British Airways owes Denis Barreto a refund, and promised to send it to him. But that was eight months ago.
Question: I have been expecting to receive a refund of $10,840 from British Airways, as per an email approval of the transaction that I received from their customer relations department, indicating that it would take from seven to ten business days for the refund to appear in my Amex Platinum account.
As of today, I have not received the promised refund, and every time that I have contacted British Airways, I receive an email, each time from a different person, all with apologies and advising me that the matter is being escalated.
Yesterday, I sent a fax with 16 pages of documentation pertaining to my claim to the British Airways fax number in the U.S. I also was able to speak to a British Airways representative in the U.K., who verified all of the going back and forth that had transpired during this time, without results. She told me that she would personally take hold of the issue and would escalate to management.
However, since I have been promised that escalating of the issue so many times, I thought that it would be advisable to contact you and see if you would be able to intercede for me, in order to get my overdue refund. — Denis Barreto, Coconut Grove, Fla.
Answer: Here’s another case in which a travel transaction that should have been simple goes very awry.
When you booked a flight on British Airways, but then found you needed to change your date, you learned you’d need to pay what amounted to a 175 percent penalty in change fees. First you complained to the airline, then decided to cancel the flight. The airline notified you that you’d receive a refund for the more than $10,000 you paid for the flight.
All well and good, except that eight months later, there was still no refund.
You shared with us the exhaustive exchange of emails and documentation you exchanged with the airline over all that period. Kudos for pursuing your dispute with a carefully documented paper trail.
Each time you contacted the airline, you received a very apologetic note with assurances that the claim would be expedited. And each time that note was from someone different. Finally you asked if we would intervene on your behalf, which we did, and in November you got a refund of roughly half what was owed.
So what can we learn from this story?
That sometimes it takes every tool at our disposal to get the job done. Be a persistent advocate for your case, and when that still doesn’t get results, contact our advocacy to help reach a resolution. You might also have utilized the British Airways social media links and executive contacts available on our site to try to break through the wall of polite inaction you encountered.
We’re pleased to hear that in December, after a little more probing, British Airways finally credited your American Express account with the remainder of the refund you were due.