Rocky Mountaineer Denies Refunds.
Some years ago, my wife and I rode the Rocky Mountaineer from Vancouver to Banff. In my review of the experience, I wrote that the passengers who seemed to enjoy it the most were folks for whom both train travel and serious mountains were a new experience. We had a reasonably good time, but I did think the experience was over rated and overpriced.
As is the case in every area of the tourism business these days, the Rocky Mountaineer has had to cancel several weeks of their rail tours. Given the spreading scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic, that had been expected.
What had not been expected was a communication from the Rocky Mountaineer president, Steve Sammut, to people who had already paid for rail excursions that had subsequently been cancelled. The company, wrote Sammut, had “ . . . adjusted our cancellation terms to offer greater options to our guests.”
A Hawaii couple who had already paid-in-full for a cancelled excursions that had been scheduled for next week, revealed that whatever those “greater options” might be, refunds of substantial payment already made was no longer one of them.
Are they unhappy? You bet they are! It’s entirely reasonable, after all, to have a cash refund as one option if an excursion is cancelled by the tour operator.
Does it cause problems for the company? Certainly. Are these unusual times? Of course. But the Rocky Mountaineer still has an obligation to their clients that must be met. “We can’t give your money back because times are tough” just doesn’t cut it.
Before you spend a penny for a trip on the Rocky Mountaineer please be sure to read their Terms. Any monies paid for a reservation will NOT be returned—not even if you change your mind an hour later, if COVID shuts the Canadian border down, if an avalanche covers the tracks, if you become hospitalized, if you have a death in the family, if you die. Their paragraph 12 spells it out very clearly and any attempt to cancel the reservation will result in a terse message attesting to their policy.
Their trip has been on my bucket list for all of my 87 years. My failure to read their Terms cost me $2853.89 although I acted long before an anticipated May trip. Don’t repeat my mistake as you will be subject to the greatest train robbery in existence.
I had the same experience with RM in April 2020- no refund available, only a credit for same trip in 2021. I don’t believe that trip will be available in May 2021 either with US /CA border still closed for non-essential travel. I recently tried to cancel that reservation for a refund but RM still says no refund is possible because I took the credit in 2020.
My question is which Canadian consumer group or better business bureau could I contact to file a complaint against Rocky Mountaineer?
You are not alone. I booked through our local tour, Sedunia in KL, Malaysia for RM Lake Louise Vancouver for June 2020. My KL Sedunia denied refunds of my deposit citing RM’s refundable policy.
BTW, I am unsure where my deposit went ?
I paid for 2/$5K trips for May 2020 via JET BLUE – BARKLEY’S BANK. I wrote with detail and support documents as you suggested to the cred card folks. BARKLEY’S BANK replied that it was a valid transaction and WILL NOT REFUND the $10K! No mention of the cancellation for failure to provide the services on the date contracted for.
Some credit cards are more generous than others. Was worth a try.
I have had to cancel several trips this year and haved received a refund from the provider. Rocky Mountaineer is the only company not offering a refund even though the terms I signed with stated that if they cancelled I would receive one. This flies in the face of Canadian consumer law. I will continue to support the other companies that have dealt with me in good faith. Rocky Mountaineer not do much.
A friend of mine was able to get a full refund by going through the credit card company. VISA credited their account the full amount and then went after the Rocky Mountaineer. This was after the Rocky Mountaineer refused to give a refund. Try that and let me know what happened.
My wife and I (Rod MOTTAU of Australia) were booked on the RM for our 46th wedding anniversary in May 2020 from Banff to Vancouver. RM CEO (Steve SAMMUT) cancelled all RM trips on 31/3/20 due to Covid-19. No cash refunds were offered and instead a ‘future credit’ was offered. I can not travel to Canada in the future and this was no value to me and akin to making a donation of cash to the RM. Contacted CEO Steve SAMMUT who refused a refund of money paid by me. I can only offer negative feedback of my unfortunate experiences with booking a trip on the Rocky Mountaineer.
You are not alone, I am sorry to say. Good friends of ours got the same response from the Rocky Mountaineer, but finally got their money back from the credit card company. I would suggest you take that approach. Good luck!
What credit card gave you your refund? Visa or MasterCard or some other?
It wasn’t me . . . it was a reader whose credit card company gave them a refund. I will say, though, that there are literally hundreds of credit cards issued by a handful of companies, and each card has its own specific list of benefits. There is no way of knowing if your card will back you in a dispute with the Rocky Mountaineer until you force the issue. You might as well do that. What have you got to lose?
Same here. Booked Jan 2020 for 40th anniversary. When they canceled we went to Amex and they denied the claim due to T&C they were given. These had been changed from our original ones when booked. We were forced to re book and as of today probably wil be canceled again. I am looking for anyone who has a copy of terms as of Jan 2020 before they changed them.
I think Sandra Kassal, along with ourselves, have been treated very badly by the Rocky Mountaineer company. We had a 3 day train trip booked for June 2020 and the company have refused to give us our substantial deposit back in cash!!!
I agree. May I suggest that you enlist the help of travel ombudsman Christopher Elliott. His website is https://www.elliott.org. His email address is email@example.com.
I cannot in good conscience offer this trip to anyone after the way we have been treated.
We are absolutely sick over this. Donation is not a viable option for either of us
I beg to differ. There are a lot of people who would be delighted to buy the two seats from you at the right price. And if you explain the circumstances to the potential buyer, you have more than met your obligation to disclose relevant details. Your call, though.
Yes, BUT the revised terms clearly state that the credits are non-transferable.
I don’t remember seeing that, but it’s further confirmation that one needs to play hardball in the event of any dispute with the train’s owner.Thanks for bringing it to my attention. And you mention “revised terms” leading me to wonder if they were revised after the reservation was made and paid for. I’ll ask.
We tried to cancel on March 17th before terms were changed. When we were still eligible for 80% refund. RM staff told us they were working on a plan and to wait a week. After not hearing back we called again and were told there would be absolutely no refunds! We have a plethora of emails confirming all of the above and many hours of phone call with all kinds of excuses. They want to give all people affected a credit for another trip in the future. We are seniors and don’t know what our health will allow us to do in a year or two.
All we want is our 80% refunded. That leaves 20% in RM’s pocket for doing nothing. Help!!!
Have you checked with the Rocky Mountaineer to make sure you can give the trip to another party in the event you were unable to go yourselves? That would be the first thing to clear up. (If they agree, get it in writing!) Another option would be to donate the trip to a local charity to get a nice tax deduction. That’s something you’ll need to discuss with a tax accountant.