HOW CAN I GET MY MONEY BACK FROM AGENCY COMMISSIONS CHARGED WHEN NO AGENCY WAS INVOLVED?

Q – My wife and I are fairly new to Churchill & Turen and we have been avidly reading your websites from front to back. Before discovering your services we did a fair amount of cruising and took a number of land tours with companies like Backroads and National Geographic. I read what you said about companies that charge those who do not use a travel advisor the travel advisor fees. You said that this could possibly be illegal in a number of states including the one where we live! So I suppose my question is “Does this practice still go on and how can I get the commissions back for our almost twenty years of direct bookings”? One particular line owes me a small fortune after I sailed with them about 15 times.

A – The practice still goes on and is the industry “norm”. It will be an uphill battle but sometimes companies do things to maintain goodwill. If you wish to try, and you really have some time on your hands, you might want to try to collect copies of all of your past receipts for trips taken with the same company where you were charged the agency commission when you did not book through an agency. If you can collect the receipts or put together a record of exactly what you paid, along, if possible, with your reservation numbers. It would need to be a clearly designed multi-trip copy of the money you paid in inclusive of the commission. You may want to have a lawyer assist although this is the kind of thing easily done on your own. It should be addressed to the Director of Customer Services. They should have the authority to reimburse you if they see fit to do so. Again – this will be an uphill battle – you know, like Everest.