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March 2003 Vol. 18, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Perseverance Pays Off

from the March, 2003 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

In the September Undercurrent, we told you the sad story of reader Wilt Nelson, who lost his $1,500 deposit on the Little Cayman Diver II when the owner canceled his May 19 trip on short notice and failed to refund everyone's money. After negotiations fizzled with the boat's owner, Bob de Gouveia, Nelson presented a claim to his travel insurance carrier, Access America. They told him that operator cancellation was excluded from his coverage.

Fortunately, Nelson had charged the deposit to his MasterCard, and, after seven months of stonewalling, his issuing bank finally reversed the charge.Nelson says, "We refiled our dispute several times and each new person we corresponded with seemed to be unaware of any of the documentation from the previous contacts." Finally, Nelson demanded the names of the top people handling disputed claims and wrote them multiple letters complaining about the way the dispute was being handled. In December, the dispute was finally resolved in Nelson's favor.

Nelson passes along three lessons he learned from his experience. 1) Don't deal directly with the operator. Some members of his party used a travel agent who made good on their lost deposits and rebooked them into the Little Cayman Beach Resort. 2) Always pay by credit card. 3) Trip insurance like Access America now covers only very serious medical emergencies. "If you are in good health, save the $150 plus per trip to buy new fins or something."

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