A Los Angeles travel agent has successfully sued Princess Cruises
for unpaid commissions on a canceled cruise and the Association of
Retail Travel Agents is taking note.
Last December Cecilia Pedroza of Pedroza Travel booked six
clients on a May 14 cruise aboard the Grand Princess from Barcelona
to Venice. It was a cruise-only package; she arranged separate
airfare deals for the clients.
But several weeks before departure, Princess canceled the
itinerary, Pedroza said.
Princess eventually reimbursed all of the clients’ expenses,
including a discount on future travel. But Princess refused to pay
Pedroza’s service fee or commission.
Although final payment for the cruise was never made, Pedroza
argued in her suit that she had earned the commission by booking
“How could they make final payment when they canceled the
cruise?” Pedroza said.
Last week a small claims court judge ordered Princess to pay
Pedroza $2,475 in commission and $750 in attorney fees.
A Princess spokeswoman said last week that the case is unusual,
but not precedent-setting.
Julie Benson said Grand Princess’ itinerary was changed because
it was redeployed from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean.
“Our policy is to pay the commission on receipt of the final
payment and when the customer sails, not at the time of the
reservation,” said Benson.
“Just because someone has booked a cruise doesn’t mean they will
necessarily turn into a passenger,” she said.
Although attorneys are not allowed to represent parties in small
claims court, ARTA attorney Alexander Anolik filed a declaration in
support of Pedroza’s claim.
“For acts of God, such as inclement weather conditions, the
cruise line has a right to change an itinerary,” Anolik wrote.
“However, if they change itineraries due to low passenger load
factors to save money, then they must compensate affected parties
for their actions,” he wrote.
ARTA plans to send copies of the argument to members who may
also feel entitled to commissions on canceled itineraries, Anolik