Price Raised After Booking, Contract/Terms Not Honoured

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Nov 7, 2019
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#1
Hey all,

Bit of a frustrating situation with Royal Caribbean, hoping someone here can help and also looking to see if anyone else was affected.

Details:
On November 1st, I booked a 7-night cruise for my wife and I. Nov. 21, 2020 Symphony of the Seas.
Total cost (with taxes + grats): $1254.08 CDN
$530 deposit paid.
Base fare was $299/person

Now, this seemed like a very good deal, and possibly a price mistake, but not completely unreasonable - there are some 6/7 night itineraries within the ballpark. So I booked, direct via RCL website.
I didn't hear anything for about a week, until yesterday when I got an email with a new invoice. My new total cost: $3468 - almost triple what I booked! I got no explanation with it, just their generic "your invoice attached email".
I had to follow up with an agent I had been emailing + their call centre, where they explained there was a "glitch" when I first booked and the price was wrong, so they had repriced every booking on that sailing. Essentially, the website was wrong, so they re-booked me at the "proper" price without asking.

So I've been chatting primarily with their Twitter supper (also emailed the guest relations VP on the contact list from this site, but no reply) to try to get them to honour the original price. They said that they are "able to change the price at any time". However, I am not convinced this is true - isn't this a violation of my cruise contract?

Some details:

They cited section 16 of this: https://t.co/qEH6fiAgbn?amp=1
We may revise the pricing for the products and services we offer. When you place your order, we may estimate the tax and include that estimate in the total for your convenience. The actual tax amount that will be applied to your order and charged to your payment method may differ from the estimate provided.

However, with the way this is worded, I don't think this applies to booked & confirmed cruises. This is no longer a product “offered”. This is a purchased product - the "offered" product and terms have been accepted and agreed upon. Our consumer agreement is now bound by the cruise ticket contract, found here: https://www.royalcaribbean.com/content/dam/royal/resources/pdf/cruise-ticket-contract.pdf

In this, I don't see anything allowing for price increases outside of fuel/other surcharges. This seems to be confirmed here: https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/price-change-information

They can technically cancel a cruise for any reason, but that's not what they did - this increased the price, after I had locked into a consumer agreement/contract with them. This seems, at least to me, to be a breach of contract.

Some screenshots attached. Any insight/feedback/help would be so appreciated. Really was looking forward to taking my wife on this, and I don't think we can afford the increase.
 

Attachments

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,130
19,012
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
Unfortunately, it does refer to booked cruises if they discover a pricing error. This isn’t a price increase, it’s a pricing error.

We’ve had this before and the cruise line didn’t budge;

https://www.elliott.org/cruises/cruise-pricing-mistake-fare-error/
We have company contacts on top of our page. You can try and write but their contract does allow this.

Find the contacts and this is how you should write to them. Your results will likely be the same but it never hurts to try.

https://forum.elliott.org/threads/resolving-consumer-complaints-and-developing-a-paper-trail.8903/
 
Jul 30, 2018
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#3
You said in your narrative that this fare was "possibly a price mistake" and clearly you were correct. Although I am not an experienced cruiser, a base price of $299 per-person for a 7 day all-inclusive vacation does appear to be a little low.

Perhaps you can ask RCCL if they can offer you a significant discount towards a shorter cruise that can fit your budget as a goodwill gesture.
 
Jan 6, 2015
3,296
3,680
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the United States
#4
The "reasonableness" of the initial fare would, I think, depend on the class of cabin you booked and the cruise date.

If, for example, you paid $299 for a suite, that would likely alert you to a pricing error. But if the cruise is embarking within the next month and the cabin you booked is "inside" and in the "bottom" of the ship, $299 could be accurate. And by acknowledging the error, RCCL should have offered you free cancellation and a full refund. This, to me, is similar to the $25 airfare to London a few years ago.

Can you tell us what class of cabin you booked?
 
Likes: BittyBoo

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,130
19,012
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#6
The least expensive inside cabin on that cruise is $2029 including taxes for two people. (US$) A midship balcony is $3469. The taxes alone are $298 pp. It was obviously a pricing mistake. If OP booked a balcony there is no way a balcony cabin was that price on a new ship.

If it were me- I would ask Royal Caribbean for an additional onboard credit for your inconvenience. Or you could move to an inside cabin if you don’t want to pay the price of a balcony if that is what you have.
 
Sep 19, 2015
5,295
7,505
113
49
#7
Hey all,

Bit of a frustrating situation with Royal Caribbean, hoping someone here can help and also looking to see if anyone else was affected.

Details:
On November 1st, I booked a 7-night cruise for my wife and I. Nov. 21, 2020 Symphony of the Seas.
Total cost (with taxes + grats): $1254.08 CDN
$530 deposit paid.
Base fare was $299/person

Now, this seemed like a very good deal, and possibly a price mistake, but not completely unreasonable - there are some 6/7 night itineraries within the ballpark. So I booked, direct via RCL website.
I didn't hear anything for about a week, until yesterday when I got an email with a new invoice. My new total cost: $3468 - almost triple what I booked! I got no explanation with it, just their generic "your invoice attached email".
I had to follow up with an agent I had been emailing + their call centre, where they explained there was a "glitch" when I first booked and the price was wrong, so they had repriced every booking on that sailing. Essentially, the website was wrong, so they re-booked me at the "proper" price without asking.

So I've been chatting primarily with their Twitter supper (also emailed the guest relations VP on the contact list from this site, but no reply) to try to get them to honour the original price. They said that they are "able to change the price at any time". However, I am not convinced this is true - isn't this a violation of my cruise contract?

Some details:

They cited section 16 of this: https://t.co/qEH6fiAgbn?amp=1
We may revise the pricing for the products and services we offer. When you place your order, we may estimate the tax and include that estimate in the total for your convenience. The actual tax amount that will be applied to your order and charged to your payment method may differ from the estimate provided.

However, with the way this is worded, I don't think this applies to booked & confirmed cruises. This is no longer a product “offered”. This is a purchased product - the "offered" product and terms have been accepted and agreed upon. Our consumer agreement is now bound by the cruise ticket contract, found here: https://www.royalcaribbean.com/content/dam/royal/resources/pdf/cruise-ticket-contract.pdf

In this, I don't see anything allowing for price increases outside of fuel/other surcharges. This seems to be confirmed here: https://www.royalcaribbean.com/faq/questions/price-change-information

They can technically cancel a cruise for any reason, but that's not what they did - this increased the price, after I had locked into a consumer agreement/contract with them. This seems, at least to me, to be a breach of contract.

Some screenshots attached. Any insight/feedback/help would be so appreciated. Really was looking forward to taking my wife on this, and I don't think we can afford the increase.
Well the section 16 referred to:

We reserve the right to refuse or cancel any order prior to delivery. Some situations that may result in your order being cancelled include system or typographical errors, inaccuracies in product or pricing information or product availability,

Which includes error fares.

Base fare was CDN 299 which is was what US $225 for a 7 day cruise? US $33 per day for a cruise in a year from now?

You admit that it crossed your mind that it was a mistake and it seems that it was an obvious error— the revised price makes me think it is not even the worst cabin class.

The company is not required to honor obvious mistake fares and I have not heard of any success in forcing a company to honor it.

Either get a refund or ask for more credit and pay the true rate.
 
Sep 19, 2015
5,295
7,505
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#8
The least expensive inside cabin on that cruise is $2029 including taxes for two people. (US$) A midship balcony is $3469. The taxes alone are $298 pp. It was obviously a pricing mistake. If OP booked a balcony there is no way a balcony cabin was that price on a new ship.

If it were me- I would ask Royal Caribbean for an additional onboard credit for your inconvenience. Or you could move to an inside cabin if you don’t want to pay the price of a balcony if that is what you have.
Even more likely a mistake as the OP booked in Canadian dollars which is about 25 percent lower than the US dollar .... CDN $1 is US $.75
 
Feb 12, 2019
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#9
$299CDN for a room for 7 days on Royal's newest ship was clearly a mistake. Especially since it's a year out. When you take out the prepaid gratuities it's only $1000. The only Oasis ships I've seen close to those prices lately are the oldest ones. Heck, it's hard to find a 3 day cruise on their newly updated Mariner for that price.
 
Nov 7, 2019
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#10
Hey all,
Thanks for the replies!
A couple clarifications:
1) It was an interior room (cheapest available). You are all right, all indications show this is a price error.
2)
Well the section 16 referred to:

We reserve the right to refuse or cancel any order prior to delivery. Some situations that may result in your order being cancelled include system or typographical errors, inaccuracies in product or pricing information or product availability,

Which includes error fares.

Base fare was CDN 299 which is was what US $225 for a 7 day cruise? US $33 per day for a cruise in a year from now?

You admit that it crossed your mind that it was a mistake and it seems that it was an obvious error— the revised price makes me think it is not even the worst cabin class.

The company is not required to honor obvious mistake fares and I have not heard of any success in forcing a company to honor it.

Either get a refund or ask for more credit and pay the true rate.

This is where I disagree, respectfully. I don't think they have the legal right to increase the price after booking. This (and the cruise contract) allow them to cancel a booking, or refuse it. But that isn't what happened; they instead changed the price, which I believe violates the terms of our agreement.

Likewise, the other clause only applies to "offered" prices, not completed contracts (where the "offer" has been accepted).

In short, I am not really disputing that this is a price mistake, or that RCL could have canceled it if they wanted. I am disputing a post-booking price increase, which I can't find any allocation for.
 
Feb 21, 2018
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63
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#11
Hey all,
Thanks for the replies!
A couple clarifications:
1) It was an interior room (cheapest available). You are all right, all indications show this is a price error.
2)



This is where I disagree, respectfully. I don't think they have the legal right to increase the price after booking. This (and the cruise contract) allow them to cancel a booking, or refuse it. But that isn't what happened; they instead changed the price, which I believe violates the terms of our agreement.

Likewise, the other clause only applies to "offered" prices, not completed contracts (where the "offer" has been accepted).

In short, I am not really disputing that this is a price mistake, or that RCL could have canceled it if they wanted. I am disputing a post-booking price increase, which I can't find any allocation for.
If you re-read the contract clause, it includes the words "prior to delivery". Booking the cruise doesn't constitute delivery...and therefore they have the right to make corrections for an obvious error.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,130
19,012
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#12
If they are charging you $3000 for an interior cabin- check the pricing online. I know you are paying in Can.$ so it would be more than the US $ price but check it again. If it’s lower than they are charging you, call and tell them to adjust it. And keep an eye on pricing because of you see the price lowering, you can ask for an adjustment as long as it’s before final payment.

You are incorrect in how you are interpreting what you are reading. The cruise hasn’t been “Delivered”- you haven’t sailed and you haven’t paid in full. So they certainly can change the price. Please read the link to the story Chris did on someone else who had a pricing error. The cruise line did not change their stance. Azamara and Royal Caribbean are the same company.
 
Mar 14, 2018
406
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#13
Hey all,
This is where I disagree, respectfully. I don't think they have the legal right to increase the price after booking. This (and the cruise contract) allow them to cancel a booking, or refuse it. But that isn't what happened; they instead changed the price, which I believe violates the terms of our agreement.

Likewise, the other clause only applies to "offered" prices, not completed contracts (where the "offer" has been accepted).

In short, I am not really disputing that this is a price mistake, or that RCL could have canceled it if they wanted. I am disputing a post-booking price increase, which I can't find any allocation for.
I think you might be right for a couple reasons:
  • The cancellation terms are in boilerplate only accessible by clicking the "legal" link at the bottom of the page. There is no explicit acceptance.
  • The Cruise Ticket Contract, which you do explicitly accept when you book, supercedes all other written and oral agreements.
However, even if you are right, I don't see a cost-effective way to enforce this. You agreed in the contract to arbitrate disputes in Miami--This will likely cost more than the amount in dispute. You could try to challenge this in the Canadian courts (where the loser may be responsible for the winner's legal fees), but that is a big risk for a small potential gain.

I think your best option is to let this one go.
 
Likes: Pixie Pie

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
20,130
19,012
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#14
Sep 19, 2015
5,295
7,505
113
49
#15
Hey all,
Thanks for the replies!
A couple clarifications:
1) It was an interior room (cheapest available). You are all right, all indications show this is a price error.
2)

This is where I disagree, respectfully. I don't think they have the legal right to increase the price after booking. This (and the cruise contract) allow them to cancel a booking, or refuse it. But that isn't what happened; they instead changed the price, which I believe violates the terms of our agreement.

Likewise, the other clause only applies to "offered" prices, not completed contracts (where the "offer" has been accepted).

In short, I am not really disputing that this is a price mistake, or that RCL could have canceled it if they wanted. I am disputing a post-booking price increase, which I can't find any allocation for.
It sounds as if they sent an email on 11/6 notifying of the price error and when you did not cancel it they sent the revised invoice on 11/8. I notice that only a deposit was put down.

This was not an increase in price this was a correction of an obvious error. The cruise line will likely and convincingly argue that this was not a legitimate offering of the service.

The DOT has not forced airlines to honor mistake fares and it does not seem likely that any legal or regulatory agency would force the cruise line to honor a price of US $ 225 or CND $ 299 for a seven day cruise in November 2020.

And on many of the sites RC has the following disclaimer

Royal Caribbean International reserves the right to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions and to change or update fares, fees and surcharges at any time without prior notice.

I honestly do not see the cruise line honoring the fare and from other reports the cruise line has a policy of not honoring mistake cruise fares --- they did honor a mistake in a drinks package but not actual cruise fares.

You have to decide if it is worth your time to pursue this or just take a refund. You may need to see how long the offer for a refund lasts in case the cruise line says no,
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
672
997
93
St. Louis
#16
Hey all,
Thanks for the replies!
A couple clarifications:
1) It was an interior room (cheapest available). You are all right, all indications show this is a price error.
2)



This is where I disagree, respectfully. I don't think they have the legal right to increase the price after booking. This (and the cruise contract) allow them to cancel a booking, or refuse it. But that isn't what happened; they instead changed the price, which I believe violates the terms of our agreement.

Likewise, the other clause only applies to "offered" prices, not completed contracts (where the "offer" has been accepted).

In short, I am not really disputing that this is a price mistake, or that RCL could have canceled it if they wanted. I am disputing a post-booking price increase, which I can't find any allocation for.
You are right, they can't increase the fare after booking. Unfortunately, since they are refusing to honor the original fare, the best case scenario we would be able to mediate is the cancelation of your booking and a full refund. If you want to press the issue of them honoring the fare, you would need to consult with an attorney who can advise you if you have any legal course of action.
 
Nov 7, 2019
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#17
You are right, they can't increase the fare after booking. Unfortunately, since they are refusing to honor the original fare, the best case scenario we would be able to mediate is the cancelation of your booking and a full refund. If you want to press the issue of them honoring the fare, you would need to consult with an attorney who can advise you if you have any legal course of action.
Yeah, this is EXACTLY my frustration. They could have cancelled it - I would have been annoyed and disappointed, but ultimately that's their right. Instead, they stuck me with a $2000 bill without notice or explanation.
Even if they cancel now, that's already a breach of contract. Is pushing that something your team can assist with? I don't really want to take legal action
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
Staff Member
Director
Apr 13, 2016
672
997
93
St. Louis
#18
Yeah, this is EXACTLY my frustration. They could have cancelled it - I would have been annoyed and disappointed, but ultimately that's their right. Instead, they stuck me with a $2000 bill without notice or explanation.
Even if they cancel now, that's already a breach of contract. Is pushing that something your team can assist with? I don't really want to take legal action
It appears your options at this point are to pay the amount they requested, request to cancel your booking for a full refund or seek legal assistance to advise you if you have any other legal recourse. If you decide to cancel and they don't provide a refund, we may be able to help with that, but if you want to pursue a breach of contract claim which results in them honoring the original fare, that is something we are unable to assist with. We are a small organization with limited resources and do not have legal professionals on staff.
 
Nov 7, 2019
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#19
It appears your options at this point are to pay the amount they requested, request to cancel your booking for a full refund or seek legal assistance to advise you if you have any other legal recourse. If you decide to cancel and they don't provide a refund, we may be able to help with that, but if you want to pursue a breach of contract claim which results in them honoring the original fare, that is something we are unable to assist with. We are a small organization with limited resources and do not have legal professionals on staff.
Totally understand - thanks! Appreciate the insight
 
Feb 3, 2019
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#20
They could have cancelled it - I would have been annoyed and disappointed, but ultimately that's their right. Instead, they stuck me with a $2000 bill without notice or explanation.
Are they no longer allowing you to cancel without penalty? If that's the case, and you want to cancel, I think you have a very good argument for why you should be able to get all your money back.

If you are adamant you will not pay the difference in cost between the mistake fare and the correct rate, your best-case scenario may be to cancel with a full refund and request a credit toward a future cruise for your inconvenience.

However, if you prefer to continue to negotiate with Royal Caribbean, only you can determine whether the slim possibility you will prevail is worth the inevitable investment of your time and resources.