Travel agency denies reimbursement for woman after tragic loss – NBC Chicago
Getting out of a plane to see her son in Texas was the moment Nina Aliprandi-Bolley’s phone rang and her world shifted.
“The doctor said to me, ‘Did you know your husband was traveling this morning?'” Aliprandi-Bolley said. “Well, with that, I knew something was wrong at all.”
Tragically, it was: Back home, Aliprandi-Bolley’s husband Nigel Bolley had collapsed at O’Hare International Airport while checking in for his own trip.
“He said he was dizzy. And he sat on the scale to weigh the bags, and that was it,” she told NBC 5 Responds.
Bolley was only 64 when he died, a scuba diver who three weeks earlier was in good health.
“Nigel and I had only been married six years,” Aliprandi-Bolley explained. “It took us a long time to find each other.
Aliprandi-Bolley then said she was sitting in the busy Texas airport and delving into the details of handling a death. She has decades of experience in crisis management, most notably in her work as Associate Executive Director of Maryville Academy where she runs the Crisis Nursery.
“I am trained and very experienced in crisis management,” Aliprandi-Bolley told NBC 5 Responds. “It’s a whole different ball game when it’s you.”
As she made the tough calls to family and friends, Aliprandi-Bolley said she needed to unravel the plans she made for her trip to Texas.
The cancellation of his hotel? No problem.
But Aliprandi-Bolley said she encountered an unexpected problem when she called reservation company Priceline to cancel her four-day rental car.
“She said, ‘We’re having a hard time getting anyone on the line at Hertz,'” Aliprandi-Bolley told Priceline. “‘We’re going to continue working on this today, and someone will get back to you.'”
But she said Priceline hadn’t answered her. Weeks passed, she said: a memorial, a funeral, a funeral. And through the fog, she realized that Priceline’s $ 400 fee had never been waived.
She asked Priceline: why not?
“I had a supervisor, and what he told me really upset me,” Aliprandi-Bolley said. “He said that because my first phone call to Priceline was an hour after the time I was due to pick up the car in Austin, TX, they wouldn’t be able to refund me.”
Priceline explained, she said, that the company needed Hertz’s permission to collect this money debited from Aliprandi-Bolley’s credit card.
When NBC 5 Responds inquired with Priceline, a spokesperson gave a similar explanation.
But Hertz disputed that, telling NBC 5 Responds he never got the money from Aliprandi-Bolley and was only paid after a customer picked up a car.
Is his case an outlier? Complaints made to the Better Business Bureau (BBB) about Priceline focus on the company’s customer service and the difficulty in obtaining refunds. The BBB gave Priceline a rating out of five stars.
After NBC 5 Responds’ investigation, Priceline said it fixed the issue and paid Aliprandi-Bolley in full.
She still thinks that call should have come sooner.
“Considering the way I have been treated as a consumer, I will never use Priceline again. Never,” she said.
A little wrinkle in a much larger personal story, but one that mattered to a client in crisis who thinks that a little kindness can do a lot of good.
“Whether you work at Priceline, work at NBC, or I work at Maryville, we are all consumers,” Aliprandi-Bolley told NBC5 Responds. “I was trying to appeal to these people on the other end of the phone.”
In a statement, Priceline said it offered its condolences to Aliprandi-Bolley when the company called to confirm that its refund would be made. The company did not respond to NBC 5’s request for comment regarding its one-star BBB rating.