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BEWARE Royal Caribbean virtual gift cards on AARP not NOT traditional gift certificates

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Periodic Contributor

BEWARE Royal Caribbean virtual gift cards on AARP not NOT traditional gift certificates

I wish I had searched this site and google before I bought gift cards from AARP for Royal Caribbean.  I am currently weighing my legal options with this transaction and with Royal Caribbean in general.  I spent nearly 30 minutes on the phone with AARP customer service and they told me they cannot refund, that only Royal Caribbean can. I was then told by Royal Caribbean they cannot refund because a third party sold them.  So both AARP and Royal Caribbean point the finger at each other with no  solution in sight.

To say that Royal Caribbean is extremely DECEPTIVE in their gift certificate/gift card marketing and redemption is an understatement.  AARP needs to do better in the products they offer on their website. At least for Royal Caribbean they need to have a HUGE DISCLAIMER stating that the gift card being offered for sale here at AARP are not gift certificates in the traditional manner and are not related at all to the gift certificates being marketed directly from Royal Caribbean, they are more of a discount coupon (www.royalcaribbeancertificates.com/ 800-722-5970) told me as much.  You cannot redeem these through the website above. They are separate and although RC uses the terms interchangeably gift card/gift certificate they are different and the RC employee even referred to them as corporate cards (whatever that means) and that their usage is different. 

We have purchased Carnival cards on here before and had no issue, it was a very clear and seamless process. 

UPDATE 08/21/2023

A few days after purchase, we formally disputed the transaction with our credit card company which can take 30-60 days.  During that time we reached out to our travel agency (online travel group) to ask if it was even possible to apply this to our final payment due. Our travel agent rep said to send her the info and she would contact Royal at the email address provided and see. She did and they applied it to our balance due!  It did NOT affect our existing reservation at all. So this worked out for us but I will never buy this product again and I will be much more discerning in any further business with AARP.

 

I still stand by the requirement of AARP to have a much clearer disclaimer on this product. It is purposefully confusing and entraps people into making a purchase that is misleading. They have a responsibility to members and how these things are marketed falls very much short!

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What a total disaster, I am going through this now. Travel agent says I cannot apply them to final payment?  I am screwed as they apparently are non refundable so now I have to cancel my cruise if they don't apply them.  I am not understanding, aren't the gift certificate money going to Royal Caribbean?  This seems so deceptive.  I am surprised AARP hasn't done anything about it 

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I too purchased RC gift cards through AARP and did not read the fine print.  After 50 minutes on the phone with a RC representative, I was told enter the gift card information at the web address that you posted above. Just like you, it did not work. Luckily, I only purchased 2 to use for gratuities and the internet. It looks like I am out the $200.

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Periodic Contributor

 

A few days after purchase, we formally disputed the transaction with our credit card company which can take 30-60 days.  During that time we reached out to our travel agency (online travel group) to ask if it was even possible to apply this to our final payment due. Our travel agent rep said to send her the info and she would contact Royal at the email address provided and see. She did and they applied our gift card balance to the final balance due on our cruise.  It did NOT affect our existing reservation at all. So this worked out for us but I will never buy this product again and I will be much more discerning in any further business with AARP.

 

I still stand by the requirement of AARP to have a much clearer disclaimer on this product. It is purposefully confusing and entraps people into making a purchase that is misleading. They have a responsibility to members and how these things are marketed falls very much short!

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Any luck getting anywhere with this? We got screwed too.

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Periodic Contributor

We are currently disputing the charge through our credit card company. This can be a lengthy process. The dispute is directly with AARP as they are the vendor listed as seller of the product. I will post an update on this board once we get things resolved. 

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Thank you for the reply. I am going to talk to my wife about doing the same. Good idea.

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With the dispute in process, we reached out to our travel agency (online travel group) to ask if it was even possible to apply this to our final payment due. Our travel agent rep said to send her the info and she would contact Royal at the email address provided and see. She did and they applied it to our balance due!  It did NOT affect our existing reservation at all. So this worked out for us but I will never buy this product again and I will be much more discerning in any further business with AARP.

 

I still stand by the requirement of AARP to have a much clearer disclaimer on this product. It is purposefully confusing and entraps people into making a purchase that is misleading. They have a responsibility to members and how these things are marketed falls very much short!

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Trusted Contributor

It does state it in the term and conditions below before you buy it.

 

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Gift Certificate must be redeemed through Royal Caribbean International for the US dollar value as outlined on the face of the certificate.

  1. Certificate must be used as a form of payment towards a new reservation made directly with Royal Caribbean. Once the gift certificate is applied to the reservation made, the reservation may be transferred to your preferred travel agency.
  2. Certificate is valid only for Royal Caribbean International sailings in USD and is not redeemable for cash. It may be applied to all ships, departures and stateroom categories.
  3. Certificate can only be applied to a NEW individual reservation in USD.
  4. Certificate may not be applied to a group reservation, charter or customized group program.
  5. Certificate may not be used towards onboard credit or to settle any shipboard charges.
  6. A deposit is required at the time of booking.
  7. Certificates may be used in multiples and may be used to supplement cash payment or credit card.
  8. All reservations are subject to availability.
  9. Once a reservation has been made with a Certificate, normal cancellation policy, schedules for deposit and final payments shall apply.
  10. Changes to the reservation may be permitted, subject to availability.
  11. Certificate is transferable only when gifted and bears no expiration date.
  12. Certificate is nonrefundable and not replaceable whether lost, stolen or if booking is cancelled.
  13. Certificate shall be void where prohibited or restricted by law and if sold for cash or other consideration.
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Periodic Contributor

As I am a person who does extensive due diligence, I am aware of what the terms and conditions are and was aware at purchase.  While your copy and pasting the information is appreciated, in the event I did not actually read the fine print prior to purchase, what has not been addressed is the fact of Royal's purposefully deceptive marketing of this product. Using the terms gift certificate interchangeably with these gift cards/corporate discount cards is deceptive and borderline fraudulent. The fact that a multi national corporation headquartered in Miami requires a person to send sensitive information to an unsecured email address is mind boggling.  AARP has a responsibility to their members and if they choose to do business with RC, they need to reduce their liability and have a disclaimer on this product.

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Can confirm what you said is true. Also, it appears that in the event you have to cancel the cruise, gift certificates are not refundable.  That's a show stopper for me.  Other lines like Princess will refund back to the gift card.  A reasonable alternative for me was to book the cruise on a credit card such as Chase Sapphire directly with the cruise line and you get 3 x points.  You only get 1 x if you buy gift certificates because the gift certificates are sold via a third party.  I did a calculation and if you are smart spending your credit card points the savings are pretty good - not quite as good as a gift certificate would be, but far less risky. 

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