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Old Dec 15, 13, 10:50 pm
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QuantumCatBox
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 1
ARCHIVE: Transportation Voucher / vouchers / "MCO" FAQ and master thread


Just wanted to share my experience using an American Airlines paper voucher that I received for a voluntary bump (code DV), especially the struggle in getting taxes removed. I put a reservation on hold through the AA website and went to the airport yesterday morning to pay at the ticket desk using the voucher. The voucher was for $500 and the ticket total was about $531. I informed the agent that the voucher was tax exempt, and I used my phone to show the part on AA.com where it says "Transportation vouchers are tax exempt. Exception- vouchers with code OU are taxable." The base fare of the flight was about $461, and I used this site to tell her that US (domestic flight) ZP, and AY do not apply. She told me I was wrong and that only the $35 booking fee was waived, but I still had to pay taxes and thus owed $31. I then told her that the confusion regarding the taxes was apparently so common that there were internet sites created to assist travelers in explaining to agents that the voucher is tax exempt, and that if she called the tariff desk they might be able to finish the process. She again told me I was wrong, that I was not tax exempt, that I had to pay taxes, and that she was not going to call the tariff desk for something she already knew. That was a response I was not expecting. So, I used my debit card and paid the $31.

At the flight gate I talked to the AA employee at the counter and explained the situation, asking him how I could go about getting a refund. He told me taxes applied to vouchers and the woman at the desk was right. I told him that my understanding was that taxes do not apply, but that AA agents commonly incorrectly believe they do. Apparently this is not a nice comment to say, because he kind of scowled at me and told me I would have to wait till my destination location and talk to a desk agent there.

So I arrive at my destination and wait in a rather long line to talk to an agent. I attempted to explain the situation and showed my receipts and the information on the AA website. She cut me off half way through and asked why I was tax exempt and where my tax exempt paperwork was. I told her that I personally was not tax exempt, but that the voucher was tax exempt. She told me that the website only meant the booking fee was waived (even though the website says taxes are waived) and that I was wrong. I asked if she could call the tariff desk, she said no. I asked if there was a supervisor I could speak to, she told me there were a lot of people waiting and she was not getting a supervisor to tell me what she already told me, that I have to pay taxes just like any other customer.

Okay...so 2 attempts and 0 results. This was turning into a lot of work to get my $31 back, but it was my money and multiple websites have confirmed that AA agents do not know their own AA policy on vouchers. So, I called the AA number and explained the situation to the agent on the phone and my experience with the desk agents. She was friendly and polite and put me on hold to talk to a supervisor. She came back on and said....It's Tax Exempt.....and I should not have been charged about $50 in taxes. I asked why the two desk agents I spoke to were both unaware of that policy and why they couldn't have just done what she did to get the answer (it was a rhetorical question as I would expect she had no idea who the desk agents were or why they acted the way they did). She apologized and after about 30 minutes on the phone told me the credit was processed and I'd be getting the remainder of the voucher, about $22, mailed to me.

In the end, I suppose it might just depend on who the Agent is that you talk to at the desk and whether they 1) know the correct rules regarding vouchers, and/or 2) if they don't know or are unsure are willing to ask a supervisor. I'm thinking the agents I spoke too either honestly believed that the vouchers were not exempt, or were not sure but did not want to go and ask another person. It seems odd that this issue hasn't been resolved with a simple memo to all employees RE: paper vouchers, or a modification on the computer program to prompt agents using paper vouchers that not all taxes apply and to do "x,y,z" to price and process the ticket correctly. But, it's not my airline, so I don't really have a say in what they do regarding their SOPs. For anyone else that reads this and uses a paper voucher, If you receive push back from the agent about the taxes I would recommend getting a supervisor or just paying it and calling AA to have them reimburse the charge. I don't like arguing with a customer service agent, especially if I'm confident I'm right and they aren't budging, and even more especially when there is a line of other people waiting and I need to get on a flight leaving soon.

Last edited by JDiver; Feb 14, 17 at 8:15 am Reason: Insert moderator note
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