DEAR TRAVEL PROBLEM SOLUTION: I booked a KLM flight through Expedia last year. KLM canceled flight due to COVID in October. Expedia told me to wait 12 weeks for a refund. When no refund arrived, I contacted Expedia.
Expedia claims that KLM refunded me, even though I paid Expedia. KLM claims they reimbursed Expedia, who then should have reimbursed me.
After some back and forth, Expedia told me to contact my bank. I contacted Chase, my credit card company, to dispute the charges, but it was too late.
Expedia no longer responded to my refund requests. I have proof of all communications. I want Expedia to refund my flight amount. I am out of options as Expedia, KLM and Chase said there is nothing they can do. Can you help me get my $427 back?
– Eric Aird, Zurich, Switzerland
ANSWER: You should have received an immediate refund. Department of Transportation regulations govern your ticket if you used Expedia in the United States. The rules require the airline to issue a refund within seven business days if you paid by credit card and 20 days if you paid by cash or check. Europe has similar rules.
I have reviewed the paper trail between you and the various parties – Expedia, Chase and KLM. What a tangled web. You are right, they blame each other.
So who is ultimately responsible for your refund? Your online travel agency, Expedia. They took your money and agreed to act as your agent in purchasing the flight. After KLM canceled your flight, Expedia should have ensured you got a quick refund. It shouldn’t have happened to you at KLM.
And what about your credit card? A Chase representative told you that too much time had passed between the purchase and the chargeback request. This is nonsense. Credit card companies can help their customers if they want, but they choose to cut off all inquiries after 60 days. They claim that the Fair Credit Billing Act, the law that protects credit card customers, will not allow them to dispute claims more than two months old. However, the law does not prevent banks from handling older disputes.
A short and polite email to Expedia may have done the trick for you. I would have forwarded all your correspondence along with a polite cover letter to one of the Expedia executive contacts I list on my customer protection page at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/expedia-customer -service-contacts/. If that didn’t work, you could have contacted KLM. I publish their executive contacts, too, at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/klm-airlines/.
I contacted Expedia on your behalf. “My agents have confirmed that the refund has now been processed and the customer has been notified,” an Expedia representative told me. “It appears the delay was due to an agent error, so we’ve apologized to the customer and added a $100 voucher to the traveler’s Expedia account for the inconvenience.”
Christopher Elliott is the chief advocacy officer of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Elliott’s latest book is How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler (National Geographic). Contact him at elliott.org/help or email@example.com.
(c) 2022 Christopher Elliott
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