We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

A missed opportunity for TravelGuard to make things right

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
7 posts
5 reviews
Save Topic
A missed opportunity for TravelGuard to make things right

I'd like to take this chance to post a beef about TravelGuard; they recently had an opportunity to win my future business, and botched it.

I generally don't use travel insurance much, but with aging parents on both sides of the family, sometimes it makes sense. My wife and I recently booked a last-minute trip to a warm-weather destination through a local charter air-carrier, and I purchased the TravelGuard insurance as part of the booking. Within an hour and a half of the booking, we found out that we needed to adjust our travel dates by one day. I immediately contacted the air carrier; their fares were MUCH higher on the new dates, and I couldn't justify the added expense; but they had a 24-hour no-charge cancellation & change policy, and I found cheaper flights on another carrier, so there was no cost to us to cancel the flight with the original carrier. Great news, and save a bunch of $$$!

But when I asked about a refund of the nearly $300 we paid for the travel insurance, the carrier said that I needed to speak directly with TravelGuard. Now I realize that the policy stated that any purchase was non-refundable; but the policy didn't even go into force until the next day, and under the circumstances, I figured I'd ask them to do the right thing and refund our premium.

So I called the charter company's TravelGuard support number and explained the issue. They hemmed and hawed, and finally asked me to call TravelGuard directly. When I did that, the TravelGuard rep I spoke with said that I needed to contact the carrier. I said that "they told me to call you'" but it didn't help. So back to the carrier, then their TravelGuard support line. A rep finally agreed to push the matter up to a supervisor.

Two days later, they called and said that there was nothing that they could do, that they were"contractually obligated" to charge me the premium, even though the insurance hadn't gone into force when I asked for the refund.

TravelGuard: you missed a perfect chance to extend real customer service to me in this instance. Rather than just do a refund and earn my respect (and future business), you're taking my $298 and doing absolutely NOTHING to earn it. And you're taking my money without even issuing a policy; in my mind, that's called theft or fraud.

Did I read the "no-refund" notice when I signed up? Yes, I did, so technically they're within their rights; but looking at the situation, I think TravelGuard really missed an opportunity to do right.

Kabul, Afghanistan
Level Contributor
172 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
11. Re: A missed opportunity for TravelGuard to make things right

$300 for a one trip insurance policy? Surely that's the real crime here, isn't it?

London, United...
Level Contributor
867 posts
47 reviews
Save Reply
12. Re: A missed opportunity for TravelGuard to make things right

The most surprising thing is that it seems to cover only travel with a specified airline. Surely it would still cover the period it was bought for?

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
7 posts
5 reviews
Save Reply
13. Re: A missed opportunity for TravelGuard to make things right

Without trying to shoehorn people culturally, I'm seeing an interesting trend in these replies to my post: people from the UK are basically saying, "non-refundable means non-refundable" and are viewing the concept of customer service in a different light than people in the U.S., more specifically the Midwest where I reside.

It may be a bit cliche, but people from the Midwest U.S. tend to view a money-for-service equation pretty simply: if you pay for something and don't receive it, you should have a right to get your money back. Yes, I did need to make a change to my itinerary; the local air charter carrier had a policy that allowed me to get my money back within 24 hours without any fee or penalty. The insurance company, however, is getting my money WITHOUT having to supply anything in return: my entire insured trip was cancelled two hours after booking, and a day before the insurance policy even went into effect.

You could argue there are some administrative costs incurred on the part of the insurance company; but they're going to spend a whole lot more time dealing with me administratively through all the phone calls and emails than if they had just refunded the cost upfront.

London, United...
Level Contributor
27,178 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
14. Re: A missed opportunity for TravelGuard to make things right

Possibly it's cultural, and yes, in Europe, non refundable means non refundable, whether you use the service / product or not, specificallg when it's your own decision not to, with nothing to do with the supplier.

I am very surprised that in the US , or mid west, you don't have this concept?

Italy
Level Contributor
39,484 posts
206 reviews
Save Reply
15. Re: A missed opportunity for TravelGuard to make things right

The internet is a great tool but once you click on something it's done, you signed up to something that was non refundable, it's the same if you book a non refundable flight, they're cheaper because they're not flexible so if you need to change the dates you can't you have to purchase a new ticket.

Leicester, United...
Level Contributor
1,280 posts
1 review
Save Reply
16. Re: A missed opportunity for TravelGuard to make things right

"if you pay for something and don't receive it, you should have a right to get your money back."

I think are mis-stating the situation here. If I buy something and the seller*fails to deliver*, then yes I should be entitled to my money back.

This situation is entirely different. Travelguard is quite prepared to insure you. It is *you* who have decided you no longer want the insurance. In a situation like that, when you agree to buy something and one of the terms is that it's non-refundable, then that means what it says.

Think about it if it were an airplane ticket. Do you really think that the argument that "The flight hasn't taken place yet so they should give me a refund on my non-refundable ticket" would hold much water if you simply decided not to fly?

Non-refundable means non-refundable in any culture.

Edited: 22 February 2013, 19:39
London, United...
Level Contributor
2,426 posts
317 reviews
Save Reply
17. Re: A missed opportunity for TravelGuard to make things right

"you pay for something and don't receive it, you should have a right to get your money back"

People have a point.

Do you ask for a refund of your car insurance premium at the end of the year if you don't make a claim?

Leicester, United...
Level Contributor
1,280 posts
1 review
Save Reply
18. Re: A missed opportunity for TravelGuard to make things right

"Do you ask for a refund of your car insurance premium at the end of the year if you don't make a claim?"

That's not the situation here as the policy hasn't started, so the OP feels he should get a refund because he hasn't - and won't ever - benefit from the policy.

But I see it as the same as anon-refundable plane ticket you decide not to use. Of course you aren't entitled to a refund.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
Level Contributor
29,259 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
19. Re: A missed opportunity for TravelGuard to make things right

>> I'm seeing an interesting trend in these replies to my post: people from the UK are basically saying, "non-refundable means non-refundable" and are viewing the concept of customer service in a different light than people in the U.S. <<

OK, live from Oregon - Non-refundable means non-refundable!

Now, your "mistake", though you'll learn from this and not do it again, was to simply and "blindly" click to buy the travel insurance from the airline's booking site. I never do that, as I suspect there is inadequate coverage and also lot's of unfavorable T+C's hidden in the fine print (one of which probably stated that the policy is non-refundable and non-transferable), and I don't trust a policy that's sold in cahoots with the airline, who'll get a nice little commission payout.

What I do is buy my travel insurance **independently** of the flights, and I do so (very) shortly after booking the flights and hotels, so I know exactly what airline, route, hotels, etc. I'm taking and how much total coverage I need. That way, if I made a mistake or like canceled the flights within the 24 hour grace period I wouldn't have paid the premium anyway.

Edited: 22 February 2013, 20:08
Edinburgh, United...
Level Contributor
13,429 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
20. Re: A missed opportunity for TravelGuard to make things right

"if you pay for something and don't receive it, you should have a right to get your money back."

Agreed but in this case you *did* receive what you paid for. It's not the insurance company's fault that you decided to cancel your trip.