Missing refund, now they've sent me a bill.

Old Feb 2, 2023, 6:03 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: BCN
Programs: BA Gold A3 Gold DL Gold VY apologist
Posts: 8,549
Missing refund, now they've sent me a bill.

Hello everyone, here's a question for the AF experts. I booked two flights in paid business class (D) BCN-NYC-DEN on DL through the AF website in 2021. We had to cancel due to Covid. At the time of cancelation they told me I would get a credit but could request a refund later. In August of 2022 I contacted the AF customer service in Spain and requested a refund. The agent told me it would be processed within 60 days(!) and gave me a confirmation number that I realized after I hung up was just the day's date.

The refund was never received. They did, however, recently send me an email with the subject "In response to your request for an invoice" containing only a PDF of an invoice with a line at the top that says "DUPLICATE CREDIT NOTE", lists the ticket number of the flights along with a zero ("0.00") price, and another line labeled "OTHER TAXES" in the total of 82. At the bottom it says "TOTAL AMOUNT TO PAY 82".

Anybody know what's going on here? If I were a cynic I would think they decided that the fare wouldn't be refunded and only returned some of the taxes. But we all know AF wouldn't do anything like that, so there must be another explanation. Where should I go from here?

I appreciate any helpful advice. Thanks.
alanw is offline  
Old Feb 4, 2023, 12:36 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Programs: FB, M&B, UA, AA
Posts: 2,550
Originally Posted by alanw
I booked two flights in paid business class (D) BCN-NYC-DEN on DL through the AF website in 2021. We had to cancel due to Covid. At the time of cancelation they told me I would get a credit but could request a refund later. In August of 2022 I contacted the AF customer service in Spain and requested a refund. The agent told me it would be processed within 60 days(!) and gave me a confirmation number that I realized after I hung up was just the day's date.
.
I am a bit confused about this story. Ticket bought in 2021. Cancellation was when? Was the question for a refund in August months or maybe even up to a year later? I have done cancellations via the KLM (works similar as AF) website. This approach keeps track on everything, and within a week a refundable voucher appeared on my FB account. Since that is how it works - upon cancellation under COVID rules you get a refundable voucher that is valid for a year. With bad luck you got hence a refundable voucher that is valid for a year for use for another flight or to be converted in cash, and this time passed. Indeed, my companies' travel agent timely cashed and credited a voucher that I still had open after 11 months after a cancelled flight from March 2020, to avoid we lost its value.

So, exact dates are important. If you think your claim for cash was within a year, contact customer service. If your voucher was cancelled after the 1 year limit, you are at the mercy of their goodwill. The 85 Euro charge could be since in their view you asked for a duplicate bill (it may be they charge for that, I do not know).
irishguy28 and hhdl like this.
atflyer is offline  
Old Feb 4, 2023, 7:41 am
  #3  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Hong Kong, France
Programs: FB , BA Gold
Posts: 15,637
I did have a couple of these cancelled flights back then (2020/2021).
AF would issue a refundable voucher valid one year. Those vouchers appeared on the website, and could be used for other tickets or you could ask for their refund.

As mentioned by atflyer, it could be that your vouchers expired after a year and you lost the money.

The "invoice" is another story and probably some of the usual AF IT response/bug when you might have recently inquired about the status of the refund.

A bit surprised that you did not pursue the refund more actively since August 2022. That is probably too late now.
irishguy28 and blairvanhorn like this.
brunos is offline  
Old Feb 4, 2023, 8:48 am
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Netherlands
Programs: KL Platinum; A3 Gold
Posts: 28,810
It wasn't required to call for a refund; if you had a refundable voucher, it should have been possible to request the refund online.

I had several of these and never needed to call to get any of them refunded. Some of them did, however, take months to be refunded.

To the OP: do you have an Air France/Flying Blue account? And did you have such an account at the time you originally made this booking?

when you log into the Air France website, and click on "My Bookings", you should see an option to view all vouchers issued to your account.

If you click on "View Vouchers", you should be presented with a list of all vouchers that were issued.

You will also see the expiry date, and the information regarding the use of the vouchers.

Here is the link to the FAQ.
Attached Images   
blairvanhorn likes this.

Last edited by irishguy28; Dec 12, 2023 at 1:24 am
irishguy28 is online now  
Old Feb 4, 2023, 8:56 am
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Netherlands
Programs: KL Platinum; A3 Gold
Posts: 28,810
even if you don't have an Air France/Flying Blue account, you should have received an email of the kind below, with your voucher included as a .pdf with details of how to use it.

Note that, unless your flight was actually cancelled by the airline, I don't think the voucher would have become refundable but would have had to have been redeemed on a new flight. If you voluntarily cancelled the ticket yourself, then the voucher would have lost its value 12 months after being issued if not used on the Air France website to book a new ticket.
Attached Images   
irishguy28 is online now  
Old Feb 4, 2023, 3:26 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Programs: FB, M&B, UA, AA
Posts: 2,550
Originally Posted by irishguy28
Note that, unless your flight was actually cancelled by the airline, I don't think the voucher would have become refundable but would have had to have been redeemed on a new flight. If you voluntarily cancelled the ticket yourself, then the voucher would have lost its value 12 months after being issued if not used on the Air France website to book a new ticket.
If I recall things right they gave for a while fully refundable vouchers, also if you cancelled yourself. That was the case with the ticket booked early 2020 via the travel agent of my company and was cancelled on my request in March 2020. Then somewhere end 2021 or early 2022 KL/AF changed its policy - they still allowed cancellations, but from then on gave vouchers valid for one year (no questions asked - I used this to cancel an AMS-BOS ticket for June 2022 since I had to adjust dates - I cancelled instead of changing the flight since I could then buy a much cheaper ticket) . So OP likely got a refundable voucher.
atflyer is offline  
Old Feb 4, 2023, 4:21 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: BCN
Programs: BA Gold A3 Gold DL Gold VY apologist
Posts: 8,549
I should probably point out that these were DL flights purchased from the AF website with AF flight numbers.

Tickets bought in August of 2021 for flights in December 2021, canceled two days before due to Covid. For eight months the AF site showed a message that they were "processing" the refund and not to submit another request because it would only slow things down. That's why I called them. The first two calls both told me to call Delta, which I knew was not right. Finally got through to the agent who told me he had no record of a refund ever being requested but that he would submit it and it would likely take two months. The 80 Euro invoice was issued 60 days later.

This is several thousand Euros and I'm about out of patience, and really don't know where to turn.
alanw is offline  
Old Feb 5, 2023, 4:26 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Programs: FB, M&B, UA, AA
Posts: 2,550
Wow. This likely implies you got vouchers dated December 2021. I guess refundable since bought in August 2021 and then the "refundable without questions asked" scheme was still in place. Formally, they expired in December 2022. Since bought via AF, indeed AF should help. I assume you do/did not have an FB account, otherwise you could have asked to convert the voucher into a refund via the FB site, but apparently you did manage to do something like this via the AF site. Do you have proof (e.g. screenshots) that you asked for this and they were processing it? The more hard proof you can show you were asking to convert the voucher into cash well in time before the 1 year limit, and the more you can prove AF was not taking action, the stronger your case. With all this I simply would go back to customer care but also file a complaint. Do everything in a way that is traceable. Phone calls are not.

It is incomparable in terms of stakes, but you are not alone banging your head to the wall with AF/KL refunds or compensations. For me in June 2022 3 flights on 3 different journeys were cancelled leading to 3 overnight stays which I had to pre-fund. Filing this with KL/AF is a nightmare - they asked for one case more information via e-mail (more detailed bills, say 150 Euro), I filed that around 4-5 times, up to two times for this case I got an automated email 'since you did not react, we are going to close your case number'. The problem there is the system gives 2 weeks to react, but the e-mailed answers have to be processed apparently manually and they do not manage to do this. It could be work overload, but I would not exclude a deliberate strategy to deny all such claims as long as possible in the hope that many give up.

Good luck & courage. It seems that is unfortunately needed when dealing with AF/KL customer care these days.
atflyer is offline  
Old Feb 10, 2023, 8:08 am
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: BCN
Programs: BA Gold A3 Gold DL Gold VY apologist
Posts: 8,549
Originally Posted by atflyer
It is incomparable in terms of stakes, but you are not alone banging your head to the wall with AF/KL refunds or compensations.
Yeah, not my first time to this party. Several years ago I had a similar situation and it took me two years to get the refund. In the end it only came through because (at the time) I was moderator of this forum and the FB lurker took pity on me and processed it himself on his last day before leaving the company. He said it was common for those things to lie in a tray for months or years and nobody would touch them.

I filed an official complaint and on Monday I'll contact the Spanish consumer affairs bureau and if necessary an attorney.
alanw is offline  
Old Feb 10, 2023, 11:30 pm
  #10  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Hong Kong, France
Programs: FB , BA Gold
Posts: 15,637
Originally Posted by alanw
Yeah, not my first time to this party. Several years ago I had a similar situation and it took me two years to get the refund. In the end it only came through because (at the time) I was moderator of this forum and the FB lurker took pity on me and processed it himself on his last day before leaving the company. He said it was common for those things to lie in a tray for months or years and nobody would touch them.

I filed an official complaint and on Monday I'll contact the Spanish consumer affairs bureau and if necessary an attorney.
I remember the good old time when you were a frequent AF flyer and poster in this forum.
I guess that this current incident will not make you change your appreciation of AF. Even if you might have been a bit negligent knowing how bad AF can be in those circumstances.
brunos is offline  
Old Feb 11, 2023, 8:40 am
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: BCN
Programs: BA Gold A3 Gold DL Gold VY apologist
Posts: 8,549
Yes, me too! The ticket was quite a bit cheaper through AF vs. DL, and I remember thinking I was probably going to regret it at the time.
alanw is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

This site is owned, operated, and maintained by MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Designated trademarks are the property of their respective owners.