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My Apple Vacations voucher is not working! Can I get my money back?

My Apple Vacations voucher is not working! Can I get my money back?

Q. I wanted to book a trip to Turks and Caicos last year. My travel advisor recommended Apple Vacations and said they had a promotion with a $200 resort credit. I booked the trip, but when we checked out, a hotel representative told me the $200 credit was not valid. It had expired the month before we left.

Apple eventually offered us a $200 credit toward a future Apple Vacations trip and said it had to be used within a year. This is unacceptable to us, as we have no plans to book another trip — especially not with Apple. If this had been applied correctly as promised, $200 would have been taken out of my account immediately upon checkout.

It’s a small amount in the grand scheme of things, but it’s just plain rude to only offer us $200 if we book another trip next year. Can you help?

CATHY BALSEWICH, Evergreen Park, Illinois.

A. Your resort credit should have worked. And you’re absolutely right — a $200 voucher that expires in a year is not an acceptable solution.

But wait. The terms of your resort credit should have been clearly stated when you booked your trip through your travel agent. I looked at the offer from your travel agent and there was no expiration date.

To be fair, this should have raised some red flags with your travel agent. All promotions expire and your agent should have investigated whether there were any conditions that might apply to your booking. But ultimately, it was up to Apple Vacations to properly disclose the issue and, if necessary, resolve it.

You may have also asked about the expiration date on your voucher, although you can be forgiven if you didn’t. I mean, that’s why you worked with a trusted travel advisor. A travel professional can look at a reservation and make sure nothing is missing.

I should have leaned on your travel agent for help. Agents have insurance that protects them from errors and omissions, and you may have been able to get a quick resolution through your travel agent. The travel expert could also have negotiated a settlement with Apple Vacations on your behalf.

When I suggested that you push your travel agent to find a solution, you said that your agent runs a small business in your area and that you wanted to be a helpful customer. That’s a great attitude, but you support travel agents by holding them accountable.

I list the names, numbers, and email addresses of the Apple Vacations executives on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. A short, polite email to any of them could have resolved this quickly.

I contacted Apple Vacations on your behalf. Separately, your travel agent met with Apple and you also emailed the company — a real team effort!

Apple Vacations has agreed to refund you the $200.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy (elliottadvocacy.org), a non-profit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Send him an email at [email protected] or get help by contacting him via elliottadvocacy.org/help.