How to File a Claim Against Holland America Cruise Line

Make your voice heard and make Holland America pay: These are your options!

Are you having problems with Holland America cruise line? Maybe they didn’t refund you for promotion, they forgot to apply discounts and credits to your card when you made your booking. You looked over the fine print and now you’ve reached out to customer service to try and get a solution but it’s gotten you nowhere.

Now you want to know:

  • How do I file a legal claim against the Holland America cruise line?
  • How do I sue in small claims court?
  • How do I file a claim in arbitration against the Holland America cruise line?

File a claim against Holland America Cruise Line in small claims courts

What is it?

Small claims court is a legal option laid out in your contract with the Holland America cruise line. The fine print contains a lot of information and some of that information is how limited you are in terms of your legal option. You can’t for example jump on a class action lawsuit but you can present your claim before a local judge and potentially receive monetary compensation.

Most small claims courts will not only provide monetary awards only and not equitable, and they also have court limits on how much you can ask for so not every claim qualifies.

When to try it

This process is very time-consuming and requires a lot of attention to detail so make sure you have the time and effort to put into it before you get started.

What you need to do

Look up your state court website to find information on what you have to do given where you live. Every court has its own procedure and some counties have additional requirements on top of the state requirements. Everything you need to know should be on these sites.

What to expect

You can expect to attend a court hearing where Holland America may or may not have someone present and that’s your opportunity to explain to the judge what your situation is and why you deserve compensation. If you filed all the forms correctly and you have good evidence there’s a good chance that you will get compensation. There’s also a chance that Holland America will offer a settlement before you even get to the point of the hearing.

File a complaint against Holland America cruise line with the Better Business Bureau

What is it?

The Better Business Bureau (“BBB”) and its local chapters are private organizations that collect and publish complaints online. They provide individual companies with a rating based on those complaints and they give the companies the chance to respond to the complaints publicly.  

When to try it

If you see that Holland America Cruise line is actively responding to complaints on their BBB page, then feel free to submit yours. Conversely, if they aren’t, you can still publish your complaint if you just want your voice heard. 

What you need to do

Go to their page on the BBB site and follow the instructions for submitting a complaint. 

What to expect

This depends greatly on whether the Holland America cruise line is monitoring the complaints. If they are, they might reach out and ask for more information to try and settle the issue but if they aren’t, at least other people will see the complaint. 

File a claim against Holland America Cruise Line through NAM Arbitration

What is it?

Filing a claim against Holland America cruise line through NAM arbitration is an alternative to small claims court or any other court. The National Arbitration and Mediation company, or NAM is the company through which cruise lines use arbitration or mediation to settle disputes.  

When to try it

This is a good option to try if you want a resolution faster, if you don’t have the time to dedicate to small claims court, or if your case doesn’t qualify for other solutions. You will still have to deal with paperwork, some arbitration fees, and a few meetings but if you are lucky Holland America cruise line will offer a settlement early on.

What you need to do

First, you need to submit forms to NAM which include:

  • Names, addresses, and telephone numbers for each party to the case
  • Internal filing numbers for corporate parties, 
  • Whether mediation or arbitration is selection
  • The nature of the claims
  • And an agreement that the settlement can’t be publicly adjudicated, the mediator (in mediations) can’t be called as a witness, and the arbitrator’s decision (in arbitration) is legally binding. 

Second, you need to notify Holland America that you have pursued arbitration and started the process. You have to send them copies of everything you submitted within 24 hours.

Third, you have to follow whatever requirements NAM has for either arbitration or mediation depending on which you chose. In either case NAM will schedule the hearings and appoint the mediator or the arbitrator. In either case you also have the option of having an attorney with you.

You can find more about their rules and procedures quite well here, or you can contact NAM at 800-358-2550. 

What to expect

Arbitration will take place faster. The arbitrator will set up a hearing and then 10 days prior you have to submit:

  • A statement of the facts
  • A statement of each claim 
  • Statement of evidence to be presented

This is the Discovery phase. At the hearing, the arbitrator will make a binding decision. 

Mediation requires that you and the cruise line work together toward a solution and it doesn’t become binding until you reach one. This could take multiple meetings.

If the other party doesn’t participate or they fail to do what’s required of them the arbitrator or the mediator can choose to give a final binding judgment that gives you a settlement.

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