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Old July 29th, 2007, 03:29 PM
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Default Caught between NCL & TA in fare dispute

We just got off the Pearl last Sunday but I had the weirdest occurance before we sailed.

We booked this cruise in 8/2006 with one of the "biggies" via cruise compete. Two cabins, two adults each. Got my quote, booked it with a $500 deposit/cabin. I had used this agency on 2 previous cruises and believed them to be reputable. Time rocks along. Final payment came due when my mom was in the hospital and I was camping out there with her, so when the TA calls, DH tells him to charge the balance to our card on file. This was our 29th cruise and he had no reason to question the amount the TA gave him for the balance. Our past expierce with TA's had been quite ethical.

When I get home a few days later and look at his notes, I'm shocked because this balance should have been covered by NCL certificates (which had been processed, cause I had checked earlier) and now they had charged $1,750 to our card! When I called the TA he said there was nothing he could do because we had agreed to the amount given. Grrrr.
He insanely asked me why I was even calling him! I told him I thought the TA was an advocate but I guess not.

So . . . I called the acct. dept. of Biggie Travel Co. and got pretty much the same run around, basically said NCL had gone up on rates, she didn't know how the agent ever got that rate as she wasn't able to come up with it in her computer. I told her in my understanding once a deposit was made and processed that we had a contract with the agency to provide that service at that price. I do understand that $200 was levied by the state of AK by legislation in April, but that's not what I'm talking about. She said if NCL wouldn't honor the price they couldn't either. Finally I told her I did not believe this practice was legal and if she would kindly pull my jacket she'd see that I have 2 cabins for the Mediterannean and 3 cabins to Hawaii booked with them and she might want to consider transferring those bookings to another agency.

She decided to get back to me. She still beat around the bush about honoring the price, etc. I asked how on earth they could NOT honor a quote. She said (get this) "well, if you had proof of the price it would be one thing but . . ." Honey, what's your fax number, cause proof is on the way. Now honestly, how could she think I did not have copies of the invoices they had sent me? Duh.

So, she refers it to "management" and calls me the next day. Says it's all a big "computer glich" and they are refunding $1411 of what they'd charged me. What about the remainder I asked . . . silence. That is all that management was willing to do.

Would some of you TA's please advise me about this practice.
I agree this may have been my fault to some degree in that my DH agreed to the charge but I have never had an agency do this.
It is not the $300 (although it would have gone a long way toward my bar bill!) but it makes me very leary of dealing with this agency again.

I have no intention of beating this dead (sea)horse but am curious about your thoughts.

MagnoliaBlossom
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Old July 29th, 2007, 05:11 PM
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Bummer ....

If you have hard evidence of the price quoted to you by the TA, contact the CC company and dispute the charge.

- They are obligated to suspend the charge (interest free) until there is a resolution.

- They will ask you to prove proof of the oqigninal quote.

- They will aslo ask if you have tried to settle this with the merchant.

- After that they will make a binding decision.

- NOTE: THIS MUST BE DONE IN A WRITTEN LETTER.

- Write to the creditor at the address given for "billing inquiries," not the address for sending your payments, and include your name, address, account number and a description of the billing error.

- Send your letter so that it reaches the creditor within 60 days after the first bill containing the error was mailed to you.

- Send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you have proof of what the creditor received. Include copies (not originals) of sales slips or other documents that support your position. Keep a copy of your dispute letter.

- The creditor must acknowledge your complaint in writing within 30 days after receiving it, unless the problem has been resolved. The creditor must resolve the dispute within two billing cycles (but not more than 90 days) after receiving your letter.

Date
Your Name
Your Address
Your City, State, Zip Code
Your Account Number

Name of Creditor
Billing Inquiries
Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to dispute a billing error in the amount of $______on my account. The amount is inaccurate because (describe the problem). I am requesting that the error be corrected, that any finance and other charges related to the disputed amount be credited as well, and that I receive an accurate statement.

Enclosed are copies of (use this sentence to describe any enclosed information, such as sales slips, payment records) supporting my position. Please investigate this matter and correct the billing error as soon as possible.

Sincerely,
Your name
Enclosures: (List what you are enclosing.)
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Old July 29th, 2007, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: Caught between NCL & TA in fare dispute

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnolia Blossom
We just got off the Pearl last Sunday but I had the weirdest occurance before we sailed.

We booked this cruise in 8/2006 with one of the "biggies" via cruise compete. Two cabins, two adults each. Got my quote, booked it with a $500 deposit/cabin. I had used this agency on 2 previous cruises and believed them to be reputable. Time rocks along. Final payment came due when my mom was in the hospital and I was camping out there with her, so when the TA calls, DH tells him to charge the balance to our card on file. This was our 29th cruise and he had no reason to question the amount the TA gave him for the balance. Our past expierce with TA's had been quite ethical.

When I get home a few days later and look at his notes, I'm shocked because this balance should have been covered by NCL certificates (which had been processed, cause I had checked earlier) and now they had charged $1,750 to our card! When I called the TA he said there was nothing he could do because we had agreed to the amount given. Grrrr.
He insanely asked me why I was even calling him! I told him I thought the TA was an advocate but I guess not.

So . . . I called the acct. dept. of Biggie Travel Co. and got pretty much the same run around, basically said NCL had gone up on rates, she didn't know how the agent ever got that rate as she wasn't able to come up with it in her computer. I told her in my understanding once a deposit was made and processed that we had a contract with the agency to provide that service at that price. I do understand that $200 was levied by the state of AK by legislation in April, but that's not what I'm talking about. She said if NCL wouldn't honor the price they couldn't either. Finally I told her I did not believe this practice was legal and if she would kindly pull my jacket she'd see that I have 2 cabins for the Mediterannean and 3 cabins to Hawaii booked with them and she might want to consider transferring those bookings to another agency.

She decided to get back to me. She still beat around the bush about honoring the price, etc. I asked how on earth they could NOT honor a quote. She said (get this) "well, if you had proof of the price it would be one thing but . . ." Honey, what's your fax number, cause proof is on the way. Now honestly, how could she think I did not have copies of the invoices they had sent me? Duh.

So, she refers it to "management" and calls me the next day. Says it's all a big "computer glich" and they are refunding $1411 of what they'd charged me. What about the remainder I asked . . . silence. That is all that management was willing to do.

Would some of you TA's please advise me about this practice.
I agree this may have been my fault to some degree in that my DH agreed to the charge but I have never had an agency do this.
It is not the $300 (although it would have gone a long way toward my bar bill!) but it makes me very leary of dealing with this agency again.

I have no intention of beating this dead (sea)horse but am curious about your thoughts.

MagnoliaBlossom
OMG< I do think I know what happened but your agent was lax in not letting you know. A $50 tax per person was past last fall on all ALaskan cruises. She should have informed you as soon as the tax took affect. At least this is my thought as the amount is $300.00. All my years in the business and I have never had a price change after deposit has been made. Your agent got an invoice from NCL as soon as the deposit was applied or should have, from there she would or should have sent you a copy with the amount due. If the tax was applied afterward it would be her responsiblity to notify you.

We all make mistakes, certainly I do occassionally, but a good agent would have informed you when you called.

Nita
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Old July 29th, 2007, 06:58 PM
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I don't agree. If I have a legit booking at a set price, I don't care what tax was passed either before or after my booking (contract with the agency).

That's the price of doing business. A contract is a contract unless it stipulated that the fare might change. If that were the case, I would have moved on to another TA.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 10:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Shark
I don't agree. If I have a legit booking at a set price, I don't care what tax was passed either before or after my booking (contract with the agency).

That's the price of doing business. A contract is a contract unless it stipulated that the fare might change. If that were the case, I would have moved on to another TA.
I am not going to argue as I didn't have any clients affected by this. Most of mine doing Alaska booked this year after the increase, but I do believe new taxes can be passed on. I am not sure.

Regardless, Magnolia deserves an explanation from her TA.

On the other hand, if I understand you correctly your reasoning is the TA or the cruise line should have to eat all those $50.00. I hope that isn't what you are saying. I can assure you, if the TAs had to eat the $50 per person they would make almost no money, in many cases they would make less than no money.

Nita
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Old July 29th, 2007, 10:11 PM
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This $350 was on TOP of the Alaska tax. I was contacted in April as soon as the tax was passed and certainly would not expect the agency or the cruise line to absorb a tax levied by the Alaskan people. This was taking that $200 ($50 x 4) into account.

It is unlike me not to fight this to the death, but I have a really full plate right now and am just not up for a battle. But you can bet your bippy this fine company will not see me in the future.

What has amazed me is their failure to try and explain to me how it is that a contract is not a contract. When I've asked very specific questions about their math and how they come up with the numbers they do there is just dead silence. Even after I faxed them my complete, accurate documents along with a worksheet so simple that even Louisianians can understand it (quote and original invoice = X, M/C and certifcates = Y and even I understand X should equal Y)

And for the agent to laugh off my husband having okayed an incorrect amount really amazed me. In all our travelling I've never had anyone
be so cavalier.

Oh well, guess they have more business than they can handle.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnolia Blossom
This $350 was on TOP of the Alaska tax. I was contacted in April as soon as the tax was passed and certainly would not expect the agency or the cruise line to absorb a tax levied by the Alaskan people. This was taking that $200 ($50 x 4) into account.

It is unlike me not to fight this to the death, but I have a really full plate right now and am just not up for a battle. But you can bet your bippy this fine company will not see me in the future.

What has amazed me is their failure to try and explain to me how it is that a contract is not a contract. When I've asked very specific questions about their math and how they come up with the numbers they do there is just dead silence. Even after I faxed them my complete, accurate documents along with a worksheet so simple that even Louisianians can understand it (quote and original invoice = X, M/C and certifcates = Y and even I understand X should equal Y)

And for the agent to laugh off my husband having okayed an incorrect amount really amazed me. In all our travelling I've never had anyone
be so cavalier.

Oh well, guess they have more business than they can handle.
And I have never heard of anything like this. You had the invoice, you knew how much you owed, you were aware of the tax (at least they did that much) and you were over charged with no explanation. I know sometimes fighting to the bitter end isn't worth it, but that is a lot of money.

Nita : :evil:
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Old July 29th, 2007, 10:17 PM
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[quote="MB"]I do understand that $200 was levied by the state of AK by legislation in April, but that's not what I'm talking about.
Quote:

MB has already said she understands the "new" tax from AK. Was this the $150.00 pp? If so, her TA should have notified her of the extra charge. NMita sure would have!
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Old July 29th, 2007, 10:20 PM
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Okay, I missed the $350.00 somewhere, and that it was NOT AK tax! MB, I'd be contesting this charge with your CC company.
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Old July 30th, 2007, 09:10 AM
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[quote="Fern"]
Quote:
Originally Posted by MB
I do understand that $200 was levied by the state of AK by legislation in April, but that's not what I'm talking about.
Quote:

MB has already said she understands the "new" tax from AK. Was this the $150.00 pp? If so, her TA should have notified her of the extra charge. NMita sure would have!
I certainly hope I would have. No, the tax leveied by the state of AK is $50 per person which would have been $200 total for the four of them. On top of that, as I understand it is another $300.00. Magnolia, is this correct?

To me, as an agent, it is even more infuriating now that I know she was notified about the tax increase, but her agent can't explain the other charges. As I mentioned I have never seen this happen. Oh, we all know about the price quotes last year involving HAL, but that was more a computer glitch and caught within a few days. I am talking about a cruise line raising prices and asking the passengers to pay more than the contract states. even if this did happen, the TA would have been notified and should have passed the information on asap. I have a gut feeling the TA misquoted the price in the beginning. At least that is the only thing I can come up with.

Nita
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Old July 30th, 2007, 12:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita
On the other hand, if I understand you correctly your reasoning is the TA or the cruise line should have to eat all those $50.00. I hope that isn't what you are saying. I can assure you, if the TAs had to eat the $50 per person they would make almost no money, in many cases they would make less than no money.
Ity is not her problem that they screwed up the proce on the contract. Yes, they should eat it. Tuff if they don't make any $$$ on the deal.

Magnolia Blossom said the she was not going to chase it. If it were me, I'd be dispputing the extra charge with my CC company.
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Old July 30th, 2007, 07:05 PM
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Yep, the $350 was above and beyond the $200. I may dig out my papers and do battle with these "fine" folks . I'm just trying to put myself in my happy place and enjoy having our grandaughter's visit and prepare for Rome in September and remember what a good time we had on that gawdy, gawdy ship. See, this is the new and improved me. Muy tranquila (rhymes with tequila!). But, then, one day soon somebody is gonna pee in my cheerios and I'll need someone to take it out on - and guess who's lucky turn it will be for the revenge of the She-*itch.
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Old July 30th, 2007, 07:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Shark
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita
On the other hand, if I understand you correctly your reasoning is the TA or the cruise line should have to eat all those $50.00. I hope that isn't what you are saying. I can assure you, if the TAs had to eat the $50 per person they would make almost no money, in many cases they would make less than no money.
Ity is not her problem that they screwed up the proce on the contract. Yes, they should eat it. Tuff if they don't make any $$$ on the deal.

Magnolia Blossom said the she was not going to chase it. If it were me, I'd be dispputing the extra charge with my CC company.
I don't think you are getting the point or maybe you are, I am not sure. Magnolia was willing to pay the increase in taxes as she should have been. It is not the fault of the agency or the cruise line when the state adds an additional tax. this applies to port charges as well and it does happen. The consumer does have to pay. she is questioning the other charges which I agree with her 100%. She has every right to fight it to the end and I would contact the CC company as well. Again the added taxes are her responsibility and she agrees. It seems like we are on different pages on this.

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Old July 31st, 2007, 02:07 PM
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I am on the same page alright. This is busted in two pieces, the Alaska tax (which you suggested was the price increase) and the difeerence in what she paid and what the contract called for.

She has paid the Alaska tax and she does not dispute that. She is not chasing the overchage on what she paid and the contract.

That's her call. For me I would have protested both as they are an increase to the origninal contract price.
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Old July 31st, 2007, 02:30 PM
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I'm with Irish on this one. It's not the tax, thats acceptable and understandable. A fare misquote or increase requires the TA to notify immediately.

Once we sign on the line, if there is nothing in the fine print about changes, any failures go to the business. They will likely not make the same mistake again.

I would also see if the TA is in the BBB and have a dispute placed with the BBB. It doesn't do much but if a savvy shopper checks the business beforehand, they will see the dispute and think twice.

I recently bought a "antique" map of the caribbean from an online store.
I ordered the smaller size and they sent the larger size. They even sent me an email confirming what I ordered.

When the map arrived I noticed on the invoice that they charged me for the larger one. I emailed them back on the confoirm email with all the details and asked them why they charged me more. They offered to exchange the size and credit my acct. or keep the larger and pay the higher price. I said NO, you made the error and I have proof from you of what I ordered. You credit my acct for the overage and I keep the larger map.

Your error, not mine.

Phil & Liz
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Old July 31st, 2007, 04:28 PM
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Quote:
I'm shocked because this balance should have been covered by NCL certificates (which had been processed, cause I had checked earlier)
What are these NCL certificates? Don't think I've heard of these before. Some sort of credit card promo, or compensation from a previous cruise?
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Old July 31st, 2007, 05:06 PM
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Kuki, they were NCL Compass Point certificates awarded by the BankofAmerica MasterCard (previously MBNA).
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Old July 31st, 2007, 07:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Shark
I am on the same page alright. This is busted in two pieces, the Alaska tax (which you suggested was the price increase) and the difeerence in what she paid and what the contract called for.

She has paid the Alaska tax and she does not dispute that. She is not chasing the overchage on what she paid and the contract.

That's her call. For me I would have protested both as they are an increase to the origninal contract price.
oh come on, I was thinking $200 not the $350. I have already said she should go after the TA. If I am not mistaken you referred back a ways that even the taxes she shouldn't have to pay or maybe I misunderstood you.

Of course I don't think she should have to pay the additional charges, I simply referred to the tax portion. Who do you think should pay the additonal taxes?

I can guarantee you, I am on Magnolia's side on this. She never complains, is fair, objective and has a great attitude. Anyone can go after what they want, but when it comes to additional monies charged by the government or fuel sur charges, increase in port charges, these are expenses that are passed on. Recently, the government taxes on taxes on the Mexican Riv itinerary were actually cut. Yes, the passengers received a small deduction on their cruise. It was only about $2.50 per person, but it was something.

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Old July 31st, 2007, 07:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil&Liz
I'm with Irish on this one. It's not the tax, thats acceptable and understandable. A fare misquote or increase requires the TA to notify immediately.

Once we sign on the line, if there is nothing in the fine print about changes, any failures go to the business. They will likely not make the same mistake again.

I would also see if the TA is in the BBB and have a dispute placed with the BBB. It doesn't do much but if a savvy shopper checks the business beforehand, they will see the dispute and think twice.

I recently bought a "antique" map of the caribbean from an online store.
I ordered the smaller size and they sent the larger size. They even sent me an email confirming what I ordered.

When the map arrived I noticed on the invoice that they charged me for the larger one. I emailed them back on the confoirm email with all the details and asked them why they charged me more. They offered to exchange the size and credit my acct. or keep the larger and pay the higher price. I said NO, you made the error and I have proof from you of what I ordered. You credit my acct for the overage and I keep the larger map.

Your error, not mine.

Phil & Liz
Phil, the problem here is, as I understand Irish, even the new taxes can not be passed on. This isn't the case; they can be and are. yes, a good agent would have informed her of any rate increase. In fact as soon as the deposits are paid the rate should be locked in. I have never seen a case when this wasn't the policy, except for new taxes, port charges and a couple of times fuel sur charges.

Nita
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Old August 1st, 2007, 01:53 PM
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If the Alaska Tax Law was in effect at the time of booking, then I would say that is fair and should be paid.

However, if the law was enacted after the booking date, tuff I will not pay it. It would apply to all booking made after the law went into effect.

What happens if the law stated that it is retroactive to 10 years ago? Are they going to chase every passenger for this new tax? Don't think so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnolia Blossom
We booked this cruise in 8/2006 with one of the "biggies" via cruise compete.
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita
OMG< I do think I know what happened but your agent was lax in not letting you know. A $50 tax per person was past last fall on all ALaskan cruises.
Now was this passed before or after 08.06? That would clarirfy one aspect.
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Old August 1st, 2007, 03:03 PM
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Check out your contract with any cruiseline - it is clear they add taxes and surcharges even after you are paid in full. The only thing that is really protected is the cruise fare portion of the total cost.

Guarantee and Rate
Once we have received your deposit or full payment, the cruise rate is secure except in the event of substantial increases in operating costs, tariffs or taxes prior to the sailing date. In such cases, we reserve the right to add a surcharge. If you select an Air/Sea package, additional governmental taxes and customs fees may apply. All assessed government or quasi-government fees and taxes are subject to change without notice at any time, and we reserve the right to add a surcharge for these fees and taxes whether you have a confirmed booking under deposit or have made final payment. All rates and information in this brochure were in effect at time of printing and are subject to change.
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Old August 1st, 2007, 03:27 PM
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The contract is with the TA's Agency. They were the ones who gave me the quote and we have a contract based on that.

If the cruise line increases the price per their contract, it is not me who pays, it is the TA's Agency. The only out here is if the TA's Agency has encorporated the same wording in their contract with me.
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Old August 1st, 2007, 03:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Shark
The contract is with the TA's Agency. They were the ones who gave me the quote and we have a contract based on that.

If the cruise line increases the price per their contract, it is not me who pays, it is the TA's Agency. The only out here is if the TA's Agency has encorporated the same wording in their contract with me.
Not exactly - my understanding your TA is an agent selling a cruise line contract. Now if the "agent" made an error you may have recourse. If the cruiseline raised price do to a tax increase not a TA issue.
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Old August 1st, 2007, 04:33 PM
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I cannot find a TA agreement with NCL, but here is one from Carnival. I am sure that NCL's agreement read pretty close.

"Travel Agency agrees and acknowledges that it is an agent of its respective customers. Travel Agency is not an agent of Carnival, other than as may be applicable with respect to certain General Sales Agents in non-U.S. jurisdictions, in which case the underlying Travel Agency Agreement will specifically set forth such agency relationship. Nothing in this Policy shall be deemed to give Travel Agent the right, license, authorization or approval to make bookings with Carnival or to receive any commission or any other payments directly or indirectly from Carnival, as the terms of any such payment or commission must be set forth in an underlying Travel Agency Agreement between Carnival and Travel Agent. It is understood that individual consumers booking Carnival cruises for themselves and/or for others and who are not receiving any commission or payments from Carnival are not ‚ÄúTravel Agents‚Ä? hereunder."

https://www.bookccl.com/pdf/CCLTravelAgencyPolicy.pdf

(I insert the BOLD)

That said, the NCL passenger contract does say that NCL can raise the price basically for any reason. If you don't like it, you can cancel.

So I guess that the tax part of this moot.

Spending too much time on this since the OP paid the tax and is not going to chase the rest of the money. Let's move on.
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Old August 1st, 2007, 07:35 PM
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shoreguy, we might as well give it up. Irish Shark really feels the TA is responsible for paying the taxes, nothing is going to change his mind. Magnolia Blossom seems to understand, you and I know the taxes are never the responsiblity of the cruise line or the agency but he is bound and determined he wouldn't pay them. This being the case, I guess he wouldn't cruise either as the cruise would not be paid in full.

I give up!!!!

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Old August 1st, 2007, 10:26 PM
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Hey guys! I want to thank all of ya'll for your interest in this matter.
It has been really exasperating, but educational. I'm going to sit down tomorrow and compose a letter to BoA and see how it goes. I'll keep you posted, but it could take a while.

Now . . . let's think about Rome and Venice and Dubrovnik . . .

far away places with strange sounding names . . .
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Old August 1st, 2007, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnolia Blossom
Hey guys! I want to thank all of ya'll for your interest in this matter.
It has been really exasperating, but educational. I'm going to sit down tomorrow and compose a letter to BoA and see how it goes. I'll keep you posted, but it could take a while.

Now . . . let's think about Rome and Venice and Dubrovnik . . .

far away places with strange sounding names . . .
Enjoy your cruise that is what is most important - plenty of time to resolve the $ issues.
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 09:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnolia Blossom
Hey guys! I want to thank all of ya'll for your interest in this matter.
It has been really exasperating, but educational. I'm going to sit down tomorrow and compose a letter to BoA and see how it goes. I'll keep you posted, but it could take a while.

Now . . . let's think about Rome and Venice and Dubrovnik . . .

far away places with strange sounding names . . .
i don't think the places you are going have strange sounding names.

Seriously, have a great time and report back. I know you will.

Nita
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Old August 2nd, 2007, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita
shoreguy, we might as well give it up. Irish Shark really feels the TA is responsible for paying the taxes, nothing is going to change his mind. Magnolia Blossom seems to understand, you and I know the taxes are never the responsiblity of the cruise line or the agency but he is bound and determined he wouldn't pay them. This being the case, I guess he wouldn't cruise either as the cruise would not be paid in full.

I give up!!!!
You are the one who is not on the same page. Please read what I said ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Irish Shark
That said, the NCL passenger contract does say that NCL can raise the price basically for any reason. If you don't like it, you can cancel.

So I guess that the tax part of this moot.

Spending too much time on this since the OP paid the tax and is not going to chase the rest of the money. Let's move on.
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