Carnival Will Refund $40 Million In Fuel Fees

Carnival Corp has reached an agreement with the (pesky) Florida attorney general and will refund $40 million in fuel surcharges to passengers who booked trips made before Nov. 7 last year for trips starting Feb. 1 this year.

Earlier in the month, rival Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. said it would refund close to $21 million under a similar agreement.

The AG’s office says it received hundreds of complaints from consumers who were charged the fees retroactively after cruises had been booked and deposits had been made. This (silly) settlement will affect about 1.1 million bookings, says the South Florida Business Journal. The Florida AG alleges that the surcharges were not properly disclosed.

Carnival agrees to refund fuel fees [BusinessWeek]
Carnival to refund $40M in fuel fees [BizJournals]
(Photo:herkie)

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  1. homerjay says:

    What makes this settlement silly??

  2. Mollyg says:

    It is silly because if the passengers did not want to pay the fuel fee then they simply could have canceled their trip. It is called voting with your feet.

  3. emona says:

    @homerjay: You know that April O’Neil, she’s so cold hearted.

  4. bsalamon says:

    its actually called a slight april fool’s joke

  5. parliboy says:

    @Mollyg: And at what point does the fuel surcharge become a problem? What if they stick their hand out at the gangplank and say on-site, pay an extra $100 or you’re not getting on?

    Before you say that this sounds silly, remember that often, people fly into the cruise’s city of departure

  6. SacraBos says:

    @Mollyg: But this charge was made after the deposits where made. Wanna bet the problem the AG had was that you either paid the fuel surcharge or forfeited your deposit when you voted with your feet?

  7. Veeber says:

    @Mollyg: I hope you’re not serious.

    If I enter into a contract at a set price, that price and service must be honored. What if you go fill up your car with gas and a week later the gas station charges you an extra dollar on your credit card? Would you simply go back and return the gas?

  8. Mollyg says:

    @parliboy, @SacraBos, @Chris Vee: I am just trying to get into the spirit of The Conglomerist. It is getting absurd that so many companies think that they can change the terms of contract at will.

  9. shoegazer says:

    Down is up today at the Conglomerist. Get with it.

  10. Blueskylaw says:

    It is silly because if the passengers did not want to pay the fuel fee then they simply could have canceled their trip. It is called voting with your feet.
    @Mollyg:
    So after shopping around for a vacation, spending time and money getting ready for it not to mention taking time off work, the passenger is being silly for not just cancelling after they raised the price on an item that was purchased at an agreed on price?

  11. vrn3b says:

    We had a cruise on a Carnival ship booked through a charter company (www.sixthman.net). We had pre-paid our cruise in full in March 2007 for a Jan. 2008 cruise. We found out in late 2007 that there would be a fuel surcharge ($25) added to our bill.

    The refunds in question only refer to those who booked directly with Carnival, not through a charter as we did. Carnival claims that the chartered cruises have every right to expect this charge because of of a clause in the charter’s contract. As cruisers of a chartered cruise, we are not entitled to this refund because Carnival considers its contract to be with our charter company (whose contract provides for charges like this), not with us cruisers as individuals.

    In principal this was all the more frustrating since the cruise had been paid for months earlier IN FULL. If ever one didn’t expect to get hit with an extra charge, this would have been the time.

    In practice, though, $50 added to a $2500 bill (or more realistically, $4000 once you factor in getting to Miami etc.) isn’t worth a huge fuss. If we couldn’t afford the $25 per person, we shouldn’t have been going on the cruise! :)

    Although I don’t know because we didn’t try, I suspect we would not have been able to “vote with our wallet” because we had already entered into a contract with the chartering company that explicitly spelled out cancellation penalties and deadlines.

    Even if we had wanted to, pre-booked flights, hotels, scheduling arrangements etc. probably would have made the cost of canceling more than the $50 for the two of us. Furthermore, this was a specially-themed charter cruise (the only reason we non-cruisers go would go on a cruise) and it was either do it or not — there is no competing cruise offering the same experience.

    Sometimes, it’s not worth fighting the charge. The fuel surcharge our charter was hit with was not an insignificant amount, and could have been crippling to the company (whose services we appreciate) if not partially passed on to us. It just makes us more aware of what to look for in the fine print next time.

  12. tampabayareaman says:

    I had a horrible experience on a Carnival ship. Carnival has a “satisfaction guarantee,” but the crew onboard the ship certainly showed that they did NOT want to honor it. In addition to that, they lied to me about the terms of the guarantee — I told them I wanted to get off at the next port of call and have them fly me back home, and they told me that they don’t pay for your flight back. When I returned home, I read the guarantee in full, and the guarantee does INDEED say that Carnival will pay your air flight back home. I thought the ship was a dump–when I arrived, my cabin had a stenchy odor to it — I found out that there was poop left in the toilet bowl, and even tho I flushed it, the odor remained for 24 hours because of inadequate ventilation in the bathroom. The windows on both sides of the ship, on all levels, were “grungy,” so I could not enjoy the ocean view. They said that was a “salt water issue,” but when I returned home, I found a photo on the internet of how cruise ship windows are cleaned, and the windows on my ship should not have been dirty. The other passengers also said that they did NOT have dirty windows on other cruise ships. There were other complaints that I had, but the one that took the cake was a photo of Tiger Woods, with his Nike cap on his head, on a large overhead screen in the auditorium that was up for more than 15 minutes, the caption reading, “Sports Legends.” A crew member was on the stage at all times while the photo of Tiger Woods was on the overhead screen in the auditorium for over 15 minutes. The food was not up to par, the public toilets with the electric eyes were not flushing well & I frequently found poop in the toilets.