Last-Minute Cancels Can Cost $$$

Posted on April 7, 2009 by - Also by this author

DENVER MOVES PROM DATE: Local operator attempts to increase price $700, threatens to sue clients, and then is threatened by school principal. How should it be handled?
Recently, a Denver operator asked if he was getting the short end of the stick when an expected snow storm caused the rescheduling of prom night. The biggest problem for the operator was that the rescheduled date fell on the same night as another high school prom night.
The operator has a policy of not charging a credit card until either the day of the run or after the fact. This in itself is a whole other debate. So, as a result of this practice, he ends up with no runs and no money.
His solution was to offer the kids two choices:
#1 – Ride on the original date even if there is no prom at the original price.
#2 – Reschedule to the new date of the prom for an additional fee of $700!
In my opinion, this is pure and simple gouging. While it is not the kids fault prom was changed and it is not the operators fault either, the bottom line is, we all face certain risks in business and weather certainly plays into our daily risk.
As an operator separated by a 5,000-foot mountain between Los Angeles International Airport and our home base in Bakersfield, Calif., I am keenly aware that the mountain closes due to snow for whole days or brief periods of time. There are three alternate routes if this happens. The additional time added is one hour, three hours, and five hours respectively.
Two of those are also mountain passes that could close as well -- and have.
We do not charge additional amounts if we are forced to use the routes as it is not the client’s fault, and I consider it a cost of doing business. If the mountain pass closes completely and someone cancels as a result, or WE cancel on them due to safety reasons, I refund the money in full.
This operator was called by the school principal for his attempt to extort $700 from his students. He immediately backed off. Why? Because the principal threatened to alert the media. He knew that once the media got wind of this they would have a field day with his company name.
How would you handle it?
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