Carnival Lifts Fuel Fee on Paid-up Canadian Passengers

17 January 2008 10:45pm

Carnival Corp. reversed its policy to retroactively charge passengers a fuel surcharge on bookings they had already paid for in Canada.

After the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies challenged Carnival on the legality of the surcharge, the cruise line sent a letter to Canadian travel agents in December that said, “Due to provincial restrictions for Canadian travel agents, the fuel supplement does not apply to bookings made prior to Nov. 7, 2007 (the day the supplement went into effect) for cruises departing on or after Feb. 1, 2008.”

When recently asked about the decision, Carnival said that on “additional legal review, which identified some potential issues in certain Canadian provinces,” the company changed its position in Canada.

It all started with Philip Houde, owner of River East Travel and Cruise Center in Winnipeg, who said the retroactive fuel surcharge “didn’t sound legal.” He then contacted his local branch of ACTA and they researched it.

It turned out, in at least two Canadian provinces (Quebec and Ontario), it is illegal for companies to raise prices on consumer products that are already paid for in full. ACTA raised the issue with Carnival, and the company reversed the rule for all of Canada.

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