agency to agency to shop perks. That’s why they have this rule- it’s a tremendous amount of paperwork to keep doing this when you play around with agencies.

You already have the best pricing, or you would be willing to cancel and rebook if the new perks you are getting from agency 2 was worth it.

https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/holland-america/

Read this before you write and follow it exactly;

https://forum.elliott.org/threads/resolving-consumer-complaints-and-developing-a-paper-trail.8903/

Let us know how you make out.
 
Jun 3, 2019
3
0
1
63
#4
There are several problems you have encountered.

Because you called HAL (Cooper) on the phone, there is no record of your conversation. You need to keep ALL of your communications in writing (email).

Further, you have stated "Since I will no longer travel on HAL ", and "I will cancel the reservation. In fact, my future as a HAL passenger will then become uncertain" HAL has absolutely no reason to deal with you now or in the future.
Thanks for your input! Re not traveling on HAL again, good point that they wouldn't be interested in me any more. But it just seems like any business would at least soothe the feelings of a long-term loyal customer by producing what I asked for in my calls to Cooper, HAL Sales Manager: an acknowledgment that my email and two phone messages were received and they were "looking into it" or some such thing. Just poor business practices, and a show of lack of understanding of good marketing.
As for "no record of [your] conversation" I did make notes for myself --- hence, the reference to Cooper's comments --- but short of asking for his permission to record the conversation, I find it hard to believe it would have made any difference if I had immediately emailed him with my recollection of our exchange, since he wasn't very responsive to my first email and calls.
Now, to put an end on this whole fiasco and we can all move on, all I'm asking for is for someone "up the ladder" (as Cooper put it) to acknowledge my grievance with the retro-active application and an apology; - wouldn't cost them anything.
 
Jun 3, 2019
3
0
1
63
#6
Weihlac is correct. What are you talking about as far as a “host” you knew? It sounds like you booked into an agencies group space - and seemed happy with the deal you originally had but shopped around much later and found what you felt had better perks,correct?

One other thing to know- Agency 1 had to agree to allow your booking to be transferred to the other agency. They may not have and that could be why HAL didn’t do it for you. So your option was to cancel and rebook it at current rates and whatever the new rates were.

You didn’t opt for that - I assume due to the new pricing. So you have to make a decision- stay with the better pricing you have and whatever the current perks are on the new agency. Or cancel your booking.

As weihlac said- you have told them you will never cruise with them again so why would they want to work with you?

I don’t know who Mr. Cooper is but he is not listed on our Company Contacts. You could try to escalate this to the contacts we have and appeal to them but I would suggest you re-write this letter and not threaten them. They have no reason to do anything for you if you say you won’t book with them again.

Politely write and ask again and see if you can convince one of these people to bend the rules and allow you to transfer but there is a reason they do this- because people constantly take advantage of shopping agency to agency to shop perks. That’s why they have this rule- it’s a tremendous amount of paperwork to keep doing this when you play around with agencies.

You already have the best pricing, or you would be willing to cancel and rebook if the new perks you are getting from agency 2 was worth it.

https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/holland-america/

Read this before you write and follow it exactly;

https://forum.elliott.org/threads/resolving-consumer-complaints-and-developing-a-paper-trail.8903/

Let us know how you make out.
Thanks for your concern: I can now see that the people behind the column that I've been reading for years really take their advocacy seriously. Some clarification: I didn't "shop around" for a better deal. I had made it clear to Agcy 1 that I was only going on this HAL cruise unless Couple X who had been hosts on some other cruises booked through them, would be hosting again. But because HAL hadn't made those arrangements yet (I'm under the impression that it's HAL that decides who the hosts are from this agcy, but I may be wrong here), and to get the early booking discount the money had to be sent in before that decision had been made, I was under pressure to decide whether I should pay the fare in full only to find out maybe ten days later (HAL had advised Agcy 1 that they would make the hosting choice by the end of May) that I wouldn't go because of the host-situation. At that point, my friends who were booked with Agcy 2 simply suggested I join their group because, as they assured me, I'd feel quite comfortable with their hosts. Not only did I then cold-call that agcy but I did no line-by-line comparison with whatever package price they told me over the phone, so to say I "shopped around for a better deal" is anything but the truth. I needed to get my finances in order under a time crunch, and just assumed we passengers still have the freedom of choosing our travel agencies. I do not "play around with agencies" and as a Scandinavian native don't even know anyone who engages in that kind of behavior. But, since personal safety - more now than ever before - is a major concern, I will continue to choose cruises and agencies based on the hosting arrangements.
Canceling and re-booking was never an option. Once I decided that HAL wasn't interested in my business (as Cooper clearly implied, they do well w/o my business since they're already overbooked by 22), and my appeal to the your contact people went ignored, I made the choice of not being loyal to HAL any more.
As I said to weihlac, the point is well-taken that HAL may have no reason to soothe my feelings any more. Still, it takes very little effort by them to do so.
 
Jul 13, 2016
310
532
93
56
#7
HAL does not assign the hosts. The travel agency, or its consortium does that. And typically does not confirm hosts until 90 days from sailing. I am actually slated to host an Azamara New Years 2020 in Rio cruise, but likely I will not be confirmed until September 2020 (at which point, I am going to have to get creative to get a reasonable airfare to South America during the festive season at what is effectively the last minute when talking about holiday travel.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
18,181
16,298
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#8
HAL does not assign the hosts. The travel agency, or its consortium does that. And typically does not confirm hosts until 90 days from sailing. I am actually slated to host an Azamara New Years 2020 in Rio cruise, but likely I will not be confirmed until September 2020 (at which point, I am going to have to get creative to get a reasonable airfare to South America during the festive season at what is effectively the last minute when talking about holiday travel.
Exactly- this is all up to the Travel Agency and has nothing to do with HAL.

It also sounds like you may be bound by the terms that the agency you are booked through has, it may not be all HALS’s issue.

I still think you should try to write to the Executives I have linked and see if they can do anything to help you transfer. Did you get terms from the agency you booked through and if you did what did they say?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,218
8,136
113
San Francisco
#9
I am glad to finally understand what "host" means here. If clients are booking a year ahead, how can they possibly know who the host will be that far out? I hope this straightened out and results in a successful cruise.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
3,614
3,455
113
#12
You can’t book with Agency 1 in June 2018 and expect them to voluntarily Give Away their commission because you want a different agency 11 months later. Agency transfers that affect commissions have a very short window to transfer, less than a month.

Why would agency 1 do that, well since they are the original agent 11 months later HAL will pay then and Agency 2 has no motivation to provide you services because they won’t be paid. It’s all about the details and big commissions are at stake on a World Cruise.
 

Carol Phillips

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 28, 2014
1,247
1,713
113
Coastal South Carolina
#13
As of the end of March 2019, Anthony Cooper has a new director-level position within the Holland America sales team: Director, field sales West.
He reports to VP sales Eva Jenner. For the past 20 years he's been part of the HAL and Seabourn sales team in Australia. He's relocated to Seattle.

Cooper will help guide the divisional sales teams, including senior managers, business development managers, inside sales representatives and sales support.

I suspect he got involved because at least Agency #1 was one of "his" agencies ....
 
Likes: Nancy

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
3,614
3,455
113
#14
Are you trying to say the OP was able to switch TA’s after booking a year ago????? Is there the rest of the story you aren’t telling us?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,218
8,136
113
San Francisco
#16
If you mean my reply of a few minutes ago, my intention was to identify Anthony Cooper. It was stated above that someone wasn't sure just who he was....
These kinds of posts can be confusing. It's far better if we use the "reply" button to the post we are replying to. Often a couple of other responses intervene and it becomes confusing as to which post one of us is talking about. Does this make sense?