Warning: Signature Vacations
Posted 12 March 2010 - 04:45 PM
My FI and I booked our wedding in July of 2009 with Signature Vacations. The first issue that we had with them, was that they had provided us an incorrect quote when providing us with travel prices for the resort and the dates of our wedding. When they sent the quotes to me, I knew there was an issue, because they were WAY too low to be right. You know when people say, â€œIf something seems too good to be true, it probably is.â€? Well, that was definitely the case here. So I questioned Signature on the quotes to make sure that they were correct. (The quote was about $1000 less than what we had been quoted everywhere else). I asked them to double-check their prices that they had provided us. When they got back to me, the rep and Signature Vacations assured me that the quote was correct, and needless to say, I was ecstatic. The catch was, they gave us & our guests a deadline to put down our deposits of $150. We sent an email to our group, telling them of the amazing prices and the deadline. Shortly after, Signature Vacations realized that their quote was, in fact, incorrect, and tried to take it back!! Our travel agent told them that they had already honored the quote, and we even double checked to be sure, and they came back saying that it was correct. She told them it was THEIR error, and they needed to honor the rate. Signature eventually, after much hassle, agreed to honor the rate.
People started to phone our travel agent and the number of guests was growing! Soon we reached about 20 people, and Signature Vacations phoned my travel agent and tried to tell us that we were not allowed any other guests. They claimed they were already losing enough money on the quote, and any more guests would be impossible. I began to cry, how was I supposed to tell my grandparents, my aunts & uncles and close friends that they couldnâ€™t come with us on this package. What would I say? â€œYouâ€™ll need to find your own way.â€â€¦. Did they really expect me to tell my guests that??
Our travel agent told them that they could not do this, and that we were told we had until the deadline to put deposits down. They then agreed, but still tried to put a total on the number of guests that we could have. They told our travel agent that if it gets to be around 40 or 50 then we will have problems. So our travel agent gathered all of the deposits, and we ended up with 55 guests who put deposits down by the deadline. And everything seemed to be fine. Our travel agent sent an email to Signature informing them of the number of guests we had, and a room list, and they took it well. We were, once again, ecstatic.
Over the next few months, nothing really happened because this was back in July, and we waited patiently for flight information. Eventually, near the end of the year, I started to email my travel agent asking if they had any information about the May travel. She told me that Signature and Sunwing were merging to one company, and that it may take them longer than other companies to provide the flight schedules due to that. We were told by Signature, that they had to sort out their planes, and figure out which ones they wanted to use now that they had Sunwing planes as well. So we were ok with that, we were told to wait until the New Year and we would have them soon after that. So in January I followed up, still nothing, still the same excuse. I kept waiting patiently. February, to my shock and my worst possible night mare, my father passed away suddenly. So obviously, I didnâ€™t follow up with them that month at all. It was truly the last thing on my mind. I even considered postponing the wedding. But after much consideration, I realized that my dad would want me to continue. He was so excited all along for my wedding, and I know he will still be there. So I eventually got back into the planning mode.
In March, I went onto Signature Vacationâ€™s website and looked up flights for our dates that we would be traveling, and there were flights online. Yet, I hadnâ€™t heard anything about our group flight. I emailed our travel agent again to see if we had any updates, she checked with Signature, and we received good news! The told us that they were 85% sure that we would be departing Calgary on May 9th, but that they would confirm on Thursday(yesterday). We were looking forward to finding out our flight information on Thursday, and also told our guests about the recent news.
Thursday morning they phoned our travel agent stating that they do NOT have a contract with the Barcelo Maya Palace, and we are not booked at that resort. They said that there was nothing that they could do, they only had a contract with the Barcelo up to April 24th. How can a company do that when they have been telling you all along that you are booked at the resort, and ready to go?? We even sent a copy of our tour operator manifest to the Barcelo after we had put down our deposits, and the Barcelo knew that we were coming to the resort in May. Did they just suddenly decide not to renew their contract with the resort? How could they possibly do this to someone??
Our travel agent phoned around, and amazingly, she was able to have the price matched through Transat Holidays. However, the catch was that Transatâ€™s plane leaves on May 7th and returns home to Calgary on May 14th, which is our wedding day. The panic set in. We had to phone over to the resort long distance to see if they had any available time for us to change our wedding day. This was such a hassle trying to get a hold of someone over there, and trying to make changes so suddenly. Luckily enough, they had a free spot on May 13th, at 4:00pm. We have now decided to book with Transat Holidays, and hope that everything works out in the end. These past few months have been more stress than I ever thought I could handle. Iâ€™m just glad that we had our travel agent on our side, or I can quite honestly say that we wouldnâ€™t be having the wedding that we dreamed of. Weâ€™d be trying to find something on our own, at a different resort, and weâ€™d have to change all of our plans completely. Thank goodness, our invitations havenâ€™t been printed yet and I can still adjust the date. What a catastrophe.
Because of Signature Vacations, we have to change our wedding date and time, and also change our vacation plans. I had to phone our photographer, to make sure that he was available on the 13th, and now we have to see if our guests can change their vacation that they have already booked from work. The whole thing was an utter disaster to say the least, and I can honestly say that I will not be using Signature Vacations again.
I wanted to post just so people are aware of this situation. Hopefully it doesn't happen to any other bride.
Posted 12 March 2010 - 04:50 PM
First of all, I am so sorry for the loss of your father. But I agree with you that any loving father would want you to be happy and continue on with your plans.
I'm also really sorry that it seems to have been such a hassle for you! But it sounds like you have a great TA who really helped you out, so that was nice.
I hope the rest is smooth sailing for you!
Posted 12 March 2010 - 05:02 PM
I have travelled with Signature before too and had problems and that was just for a regular vacation... not impressed with them.. You are very lucky to have a good TA working for you.. ours was so-so and honestly don't think she could handle your situation..
Things can only get better for you, hang in there and good luck!
Posted 12 March 2010 - 05:20 PM
Posted 12 March 2010 - 06:07 PM
Posted 12 March 2010 - 06:17 PM
Posted 12 March 2010 - 07:05 PM
Posted 12 March 2010 - 08:18 PM
Having a strong knowledgeable TA is soooo important when you have a destination wedding. I can't imagine doing any of this without my TA, Kelly. She's been a godsend when I've been freaking out about this or that. We're dealing with Signature as well and have had our bumps in the road too but thankfully we're booked, confirmed, itineraried and good to go. Still, I can't imagine the stress of having to suddenly change dates and locations so soon before my wedding! Ack!
Posted 12 March 2010 - 08:24 PM
Posted 12 March 2010 - 08:56 PM
As for the problems with Signature, if you have copies of the contract with them, I would suggest contacting a lawyer and seeing if there is anything that can be done. I realize that your plans are back on track, but they should certainly make up for this error.
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