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Please help me reply to absurd request from Travel Guard!!!

UPDATE -- success! in the comments below!

EDITED to note I am not trying to "double dip" and get vouchers and money back. Travel Guard agents instructed me to get the vouchers and indicate that the hotel and airline would not provide a refund, only vouchers, and that I was willing to forfeit the vouchers to Travel Guard in exchange for money back.

I contacted Travel Guard in June and filled out all of the many forms they sent me to obtain refunds for a prepaid nonrefundable hotel room and AirCanada tickets. We had purchased pre-existing medical condition insurance, and my travel partner is now scheduled for a total knee replacement at the time we would have traveled (so we weren't trying to get reimbursed due to COVID). Forms we returned to them included completed and signed medical forms claiming traveler could not travel, and we even threw in the hospital written confirmation of surgery date. Per their instructions, I sent copies of all original hotel and airline reservations, copies each entire email chain requesting money back and being informed only vouchers were available and copies of the credit card statements with the original billing information.

Today I got an email telling me that "As many refund policies are changing" I need to re-confirm that the airline and hotel won't refund my money and that the reconfirmations have to be as of the date of this request. This is absolutely absurd and clearly designed to get me to give up my claim. AirCanada hasn't suddenly decided to refund tickets. But there's no way I'm going to be able to get something in writing for them re-confirming my cancellation/voucher request....they are barely responding to normal email requests and a request to reconfirm something they've already put in writing isn't going to be answered. I was originally told it would take them at least 3 months to process my voucher, and my one attempt to contact them by phone led to almost 2 hours on hold. No one is going to email me to reconfirm what they already told me! Additionally, the hotel in Rome has already cancelled my reservation and issued me a voucher. Even without a language barrier, I doubt if they'd reply to a request to re-confirm this. Why would they when they've already confirmed it in writing?

What can I do to fight this? Travel Guard is being ridiculous. I sent them everything in writing. They have all the cancellation information, including the written statement from the hotel and airline that they are only giving vouchers. It's absolutely ridiculous that they say I need to get that information a second time, two months after I cancelled and obtained all the information. Is there anything I can do/anyone I can contact (or threaten to contact) to get them to drop this absurd requirement? Because I really don't think I'm going to be able to get the information a second time, dated as of today.

What especially ticks me off is that I'm talking about $2400 total claimed, a drop in the bucket for a company like travel guard, but a lot of money for me. We gave them all the medical paperwork and every document they requested and this is so nuts.

Thanks for your help and advice on this!

Posted by
501 posts

If you received vouchers than you still technically have the value of the airline tickets and hotel room in Rome to spend on another trip. I don't know much about Air Canada but if they canceled the flight to Europe then I would think you would have had an option to either get a refund or voucher. I have had no issues getting refunds from American, Delta, and EasyJet this year.

I have had to claim through Travel Guard twice and did not have any issues. (although this was pre-COVID times). It also depends on what level of Travel Guard Insurance you took out as well as when you purchased it. If you can be more specific on those details perhaps we can help more.

Margaret

Posted by
3005 posts

As a Canadian, and on several travel forums, I can say Air Canada has been very sticky about providing refunds. Credits, yes, refunds, no.
If you already have vouchers or credits from the airline and hotel, then essentially you are double dipping by expecting Travel Guard to pay you for these 2 claims. As stated, you have been provided the value of your initial expense and not entitled to more.
If you don't have the vouchers and you want cash back, then are you surprised that a business doesn't want reconfirmation that you haven't received the vouchers in the meantime?
Yes, it is tough when you are stuck with vouchers but there are thousands in the same boat. For what it is worth, Air Canada vouchers can be transferred...keep in mind, however, that unlike a savings account, you can't use it for multiple cheaper flights until the value is used. It is a one use voucher regardless of whether the replacement flight is cheaper or the same price.
Only you can determine whether the value is worth the efforts. Paperwork is a pain, but these are unprecedented times and yours is only one of millions of impacted trips. Only you can decide whether to pursue or not.

Posted by
411 posts

I have canceled 2 different trips in the last 3 months. I submitted 2 claims to 2 different travel insurance companies. For each claim I had to submit documentation that I did not receive a voucher or credit for future use. An airline offered to give me a voucher but I rejected I it because I have no idea if I’ll be able to fly from Italy to Greece within the next 2 years. Likewise the high school tour package gave us the option to apply almost all payments to a future trip but I just wanted my money back so I rejected that option as well.

Most insurance companies will only let you file a claim for what you are actually out of pocket. Vouches and credit for future use is treated the same as money that’s been refunded.

This may or may not work and will be a big pain in the butt, but contact the airline and hotel and tell them you need to reject the voucher so that you can file an insurance claim. I actually did that with the group tour package.

Posted by
3436 posts

If you have been issued vouchers, you have lost nothing yet in the eyes of the insurance company. You still have an amount you could use equal to what you paid. Whether you choose to use it or not is not the insurance company's issue. That is why they are asking for reconfirmation. They want to know the vouchers have been cancelled and you have not received any refund payment. You cannot receive a voucher and payment from the insurance company in the same way you cannot receive payment from the insurance company if you did receive a cash refund. That is not how insurance works.

What especially ticks me off is that I'm talking about $2400 total claimed, a drop in the bucket for a company like travel guard,

Under normal circumstances, yes, your "small" claim would be a drop in the bucket. However, these are not normal circumstances. Everyone is asking for similar payments from the insurance companies. If they just paid everyone without strict confirmation, they would be bankrupt.

Posted by
5544 posts

It's called "jumping through hoops" and "doting i's and crossing t's". It may be a "drop in the bucket" to the insurer, but there are some insured out there who may be trying to scam (intentionally or by not understanding the terms and conditions) the insurance company. Keep in mind that insurance premiums would rise if the company was generous in paying out undeserving claims. So "jump" and cross your "T's".

Posted by
1846 posts

Ruth,
As one of the other posters stated, these are unusual times. But, that said, I will share with you how TravelGuard settled a claim with is 7 or 8 years ago. The airline, at that time, had the standard operating procedure of issuing a voucher credit (minus the rebooking fee). Since we were not sure we would be able to travel within the time frame the voucher credit allowed (seems it was a year from the original booking), we opted to just file a claim under our trip insurance. TravelGuard had us sign some sort of affidavit thing that basically said that we were foregoing use of the air credit (and acknowledge that doing so would be insurance fraud, etc.). We signed and submitted that, and we were reimbursed by TravelGuard. Of course, we never used the airline credit, as doing so would have been dishonest.

Could be processes have changed, due to the unusual circumstances of these days and the likely HUGE volume of claims. But, ask if there is anything you can sign to forego use of the airline credit, reminding the insurance company that you will not be able to use the credit (because of whatever time restrictions it carries or whatever change in your personal circumstances may keep future travel from happening within that time frame).

I think (not certain) that this year some airlines indicated they would not offer $ refunds, then later changed that decision (again I THINK, not certain), so maybe that is why TravelGuard is asking for this second-pass verification that you are/were not eligible for a full cash refund from the airline. That said, I would hate the Hell of staying on hold for hours, then begging for that to be put in writing and sent to me, and then waiting (likely) until Hell freezes over to receive it. See what TravelGuard may accept alternatively.

Good luck and let us know how it all works out.

Posted by
460 posts

I am NOT trying to double dip. I was instructed by 2 different Travel Guard reps (on recorded calls) to accept the vouchers, send the receipts for the vouchers to Travel Guard, and indicated I would surrender the vouchers to travel guard in order to get the money back!!

Posted by
460 posts

Maggie, what you described is exactly what Travel Guard told us to do (accept the voucher and then forfeit it to travel guard). The letter I included with my claim stated that was what I was instructed to do by the travel guard agents (I have names, date, times of phone calls all noted).

But what Travel Guard is asking me to do is to contact the hotel and airline again -- two months later -- to have them reconfirm their policies in writing, pertaining to my trip. I can't imagine I'm going to be able to reach anyone with the bandwidth to do this. In the case of the hotel, I emailed requesting a refund and they immediately sent the voucher -- I wasn't given the option to decline. The airline hasn't even processed my initial claim and everything is automated....there's no way I'm going to find someone who can email me the specific re-confirmation.

Posted by
3455 posts

As noted above, Air Canada will not (as of this writing) refund fares. It doesn't have to, under Canadian regulation (damn) and other Canadian carriers are following a similar path, although not necessarily quite as stiff. So Travel Guard will have to find the money elsewhere if you are to get a refund. Its bucket may have a whole shower of drops like yours.
It's worth noting that vouchers have a monetary value but may not guarantee you a flight sometime in the future at the same price. It depends on the airline.

Posted by
1846 posts

Ruth, call TravelGuard and ask to speak to the executive who is over Customer Service. Be kind, we concise, but find out how you can get your claim expedited (without being sent on a wild goose chase.....avoid using THOSE words, though, when you call).

Posted by
981 posts

Suggestion: If it is posted on the Air Canada website that they will not provide refunds but vouchers instead, then simply print that out and send that in as your proof with the date included somewhere on the document. I know when I save websites to a PDF the date if usually on there.

Posted by
1846 posts

Ruth,
Letizia makes an excellent suggestion.

If after trying all the above suggestions, if you are left without resolution from TravelGuard, you can always contact the New York State Insurance Commission and ask for their help. You likely know that the state's various insurance commissions approve policies and allow insurance companies to conduct business within their states (and to an extent oversee how an insurance company does business in their states).........so you can see what regulatory solutions they MIGHT have up their sleeves for helping you.......especially since it sounds as though you have done everything TravelGuard has asked from you (up until this last next-to-impossible....or at least potentially very time-consuming.... request to have the airline reconfirm yet again in writing that they will still not refund your fare).

See if you can find something on their web site, as Letizia suggests....that might be the easy solution. Then try calling their the airline's media relations department, asking for their help. Why them....they can connect you with a problem solver vs. your calling a reporter, etc. out of desperation for resolution. Then, if all else fails, get in touch with your state's Insurance Commission to ask for help/guidance.

Posted by
460 posts

Letizia and Maggie, thank you both so much for these ideas. This is the kind of helpful advice I was hoping to find on this forum!

Posted by
2355 posts

I think there are two ways to approach this. One: call Travel Guard customer service. When you finally get a representative run through your problem, but use the “please help me understand what more you need” approach. Stay calm but be persistent. If it’s not resolved, escalate-ask for a supervisor. The other approach would be to email the airline and the hotel asking for a refund instead of a voucher. When you get the denial (and I assume the hotel will be fine, the airline might require a call), submit those to Travel Guard. It’s really a shame you have to go through this. Given the straightforward claim you are being made to jump through hoops. I’d think long and hard before ever using this company.

Posted by
460 posts

Hi everyone -- I wanted to share my update. I received the check from Travel Guard in today's mail. Following the good suggestions on this thread, I called Travel Guard on August 13th. Spoke with a very nice rep and we had a very positive conversation. I started with the easy stuff -- one of the items they said I'd done wrong was the medical form. They claimed I'd not put the correct purchase date for the insurance, and because of this the surgeon would have to fill out the entire form again. When I pulled out my copy of that form, I discovered that not only was the date correct, it had actually been pre-populated by Travel Guard on the form they sent me. So once the agent verified and made a note about this, I was able to broach the other topics and have her walk through all the detailed information I'd already sent regarding the hotel and airline. I was supposed to hear back from a supervisor. That never happened, and I got another email from Travel Guard -- with no mention of my phone call or the earlier email -- asking for 3 additional items. One was a clear credit card statement showing the hotel cost in dollars, as the copy I'd sent was illegible. Now, I sent an original via US mail, so I know it was legible....but whatever. Fairly easy to re-send, along with the medical release of information form and an airline reimbursement certificate to be filled out specifically for the hotel. Again -- made no sense, but relatively easy to do. No one ever called to follow up on my phone call (the agent on the phone took notes but didn't have the authority to okay anything) but that's okay as long as they sent me the check. My advice to anyone else in this situation is to persevere! The initial email request for more information was clearly designed to discourage me and make me give up my pursuit of the refund. Calling, being polite and reasonable, and following up on subsequent requests did the trick. My partner's surgery is scheduled for less than 2 weeks from now. Would have been the day before our departure for Rome. Certainly not what any of us had planned. I'm hoping that by the time the world is ready for us to return to travel she'll be able to out-walk and out-climb me. That would definitely be the silver lining in this big cloud we're all under now. Thanks again!

Posted by
2355 posts

Good outcome! Best of luck with the surgery and safe future travels!