I booked a VIP Shuttle Launch Tour with Alcatraz Media (tour confirmation #VS8055, tour ID 613011) for the launch of the space shuttle Atlantis (STS-129) on November 16, 2009. The tour was to include round trip transportation from the Orlando, FL area to Kennedy Space Center, plus admission to a VIP viewing area for the launch.
After booking the trip on their website, a customer service agent from Alcatraz Media contacted me via phone to confirm the trip and my pick-up location for transportation. I told the agent where we were staying, and she gave me a pick up location that she told me would be confirmed via email.
The confirmation email I received listed a pick up location, and a pick up time of 7:00 AM. Instructions in the email told me to call at least 48 hours prior to the tour departure to confirm, and listed the phone number of Gator Tours; the instructions specifically say to call the phone number listed to confirm the tour, and say NOT to call Alcatraz Media. Upon calling the phone number listed as instructed 48 hours prior to departure, I spoke to a representative of Gator Tours (Jason) who told me that the pick up location Alcatraz provided was incorrect - he said that they have told Alcatraz not to use that location. Jason then gave me a new pick up location, and told me that all the other info about the pick up was correct.
On the day of the launch, my family and I showed up at the new pick up location at the time specified. When no bus arrived, I called the tour company - only to be told that the pick up time had been at 5:00 AM instead of 7:00 AM - a full TWO HOURS earlier. We had missed the pick up time due to incorrect information provided by Alcatraz Media. I made arrangements with the Gator Tours rep (the company that I understood to be a sub-contractor of sorts to Alcatraz Media) who was very sympathetic to my plight. We drove ourselves to Kennedy Space Center, where a Gator Tours rep met us at the gate to give us our tickets to the launch.
Since I paid Alcatraz Media for a package that included round trip transportation to the space center - transportation that I did not receive due to incorrect info provided by Alcatraz, I contacted Alcatraz and requested a refund of that portion of the ticket. I did not request a refund of the entire purchase price - only a refund for the portion of the services that I did not receive. The Alcatraz Media response was a flat NO. The service rep told me that since I re-confirmed the the tour with Gator Tours (as per the written instruction from Alcatraz Media), that my issue is really with Gator Tours, not with them. Since Alcatraz Media is the company that I paid for the tour, it is Alcatraz Media that is responsible for the refund. Gator Tours has received no money from me - if there is some kind of business relationship between Alcatraz Media and Gator Tours, that is their concern, not mine. The company that booked the tour and accepted the payment -- and that provided the incorrect information that caused me to miss part of my tour -- is the company that is responsible for the refund.
It's a shame that a company will not do what's right. I think asking for a refund covering the part of the tour I missed due to their error is a perfectly reasonable request. Alcatraz Media, operating in this case under the name KennedySpaceCenterTours.net - is dirtying the good name of Kennedy Space Center.