Trouble Obtaining Rightful Refund

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AVR

Aug 22, 2017
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Hello,

I was in contact with a consumer advocate of Elliot.org regarding my issue and as far as I know, my case hasn't officially been closed. However, the last time I heard from the advocate that was helping me was August 1st, and the las time I reached out to him about my issue was August 10th.

Here's the description of my problem:
I am an unemployed graduate student. In February of this year I purchased a flight from Dublin to SFO from the UK-based travel agency, Crystal Travel. A day before my departure in May, I go to check-in and notice that one of my flights has been rescheduled, but I will not be able to make the new flight time. Crystal Travel couldn't find a suitable solution for me, so I bought an entirely new flight (at nearly double the cost of my original ticket) directly from an airline's website and requested a full refund from Crystal Travel. Crystal Travel attempted to get the airline to refund me, but the airline refused. So, then Crystal Travel said they would issue me a refund themselves. After about two months, many emails to Crystal Travel, and seeking the help of Elliot.org, I have received a refund. BUT, the amount is not what I was promised. I was promised a full refund of €382.34 (435 USD) by Crystal Travel; the refund I received is over $100 short of what I was promised and am owed. I reached out to the advocate I was in contact with and he suggested requesting a breakdown (i.e. explanation of the refund amount) from Crystal Travel. I have repeatedly requested a breakdown from Crystal Travel, but they have resumed ignoring my emails.

Any suggestions on what to do next? This has been a stressful and unfortunate experience and with my advocate no longer responding to my emails either, I am at a loss about what my next steps should be.

Thank you for your help, I greatly appreciate it.
 

AVR

Aug 22, 2017
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Curious - what was it about the solutions, the alternative flights, that Crystal Travel offered were/was not suitable?
I needed to be home by a specific day, and the only solution they could offer me was to put me on a later flight that wouldn't get me home until a day after I needed to be there. Crystal Travel never informed me of the change in my flight. Otherwise, I'm sure other solutions would have been available.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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Did you ask/did they say why they failed to notify you of the schedule change?

Their TOC seems to indicate that they will make the reservations on your behalf, but then you are responsible for following up on the details

CONTRACT
When making your reservation we, as a representative, would organize it for you to come into an agreement with the principal(s) or other supplier(s) such as tour operator / airline / cruise firm / lodging firm etc. as mentioned on your receipt(s). We could reserve you a holiday deal, in which instance you would hold one agreement with the principal, or we could reserve the services that make up your trip with various principals or suppliers, in which instance you would have different agreements with every one of them.

As a representative, we take no accountability for the actions or cuts of the principal(s) or supplier(s) or for the services offered by them. The principal’s(s’) or supplier’s(s’) Terms & Conditions would relate to your reservation and we suggest that you read them cautiously as they do hold significant details about your reservations. Kindly request for copies of these if you do not possess them.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,067
23,018
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
What airline and how long was the flight change? If it is over a certain time period and alternate flights don't work, the airline at least in the US, has to give you a refund.

But the key is how much of a schedule change there was. Tell us what airline and how long the change was
 
Feb 9, 2016
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My guess is that you were not aware that anytime you book thru a third party you absolutely need to follow up directly with the principal to ensure that everything is 'set' as you understand it.

As an example, I booked 2 reservations for a vacation next march. I asked the travel agency to link the reservations so that we would be sitting next to each other on the plane and staying next to each other in the hotel. they said "okay". I followed up a week later with the airline and the airline commented that the reservations were not linked.

Hindsight advice - always link your email to your air reservation so that you get emails of flight changes.

One thing is for sure, get everything in writing from Crystal Travel. if they are saying they are going to refund you, get that in writing.

Don't you have your booking confirmation email? You should. Look in your trash, that will provide the breakdown of what you paid.
 

AVR

Aug 22, 2017
6
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Did you ask/did they say why they failed to notify you of the schedule change?

Their TOC seems to indicate that they will make the reservations on your behalf, but then you are responsible for following up on the details

CONTRACT
When making your reservation we, as a representative, would organize it for you to come into an agreement with the principal(s) or other supplier(s) such as tour operator / airline / cruise firm / lodging firm etc. as mentioned on your receipt(s). We could reserve you a holiday deal, in which instance you would hold one agreement with the principal, or we could reserve the services that make up your trip with various principals or suppliers, in which instance you would have different agreements with every one of them.

As a representative, we take no accountability for the actions or cuts of the principal(s) or supplier(s) or for the services offered by them. The principal’s(s’) or supplier’s(s’) Terms & Conditions would relate to your reservation and we suggest that you read them cautiously as they do hold significant details about your reservations. Kindly request for copies of these if you do not possess them.
Hello again,

I understand. And, I have requested copies of those, but Crystal Travel is not providing me with them. They have repeatedly ignored my emails, which is why I am at a loss at what to do next, and I why I posted on the forum...
 
Feb 9, 2016
2,449
2,806
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Hello again,

I understand. And, I have requested copies of those, but Crystal Travel is not providing me with them. They have repeatedly ignored my emails, which is why I am at a loss at what to do next, and I why I posted on the forum...
You didn't keep copies of your emailed itinerary confirmation? Look in your email trash. you didn't forward the emailed itinerary to your mom, sister, friend? Look in your sent box.
 
Feb 9, 2016
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Where is this company located? I have never heard of them.
http://www.crystal-travel.com/

If you google for them there are bad reviews that come up on the search page.

@AVR can you dispute the charge on your credit card? I mention this ONLY so you can force their hand into speaking with you and giving you a detailed receipt. The other option is to dispute the charge to force them to deal with you. Can you?
 
Feb 9, 2016
2,449
2,806
113
Hello again,

I understand. And, I have requested copies of those, but Crystal Travel is not providing me with them. They have repeatedly ignored my emails, which is why I am at a loss at what to do next, and I why I posted on the forum...
Airlines typically have specific guidelines defined in which a passenger can obtain a refund if the schedule change violates their own terms and conditions of being acceptable for a passenger. For example, an airline most likely will not allow you to cancel and obtain a refund if the flight is rescheduled to arrive 10 minutes later than originally planned, but a schedule change of 2 hours (departure or arrival) may entitle you to a refund.


Please answer the questions we posed about the specific schedule change of the flight.. Which airlines was it? What was your departure airport and arrival airport? What was the flight number? what was the original and new departure time? What was the original and new arrival time?
 
Sep 19, 2015
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Airlines typically have specific guidelines defined in which a passenger can obtain a refund if the schedule change violates their own terms and conditions of being acceptable for a passenger. For example, an airline most likely will not allow you to cancel and obtain a refund if the flight is rescheduled to arrive 10 minutes later than originally planned, but a schedule change of 2 hours (departure or arrival) may entitle you to a refund.


Please answer the questions we posed about the specific schedule change of the flight.. Which airlines was it? What was your departure airport and arrival airport? What was the flight number? what was the original and new departure time? What was the original and new arrival time?
I understand the problem to be with the travel agency. The travel agency already partially refunded the airfare -- out of approximately $435 the OP was refunded about $335 -- 100 missing. The OP cannot get a breakdown of the refund to understand if the travel agency charged a service fee or something for processing a refund.
 
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AVR

Aug 22, 2017
6
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Hello everyone, I apologize for the delay in my response. Thank you all for your contributions, especially to @Christina H, you hit the nail on the head! The problem is solely with the travel agency, the UK branch of Crystal Travel (https://www.crystaltravel.co.uk/).

As I mentioned in my initial post, I have previously been in contact with a consumer advocate of Elliot.org regarding my issue and as far as I know, my case hasn't officially been closed. In order for the advocate to help me, he initially requested copies of all of my email and chat correspondences with Crystal Travel, which I sent along to him. My records of my correspondence with the agency are well kept, and in them I have proof that the airline, which was Virgin Atlantic, recognizes that the agency is completely at fault, that Crystal Travel recognizes they are at fault, and I also have Crystal Travel's confirmation that I was to be refunded in full. And, thanks to this proof and the Elliot advocate's intervention, I was able to obtain a partial refund.

Now, I'm just trying to get an explanation for why the refund was only a partial one. @sas80, I have thoroughly searched my email and I do not have a bill breakdown or an explanation of fees in any of my emails. All I have is a receipt that says my "total charge" is "€382.34." I looked on Crystal Travel's website and found that they have an admin charge of 50 GBP, but that still doesn't explain why my refund is so much less than what I deserve and was promised.

I'm happy to answer any further questions and greatly appreciate any helpful advice you all have to offer.

Thank you again,
Amanda
 

AVR

Aug 22, 2017
6
0
1
What airline and how long was the flight change? If it is over a certain time period and alternate flights don't work, the airline at least in the US, has to give you a refund.

But the key is how much of a schedule change there was. Tell us what airline and how long the change was
I'm not sure how helpful this will be to my case, considering that my issue is with the agency and not the airline, but here is the info you asked for, as quoted from the email from a Crystal Travel rep: see attached file.
 

Attachments

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,067
23,018
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
I hate to say this but if the airline canceled the flight, I don't think it is fare that the travel agency charges an admin fee to you.

They are members of ATOL and IATA. I am thinking perhaps you might need to file complaints with ATOL

Did you book an air only trip with Crystal or did is have a hotel as well? Were you charged an ATOL fee when you booked the ticket or did it show anything about ATOL on your confirmation? Did you receive a certificate with you booked?
 

AVR

Aug 22, 2017
6
0
1
I hate to say this but if the airline canceled the flight, I don't think it is fare that the travel agency charges an admin fee to you.

They are members of ATOL and IATA. I am thinking perhaps you might need to file complaints with ATOL

Did you book an air only trip with Crystal or did is have a hotel as well? Were you charged an ATOL fee when you booked the ticket or did it show anything about ATOL on your confirmation? Did you receive a certificate with you booked?
Hi Neil,

Thanks you for the reply! And, thanks for mentioning ATOL; I hadn't known about them until you mentioned them.

I only booked a flight through Crystal Travel, and as far as I know, I wasn't charged any extra fees. All my receipt lists the "total charge" of "€382.34." And, as I mentioned, I've been trying to get a fee breakdown from Crystal Travel, but have been unsuccessful. Additionally, I did not receive any sort of certificate. Is this something I should have received and/or was entitled to?

Thanks agin!