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Our Carnival cruise missed Greenland. Why won’t this agent refund our excursion?

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Michelle Couch-Friedman

Consumer reporter and ombudsman

Hundreds of Carnival Cruise Line passengers were disappointed recently when their ship completely missed Greenland, the main attraction. But that disappointment turned to rage when a quasi-travel agent refused to refund their canceled shore excursions to the island.

Can she really do that?


If your Carnival cruise has the word Greenland in the title, you probably expect to be going there. Last summer, Jill Reiter made that reasonable assumption after confirming a 14-day Greenland and Canada cruise aboard Carnival’s Legend

Intending to make the most of their visit to Greenland, Reiter’s family planned to take a shore excursion. They paid a third party, Sandra O’Leary, $424 for a day trip to see the local culture and icebergs in Nanortalik. 

But storms were on the horizon, both figuratively and literally, for these Carnival Cruise Line passengers.

Bad weather soon caused Carnival to cancel the Greenland portion of the cruise. Passengers who booked shore excursions through Sandra’s company, Sandra’s Cruise Tours, were soon in for an unpleasant surprise. 

O’Leary told her stunned customers that the pricey cruise excursion was nonrefundable, and pointed to the terms on her website. Reiter says O’Leary changed the cancellation and refund information after Carnival canceled the Greenland portion of their cruise. 

And Reiter says she can prove it. 

This cautionary tale should serve as a warning to cruise ship passengers everywhere. Booking shore excursions through unvetted third-parties can lead to expensive, frustrating consequences. 

Just ask Reiter. Here’s her experience.

Taking a Carnival cruise to see Greenland

Reiter and her family began planning their Carnival cruise to Greenland last summer. They liked the idea of embarking on the closed-loop cruise from Baltimore on Legend.

The original itinerary of Carnival Cruise Line's Legend would take the passengers to Greenland.
Legend’s original itinerary: Baltimore to Nanortalik and Qaqortoq in Greenland. Then onward to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, Canada, before returning to Baltimore. Unfortunately, this Carnival cruise would miss Greenland completely.

“We were really excited to see Greenland, and that was the primary reason we booked this cruise with Carnival,” Reiter told me. “We knew we wanted to book an excursion during our short visit there.”

After booking the cruise, scheduled for the first week of September, Reiter ran into a little hiccup in her planning. 

“Carnival’s Brand Ambassador John Heald posted that the cruise line would not sponsor excursions on our sailing to Greenland,” Reiter recalled. “He recommended we book alternatives or just walk around the towns we stopped in.”

Reiter didn’t think that sounded like a very efficient plan for their short cruise stop in Greenland and wondered what to do. She didn’t have long to think about it before the answer appeared. 

Enter Sandra’s Cruise Tours  

As Reiter and hundreds of other fellow Carnival passengers were pondering the alternatives that Heald was suggesting, Sandra O’Leary appeared on the scene.

Sandra created a Facebook group for all the Carnival passengers going to Greenland on our cruise. We all joined, and she directed us to her business, Sandra’s Cruise Tours. I was pleased to be able to leave the shore excursion planning to someone else.

Reiter

Suddenly, O’Leary had hundreds of new customers flooding her business, all looking for shore excursions to Greenland. O’Leary had even better news for the group: she would be on the cruise with them to make sure all went as expected.

At least that was the original plan.

Boarding Carnival’s Legend and heading for Greenland… right?

On September 2, Reiter, her family, O’Leary, and thousands of other passengers boarded the Carnival cruise and headed for Greenland. 

Or so they thought. 

The timeline for canceling the Greenland portion of the 14-day Carnival cruise is a bit murky. But the paper trail of this case strongly indicates that by the time embarkation was complete, it was already fairly clear that Legend would likely not be able to sail to Greenland. 

But for the moment, the passengers were unaware of the impending significant itinerary change of their cruise.

The original plan for this Carnival cruise was to leave Baltimore and spend the next four days at sea before arriving in its first port of call, Nanortalik, Greenland. The cruisers aboard the ship assumed they were heading straight for Greenland, but by the second day at sea, rumors were circulating. 

The captain confirmed the bad news on Day 4 of the cruise. The remnants of Hurricane Idalia were causing giant swells, and it wouldn’t be safe for the ship to attempt to navigate those rough waters. 

Carnival’s Greenland and Canada cruise had now morphed into Carnival’s New England and Canada cruise. 

Carnival Legend will miss Greenland, This cruise isn't going to Greenland, Greenland is canceled.
Bad news: “Unusually high waves and strong winds” generated by the remnants of Hurricane Idalia made it unsafe for Carnival’s Legend to attempt to cruise to Greenland. (Sept. 5)

This Carnival cruise gets a new itinerary – a creative one

Of course, there was quite a bit of disgruntled chatter on the ship that evening, mostly because many of the passengers believed they’d been bamboozled.

When the new itinerary was announced, some passengers giggled, and others cried. Legend’s new circuitous route made it apparent that it’s difficult to secure last-minute ports for a giant cruise ship. 

For several days, Legend traveled back and forth through the Gulf of St. Lawrence between Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. 

Carnival Legend's new itinerary, this cruise missed Greenland, bad weather canceled port
Final itinerary of Carnival’s Legend: No visit to Greenland, 11 “Fun Days at Sea,” and 4 ports of call.

“It seems they [Carnival Cruise Line] knew ahead of time that we weren’t going to Greenland,” Reiter told me. “But Carnival announced it after we were already on the cruise, so we couldn’t cancel before boarding the ship.”

Side note: Maritime law and your contract say that the cruise line can change your ship’s itinerary for virtually any reason without financial liability to you, the passenger. Cruise ship passengers are only owed a partial refund if the number of nights aboard the ship is reduced.

If missing any of the original ports of call will ruin your vacation, you should not book the cruise. Cruise itineraries are always subject to change. 

In this case, even if Reiter and her fellow passengers were told beforehand that the ship likely wasn’t going to Greenland, they would not have been entitled to a refund if they chose to cancel their cruise. 

However, in terms of refunds, cruise excursions are a different story. 

Sandra’s Cruise Tours: “The shore excursion refunds will arrive next week.”

As the captain explained in his letter to the passengers:

“Pre-purchased Carnival shore excursions will be automatically refunded on board.”

Note: As it turns out, Carnival did offer some shore excursions to Greenland during this expected port call.

There was grumbling on the ship when immediate refunds weren’t issued to the customers of Sandra’s Cruise Tours as well. As Sandra O’Leary was onboard the ship with her disgruntled patrons, she sent a blast out to their Facebook group, assuring them refunds were on the way.

Sandra O'Leary assures her customers the shore excursion will be refunded.
While still onboard Carnival’s Legend, Sandra O’Leary assures her customers that they’ll receive refunds for their canceled shore excursions to Greenland.

But then, O’Leary did something very unusual. 

She jumped ship. 

Sandra got off the cruise in Canada at the first stop. Packed her bags and ran!  We sat in the lobby and watched her leave. Didn’t realize at the time what she was doing until someone mentioned it later that she bailed. She left all the tours at the other ports in other people’s hands. Just totally bailed.

Reiter, Sandra’s Cruise Tours, former customer

And that was the last time Reiter – and hundreds of other customers of Sandra’s Cruise Tours – had any type of cordial interaction with O’Leary.

Where are the refunds for those canceled cruise excursions?

When the disappointed cruisers arrived home, they began focusing on getting their money back from Sandra’s Cruise Tours. But O’Leary had changed her refund tune. Now, she told her angry customers that their cruise excursions were always nonrefundable. 

“Suddenly, we noticed that the terms and conditions on her website had changed.” Reiter recalled. “Now it said something about how the remote nature of the location allowed the tour operator to keep the money.”

O’Leary advised her customers that she was working hard to secure their refunds. She could offer 50 percent of the refund up front, and she hoped to be able to offer more at a later date. 

This outraged many of the 800 people who had booked the cruise excursions on the condition that the tickets were refundable if Carnival canceled the port

In response, Reiter and several other passengers created a Facebook group dedicated to their battle to retrieve their refunds from Sandra O’Leary. 

Then things got really ugly.

Bizarre excuses and still no excursion refund for some

Reiter, a regular reader of Consumer Rescue, suggested to all of O’Leary’s disgruntled customers who paid with a credit card to file chargebacks based on the original refundable terms and conditions of the cruise excursions. 

O’Leary claimed that the unnamed tour operator in Greenland had kept nearly all of the money she had paid to it. According to her, she had booked around 800 Legend passengers on Greenland excursions on this particular cruise and lost over $10,000. But she refused to provide the name of that business. 

Most of the tour operators in Greenland understand the unpredictable nature of the weather and seas around the “World’s Largest Island” (non-continental, of course). The terms and conditions of all the tour operators I reviewed in Greenland provide a 24 to 48-hour cancellation policy with a small penalty (less than $10 USD).

It was curious how O’Leary had encountered a reputable tour operator in Greenland who charged a 100 percent cancellation fee. This was especially true since it was confirmed at least four days before the scheduled tour that the Carnival cruise ship would not be coming to Greenland.

After Santander, Reiter’s credit card company, accepted O’Leary’s statement that the tour was nonrefundable, Reiter lost her credit card dispute.

Having read recent articles about our successful battles with credit card companies, Reiter hoped Consumer Rescue could help her, too. (See: How did I lose a credit card dispute against a bankrupt cruise line?)

Michelle, can you help me (and the rest of us)? Sandra’s Cruise Tours stole our money. She provided nothing, is unlicensed, has changed her terms, and can’t even prove that any tour company refused to refund her. She lied to Santander, and that’s how she won my credit card dispute. It is my mission to expose her to everyone. She isn’t registered as anything. She isn’t a travel agent or tour provider. She’s just a fellow cruise passenger charging people to book their trips. I would think you have to be licensed for that!

Jill Reiter

Consumer Rescue investigates

When Reiter’s request for help hit my desk, I started going through her mountain of documentation. One thing was certain: Reiter had plenty of evidence that supported her stance that the shore excursion O’Leary sold to her and others was portrayed as refundable.

Even O’Leary’s own words supported that position — until the circumstances changed and the Carnival cruise didn’t make it to Greenland.

Sandra O'Leary of Sandra's Cruise Tours tells members of her Facebook group the excursions are refundable if the cruise ship doesn't make port.
Sandra O’Leary: “If [the] ship doesn’t call on the port, tours are refunded.”

Only after Greenland was canceled and O’Leary had jumped ship did her refund policy appear to change into something that would be considered very unfriendly to customers. 

Reiter’s failed credit card dispute underscores that, despite what many consumers believe, chargebacks aren’t always the easy solution to fixing a problem with a merchant.

As I’ve pointed out in many of our Tales from Consumer Advocacy Land, credit card companies do not conduct in-depth investigations, as you see in our cases here. If a merchant responds to a dispute, the bank will typically find in favor of the business. In fact, recent cases that we’ve tackled lead me to believe that some credit card companies are using artificial intelligence to make decisions about chargeback cases.

When a consumer loses a credit card dispute, even when they should have prevailed, there is no motivation for the business to engage in further debate about the complaint.

And that seems to be what happened in Reiter’s case.

Santander: “No billing error here.”

Reiter’s chargeback ended with Santander finding in favor of Sandra’s Cruise Tours because O’Leary fought the dispute. 

In Santander’s final word on the subject it said:

Based on our investigation, we determined that no billing error occurred because the documentation provided by the merchant reviewed during the investigation verified that you authorized the transactions and/or received the goods or services.

Santander

I followed up with Santander to point out that this was not a billing error dispute. The question was not whether or not Reiter had authorized the charge but whether or not the cruise excursion was refundable. I believed there was sufficient evidence to show that it was sold as a refundable excursion.

Over the years, my team and I have developed cordial communication with executives in many businesses worldwide – including international banks. These relationships have made it possible to resolve some of the most difficult and complicated problems for the consumers who contact us for help.  

Unfortunately, for Reiter, Santander is one of the few banks that hasn’t been particularly eager to participate in mediation with our consumer advocacy team. 

In fact, in Reiter’s case, Santander acknowledged my inquiry but informed me that privacy laws prevented their team from speaking to me.

That remained so even after I provided a copy of the release form signed by Reiter.

At the same time, I was having many convoluted and contradictory conversations with O’Leary, both via email and by phone, but I was getting no closer to a positive resolution. 

Conversations with the owner of Sandra’s Cruise Tours 

In my first conversation with O’Leary, I hoped there was some misunderstanding and that the case could easily be resolved.

Hi there!, I’m working on a case that I’m sure you’re familiar with as it involves your company “Sandra’s Cruise Tours.” Jill Reiter purchased three tickets for an iceberg boat tour in Greenland scheduled for Sept. 8 during her Carnival Cruise. Unfortunately, as you know, Carnival’s Legend was unable to visit Greenland during that cruise and so Jill expected that her tickets would be refunded. 

However, you have not refunded those tickets and, in fact, appear to be attempting to fight a chargeback that Jill filed concerning these tickets. As I am aware that tour operators in Greenland have flexible cancellation policies due to the unpredictable nature of the weather and the ability of the cruise ships to port, I’m trying to determine on what basis you haven’t refunded Jill’s tickets?  What company in Greenland did you book these tickets with? Was it Blue Ice Explorers?

Michelle Couch-Friedman, Consumer advocate

O’Leary’s response, at least initially, seemed to indicate that she agreed that the tickets were refundable.

Sandras Cruise Tours has been and continues to work on refunds for hundreds of people.  Those who have filed chargebacks I have to deal with the chargeback.  Terms state refunds will be reduced by certain costs and this has to be calculated.   

ALL guests were offered their refund in two parts via email and this email can be provided. The refund offered was 100% less expenses incurred by Sandra’s Cruise Tours consistent with the terms agreed to when completing a booking form.

Sandra O’Leary

But when I asked O’Leary what those expenses were, she told me she was still trying to “figure it out.”  This was several months after the canceled tour. 

Then she gave me a piece of “evidence” that she said would prove the Greenland excursions were nonrefundable. However, this information actually showed that O’Leary and/or the tour operator suspected that the storm might cause the cruise to skip Greenland — three days before embarkation and eight days before the scheduled excursion.

A letter from an anonymous tour operator about cancellation

The letter, dated August 31, shows that the tour operator asked O’Leary to cancel her customers’ excursions so that he could rebook other travelers.

Greenland excursion tour operator is concerned that storms will cancel Carnival's port stop
The tour operator in Greenland references bad weather and wants to cancel O’Leary’s customers eight days before the scheduled cruise excursion. “I whant [sic] to cancel the tours so that I can sell to another company wild [sic] I still have time.

I asked O’Leary why she blacked out the tour operator — a person I would like to talk to. But she told me “privacy reasons” prevented her from telling me.

Then O’Leary said she still intended to refund Reiter after the credit card dispute was complete. Later in the conversation, she told me that Reiter took a shot and lost, and she [Reiter] should have thought about the consequences of telling “All my customers to file credit card disputes.”

“So, you’re not going to refund Jill anything because of the lost credit card dispute?” I asked O’Leary.

“I didn’t say that, but she is conducting character assassination and encouraging others to do the same,” O’Leary complained.

When I pointed out that I would have recommended that the customers file a credit card dispute as well, O’Leary seemed surprised.

“In Jill’s case, the bank found in my favor. I won,” O’Leary boasted. “And Carnival is monitoring Jill and her group. I’m well known as a reputable business owner with thousands of satisfied customers.”

“That’s great, but in this case, something went wrong,” I explained to O’Leary. “You owe these people refunds. You can’t change the terms and conditions of purchase after the fact. Are you a travel agent? What is your business? I assume you don’t have Errors and Omissions insurance?”

Then O’Leary told me her friend was in the hospital and she had no more time to talk with me. But she assured me that she was “tirelessly working to secure all the refunds for everyone on that Carnival cruise.”  Minus those unspecified, undetermined fees, of course. 

“I’ll get back to you soon,” O’Leary told me. “Please, respect my grieving time.”

A complaint from Sandra O’Leary

I did hear from O’Leary in a few weeks, but not because she wanted to resolve the problem with Reiter or the others. She wanted to complain to me that someone had snapped a photo of her aboard Carnival’s Celebration and posted it on the Internet.

What do you think of this picture? They [disgruntled former customers] are posting photos of me and invading my privacy, slandering my name. I have 27 photos they posted, and a lawyer is getting involved now. They’re telling people I’m living off their money!

Sandra O’Leary

I looked at the photo. It appeared to be of O’Leary in a public venue playing cards on the cruise ship’s veranda. 

I’m a little confused by this photo, Sandra. But since you copied me, I have to ask you — the last time we spoke, you told me that you were mourning the imminent death of your friend from COVID, and that was why you couldn’t process the refund for Jill and others. You asked me to respect your grieving. Which I did. But this photo looks like you went on a cruise instead. Can you please explain the context of this photo? 

Will you now have time to process Jill’s refund for the canceled cruise excursion?

Michelle Couch-Friedman, Consumer advocate

O’Leary’s complaint about privacy in a public venue amid a long battle with her customers was surprising. But now she had another reason not to refund Reiter.

Jill Reiter along with all other guests received an email offering several options the main one being 50% refund immediately and balance less costs in the new year.

The e.ail [sic] further stated that any chargebavjs [sic] filed would be between the person and the bank and the final result would stand

Jill made her decisions and continues to harass and encourage others to harass [me]

I have dozens and dozens of screenshots  from people in the group

Be sure to put that in your report

Jill chose the chargebavk [sic] option and she lost.

Sandra O’Leary, Sandra’s Cruise Tours

A few days later, O’Leary proposed that I ask Reiter to take down her private Facebook group, and in return, she could have her refund.

I had heard enough and was ready to close this case as an unsuccessful cautionary tale about using unvetted third parties to book excursions.

Why cruisers should only use official travel providers to book excursions

Professional travel advisors and agencies have Errors and Omissions insurance that protects the company from the financial impact of mistakes. If Sandra’s Cruise Tours carried that insurance as a seller of travel, I thought that might be one last possible route to pursue for these customers.

My colleague, Dwayne Coward, did some digging, to determine if O’Leary had any professional credentials as a seller of travel.

Michelle,

I don’t see anywhere that she [Sandra O’Leary or Sandra’s Cruise Tours] has claimed any training or certification as a travel agent. It doesn’t appear that NL [Newfoundland and Labrador] requires any license or registration for travel agents or sole proprietor businesses. I couldn’t find any registration with TICO [Ontario’s Travel regulator].

I did find this link, which talks about how [Sandra O’Leary] got into putting together cruise tours. (She identifies as a travel agent in that article)

Her website was first crawled by Wayback in Feb 2021, but the domain was created in April 2020, and is hosted on the server of the company below.

It appears it is or was a directory for a small web design business, that still has an active registration (not in good standing). The phone number on the bbb listing is the same as on her website. The bbb listed address is a residential home.

Dwayne Coward, Consumer advocate

Closing this case

Before officially closing this case, I contacted Blue Ice, the only tour operator in Greenland that O’Leary mentioned in any of our calls. I asked its manager if Blue Ice was the anonymous company O’Leary used in September.

The general manager said that on that particular cruise, O’Leary had booked 180 Carnival passengers on a different tour, not the iceberg excursion that Reiter had booked. He confirmed that Blue Ice refunded all those excursion tickets except for 50 Danish Krone per passenger (about $7.50 USD). That is the standard cancellation policy as long as an excursion is canceled within 48 hours of the tour – iceberg boat trips included.

He didn’t know which tour operator O’Leary used to book the iceberg tours, but he gave me a list of possibilities. All appeared to have similar cancellation policies.

I tried one more time with O’Leary after she contacted me again about something else a former customer had posted in Reiter’s private Facebook group.

You owe her the money whether Jill takes down that private group or not. They are discussing things that actually happened. You can’t ask for that to be concealed. This has been a very frustrating case. As a business owner, you’re really taking a stance I don’t see very often. You can’t change the cancellation policy of your contract after the fact. You should refund all the people you owe ASAP.

Michelle Couch-Friedman, Consumer advocate

That was the last time O’Leary contacted me. She still has not refunded any of Reiter’s $424.

Reiter has come to terms with the fact that she will likely never see her refund from Sandra’s Cruise Tours. But she wants you to hear her story and learn from her mistake.

Cruise ship passengers: What to know before booking third-party excursions

Although cruisers can often find a better variety of shore excursions at a less expensive price point through third parties, as Reiter’s experience shows, if you’re not careful, you could end up in a cruise fiasco of your own

Here’s what to know about booking third-party excursions during your cruise. 

Never book non-refundable cruise excursions

The reality of taking a cruise is that your itinerary is always subject to change. Please read that again. Over the years, I’ve spoken to hundreds of cruise ship passengers who are unaware of this basic fact. 

You should never book a nonrefundable cruise excursion through a third party because if your ship sails past your destination, you’ll be out of luck. If you’ve reserved your excursion through the cruise line and/or booked a refundable trip, you’ll be protected. 

Always read the fine print of any shore excursion before you book it. Make certain that you can cancel without penalty if your cruise ship changes its itinerary. 

Take a screenshot of how the excursion appeared at the time of booking

What happened to Reiter isn’t particularly unusual. Often, merchants notice a flaw in their terms only after a problem becomes apparent. To protect yourself from post-booking changes, take a screenshot of the page as it appeared when you booked the tour. Pay careful attention to the cancellation terms. Again, never book a tour that says you’re on the hook to pay regardless of the circumstances.

Look for online reviews 

Before booking any shore excursion through your cruise line or a third party, always look for online reviews. Sites such as Trustpilot, Viator, Trip Advisor, Yelp, and Cruise Critic can give you insight from others who have already used the shore excursion company or third-party agent. This can help you to determine if it’s trustworthy or dodgy. 

Related story: Can a tour guide cancel your trip and refuse your refund too?

Beware an unlicensed middleman

If you don’t want to book directly with the cruise line, a reputable company like Viator can connect you with a shore excursion that is safe and reliable at a reasonable price. These companies are licensed and bonded, and if something goes wrong, you’ll have protection. Using a middleman who has no Errors and Omissions insurance or other protection is a recipe for disaster. Cut out third parties without professional backing or license to operate as a travel provider. 

Use a professional travel advisor

Consumer Rescue is a giant fan of professional travel advisors. Many of the travel fiascos you read about here could have been entirely avoided had the consumer used an experienced travel advisor for guidance – including this one. But of course, not all travel agents are created equally, and because that term is not a protected title, anyone can call themselves a travel agent (See: Is this the worst travel agent ever?)

Before engaging with a travel professional, look for reviews of their services and their participation in professional organizations such as ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents).

Do not use Zelle to make payments for a shore excursion

I’ve been warning consumers about the dangers of Zelle for years now. Zelle is a peer to peer money transfer system meant for you to send cash to your friends and family. But scammers love Zelle because the transactions are instant and irreversible with no consumer buyer protection. (See: A Zelle pet scam cost this victim $4,000. Could you fall for it?)

Zelle is not meant to buy goods or services except under limited circumstances if a business has been approved for a Zelle Small Business account. If a travel agent, tour operator or third-party “middleman” asks you to pay using Zelle and the company is not approved for a Zelle Small Business account, do not agree. Find another travel vendor who accepts credit cards. Remember, Zelle doesn’t come with any consumer protections (like a credit card does) and Zelle nor your bank will reverse the transaction. The only entity with protection in a Zelle transfer is the receiver of your money.

One last thing to keep in mind about Zelle: Both the recipient and the sender must have U.S. bank accounts. Be wary of a company based outside of the U.S. that asks you to pay with Zelle as it is highly unlikely that it is a Zelle Small Business. Ask the question before making a payment.

Consumers beware: Always do your research before using Zelle in any type of business transaction. If the person who is selling you something doesn’t have an official Zelle small business account, you’ll be out of luck if there is a problem later.

Post publication update: According to O’Leary’s updated website, Sandra’s Cruise Tours which is based in Canada is now only accepting Zelle payments.

The bottom line

Unfortunately, in Reiter’s case, Santander chose not to delve deeper into her credit card dispute. She paid the price for her outspoken position about Sandra’s Cruise Tours. There’s no question that O’Leary owes her over $400… and there are many others waiting for refunds from her as well. But it appears O’Leary has chosen this hill for her reputation to die on.  Reiter hopes her efforts to publicize this experience will save others from the same fate. She considers that the best outcome in this situation, and at this point, I would have to agree.   (Michelle Couch-Friedman, Consumer Rescue)

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Michelle Couch-Friedman

Michelle Couch-Friedman is the founder and CEO of Consumer Rescue. She is a consumer advocate, ombudsman columnist, mediator, writer, and licensed psychotherapist. Michelle is a public speaker, and her expert guidance has been cited in MarketWatch, Consumer Reports, Travel & Leisure, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Popular Science, CNN, CNBC, Boston Globe, CBS News, National Geographic, Travel Weekly, Reader's Digest and more. You might even catch Michelle on TV reporting on a situation. :) Michelle is also the travel ombudsman columnist for The Points Guy and is the former executive director of the nonprofit Elliott Advocacy. During her six years in that position, she resolved thousands of cases for troubled travelers and other consumers. You can read hundreds of 5-star reviews Michelle earned during her service to the nonprofit since 2016 here on Great Nonprofits. She is also a member of the Society of American Travel Writers. Today, she continues to spend as much time as possible fiercely defending consumers and traveling the world with her family. Contact her at Michelle Couch-Friedman or on Linkedin, Twitter or Facebook.