Shocking Customer Service from BA (Israel)

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Old Sep 10, 12, 11:17 am
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Angry Shocking Customer Service from BA (Israel)

I would welcome any comments on the circumstances and communications exchanged, as outlined below:

My parents and sister have recently been upset by events and subsequent customer services surrounding a trip TLV-LHR-TLV.

In short, the issue was that my parents booked a flight for my sister to fly to London for medical reasons (her appointment being the morning after the afternoon flight), and received the usual update emails up until the night before the flight. However, at the airport, the agent said that there was a problem with the ticket, and it had been cancelled. Then a new ticket had to be purchased, but it could not be done with a card over the phone, and only cash would be accepted (details below). BA did not try at any stage to be helpful, but rather dismissed it as her problem. She eventually got on the flight, after a couple of very stressful hours, with little or no apology from BA, and a (slightly) incorrect refund to the AMEX originally used for the cancelled ticket.

The card issuer (Commonwealth Bank of Australia/Diamond Rewards AMEX) has said that they had paid authorised and debited the transaction, and are unsure of why BA cancelled the ticket. The bank assures us that the transaction was a normal transaction. To be clear, they did not refuse the transaction, as BA said they might have done. We are nevertheless investigating this further with them.

Original letter of complaint

"This communication relates to a return trip from Tel Aviv to London that was booked with British Airways for my daughter (name). The first leg of the trip was on 20 August 2012, flight number BA164, booking reference (ref). The purpose of the trip was to enable my daughter to attend a medical appointment on 21 August 2012. The appointment had been made over 6 months before.
The flight was booked on or about 31 July 2012 and the fare, USD715.37 was paid for on my AMEX card by means of a transaction entered on my (Australian) Commonwealth Trading Bank credit card account on 31 July 2012 in the sum of AUD691.78, to which a further sum of AUD13.29 was added by the bank in relation to the transaction (a total of AUD704.07).
A number of emails from British Airways confirmed the booking and the date and time for the first leg of the return flight, the most recent arriving the evening before the date of departure. I invite you to read them.
When my daughter arrived at the check-in counter at Ben Gurion airport, she was advised that boarding would be denied because of some problem with the ticket. When pressed, the British Airways representative said the problem arose because of a suspected fraudulent use of the credit card used to pay for the flight. My wife spoke to the representative and offered to pay for a new ticket over the phone by means of her credit card: this offer was refused.
My daughter was finally permitted to board the flight after paying for a new ticket with cash, which she was fortunately able to do (although it has substantially reduced the cash she will have available to her while in England). British Airways then advised that they would refund the amount paid for the original ticket to the credit card account from which it had been debited (which they did on 15 August 2012, although the transaction, a credit of AUD697.70, did not appear on my credit card statement until after 20 August).
What has staggered both my wife and myself is the complete lack of sympathy that British Airways staff seem to have had in relation to the situation. Given that the initial credit card transaction had been honoured by my bank, what loss would British Airways have suffered if it had allowed my daughter to board the flight and dealt with any query later: it is not as though there was anything untoward other than a suspicion for which there is no foundation. On the other hand, the distress suffered by a person who misses a flight is obvious.
In relation to the above I would like clear answers to the following questions:
1. Why was the credit card payment queried in the first place?
I would point out that the same credit card has previously been used to pay for British Airways flights without any problems.
2. Assuming there was some reason to query the credit card, why was nothing said until my daughter arrived at the check-in counter just a couple of hours before the flight was due to depart?
I would remind you that less than 12 hours earlier we had received emails from British Airways confirming her place on the flight.
3. Why was my wife not permitted to pay for a new ticket by means of a credit card transaction over the phone?
Even if the original credit card was suspect, was there any reason to suspect a dfferent credit card?
4. What would have happened if she had not been able to raise the cost of a new ticket in time to board the flight?
I understand that boarding would have been denied and no assistance given.
5. What assurance can we be given that a similar situation may not happen again?
I would point out that the same credit card is used to book all of our family flights.
6. What recompense will British Airways make to my daughter for the anguish she was made to suffer before finally being admitted to the flight?
The anguish was intense: her whole trip to London would have been in vain had boarding been denied as she would have then missed her medical appointment, and it would have been several months before a new appointment could be scheduled.
7. What recompense will British Airways make to me given that the money refunded to my credit card account falls short by AUD6.37 of the amounts debited to that account in relation to the purchase of the original ticket?
The amount may be small but the principle of just recompense remains. And I say nothing at this stage of the anguish that my wife and I suffered while on the phone to my daughter when this debacle occurred, both of us aware of my daughter's predicament but totally unable to give her any assistance given that we were not permitted to pay for a new ticket for her.
A prompt reply to each of these questions would be in order.

(name)

PS A copy of this message is being sent to the UK Civil Aviation Authority: in the event that this matter is taken further, I want it to be quite clear as to what it says and as to when it was sent."
So BA responded...
Dear (name)

Thank you for your email of August 30th 2012.

Our records show that when you paid with your credit card and stipulated the credit card number you completed the cardholder name as Mrs. T. We believe that if the name you mentioned as credit cardholder (Amex ending with digits ***9) does not correlate to the actual details of the credit cardholder, this may have resulted in a refusal by the credit card company to accept the interaction.

It would be very much appreciated if you could contact the credit card company and check further.

Thank you once again for taking the time to write to us.



Best regards

(Name of local BA person)
British Airways Customer Relations
Your case reference is: (number)
Note that the money had been taken from the Amex, and had to be credited back (incorrectly) by BA, so this was not a credit card issue, or at least not one as described by the response.

Then my parents wrote back:
I have already contacted the Commonwealth Bank of Australia who issued the card and they assured me there was no problem with the card. The name on the card in question is indeed Mrs T (although a card of the same account number is also held by my husband Mr D and he has also purchased tickets from you in the past, so perhaps the problem is one at your end??). Notwithstanding any of this, how could BA have kept this to themselves until the passenger arrived at the airport. We believe you are evading the real issues as raised in our previous emails to you.
Soon after my mother got the auto-acknowledgement from BA, she got a phone call from an Israeli BA rep, on her home phone. BA seemed to be saying that "it wasn't their fault", and that it must have been the credit card provider's fault. My mother did not understand how this was the case, pointing out that her issuer told her that it was a normal transaction, as far as they could see.

My mother also pointed out that they could have notified either her (the cardholder) or my sister (the ticketholder). My mother was told that BA is "under no obligation to tell customers" this kind of thing, and it was "not BA policy" to advise customers of this. My mother then asked how she was supposed to know that boarding would be denied, and the rep repeated the "no obligation" line ad nauseum. My mother was quite incredulous, and quite possibly lost her temper. She was most upset at the lady's dismissive nature and could not understand how she could not rely upon the information from the airline itself, namely the emails in the days and hours before the flights, (mis)representing that all was OK.


Soon afterwards, BA responded:
Dear (name)

I have now reviewed the case with our London team and would like to inform you of the following:
Our records show that Amex sent us a possible fraud warning. We were acting on the advice of Amex and if any error had been made when making payment then regrettably it was not our input. In cases like this we could not have contacted the person paying at any stage.

We are aware of the inconvenience caused and we sincerely apologise for that. Our airport team assisted in every possible way. The fare was calculated at the original cost, and a refund arranged.
I am happy to reimburse you for the small balance that is outstanding, and I would be grateful if you could send me your Israeli bank account details so I can arrange a bank transfer for the Shekel equivalent of AUD6.37


Best regards

(name of local BA person)
British Airways Customer Relations
Your case reference is: (number)
Now, this response angered my parents no end:
"... if any error had been made when making payment then regrettably it was not our input." - Not only is this some lousy blame-shifting, but they regret that it was not their input?! And they seemed happy enough to take the money. "Regrettably" seems to be one of those empty "soothing yet condescending" words here.

We are aware of the inconvenience caused and we sincerely apologise for that. - By this stage, these are just empty words. By not taking any responsibility, an apology is simply fake and condescending. For what are they actually apologising?

Our airport team assisted in every possible way. - How? They would not accept a (different) credit card, an online booking could not (supposedly) be made, and my sister was advised to find a travel agent for the purchase, with one hour until boarding. How did the airport team help? Really? They calculated the fare at the original price? How nice.

I am happy to reimburse you for the small balance that is outstanding - Small. Really. This superfluous little adjective seems (although it might not be) to be suggesting that my parents are petty for requesting this. This is, I suppose, open to interpretation.

The big issue, however, which BA has been dodging, is why was nobody informed until check-in? Had anyone called, emailed, or otherwise contacted the ticketholder or cardholder, then this whole thing could have been avoided. And it is the one issue that BA refuses to comment on, or apologise for. Moreover, the email not 12 hours prior to denied boarding was "welcoming her on board". If BA really IS sorry, then they should be apologising for this. Not for some system or process that "isn't really their fault anyway".

Unhappy with the response, but feeling that they cannot take it any further with an unsympathetic (Israeli branch of) BA, they wrote back:
Thank you for your response. I understand that, the initial payment having been queried by AMEX, BA policy requires that the ticket be cancelled and the payment refunded. What I do not understand, and what your response does not touch on, is why all of the messages we received from BA, right up until the night before the flight, indicated that the booking was valid and (name) would be able to travel. It is not just that (name) was not told of a problem until she arrived at the check-in desk, it is that all communications received from BA suggested that all was in order. As your lawyers would say, BA has been guilty not only of negligence (failure to inform that there was a problem) but also misrepresentation (giving information that implied that there was no problem).It is that misrepresentation that gave rise to the traumatic experience that (name) had to go through. That this occurred does not speak well of BA procedures.

As to the money outstanding, I am content for it to be given to a charity of BA's choosing, and I trust you will act accordingly.

A copy of the initial complaint was, as I mentioned, sent to the UK Civil Aviation Authority. I will be sending the CAA a copy of your response, and of this reply, for their perusal. Whether the CAA believes the matter should be taken further is up to them.
My parents' biggest problem with BA is that they just did not seem to care. Not at the airport, and not since. The attitude has been nothing but dismissive, as if they were just a bother.

Would anyone happen to know if there is an escalation path available within BA? Does anyone feel that my parents are justifiably frustrated, or should they be satisfied with BA's responses?
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Old Sep 10, 12, 11:41 am
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I would have thought that this was the standard handling when a card transaction is flagged as a possible fraud.

In the case of a fraud, it's necessary for the suspected ticket recipient to turn up at the airport so that the matter can be investigated further? If it is clearly flagged up as a possible fraud, it would reduce the likelihood that the person committing fraud would be caught, would it not?

Since they offered to reimburse the small differences which will in fact cost BA more than that to remit, I would just let the case rest.
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Old Sep 10, 12, 11:48 am
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post
I would have thought that this was the standard handling when a card transaction is flagged as a possible fraud.

In the case of a fraud, it's necessary for the suspected ticket recipient to turn up at the airport so that the matter can be investigated further? If it is clearly flagged up as a possible fraud, it would reduce the likelihood that the person committing fraud would be caught, would it not?.
...then notify the cardholder? And my sister was not questioned, just told "sorry, you have no ticket - not our problem". If what you say is correct, shouldn't they have investigated her? If not, what is the point on leading the pax/cardholder on?
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Old Sep 10, 12, 11:55 am
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Originally Posted by yossimills View Post
...then notify the cardholder? And my sister was not questioned, just told "sorry, you have no ticket - not our problem". If what you say is correct, shouldn't they have investigated her? If not, what is the point on leading the pax/cardholder on?
Just my guess, but once she showed up with her passport, I guess her identity was established, so if the whole thing turned out to be fraudulent, they had something to go by.

It would be Amex (or Commonwealth Bank, more likely)'s job to notify the cardholder rather than BA's, of any potentially fraudulent transaction.

It's unfortunate that she was inconvenienced but Australian banks love flagging things up as potentially fraudulent and then forget all about it later as it had happened to me quite a few times (and they don't even get in touch with me to tell me most of the time - it's besides the point that every single flag was incorrect because it certainly was me who was using the card), so I would not be surprised that the transaction had indeed been flagged up as being potentially fraudulent.

Once it's in the 'potentially fraudulent' category, I assume there isn't much the normal customer services or airport people could do about it.

Remember that it's not in BA's interest to deliberately cancel a booking for no reason because it inconveniences them as well.
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Old Sep 10, 12, 12:06 pm
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Originally Posted by LTN Phobia View Post
Just my guess, but once she showed up with her passport, I guess her identity was established, so if the whole thing turned out to be fraudulent, they had something to go by.
Have you ever tried flying without a passport, or a passport with a name other than that ticketed? What would they expect, someone other than the named ticketholder?

I don't deny it's possible, but it seems unlikely. And I'm sure that BA had some reason for the cancellation, but I don't buy that they acted correctly, keeping the "looking forward to seeing you" emails going. And if they had the money, presumably they could reissue it. And if they didn't have the money (but they did), you would expect that they could take a credit card over the phone. But they wouldn't. It's not so much the cancellation, but the service failure at the airport that is the issue. That, and the misrepresentation ahead of time. It's the fact that my sister was left distraught, with very few options at the airport, and BA staff were not helpful, and did not seem interested in resolving her issue. It's not the money, the processes, or even the inconvenience.

It might be their policy, but if it is, it stinks. What did they expect her to do?

Last edited by yossimills; Sep 10, 12 at 12:18 pm
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Old Sep 10, 12, 12:18 pm
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It sounds like they were still suspicious at the time given their refusal to accept a credit card payment over the phone and insisting on cash payment.

I don't know what went on in BA's mind but it sounds like they had some reasons to be concerned, rightly or wrongly.

Airport people can only do a limited amount of things. I assume they can't just turn around and over-ride the system, reissue the ticket and let her fly.

Remember that the fraudulent transactions on the credit card can be clawed back even if the transactions had successfully gone through, so if the transaction had been flagged up as potentially fraudulent, BA would have indeed been very cautious with it in case they eventually have the money clawed back.

It's not a nice situation to be in and perhaps there were ways of handling this much better but it sounds like the transaction had been flagged for a while and for fraud prevention reasons they couldn't communicate things properly in advance, or that it might be a customer service failure relating to automated despatch of emails.

Last edited by LTN Phobia; Sep 10, 12 at 12:28 pm
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Old Sep 10, 12, 12:23 pm
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Shocking Customer Service from BA (Israel)

I would have anticipated better treatment, even in Israel (my home country - for the avoidance of doubt).

At the very least I would have expected a reference to be made to the lady's condition, if not a full refund made on the basis that a woman with a medical condition was knowingly put under immense pressure.

It is unthinkable that a red-flag suddenly pops up in a booking that was made six months previously. When a carrier cancels a ticket, it is up to them to contact the holder of the ticket, morally of not legally. I would certainly be looking to press charges for misrepresentation and anguish (עגמת נפש).

Hope you get your just revenge on BA. This was certainly no way to treat any passenger - let alone a woman who is ill...
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Old Sep 10, 12, 12:29 pm
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Hi yossimills

I can understand you would be upset by this. From your point of view, all your family did was buy a ticket and expect nothing more than to get the expected service. You certainly don't expect to show up at the airport and be accused of being a credit card scammer.

The airline policies can sometimes be very harsh. I was once sitting on my normal seat on a plane when a couple ground crew came onto the plane and over to where I was sitting. In fairly loud voices they announced there was an issue with my ticket and I needed to come off the plane. As it turned out there was an issue with the travel agent's payment details, which was easily rectified and I re-boarded. I can tell you I felt mortified, but when there is a risk of non-payment the smiles vanish.

So I think your family are justified to feel upset. However I doubt the airline will give, since they will have followed policy. Your profile doesn't mention status with BA, which might have encouraged them to show goodwill. Legally I doubt they can be found liable. So you may be better off as writing the incident off as corporate inhumanity.

I hope your sister has a good outcome from her medical visit.
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Old Sep 10, 12, 12:40 pm
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Old Sep 10, 12, 3:28 pm
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Shocking Customer Service from BA (Israel)

When the passenger makes the purchase and says that he/she as cardholder is travelling a warning states that you must bring the card with you. I have been asked to show my card before now.

My inlaws had their cards skimmed and were used to pay for tickets in Y to NZ on NZ. It wasn't until the "passengers" were checking in that the flag was actioned and my in laws were called by lloydsTSB to establish whether it was a fraud or whether they had made the booking for the passenger. The fraudster worked in a local restaurant and was known to my inlaws.
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Old Sep 10, 12, 3:40 pm
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Originally Posted by mumblemumble View Post
Hi yossimills

I can understand you would be upset by this. From your point of view, all your family did was buy a ticket and expect nothing more than to get the expected service. You certainly don't expect to show up at the airport and be accused of being a credit card scammer.

The airline policies can sometimes be very harsh. I was once sitting on my normal seat on a plane when a couple ground crew came onto the plane and over to where I was sitting. In fairly loud voices they announced there was an issue with my ticket and I needed to come off the plane. As it turned out there was an issue with the travel agent's payment details, which was easily rectified and I re-boarded. I can tell you I felt mortified, but when there is a risk of non-payment the smiles vanish.

So I think your family are justified to feel upset. However I doubt the airline will give, since they will have followed policy. Your profile doesn't mention status with BA, which might have encouraged them to show goodwill. Legally I doubt they can be found liable. So you may be better off as writing the incident off as corporate inhumanity.

I hope your sister has a good outcome from her medical visit.
Surely in this case, the policy ought to be changed in order to avoid precisely this sort of scenario!
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Old Sep 10, 12, 4:37 pm
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You will get a lot of deliberate misleading information, but the fundamentals are As I see it:

(a) If BA suspected that there was indeed fraud, they had every right to refuse boarding. BUT, they should have let you know earlier. Their 'policy is not that' is a pretty stupid reason: their policy cannot be above normal reasoning that if they suspected fraud, they should not have confirmed the booking many time by e-mail (as you mentioned in your post).

(b) Since it was a medical reason related journey, the undue boarding delay may have caused distress and mental agony.

I am not a BA Obcessed individual, and my advise to you is : TO SUE !! If this were the US, BA would have been taken to the cleaners.

Best of luck and I hope the reason of the journey worked out well.


Originally Posted by yossimills View Post
I would welcome any comments on the circumstances and communications exchanged, as outlined below:

My parents and sister have recently been upset by events and subsequent customer services surrounding a trip TLV-LHR-TLV.

In short, the issue was that my parents booked a flight for my sister to fly to London for medical reasons (her appointment being the morning after the afternoon flight), and received the usual update emails up until the night before the flight. However, at the airport, the agent said that there was a problem with the ticket, and it had been cancelled. Then a new ticket had to be purchased, but it could not be done with a card over the phone, and only cash would be accepted (details below). BA did not try at any stage to be helpful, but rather dismissed it as her problem. She eventually got on the flight, after a couple of very stressful hours, with little or no apology from BA, and a (slightly) incorrect refund to the AMEX originally used for the cancelled ticket.

The card issuer (Commonwealth Bank of Australia/Diamond Rewards AMEX) has said that they had paid authorised and debited the transaction, and are unsure of why BA cancelled the ticket. The bank assures us that the transaction was a normal transaction. To be clear, they did not refuse the transaction, as BA said they might have done. We are nevertheless investigating this further with them.

Original letter of complaint


So BA responded...


Note that the money had been taken from the Amex, and had to be credited back (incorrectly) by BA, so this was not a credit card issue, or at least not one as described by the response.

Then my parents wrote back:


Soon after my mother got the auto-acknowledgement from BA, she got a phone call from an Israeli BA rep, on her home phone. BA seemed to be saying that "it wasn't their fault", and that it must have been the credit card provider's fault. My mother did not understand how this was the case, pointing out that her issuer told her that it was a normal transaction, as far as they could see.

My mother also pointed out that they could have notified either her (the cardholder) or my sister (the ticketholder). My mother was told that BA is "under no obligation to tell customers" this kind of thing, and it was "not BA policy" to advise customers of this. My mother then asked how she was supposed to know that boarding would be denied, and the rep repeated the "no obligation" line ad nauseum. My mother was quite incredulous, and quite possibly lost her temper. She was most upset at the lady's dismissive nature and could not understand how she could not rely upon the information from the airline itself, namely the emails in the days and hours before the flights, (mis)representing that all was OK.


Soon afterwards, BA responded:


Now, this response angered my parents no end:
"... if any error had been made when making payment then regrettably it was not our input." - Not only is this some lousy blame-shifting, but they regret that it was not their input?! And they seemed happy enough to take the money. "Regrettably" seems to be one of those empty "soothing yet condescending" words here.

We are aware of the inconvenience caused and we sincerely apologise for that. - By this stage, these are just empty words. By not taking any responsibility, an apology is simply fake and condescending. For what are they actually apologising?

Our airport team assisted in every possible way. - How? They would not accept a (different) credit card, an online booking could not (supposedly) be made, and my sister was advised to find a travel agent for the purchase, with one hour until boarding. How did the airport team help? Really? They calculated the fare at the original price? How nice.

I am happy to reimburse you for the small balance that is outstanding - Small. Really. This superfluous little adjective seems (although it might not be) to be suggesting that my parents are petty for requesting this. This is, I suppose, open to interpretation.

The big issue, however, which BA has been dodging, is why was nobody informed until check-in? Had anyone called, emailed, or otherwise contacted the ticketholder or cardholder, then this whole thing could have been avoided. And it is the one issue that BA refuses to comment on, or apologise for. Moreover, the email not 12 hours prior to denied boarding was "welcoming her on board". If BA really IS sorry, then they should be apologising for this. Not for some system or process that "isn't really their fault anyway".

Unhappy with the response, but feeling that they cannot take it any further with an unsympathetic (Israeli branch of) BA, they wrote back:


My parents' biggest problem with BA is that they just did not seem to care. Not at the airport, and not since. The attitude has been nothing but dismissive, as if they were just a bother.

Would anyone happen to know if there is an escalation path available within BA? Does anyone feel that my parents are justifiably frustrated, or should they be satisfied with BA's responses?
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Old Sep 10, 12, 4:47 pm
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There is really no acceptable apology for this sort of scenario: Suspected fraud should trigger a call by the bank to the card holder, situation should be cleared up and next steps taken as appropriate. What portion of this mess should be attributed to BA and what portion goes to AMEX probably only the two companies can sort out between them, but one would hope they do so before it affects the next client.
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Old Sep 10, 12, 8:35 pm
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In my business, I take credit cards, and have for years. As the owner of that merchant account, and someone who has seen every issue, trick, situation and event, I feel I know enough to comment on this.

I think BA is so wrong on this one they deserve to be taken to the cleaners.

Firstly, there is a limited window by which a credit card charge can be disputed. Either BA got paid, or they didn't. If they did, this "well we were notified of a possible issue" holds no water. If they did not get paid, they should not have been sending emails as if everything was OK.

The window is 60 days. If the charge was paid (from the bank to BA) more than 60 days before flight date, claiming the ticket was invalidated due to fraud concerns is either a lie or a case of gross incompetence.

Second, if BA took the money but elected not to provide the ticket, they had a responsibility to ensure the customer (cardholder) and traveler knew the ticket was invalid. Furthermore, they had a responsibility to return the damn money!

Lastly, for those suggesting BA may have wanted to do this or that concerning the fraud... I have never, ever, ever gotten an email or notice from Amex that a charge appears fraudulent. I submit the payment details, they either approve or decline the transaction. If the former, I get the money in a few days. If the latter, I know right away with a "decline" response to the charge attempt. Amex does not go around telling their merchants that charges "might" be fraudulent. What, as a merchant, am I supposed to do with that information? If I have been paid, I'd be committing fraud by not making good on the sale. And no credit card company I've ever seen requests the assistance of merchants in handling fraud. Even if I, as a merchant, have been defrauded, they won't tell me anything. They take the money back and that's it. I don't get the name of whom to sue (if they have it), nor do I get a portion of funds that Amex recovers in a follow-up lawsuit (if one takes place). I just lose the $$ and that's it.

The idea that Amex or BA would want the person to arrive at the airport to check the passport is completely without basis - no way would they ever do that.



I think the story is probably a fabrication (the one BA gave). More likely it was some sort of systems glitch and led to cancellation of the ticket. You paid for something and you didn't get it. BA should pay for this - the ticket price plus all associated expenses and costs, and hopefully something punitive as well.
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Old Sep 10, 12, 8:47 pm
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Originally Posted by corporate666 View Post
In my business, I take credit cards, and have for years. As the owner of that merchant account, and someone who has seen every issue, trick, situation and event, I feel I know enough to comment on this.

I think BA is so wrong on this one they deserve to be taken to the cleaners.

Firstly, there is a limited window by which a credit card charge can be disputed. Either BA got paid, or they didn't. If they did, this "well we were notified of a possible issue" holds no water. If they did not get paid, they should not have been sending emails as if everything was OK.

The window is 60 days. If the charge was paid (from the bank to BA) more than 60 days before flight date, claiming the ticket was invalidated due to fraud concerns is either a lie or a case of gross incompetence.

Second, if BA took the money but elected not to provide the ticket, they had a responsibility to ensure the customer (cardholder) and traveler knew the ticket was invalid. Furthermore, they had a responsibility to return the damn money!

Lastly, for those suggesting BA may have wanted to do this or that concerning the fraud... I have never, ever, ever gotten an email or notice from Amex that a charge appears fraudulent. I submit the payment details, they either approve or decline the transaction. If the former, I get the money in a few days. If the latter, I know right away with a "decline" response to the charge attempt. Amex does not go around telling their merchants that charges "might" be fraudulent. What, as a merchant, am I supposed to do with that information? If I have been paid, I'd be committing fraud by not making good on the sale. And no credit card company I've ever seen requests the assistance of merchants in handling fraud. Even if I, as a merchant, have been defrauded, they won't tell me anything. They take the money back and that's it. I don't get the name of whom to sue (if they have it), nor do I get a portion of funds that Amex recovers in a follow-up lawsuit (if one takes place). I just lose the $$ and that's it.

The idea that Amex or BA would want the person to arrive at the airport to check the passport is completely without basis - no way would they ever do that.



I think the story is probably a fabrication (the one BA gave). More likely it was some sort of systems glitch and led to cancellation of the ticket. You paid for something and you didn't get it. BA should pay for this - the ticket price plus all associated expenses and costs, and hopefully something punitive as well.
I agree with all the above. And I'd like to chime in as a former corporate TA, that when I take clients' cc on behalf of someone else, the onus is on the merchant (me) that everything is ok. If there is a problem with the card in question, the transaction would not go through. If there was a change of heart from the credit card, then yes, the cardholder will be notified immediately and the transaction cancelled even after the ticket has been issued. But the latter are in very very rare cases.
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