Trouble getting refund/credit, proper answers to simple issue

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I feel like this is a simple issue, and that I deserve either a refund or an airline credit (as I was promised by Delta representatives at various points) - but definitely resolution. Something. Why is this so difficult? Here is what I just emailed to Heidi Gould and Charisse Evans at Delta HQ - any thoughts from the forum?

=

Hi Heidi,

On August 8, 2015, I booked tickets on Delta for 4 people (including myself) under the confirmation # J******. (Removed by moderator)

I was unable to fly back on the return portion (SJO-LAX-SEA-YVR), and when I called Delta on Dec. 29, 2015 to determine my options, I was told by the refund department that I had a b-class fare and it was fully refundable. On the basis of this, I initiated the refund and made other travel plans.

Case # 1******** (Removed by moderator)
Refund request 006********** (Removed by moderator)

On January 8, 2016, I was informed by the refund dept that this was a non-refundable ticket. When I phoned and spoke to an agent to challenge this based on the information I was initially given, I was told this would go to the audit department for review.

I have been waiting since this time for a follow-up. When I phoned today, an agent told me there was no record of any of my phone calls (Dec. 30 or Jan. 8), and that the audit department had made the decision that the ticket is non-refundable.

I have not been told of any recourse – options to further challenge to this decision, receive an airline credit, nothing – nor am I able to determine what to do now.

The refund department told me I have to contact customer care, or that they could submit an escalation request, but would not confirm this request by email when I expressed my concerns that previous calls have not been logged, leaving me with no audit trail.

When I phoned customer care directly in Atlanta, they could not look up my case # or 13–digit refund request, instead transferring me back to the refund dept. And the refund dept won’t address my concerns.

I feel like Delta made an error in telling me I would get a refund, and now will not compensate me for the value of the original ticket. I also feel quite stymied by the process.

Why is it so difficult to get an answer, and resolution?

Can you or someone on your team help me?

Thank you,

Colin Stein
 
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I was told by the refund department that I had a b-class fare and it was fully refundable.
Well there is your problem right there.
B - Class fare SFO-YVR on Delta is NON-REFUNDABLE.

upload_2016-2-26_13-43-8.png

I hate to ask you if anyone died in your family because that is the only way out to get a refund. Sorry but you seem to be another victim of an incompetent call center agent.
 

Neil Maley

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Colin, unfortunately Flywisely is right- you were given bad information from the res. agent. It's sad when inexperienced employees give customers wrong advice.

I suggest that you might want to start writing (forget the phone) to the executives at Delta and ask them for compensation because their own employee gave you wrong information. Do you by any chance have the name of the agent that gave you the bad info?

Here is a list of executive contacts at Delta. Since you have already been back and forth with Customer Service, I suggest starting with the first executive on the list. Write a calm polite letter about that agent giving you wrong info and had you known I was non refundable you wouldn't have made the change.

Give him/her a week to respond. If they don't, or the answer is still no, write to the next executive. Repeat weekly until you get to the CEO and see if you can persaude them to provide you with any type of refund.

http://elliott.org/company-contacts/delta-airlines/


Let us know what happens.
 
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As both Flywisely and Neil have said, write to the executives. You may want to meet them in the middle and ask for a credit with them waiving the change fee since you were given the wrong information. I think you should still have a credit to use, even though you did purchase non-refundable fares.
 
Oct 5, 2015
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As both Flywisely and Neil have said, write to the executives. You may want to meet them in the middle and ask for a credit with them waiving the change fee since you were given the wrong information. I think you should still have a credit to use, even though you did purchase non-refundable fares.
Yes there is enough money left on the oneway SJO-YVR B class fare - around $700. So even if you pay the change fee, you are still talking big pocket change here. I would ask for a one year certificate for the amount of the fare. I think that is more than fair. I would settle for that minus the change fee.
 
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I can tell you from experience that, like others suggested, you are significantly more likely to receive a credit with a waived change fee than a cash refund. I'm not saying that's right or fair, just that it is what it is. If you email an executive asking for this, concisely and politely, you have a good chance of receiving it if you ask the right way:

On August 8, 2015, I booked a ticket under the confirmation #xxx. I was unable to fly back on the return portion, and when I called Delta on Dec. 29, 2015, I was told that I had a b-class fare and it was fully refundable. On the basis of this, I initiated the refund (case #xxx and refund request #xxx) and made other travel plans. On January 8, 2016, I was informed by the refund department that this was a non-refundable ticket.

I understand my ticket was non-refundable. I am requesting that I receive a credit in the amount of my return ticket, waiving any change fee associated with this credit. I look forward to flying Delta in the future.

The important thing with letters like these, as a general rule, is:

- Keep it as short as possible. They skim letters, the shorter it is the more likely it will actually be read.

- Don't use sob stories or excuses, no playing "cards" (senior citizen, disability, fixed income, etc).

- ALWAYS end the letter with a brief positive statement about the business. These are the exceptions that get picked over the others. I know it's ridiculous. The customer service people get the joke, I promise. But the people sitting in an office that have never actually spoken to a customer ultimately dictate policies and they just love this nonsense. It works, I promise; I used to be the supervisor that approved requests like this one.

- When possible, ask for a credit. Businesses don't like to process cash refunds. There are very very very few people that can actually send a check/issue a cash refund. They are almost non-existent. And when they do issue one, they are justifying and explaining every last cent. Many many more reps can issue credit/miles. They aren't being scrutinized in the same way. Therefore, a customer service rep is likely to select your request for an exception if you ask nicely.

- Don't complain or make derogatory statements about someone else you spoke to. Even if they deserve it. It makes you come across as petty. And the fact is, a customer service rep (and especially one taking escalated requests/complaints) has dealt with a lot of nasty people. I can't tell you how many times I heard a complaint and went back and listened to the original call they were complaining about (yes - they can do that) and the customer was downright rude and/or lying. You may not be, and you may have a perfectly valid complaint. But the person reviewing it probably won't take the time to go back and look, they simply don't have enough time. They will mostly just think you're impossible to please and that you're insulting their coworkers.

- Remember you're asking for a favor. Even if you're in the right. The customer service person reading your request didn't create the policy, they may very well think it's just as ridiculous as you do. But they have to do their job because they have to pay their bills. If you ask nicely, they may help and make an exception for you. If you had to choose from 20 letters and give 1 person an exception, you would choose the one that's the most polite, concise and didn't make excuses. That's just human nature.

- With rare exception, always start through the normal customer service channel. If you go straight to an executive, the first thing they're going to do is look and see what already happened. If you didn't give them a chance to make it right first, you will come across as a whiner. Again, it doesn't matter how right you are and how wrong the company is. Remember the actual executive isn't handling it, their staff is. And their staff will find it insulting that you tried to jump their colleagues, who are perfectly capable of doing their job, to bring your problem straight to the top. No one is that important.
 
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I should add.......

Your correspondence here is fine. You didn't complain. I just shortened it a bit because, in my experience, that helps. I actually prefer to help folks like you, who are requesting something perfectly reasonable and aren't whining and being melodramatic. Which is why I posted this list here with your question. I'm hoping it helps as a rule of thumb for letters like yours.
 
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Here's a tip.

If you are already willing to pay for B booking class fare, and if the fares are based on one-way fares only, then consider NOT to book the return trip too early.

B booking class fares are really walk-up fares. So there is no rush to buy them.

upload_2016-2-27_8-28-39.png

As you can see B class is just below the most expensive Y class.
And they do not have advance purchase requirements - thus making them walk-up fares.

It's about 825AM now and you can see I can still get 3 seats for today's 10AM flight.

upload_2016-2-27_8-31-3.png

In fact I can even get them in cheaper booking classes.

upload_2016-2-27_8-33-11.png

The one seat in H costs $595. There's 2 seats in S and 3 in M before I have to touch the more expensive B class.

So there is really no rush to buy very expensive booking class fares if you are already pricing the ticket as 2 one-way fares. Just monitor seat availability and buy your return ticket closer to the date of travel. This way you are more sure of your travel plans.

(Note: if you are trying to snatch a YUP upgrade to Business/First Cabin then ignore my tip. For this you might have to grab a seat early.)
 
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