liveaboard.com Can I trust them?

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maddog2

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I would suggest you do not worry about what Indo Siren is doing - you might feel sympathy for them as a first class company that has already lost many millions in lost revenues, and as we are taught in our capitalist system, they are now following a fair and planned program to maximise their revenues in order that they will be there for those clients when everything does opens up. Bear in mind that Indo is still closed and may not open until the first quarter of 2022, nearly 2 years without any income is tough.
I believe that as long as a company like Liveaboard.com is stable and follows the industry standards and legal rules that others in our industry have applied for 20+ years, that you have no reason to worry about getting 100% refund but you do need to insist and as it is law in Europe that they refund you in full, I would expect that to apply to anyone who books with them. You may want to look at what bank your money went to and in which country but if it is in EU, it should be safe as by law they should be covered by mandatory bankruptcy insurance if it really hit the fan. I agree you are safer to book it thru a US based company, which is why we put all our payments thru our US partner, but there is more to it than that as you need to do due diligence on who you book it with and ensure that they are covered by business law and the protection that offers you, and they know what they are talking about.
Under European Law - as they are based in the Netherlands, Liveaboard.com are required to give you 100% refund of what you have paid them and Siren/Master Fleet will refund or credit them for the amount they have been paid. I have spoken with Siren Fleet and they have agreed to this so the agent has no excuse to refuse or delay a refund. We are all in challenging times but it is unfortunate that certain agencies do not respect the fact that if we do not take care of our clients, then everyone suffers and perhaps most important for the specific agency involved, they are unlikely to get any future business from that client or their friends. You should insist on 100% refund from Liveaboard.com and you have the legal right to receive it. Now how one would go about that for US residents I am not sure, but I am willing to communicate with anyone by email if they need input. dom@diveadvice.com

I have exchanged roughly over 100 emails this year with Liveaboard.com on this topic. Yet, they have still refused to provide me with a complete refund and have only offered me a Voucher. In the last email/s I asked Liveaboard.com about the legality (in Europe) of not providing a refund and about the Indo Siren fleet agreeing to provide a refund or Voucher to Liveaboard.com. If a refund was provided, I'm not sure why Liveaboard.com is continuing to tell me that the Indo Siren operator refused to provide one. I noticed that the Indo Siren is offering what appears to be my vacated space for sale ($4900 usd) and asked whether I would get my refund upon sale of this space. I will post Liveaboard.com's reply.
 

maddog2

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Location
Vancouver, Canada
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I have exchanged roughly over 100 emails this year with Liveaboard.com on this topic. Yet, they have still refused to provide me with a complete refund and have only offered me a Voucher. In the last email/s I asked Liveaboard.com about the legality (in Europe) of not providing a refund and about the Indo Siren fleet agreeing to provide a refund or Voucher to Liveaboard.com. If a refund was provided, I'm not sure why Liveaboard.com is continuing to tell me that the Indo Siren operator refused to provide one. I noticed that the Indo Siren is offering what appears to be my vacated space for sale ($4900 usd) and asked whether I would get my refund upon sale of this space. I will post Liveaboard.com's reply.
I was told that the Indo Siren operator has provided Liveaboard.com with a credit note for my booking, and that this credit note is not a refund (?). It is a promissory note that can be redeemed by Liveaboard.com for any future booking (not just mine).

Master Liveaboards has not agreed to refund me for my trip because this would be a direct breach of their published terms.

I asked Liveaboard.com why they don't just refund me in cash when they have a future booking on the Indo Siren, which seemed reasonable to me since Liveaboard.com would have the next customer's cash and use their (my) credit. They could then refund that portion which belongs to me ie. $3430. But they refused citing their standard policy regarding cancellations.
 

living4experiences

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I was told that the Indo Siren operator has provided Liveaboard.com with a credit note for my booking, and that this credit note is not a refund (?). It is a promissory note that can be redeemed by Liveaboard.com for any future booking (not just mine).

Master Liveaboards has not agreed to refund me for my trip because this would be a direct breach of their published terms.

I asked Liveaboard.com why they don't just refund me in cash when they have a future booking on the Indo Siren, which seemed reasonable to me since Liveaboard.com would have the next customer's cash and use their (my) credit. They could then refund that portion which belongs to me ie. $3430. But they refused citing their standard policy regarding cancellations.
I really feel for you and I'm sorry people keep getting misled and lied to by Master. They cancelled my LOB trips in 2020 and refused a refund. And I booked directly with them. After filing a dispute for over $7000 with my credit card company, I won and received all the funds back. Liveaboard.com may be the broker for your booking, but Master holds your money. The following is found on their web site and note point "b".

Cancellation​

We will not cancel your travel arrangements less than ninety (90) days before your departure date, except for reasons of Events Beyond our Control or failure by you to pay the final balance. We may cancel your holiday before this date if, e.g., the minimum number of clients required for a particular travel arrangement is not reached.
If we have to make a significant change or cancel, we will tell you as soon as possible and if there is time to do so before departure, we will offer you the choice of:
  1. (for significant changes) accepting the changed arrangements; or
  2. cancelling your booking and having a refund of all monies paid; or
  3. if available and where we offer one, accepting an offer of an alternative holiday (we will refund any price difference if the alternative is of a lower value).

You must notify us of your choice within 7 days of our offer. If we do not hear from you within 7 days, we will contact you again to request notification of your choice. If you fail to respond again, we will assume that you have chosen to accept the change or alternative booking arrangements.
 

maddog2

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Location
Vancouver, Canada
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I really feel for you and I'm sorry people keep getting misled and lied to by Master. They cancelled my LOB trips in 2020 and refused a refund. And I booked directly with them. After filing a dispute for over $7000 with my credit card company, I won and received all the funds back. Liveaboard.com may be the broker for your booking, but Master holds your money. The following is found on their web site and note point "b".

Cancellation​

We will not cancel your travel arrangements less than ninety (90) days before your departure date, except for reasons of Events Beyond our Control or failure by you to pay the final balance. We may cancel your holiday before this date if, e.g., the minimum number of clients required for a particular travel arrangement is not reached.
If we have to make a significant change or cancel, we will tell you as soon as possible and if there is time to do so before departure, we will offer you the choice of:
  1. (for significant changes) accepting the changed arrangements; or
  2. cancelling your booking and having a refund of all monies paid; or
  3. if available and where we offer one, accepting an offer of an alternative holiday (we will refund any price difference if the alternative is of a lower value).

You must notify us of your choice within 7 days of our offer. If we do not hear from you within 7 days, we will contact you again to request notification of your choice. If you fail to respond again, we will assume that you have chosen to accept the change or alternative booking arrangements.
Thank you for pointing me to the Masterliveaboard.com web site. The cancellation section is very interesting a seems to describe my situation. Also, this section on pricing says that if they increase prices

6. Pricing​

... However, if this means that you have to pay an increase of more than 8% of the price of your confirmed holiday (excluding any insurance premiums, amendment charges and/or additional services or travel arrangements), you will have the option of accepting a change to another holiday if we are able to offer one (if this is of lower quality you will be refunded the difference in price), or cancelling and receiving a full refund of all monies paid to us,...


Cancellation by You due to Unavoidable & Extraordinary Circumstances: You have the right to cancel your confirmed holiday before departure without paying a cancellation charge in the event of “unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances” occurring at your holiday destination or its immediate vicinity and significantly affecting the performance of the holiday or significantly affecting the transport arrangements to the destination. In these circumstances, we shall provide you with a full refund of the monies you have paid but we will not be liable to pay you any additional compensation.

I sent another email to Liz (Regional Manager) and await her reply. I also contacted Masterliveaboard.com and I'm anxiously waiting for their reply.
 

admikar

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While I don't like this option, if they still refuse to refund you, you may send them an email stating that you will bring this up on all diving forums you can find.
 

Cali_diver

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I have had 10 liveaboard trips cancelled in Indonesia since the pandemic. I have not received any refunds but I have received vouchers for all trips or the trip has been rescheduled. I am pretty sure this has been the practice across the board so I am not surprised that you can't get a refund.

That being said it still blows my mind that people book trips with Siren/Master... do you not do research on the fleet you pick to keep you safe?
 

Dom@DiveAdvice

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May I interject here and point out that the booking was not made directly with Siren/Master fleet but was made thru the agency Liveaboard.com - who are the only ones responsible for securing a full refund in these circumstances. Siren/Master have no say in this contract as it is entirely between the agent and client and I am quite sure that Master have refunded that agent in full, whether thru cash or credit. I think the question is why Liveaboard.com, cannot use that credit from their suppliers, as every other responsible agent in our industry would have done, both legally and ethically. We work with Siren/Master fleet on a regular basis and have literally sent many hundreds, possibly thousands of clients to them over more than 15 years, and whenever we have encountered an issue, it has been quickly resolved to the 100% satisfaction of the clients. That should be the norm in our industry and is what I would expect from the 1500+ agents /dive Travel specialists with whom we work, but I have never had wish or reason to work with Liveaboard.com so I cannot comment on their operating model, other than the occasional comments I see in various forums. If any agency cannot give you 100% assurance then why would you consider using them.
 

maddog2

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Vancouver, Canada
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Thank you for pointing me to the Masterliveaboard.com web site. The cancellation section is very interesting a seems to describe my situation. Also, this section on pricing says that if they increase prices

6. Pricing​

... However, if this means that you have to pay an increase of more than 8% of the price of your confirmed holiday (excluding any insurance premiums, amendment charges and/or additional services or travel arrangements), you will have the option of accepting a change to another holiday if we are able to offer one (if this is of lower quality you will be refunded the difference in price), or cancelling and receiving a full refund of all monies paid to us,...


Cancellation by You due to Unavoidable & Extraordinary Circumstances: You have the right to cancel your confirmed holiday before departure without paying a cancellation charge in the event of “unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances” occurring at your holiday destination or its immediate vicinity and significantly affecting the performance of the holiday or significantly affecting the transport arrangements to the destination. In these circumstances, we shall provide you with a full refund of the monies you have paid but we will not be liable to pay you any additional compensation.

I sent another email to Liz (Regional Manager) and await her reply. I also contacted Masterliveaboard.com and I'm anxiously waiting for their reply.
Here is Liveaboard.com’s response to my assertion that according to their website “You have the right to cancel your confirmed holiday before departure without paying a cancellation charge in the event of “unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances” occurring at your holiday destination”. Note, I emailed Liveaboard.com on Apr 03, 2020, and informed them that I would like a full refund.

- Kindly note that when you first informed us you wanted to cancel your trip and requested a full refund, this was over 4 months from departure (136 days).

- To your point regarding the “unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances” clause in the operators terms, the operator cannot consider a cancellation 136 days prior to departure as unavoidable. Global circumstances change daily and this is why they requested your patience as your trip was still over 4 months away.

It’s well documented that after a couple of stop/starts in closing their borders, starting on January 1, 2020, Indonesia finally closed its border for good to foreigners in Mid March 2020. In fact, In March hundreds of British tourists reported being stranded on Bali by a rush to book flights home, as the UK government urged nationals to return and countries worldwide went into lockdown.

If the above isn’t “unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances” what is?
 

tridacna

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I actually looked at some of their trips for 2022. 22 people in my group. Would never ever use them. Thanks for the warning. Sorry about your circumstances.
 

maddog2

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I actually looked at some of their trips for 2022. 22 people in my group. Would never ever use them. Thanks for the warning. Sorry about your circumstances.
Thanks for your support. Don't forget, as pointed out by a Forum member, that the Indo Siren is part of the Siren/Master Fleet. I sent Siren/Master a note about my predicament with Liz a couple of weeks ago: Contact Master Liveaboards - Master Liveaboards. But have yet to hear back from them. I support Liz who is the Regional Manager is their spokesperson?
 
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