How to File a Claim Against Norwegian Cruise Lines

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Are you having problems with Norwegian Cruise Line? Have you taken a cruise or you plan to cruise and the company is now failing to refund you for an accidental charge? Maybe they failed to honor a promotion, maybe their service wasn’t what you expected and now you want a refund. In any case you probably reached out to customer service first but they still haven’t solved the problem.

Now you want to know:

  • How do I file a legal claim against Norwegian cruise line?
  • How do I sue Norwegian Cruise Line in small claims court?
  • How do I file a claim in arbitration against them?

So, what options do you have now to file a claim against Norwegian Cruise Line?

File a claim against Norwegian Cruise Line in Small Claims Court

What is Small Claims Court?

Your agreement with the Norwegian Cruise Line will usually include language that says you can’t sue them in most courts. This means you can’t jump on a class action lawsuit when things go wrong but what you can do is file a claim against Norwegian Cruise Line in small claims court. This is a good way to get compensation for justifiable claims at the local state court level.

When to try Small Claims Court

If your claim qualifies this is a great option to exercise. However you do have to make sure that it qualifies before you go marching up those Courthouse steps. Firstly, small claims courts will only offer monetary awards for compensation which means they can’t force Norwegian Cruise Line to buy you damaged property but they can force them to give you the value of the damage to property.

On that note, there are also small claims court limits for the amount of money you can ask for  and if your claim falls outside of those limits you won’t be able to use this option.

What you need to do to access Small Claims Court

This is a complicated process but your state court website should have all the information you need. You have to start by sending an official demand letter to the Norwegian Cruise Line headquarters office. This can be a very simple letter where you just explain what the problem is and how you want them to fix it. If they don’t acknowledge that and they don’t fix the problem then you have to visit your state court website to find out what form do you have to fill out, fill them out, file them with the courthouse, pay the courthouse fees, and then send Norwegian Cruise Line another piece of mail informing them that because they didn’t respond you are now suing them. Finally, you will be given a court date and you have to attend to that hearing and present your case.

What to expect with Small Claims Court

During the hearing the cruise line may or may not send someone but either way it’s your job to percent all your evidence to substantiate your claim. The judge will make a binding decision. Assuming that you did everything the right way and you have a valid claim, chances are you will get compensation this way.

File a complaint against Norwegian Cruise Line with a Better Business Bureau

What is the Better Business Bureau?

The Better Business Bureau known as the BBB is a website that functions as local chapters of a private organization that collects and publishes complaints online for different businesses. They have different pages for large corporations as well as local offices so that people can read reviews and know what to expect. They are funded by affiliate fees from businesses, they collate this information and give ratings for each company and they give the company’s a chance to respond to the complaints lodged against them.

When to try the Better Business Bureau

If you noticed that Norwegian Cruise Line is responding to other complaints, they are actively engaged on their page, you can submit your complaint and you have a higher likelihood of the company fixing it. However, if they aren’t actively engaged, you can still publish the information and get your complaint out there.

What you need to do to access the Better Business Bureau

Visit the Norwegian Cruise Line page for the Better Business Bureau and follow the steps for completing and submitting a complaint.

What to expect with the Better Business Bureau

The outcome you get is going to range. On one end the company might not monitor at all in which case you do nothing more than get your complaint out there and on the other end the company might be actively responding and engaging and looking to solve the problem for you.

File a claim against Norwegian Cruise Line through NAM Arbitration

What is Arbitration?

This is a type of legal option you have when you want to file a claim against a cruise line. Because your agreement with the cruise line prohibits most legal options, the one thing they do allow is arbitration or mediation through the National Arbitration and Mediation company, or NAM. So, with this organization you can opt to use mediation where you would meet with a representative from the cruise line and together try to work through the problem with a neutral mediator there to help you both or you can opt for arbitration where you both percent your sides of the story to an independent arbitrator who makes a binding decision.

When to try Arbitration?

This is something to try if your case doesn’t qualify for small claims court or if you have no other options. Much like small claims court there is paperwork, there are fees, and you will have to attend hearings but this is a slightly easier option.

In fact, sometimes if you notify the cruise company that you have reached out to NAM and are filing they might offer a settlement early on because they know that continued arbitration will end up costing them money they don’t want to spend. The nice thing about NAM policy and procedure is that you have the option to dismiss the case at any time so the company can make an offer at any point during the process and you can accept it and then dismiss the case.

What you need to do to access arbitration

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.

After that you have to send copies of all these documents to the cruise line, within 24 hours. NAM is quite good about helping you and they share their rules and procedures quite well here, or you can contact NAM at 800-358-2550.

What to expect with arbitration

The expectation in either scenario is that you got a solution which is binding. But the steps to reach that solution vary depending on whether you pick mediation or arbitration.

For either mediation or arbitration, there are hearings scheduled by NAM.

If you pick mediation, the mediator is put in charge of the case and they scheduled hearings during which time you and the cruise line both come together to prevent your side of the argument and your evidence. You only get a binding decision once you both are in agreement.

For arbitration an arbitrator is selected for your case and you present data to them early on just like you would provide a judge with evidence in a big case beforehand so the judge can look at it. So in these scenarios the arbitrator gets the information of the facts, your claim and the evidence you have 10 days before the hearing. You can choose to have an attorney there and you can also opt for live testimony or not during this hearing. At the hearing, the arbitrator will make a binding decision.

If at any point the cruise line doesn’t show up or they don’t do what they’re supposed to, the arbitrator or the mediator can render a decision right then and there giving you the compensation you deserve or they can postpone it and try to force the company to show up and do their part.

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