American Express Disputes & Vayama

Old Jun 28, 12, 11:11 am
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American Express Disputes & Vayama

I have never had an issue with American Express, until now.

2 months before my honeymoon, I used the American Express card that my, now husband, gave to me a year prior to purchase airlines tickets from the international agency, Vayama. Only, what he didn't offer was a way for me to see the balance of the credit, just simply access to use it.

After, I got home, excited to tell my fiance that I had purchased tickets for our honeymoon (to istanbul), his response was to ask how I paid for it. When I told him through the AMEX card, he said - It will not process since it's maxed out (which I later found out it was). Having not know that, I reviewed the auto response e-mails that vayama sends, and could not find a confirmation of tickets actually being purchased, just that they would send the tickets once they have confirmed payment. Frustrated beyond belief and let down that my husband has acquired AMEX credit card debt, (a story for another forum), I called my Father and explained the situation. He offered me his credit card # to purchase the tickets, under the condition that I would pay him back (which I did). I then found 2 tickets to Istanbul for about $3 less than what Vayma had posted, on Orbitz and purchased a little more than $2000 worth of round-trip flights to turkey using my father's card.

A few DAYS before leaving for my honeymoon (and even my wedding), I receive a notice from Vayama of airline tickets. I immediately contact them explaining this very situation, they ask for confirmation of the tickets we purchased for the Turkish airline flights and I sent it to them. We then discover that the AmEX charge had gone through (again, still had not hopped on the flight) and dispute the charge.

After returning home from our honeymoon (which was peppered full of problems even making our flight both leaving the US and returning), I open an Email from [American Express], stating that I was responsible for the charges and the investigation was closed, unless I call and reopen it for further investigation, which I have done.

My EXTREME frustration is not only that the charge, went through, going above and beyond the limit, but that vayama still held us accountable for these tickets, having proof of me purchasing 2 other tickets, for the same flight in the same name rather than canceling our purchase, which may have only cost of the standard cancellation fee. They would have been able to resell our seats (which was for a sold out flight) and make some extra cash off our cancellation charge. The greater issue, is that american express did not recognize this and rather than do the proper investigation work - which isn't easy when dealing with an international airline- to find out what happened and to understand the nature of my dispute, they wrote us off and ultimately told me I was accountable. I'm disappointed in the level of service I've received from both Vayama, turkish airlines and American Express and would highly encourage anyone to take this into account if looking to travel internationally from the US and purchasing international tickets using your AMEX, because at this point, they will not treat their customers fairly, and it could cost you $2000+ above and beyond for your honeymoon!

Last edited by mia; Jun 28, 12 at 11:26 am Reason: Remove employee name
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Old Jun 28, 12, 11:21 am
  #2  
mia
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Originally Posted by Lacrosse31 View Post
...I reviewed the auto response e-mails that vayama sends, and could not find a confirmation of tickets actually being purchased, just that they would send the tickets once they have confirmed payment.
Welcome to Flyertalk. I have transferred your thread to the American Express forum.

If I understand correctly, you authorized a purchase of tickets through Vayama, received an acknowledgement, purchased elsewhere, but never instructed Vayama to cancel your purchase until after the transaction had been processed? What is it specifically that you think American Express should investigate?

I do not think you will suceed, but your husband needs to file a formal dispute with American Express following the FTC rules precisely. This means sending a letter through the postal service, as explained here:

http://ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre16.shtm
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Old Jun 28, 12, 11:45 am
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American Express Disputes & Vayama

It seems your only chance of a claim would be to speak to Turkish airlines as if you booked the identical flights it would have flagged up in their system so they may be kind enough to refund you on the cheaper tickets paid or give you some kind of credit.

As far as Amex or your travel agent are concerned they had both acted in good faith by honouring your reservations and the fact that Amex approved the transaction shows they value you as a creditworthy cardholder.

In respect of your agent knowing you had made a booking unless you advised them they have no way of knowing you made another reservation through a different agent.
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Old Jun 28, 12, 1:51 pm
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The part that I don't fully understand is when the Amex charge was actually approved and when the tickets were issued.

It does seem to me that if you ordered the tickets two months in advance and the tickets were not issued and the card charged until a few days before, that the travel agency bears responsibility. It doesn't seem sensible for they to wait nearly two months to fulfil your order.

If the tickets were issued, they should have shown up on the credit card. If your fiance didn't tell you that the charge came through, then you do bear responsibility for your non-communication failing to address the situation.

I'm not sure I agree with the other posters, depending on the timing. Suppose I go to a theater to buy tickets and I only have an American Express card, they take my information and then say "Sorry, we don't take American Express." I go down the street and buy tickets from a ticket agency. The day of the show, the theater calls me and says "The agent was wrong, we do take American Express, please come pick up your tickets." The legal issue is "offer and acceptance" and at some point, your offer to buy the tickets from Vayama terminated. So I would kind of need to know when they charged the credit card, when they issued the tickets, just what they told you when they declined the charge, and just what you told them.
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Old Jun 28, 12, 2:31 pm
  #5  
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I don't see anything in the original post indicating the the credit card transaction was declined, merely an assumption by the cardholder that it would be.
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Old Jun 28, 12, 3:10 pm
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Originally Posted by redtop43 View Post
I'm not sure I agree with the other posters, depending on the timing. Suppose I go to a theater to buy tickets and I only have an American Express card, they take my information and then say "Sorry, we don't take American Express." I go down the street and buy tickets from a ticket agency. The day of the show, the theater calls me and says "The agent was wrong, we do take American Express, please come pick up your tickets."
This is a different situation.

Using your theater analogy, it will be more like, you go down to the theater to buy tickets. At the ticket window, the card transaction is taking a long time, the box office agent said then, We will let you know when the card went through. ( they would send the tickets once they have confirmed payment )

You then walk to another theater to buy tickets for the show, using another credit card, the card went through and tickets issued.

You never contacted the first theater to tell them that you no longer need the ticket and ask them to cancel the transaction.

Sometime later, the credit card transaction finally went through! And as promised, they let you know the card went through and they have the ticket ready for you.


The key point here, I think, is, did OP ask Vayama to cancel the booking OP made with them?

If yes, then Vayama should have cancelled the booking as per their standard cancelation policy and the fare rules of the ticket ( Refund if the ticket is refundable, if not refundable, then may be cancel reservation and retain ticket value )




If the OP did not ask Vayama to cancel the booking, then the charge is valid and there is nothing to dispute.

Last edited by Ragnarok; Jun 28, 12 at 3:35 pm
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Old Jun 28, 12, 3:30 pm
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Originally Posted by mia View Post
I don't see anything in the original post indicating the the credit card transaction was declined, merely an assumption by the cardholder that it would be.
That is the way I read it as well.
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Old Jun 28, 12, 7:24 pm
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What a story!
Your husband didn't bother to look at his statement for almost 2 months? The charge should have shown up days after you made that purchase.
Did he know you used your father's CC to purchase the tickets? If he didn't, I think it's a communication problem. He thought he paid for the tickets.

At this point, not much you can do. Why were you disputing with Amex instead of contacting Vayama at that time to deal with it?
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Old Jun 28, 12, 8:08 pm
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OP bought tickets through Vayama. She thought that the card would be declined, but it wasn't. She (or her now husband) are responsible for the charges. Period.

The fact that it may have taken time for the charge to be approved does not matter. It was 100% her responsibility to call Vayama and cancel the reservation before it ticketed.

Amex has already determined that the charge was legitimate and it's inconceiveable to me that further investigation is going to do anything.

Most likely result is that OP & her husband owe Amex for the original tickets and that Amex freezes the account against future purchases.

Smartest thing OP could do would be to work with Vayama on a credit which can be used on Turkish for specific flights sometime soon.
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Old Jun 28, 12, 10:05 pm
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I'm curious as to how the OP expected Vayama to know that she had purchased tickets elsewhere through Orbitz? And what bearing that would have? AFAIK Vayama doesn't care if you buy 6 tickets from 6 different places, if you never tell them to cancel the ones you purchased from them they'll proceed as normal.
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Old Jun 28, 12, 10:06 pm
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It's funny how we're all here debating the outcome of a situation we weren't party to, with significant questions about the facts. But I'll come back in.

What's left hanging is when the tickets were issued. We know they were bought about two months prior to the trip.

If the tickets from Vayama were issued within a few days of the original attempt, then I side with Vayama. If there was a significant lag, then I side with the OP.

Clearly Vayama is not responsible if she and her husband didn't communicate enough to know who bought how many tickets. But what we don't know is when the Vayama tickets were actually issued.

Say that she tried to buy the tickets at noon on January 2, talked to her husband, found no confirmation, called her father, got new tickets, had all this done by 10PM, and at 9PM Vayama had issued the tickets. Or even January 3 or 4. Easy decision against OP.

Say that Vayama didn't issue the tix until February 26 for a March 1 flight. Whole different story.

She says that she got a notice from Vayama a few days before the flight. Was this a courtesy reminder of tickets issued 7 weeks earlier, or the first time they were issued?
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Old Jun 28, 12, 11:20 pm
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Moderator action and request

A pair of off topic replies have been removed. Flyertalk is not the place for relationship advice or character assessment. Please write only about the specific situation.

Please give Lacrosse31 an opportunity to read and reply before posting anything further. I think we do not understand the sequence of events well enough to reach harsh conclusions.
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Old Jun 28, 12, 11:23 pm
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Did OP contact Vayama to make sure the purchase has been canceled? All I read is Vayama informed OP the tickets are pending for payment and OP's then fiance told her the payment would not go thru because he had maxed out his AMEX card (without telling OP anything or so we were told.)

At that point, did OP contact Vayama to make sure the purchase is canceled?
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Old Jun 28, 12, 11:25 pm
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Originally Posted by redtop43 View Post
If the tickets from Vayama were issued within a few days of the original attempt, then I side with Vayama. If there was a significant lag, then I side with the OP.

Clearly Vayama is not responsible if she and her husband didn't communicate enough to know who bought how many tickets. But what we don't know is when the Vayama tickets were actually issued.

She says that she got a notice from Vayama a few days before the flight. Was this a courtesy reminder of tickets issued 7 weeks earlier, or the first time they were issued?
When you authorized a charge, it goes into pending. The merchant has a few days to convert it to an actual charge. Since the OP is disputing the charge, it is safe to assume Vayama ticketed them soon after.
Looks like it was a courtesy reminder.

Good luck to OP and the husband. A good lesson that isn't so costly.
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Old Jun 29, 12, 3:39 am
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The way I see it is you are at fault and not AMEX. You never should have bought duplicate tickets until you verified the original purchase you made with AMEX was rejected or not. I don't mean to be harsh but to me that's just common sense. I also don't see why you are upset with Turkish Airlines either.
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