Cruise Error Fare- Legalities and Practicalities

Hello friends,

I’m not necessarily looking for legal advice. Looking for anecdotes and suggestions. I have tried to research this topic online and am not interested in hiring a lawyer.

I booked a cruise directly with a cruise line. It was a fare that would only be available to a very very small percentage of their cruisers. I am 100% entitled to this. All other fares and fare combinations were normal prices. This was about 95% off what would be expected and if even one variable was changed, the rate went straight to what was expected. It was also not bookable by clicking the booking button. I put the cruise on hold and then when the confirmation came through, I went into the cruise lines online payment system and paid in full. I also bought various items for the cruise to be enjoyed onboard. Today is 17 days after booking and full payment. This cruise line is absolutely notorious for IT problems. I do not know when or if this error would be picked up, or if it is an error. I bought my airfares yesterday to catch this cruise which is round trip from Australia. I received confirmation for the cruise with cabin number and for all the extras. I don’t think there would be many similar bookings as there were very few people qualified and it was not advertised. It just came up this way on their website when I entered my credentials.

The terms and conditions state they can change errors all the way up to supply. I have no idea what supply means in this instance. All the way up until boarding? When I check in online? At final payment date? I would think that 17 days and above is more than ample time for them to discover an error, if there is one.

If they contact me saying there was an error they are not honouring, I’d like to know what the law is so I can mention it in my discussions. My understanding is that Australian law does not permit companies to enforce clauses that are unfair and one sided if they are the ones who produced the contract. If it is an error fare, I have a compromise in mind that would involve me paying about what an inside cabin would be but receiving a suite. Not the ultra premium suite I am booked in at the moment.

My understanding is that even in the case of mistake fares, the travel provider generally has to and does pay for reasonable out of pocket expenses made when relying on the mistake. In this case it would be airfares and possibly a hotel room, so assuming that this company follows this policy, they would need to weigh that up.

I’d welcome any advice or insights people would have on handling the situation if the cruise line decides to try to cancel. I don’t really want any moral condemnation for booking what might be an error fare that pops up when I enter very specific credentials that can not be faked or shared. It might also not be an error. At any rate, I’m looking to move on from this point. Not from where I was prior to booking airfares, etc. (by the way, I got an absolute bargain on those and they can still be of use even if I do not go on this specific cruise)

I’m not going to disclose the cruise line and although I have travel insurance, I am not interested in involving them.

Thanks for reading. Happy bargasms to all. 💐

Comments

  • +3 votes

    I’d welcome any advice or insights people would have on handling the situation if the cruise line decides to try to cancel.

    TL;DR OP booked dirt cheap cruise tickets, which were accepted and then paid for. OP then booked and paid for flights. OP is worried the cruise company might cancel the ticket due to price error, though they haven't yet. OP wants to know what to do if they do cancel.


    Easy option - Look into conditions of your travel insurance, or be prepared to negotiate.

    • +3 votes

      This was about 95% off what would be expected

      That's more than just dirt cheap ; that's a steal! I would be worried too.

    •  

      I have travel insurance. Not interested in using it. In worst case scenario, I’ll only be out a couple of air fares.

      I am trying to prepare for negotiation. That was the reason for my post. Wanting insights into what might assist me in achieving my stated compromise position, if it is and error and if they decide to not honour it fully.

      •  

        Nothing can prepare you unfortunately. It all depends on the other side, and how you come across. All you can be is to be as nice as possible, be a customer that they want to help out, and go from there. They could dig their heels in, you just don't know.

        Be prepared to act shocked though if they cay they can't honour it.

        • -1 vote

          Yes, I’ll be nice. I have 17 other cruises booked with them at the moment. There is no need for a lack of civility. I’m just hoping for a things I can highlight when and if I need to negotiate. Some might be legal precedent, industry standards or the specifics of how long they end up taking to discover the error, if it is one.

          •  

            @voteoften: Wouldn't even worry about legal precedent as it's covered by their T&C's. Just stick with how loyal you are to them.

            17 cruises holy hell! Nice retirement you have there!

            •  

              @Spackbace: I just want to be prepared to optimise the outcome. This cruise is not the trip of a lifetime. It’s just another part of my schedule. So, I would like to know if there is legal precedents, ACCC actions, etc. as well as things like the Elliott.org article mentioned below where azamara made a multi choice offer in a case where they felt there was an error fare.

              Whether I go on this cruise or not is not a big deal. If I can keep the deal as is I’ll be thrilled because I will never pay normal price for the best suite on the ship. If I can’t, well, i might as well optimise my outcome.

              I don’t know why people can’t understand that this isn’t something to get aggro over, it’s just that if it comes to a discussion, I want to have all the permutations available to me. I like to be prepared.

              • +1 vote

                @voteoften: The permutations are in your imagination, The cruise line is within their rights to cancel and refund the low payment. You knowingly booked airfares connecting to a cruise you believe was booked in error and want internet randoms to say it will work out fine. Take your chances and well done if it works out. If it backfires, it's your own fault.

                    • +1 vote

                      @Jar Jar binks: This is more like travelling interstate to pick up a drone you paid only 5% for and expecting your travelling costs and hotel to be covered if they realise the error, then threatening ACCC action like it makes a difference. If the seller realises their mistake, they are only legally obliged to refund the payment. The rest is voluntary or covered in Terms and Conditions. Do you you really think Tiger Airways would pay all consequential costs if a $1 promotional flight got cancelled if you travelled from Nova Scotia via Djibouti and stayed at the Ritz Carlton? Your drone giftcard was entirely voluntary. Attempting to throw your weight around spouting ACCC nonsense is just embarrassing. ACCC will ask themself if it was a genuine mistake and think 'next'. They don't even resolve individual cases and definitely don't hold ships so high maintenance divas can board.

                      • +1 vote

                        @Frugal Rock: My point is that most ozbargainers would have jumped on that deal too. People in glass houses…

                        If I was OP, knowing that I had no leg to stand on, I would hope for the best and plan for the worst, which is what he's doing. What's wrong with that?

                        •  

                          @Jar Jar binks: In your mind, where do you think the OP's request for precedents is heading?

                          "I’d like to know what the law is so I can mention it in my discussions"

                          "I have a compromise in mind that would involve me paying about what an inside cabin would be but receiving a suite"

                          Oh yeah, that's written in law.

    •  

      Thanks I already have. That’s why I feel reasonably confident I could negotiate something if they decide it was an error.

  •  

    Well, any resolution you might seek would be in the long and slow civil system. Cops aren't going to help you forcibly board a ship.

    • -3 votes

      Are you joking? I think I mentioned twice I was not interested in lawyers and that I was hoping that I could negotiate a resolution if they determined it was an error. Where, specifically, do you read any intention whatsoever for police action or even raised words?

      •  

        Negotiations must be voluntary and backed by the threat of potential legal consequences.

        Otherwise it's just a bluff. You can't force them to agree to anything outside the legal system.

        •  

          I disagree that negotiations must be backed by legal threat. As I travel a lot, things go wrong. I’m often offered compensation. Sometimes I say, can you do x instead of y? As I’m generally asking for a small variation, i generally get what I want. Sometimes I get what they offer and my variation.

          •  

            @voteoften: Given then you have 17 cruises booked with them (so maybe someone like a VIP) and you are often offered compensation, are you seeking advice and tips from someone who has had 18 cruises booked and always get offered compensation?

      • +1 vote

        Well, you certainly expect a whole lot of things to occur via osmosis. Where is the law that states a travel provider must pay for the costs on a separate carrier you incurred prior to a cancellation?

        "My understanding is that even in the case of mistake fares, the travel provider generally has to and does pay for reasonable out of pocket expenses made when relying on the mistake. In this case it would be airfares and possibly a hotel room, so assuming that this company follows this policy, they would need to weigh that up."

        Is that the chorus of Bucks Fizz' Land of make believe?

        "My understanding is that Australian law does not permit companies to enforce clauses that are unfair and one sided if they are the ones who produced the contract."

        Yeah, write a complaint to the ACCC, LOL. They have a special emergency ship stopping unit.

        If you truly have 17 other cruises booked, get a proper lawyer rather than making things up.

        • -1 vote

          I don’t understand your bitterness. Only one cruise is at issue here.

          •  

            @voteoften: Well if you rock up to boarding and your fears of cancellation are realised, do you really think complaining to the ACCC is a threat? They will not act until there are a pile of complaints, it will take months or years. Are you going to be like Tom Hanks in Terminal, waiting?

            •  

              @Frugal Rock: No. I’m not interested in getting the accc involved in my personal instance. But if there are specific similar instances that they have commented or ruled on then it would be nice to have these at hand to mention.

              Even if everything were to go against me, I would not be upset. I am merely looking to increase my chances of achieving my optimal resolution, if they decide it’s an error.

              I don’t understand why you are so completely hostile. I did take a moment and looked at your posts and your comments here on ozbargain and you do seem to accuse a lot of people of negative things that appear to be completely unwarranted. Although I don’t understand your hostility, it’s good to know it’s not personal. I hope you have a good day.

              •  

                @voteoften: You are just deflecting from not being able to back up anything you originally stated.

                I ask again where this baloney is written in law:

                "the travel provider generally has to and does pay for reasonable out of pocket expenses made when relying on the mistake"

  •  

    Still not sure how you booked without the booking button available.

    •  

      You can either book or place a cruise on hold on the website. The booking button was available, but there was a system error. (Their IT really is the worst) I place the cruise on hold and paid from that email, through their system.

    •  

      maybe changed the html code so it bypasses certain requirements?

      Edit: Ahh, OP responded above.

  • +1 vote

    The terms and conditions state they can change errors all the way up to supply. I have no idea what supply means in this instance. All the way up until boarding?

    Yes.

    And it sounds like you exploited an IT bug knowing it was a bug. So I'd bank on it being cancelled.

  • +3 votes

    You didn't share this as a deal?!?! Pfffttt

  • +1 vote

    I have been in similar situations but with airfares where there were first class tickets (back in 2012) for $450 round trip to anywhere in the world with any airline (as long as it started from X country). The savvy flyers booked trips to the United States where there are (at the time anyway) very good consumer protection, booked prepaid accommodation, transportation and activities to strengthen their cases. IN the end the Department of Transportation, whom received dozens of complaints, basically made a blanket decision and told airlines to suck it and let the flyers fly - which we all did, easily in the hundreds if not more tickets.

    Now another time Singapore Airlines made a mistake and cancelled everyone's ticket but then they discovered the issue within several hours.

    Qantas had the same fate with First Class fares departing USA where they forgot an extra zero in the pricing, they would not honour those fares but would allow flyers to accept economy tickets instead if they wanted to or have a voucher for next time.

    I guess from my experience, given that you are 17 days after paying for this is sufficient time for a cruise / or online booking agency to discover the mistake. I think from this moment forward, and its only my view, that anything you book (flights, transfers, activities) is reasonable and if the cruise company cancels, then they would have to reimburse you out of pocket expenses.

    • -2 votes

      Thank you, this is my understanding as well. My preference would be to keep the deal, failing that to get a lesser suite at the price of an inside cabin. If I don’t get it, it’s not a big deal but if a few words can make the difference, I might as well have them handy.

      I appreciate some rational thought into the actual circumstances of the matter.

  • +2 votes

    Ran out of negs today from just this thread haha

  •  

    @voteoften kudos to you for knowing this pricing hack and I totally support your decision to never reveal who the cruise line is with. I have been fortunate to have travelled quite a bit for the last 15 years now and know many of the do's and do not's when it comes to travel and travel fares.

    Sometimes if you find the deal of a lifetime (possibly an error) there are two train of thoughts;

    1.tell the world (like ozB) so everyone jumps on, then the airline/cruise/whatever is guaranteed to find out, and cancels everything or at least honours everything to date and blocks future bookings. After all there is safety in numbers, if 1,000 people booked, there is potential 1,000 loud voices which multiple in today's world very easily with social media etc this can have a positive or negative outcome depending on the airline/cruise/whatever handling of the situation.

    Thought 2, keep it a secret and the airline/cruise/whatever may not notice and keep enjoying the benefits. Or if they did notice many days down the track, realise it is only one cabin on a cruise ship or one seat on a 400 seat plane - and that would have gone empty anyway, so let you keep your booking. I am in this camp.

    Flying is no different, for example there is 'hidden city' ticketing, there are 'boomerang' routes that flyers like to make use of. You can google those, but generally hidden city is like needing a flight from Brisbane to Sydney, but booking Brisbane to Hobart via Sydney because it is cheaper to do so then getting off at Sydney and not flying the second leg. Similarly 'boomerangs' happen on an international level, usually on points tickets, where you need to fly from Asia to Europe, but actually book a ticket from Asia to Europe back to Asia because again it is cheaper to do so. Remember Asia is a massive continent, so for example booking Thailand to Europe (then to Kyrgyzstan) might have worked once upon a time but since many flyers know about this, airlines have started closing that loophole - all because word got out - and when you fly regularly to Europe, it kind of hurts it ended.

  •  

    I think you will be ok. If anything they will be very happy to honour the mistake given you are a frequent cruiser and therefore a bit of an ambassador for the industry. Unless the cruise company happened to be Qantas they would value your loyalty.

  •  

    ZZZZZzzzzzz….. oh…. finished

    We have no idea what you mean by "error"… whereas "supply" is the moment you "take" or start to use their product.

    If the company made an error at booking, then it is their responsibility to rectify this error.

    If they can not, you have a right to insist on a full refund.

    They have not delivered a service you paid for.

    If you have made the "error" then you would have to compensate the company.

    Contact Dep of Fair Trading.

  • +1 vote

    What a complete waste of OB time.

    What a worrisome person OP must be.

    I would hate to be living OPs life worried about what the next moment might bring.

    Constantly doing research on alternative couses of action in case something goes wrong.

    Best advise here is to stay away from such people

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