Ponant Cruises refuse refund!Back to Forum
Our Ponant cruise was cancelled a few weeks ago. Ponant is the French version of Silversea, but more expensive and exclusive!
They are difficult to pin down. On Twitter they have promised a call back with each message. But it never happens.
They are refusing to pay because they are under French law, even though it was booked in the UK. They have offered to pay….in two years time!! Not acceptable.
Booking Ponant?….be aware!20 Jun 2020
I doubt very much if French consumer law allows them not to refund if they cancelled the cruise. One of the more endearing characteristics of the French is that they make laws which they interpret as being ‘pour les autres’.
If it comes to it, and I hope it won’t, I can recommend a French lawyer who is a nasty piece of work as an adversary, but just the right person if he’s working for you!
Bonne chance and please post the rest of the story as it develops.
These links may help :
Ministère de l’économie et des finances
Direction Générale de la Concurrence, de la Consommation et de la Répression des Fraudes (DGCCRF) Paris Bercy, France
Tel. + 33 1 44 97 31 26
e-mail: [email protected]
http://www.service-public.fr20 Jun 2020
Better still, ask your CC Company to instigate an S75 claim (as apposed to a chargeback) as the latter can be challenged by Ponant and eventually overturned – even if initially successful – if the CC is convinced by their reply21 Jun 2020
Thank you all for your advice and information. We have heard nothing from them, so our next action will be to go to Amex and start with the S71.
Thanks again….will let you know.21 Jun 2020
I am a French travel agent myself so can respond easily and address your concern.
If your Ponant cruise was cancelled by Ponant, the Code of Tourism is clear : they have to refund 100 per cent of your payment to them. This is valid in normal time and in Covid time.
However, between March 1st and September 15th,the Covid exceptional temporary rule (ordonnance 2020-315 dated March 25th) allows TA and TO to offer you a voucher of a value equal to the amount you paid them. This voucher is valid for 18 months and refundable after this term (note that they can apply a refund “penalty” of max 8 per cent if you didn’t use the voucher and request refund after 18 months).
They also have 3 months after cancellation date to send you an offer for a similar replacement trip of the same category with the same cost.
If they have failed to provide you with a voucher or haven’t responded any of your correspondence, you have the right, before taking any costly legal action, to opt for a free independent litigation with the Tourism litigator. All infos on this can be found at http://www.mtv.travel/.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you need additional assistance on this.22 Jun 2020
It was truly amazed to read what jpmarcel has advised.
I had no idea that any one Country could enact a piece of legislation unilaterally that overrules an EU-wide legislation – and particularly one such as EU261.
I don’t think it has happened in any other EU country (I read somewhere that a small group of countries were considering something but it was abandoned due to “public outcry” – rightly so!)
I wonder how it would stand-up in the Courts if challenged.23 Jun 2020
First, you have to know that the EU261 rules are designed to cover air travel and not travel packages (ie several travel services covering 24 hours or at least one night sold under one and only contract by one single organizer).
The exceptional Covid rules that were taken in France certainly outrule national and european law but they were taken in accordance with the EU commission. A fairly similar set of rules were taken in Italy, Spain, Germany, Belgium and Luxemburg as far as I know.
Like all rules they are not perfect and are questionable depending on where you stand. Their purpose in this specific case and situation was to allow TA and TO not to reimburse their clients (which would have normally been their obligation as per normal EU rules) but still maintain commitment to provide clients with a trip to be determined once the crisis has passed. In the mean time, the clients’ funds are covered by the TA unlimited financial liability, which is all French TA and TO have to contract with an insurance (compulsory), so they are sure they will be able to recover their monies even if the TA collapses.
My own company operates with 32 different countries and I can assure you most of my clients were happy we had this rule.
I can understand it can be frustrating for some clients but they wanted to travel in the first place so it is only a way for them to postpone their trip and possibly get refunded after a certain term. But on the other hand, had all tourism professionals been forced to refund their clients it would have meant a quick and unavoidable collapse of the whole tourism industry, plus a major insurance and unemployment crisis.
Nevertheless, because most tourism companies (being TA or TO) are under capitalized and under funded, the collapse seems unavoidable for some of them sooner or later. Only the ones with a reasonable financial management (however big or small) will survive at the end of the road, which is certainly regrettable from an employment standpoint but only a natural regulation of a sector in which top management has generally lacked even the intention to build a long-term sustainable business model that is not only relying on other people’s money. But that’s just my humble and personal view, only time will tell.23 Jun 2020
Indeed….I’m not sure what EC261 has to do with the poster’s case here?
I would still be straight on to my card company, under consumer credit act you have a case also.23 Jun 2020
Beware however on the relevant law in your contract. You signed with a french company so it could be french law that applies.
A 75 CC claim could put you at fault and turn the situation against you.
Again, I would advise to file a case with the official tourism litigator at mtv.travel. It is totally free and independent but it will give an answer in law that is opposable to the travel provider.24 Jun 2020