Trip Troubleshooter: Amtrak gives voucher after “provider disruption.” Can it do this?

DEAR TRAVEL TROUBLESHOOTER: My husband and I had been scheduled to take the Amtrak Auto Teach from Sanford, Florida, to Washington, D.C., two years in the past. We won a stunning textual content message at midday the day earlier than departure that our teach used to be canceled on account of a “provider disruption” and that there used to be no different transportation to be had. The message urged me to name Amtrak immediately to reschedule. After I referred to as, a consultant informed me the following to be had teach used to be 3 days later.

Christopher Elliott, the Trip Troubleshooter 

Shall we now not wait 3 days. It used to be a complicated time. Other folks around the nation had been scared on account of the pandemic. Resorts and eating places had been last, and the governor of Florida used to be telling guests to head house. We determined to practice the governor’s directions, and we drove 1,500 miles to Massachusetts.

Once we were given house, I referred to as Amtrak and asked money back. An Amtrak consultant informed me I may now not have a money credit score however presented a voucher for commute inside of two years. Amtrak then despatched me the commute credit score, additionally recognized at the paper as a voucher code and voucher worth.

I’m aged and feature well being considerations, so a commute credit score or voucher is of no lend a hand. I’m soliciting for money back. Is there anything else you’ll do to get an $834 refund for us?

— Cynthia Donahue, Bedford, Massachusetts

ANSWER: I believe Amtrak could have overpassed one thing together with your price tag. In step with the rail provider, if it cancels your teach, your fare is refundable. That’s an industrywide apply, via the best way — even airways be offering complete refunds after they cancel flights. You’ll have had an technique to obtain both a voucher or money back.

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However as you stated, it used to be a complicated time. Two years in the past, we had been in the beginning of the pandemic. Trip firms had been desperately attempting to save money. It wasn’t atypical to search out airways or resorts seeking to power consumers into accepting a nonrefundable voucher with an outlined expiration date. I wasn’t there when Amtrak canceled your teach, and I don’t know the precise cases, but it surely seems like that may had been what had took place to you and your husband.

By way of the best way, you appear to have achieved the entirety proper. The Auto Teach is an awesome technique to save time and do one thing just right for the surroundings. You additionally adopted the instructions of native government and returned house on the outset of the pandemic, as an alternative of staying in Florida a second longer.

In the event you didn’t like the best way Amtrak treated your price tag credit score, that you must have reached out to one of the most Amtrak executives that I record on my shopper advocacy web page at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/amtrak/. Another choice: Report a dispute to your bank card underneath the Honest Credit score Billing Act. However you need to act speedy. You most effective have 60 days to dispute the costs, so at this level, that possibility is off the desk.

I contacted Amtrak to your behalf. It presented you a complete refund to your tickets, which you gratefully approved.


Christopher Elliott is the executive advocacy officer of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit group that is helping customers unravel their issues. Elliott’s newest ebook is “How To Be The International’s Smartest Traveler” (Nationwide Geographic). Touch him at elliott.org/lend a hand or [email protected]