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Letters: Getting good care when you cancel

November 01, 2009|From The Los Angeles Times

Getting good care when you cancel

Jane Engle's well-written article regarding cancellations of hotel reservations ["Canceling Your Room?" Oct. 25] was right on point. As an attorney, I've made it a prerequisite to view the relevant cancellation provisions on websites and in written documents.

One point, however, should be noted. As rigid and clear as some of the provisions may be, there is still, thankfully, a human factor that should not be ignored.

My wife and I recently

had planned a trip to New

York City and bought "nonrefundable" tickets via Telecharge to some Broadway shows. We also had used United miles to book our flight with a "penalty" applicable if we canceled the trip and had to put the miles back into our accounts.

I had emergency surgery about two weeks before the trip and could not travel as planned. Canceling the hotel was simple because of Marriott's rather flexible policy. I contacted Telecharge and explained what happened and why I could not travel.

The customer service representative, after checking with her supervisor, told me that if I sent back the tickets by overnight delivery, Telecharge would refund the tickets' cost. Also, a United representative said that, with a doctor's note explaining what occurred, United would waive the $300 in administrative costs for putting the miles back into the accounts. I did what was requested, and both entities refunded or waived the respective costs and charges.

It's nice to know that understanding people can override harsh rules when circumstances warrant it.

-- Barry Rubin, Beverly Hills


Two thoughts on the travel cancellations column. First, the sin of commission: suggesting travel insurance. That is a terrible gamble, a rigged wheel. Those who sell it plan to profit, and, like medical insurance, those who buy it are the ones most likely to need it. It violates the basic rule of insurance: Cover only losses you can't afford. Missing a pleasure trip has zero real cost. You are going to be out the dollars whether you sleep there or at home.

Second, the sin of omission. The evil guys are the folks at the Federal Aviation Administration who allow the airlines to overbook to take care of no-shows and keep the money from the no-shows, even if the seat gets sold to another passenger. That wouldn't be tolerated by any court. But the airlines are exempt from the rules applicable to normal folk. A classic example of failed regulation.

-- Arthur O. Armstrong, Manhattan Beach

It's a treat to read terrier tour story

What a great article by Rosemary McClure ["Good News for the Woof Gang," Oct. 25]. Of course, we're a bit prejudiced, being owners of a wheaten.

Because of her experiences (and the adorable pictures), we want to jump in the car and follow the exact same route.

-- Marilyn Parrent, Laguna Woods


We love reading about the adventures of wheatens from all over. We too love RVing and are always looking for pet-friendly places, mostly in Florida for our wheaten terriers Riley and Teddy.

-- Susie Blackledge, Malabar, Fla.

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