Renaissance Cruises ceased operations almost two years ago, but its
bankruptcy trustees are still trying to get money back from travel
ASTA plans to launch a class-action lawsuit on behalf of its
members fighting against the commission recall, and ARTA is closely
watching the situation while consulting with its attorneys.
The bankruptcy trustees, appointed by the court to represent the
creditors, are seeking repayment of commissions paid out on solid
bookings made by agents on cruises that Renaissance failed to
operate after its Sept. 25, 2001, bankruptcy filing.
“The principle is that travel agents earn commissions when they
deliver to a cruise line a client who is ready, willing and able to
sail,” said ASTA President Richard Copland.
“The subsequent failure of a cruise line to deliver the goods
doesn’t change the fact that the travel agent has performed her job
and it should not affect whether she receives payment.”
ARTA is not part of the class-action lawsuit, but applauds ASTA
for moving ahead with it.
“I think people think travel agents are just whipping boys,”
said Pat Funk, ARTA vice president of operations. “We are working
with a lawyer in Miami, but I don’t know specifically what our
bargaining chip is at this point.”
Letters recalling the commissions were still being received by
agents last week, Funk said. ARTA has heard from about 15 agents
regarding the issue.
“One of our members got a letter asking for $9,000 and another
one who had a small group was asked for $14,000,” Funk said.
“It’s really, really tough. I suspect a lot of them will have an
awfully hard time to pay it back, especially in the business
climate today for agents.”