5 On Your Side

Zebulon Man Fights For Cruise Refund After Wife's Death

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DURHAM — Sun, water, and warmth! That's why Mari-Leigh Baker looked forward to a cruise.

“She was so excited,” said Baker's husband, George Inglis. “She didn't sleep at all that night. She was getting ready. She had enough stuff packed for three weeks.”

But Baker never made it. On her way to the airport last October, a drunk driver ran a stop sign and hit the SUV she was riding in. She was thrown from the vehicle, and died instantly. Inglis is still trying to cope.

“Life-changing, devastating,” he said. “I mean, it takes your life away.”

On the list of things Inglis now needs to handle is getting a refund from Carnival Cruise Lines. He says the company told him just to send a letter and death certificate. About three months later, Inglis got a letter offering condolences, but denying a refund.

The letter says, "No shows receive no refund." Instead, Carnival offered travel vouchers.

“Impersonal, cold, non-caring,” said Inglis. “You pick the word. There's plenty of them out there.”

Inglis says he called several times to try to convince them to refund the money. Finally, he called Five On Your Side.

When WRAL called Carnival, spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz said the company usually first offers a voucher rather than a refund. If the customer does not want that, she says there is a "case by case" evaluation. She added that "of course" they would "make an exception" when a death is involved, and was not sure why that did not happen with Inglis.

De La Cruz credited Inglis' account. He thinks that is only fair.

“I mean it's not like she (said,) 'I don't want to go on the cruise. I'm having a bad hair day,'” said Inglis. “You know, it's not like she could show up. So that's what really burned me, you know?”