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How do you deal with United? Award ticket nightmare and they refuse the refund

How do you deal with United? Award ticket nightmare and they refuse the refund

Old Jun 23, 19, 10:45 pm
  #1  
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Angry How do you deal with United? Award ticket nightmare and they refuse the refund

So I helped my mom book an award ticket using United miles into a business class one way on EVA from IAH-SFO-TPE. The booking confirms, charges the ~$50 taxes onto my Visa, ticket number issued. 5 days later, she gets an email saying that she needs to call them. Spends 3 1/2 hours on the phone, they tell her that there's no space on EVA and that they will only book on UA for triple the amount of miles. We end up booking her a premium economy on EVA for cash. But in trying to get the refund on the taxes charged has been a nightmare in of itself.

First online submission referencing the confirmation code, reply, can't find the reservation. We resubmit with the ticket number, then are threatened that they should have charge $150 redeposit fee since the award ticket was cancelled.

What should we do? How do you deal with such madness? Delta isn't perfect but dang, they tend to get things done at least....
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Old Jun 23, 19, 11:33 pm
  #2  
 
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Sorry to hear about your troubles. Sometimes there are problems with getting Award flights ticketed with Star Alliance partners and you've seem to run into one of these. Your mom should enjoy the trip on EVA in Premium Economy just fine; not as posh as business, but it'll be a comfortable ride and a memorable one, especially if she likes Hello Kitty.

Regarding the $50 that you're looking to have refunded, if you are at a dead end with United perhaps you can call your credit card company and explain the issue to them? They might be able to refund the fee.

I've learned that when speaking with any customer service representatives, regardless of them being employed by an airline, insurance company, product support, etc., it's always best to use non-threatening, non-attacking words when speaking. This usually will get the CSR to want to spend time talking with you and helping to resolve your issue. It's not always easy to maintain the type of emotional state when something bad or unexpected or undesired happens, but if you do you might just get your desired outcome. As the expression goes, it's easier to catch flies with honey than vinegar.
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Old Jun 23, 19, 11:37 pm
  #3  
 
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Sounds like a cut and dried dispute via your credit card.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 12:56 am
  #4  
 
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If the trip is coming up, EVA flight attendants are on strike and there has been a lot of changes. Inventory is zeroed out through the end of June. Flight Attendants Strike Vote

Now, there are 2 parts:

1 - get the fees back
2 - get the miles back without paying the $150 redeposit fee

OP can't do #2 through the credit card company unless he disputes that fee.

I think both would be easiest if UA can review the PNR and see what happened to the confirmed flights. If there is any irregularity, then they should refund both the miles and taxes without fee.

If you have proof that something went bad with the reservation and UA does not refund without fee, it would be a DOT complaint to me.

The strange thing is why is a one-way IAH-SFO-TPE be $50ish in taxes? It should be $5.60.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 1:24 am
  #5  
 
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Originally Posted by username View Post
2 - get the miles back without paying the $150 redeposit fee
OP can't do #2 through the credit card company unless he disputes that fee.
I'm not sure that suggesting OP pay the $150.00 for the redeposit and then dispute with the CC would work. The issue is that UA owes OP the award miles, not $150.00. Artifically changing what OP is entitles will only complicate things even more.

I definitely agree that, as hard as it may be, calm, non-threatening, polite conversation is the only way to go. Maybe give it a few days before you call back. Let yourself calm down and give UA a few days to process things on their end.
Finally, it might help to understand why they say you need to pay the redeposit fee. Point out to whoever you talk to that UA cancelled the itinerary, not you, and then ask why you still have to pay the redeposit fee when this was not a voluntary cancelation. This information could be helpful going forward. If you don't get resolution form UA at all, a DOT complaint might be your only course.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 7:15 am
  #6  
 
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I suppose it's a little late, but for the next time.. if a ticket number was issued, she should have the right to be rebooked using last-seat availability on United metal to TPE in her original class of service (Business) for no additional miles.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 7:58 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by phkc070408 View Post
The issue is that UA owes OP the award miles, not $150.00.
The way I read the OP, he already got the miles back. It's just that on subsequent, United says he should have been charged. It's only the taxes that are in question, and a credit card dispute will solve that issue quickly and cleanly.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 8:04 am
  #8  
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Have you tried calling MP instead of web form? Sometimes it's easier to explain the situation, and they can process the refund right over the phone.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 8:30 am
  #9  
 
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Originally Posted by NOLAnwGOLD View Post
So I helped my mom book an award ticket using United miles into a business class one way on EVA from IAH-SFO-TPE. The booking confirms, charges the ~$50 taxes onto my Visa, ticket number issued. 5 days later, she gets an email saying that she needs to call them. Spends 3 1/2 hours on the phone, they tell her that there's no space on EVA and that they will only book on UA for triple the amount of miles. We end up booking her a premium economy on EVA for cash. But in trying to get the refund on the taxes charged has been a nightmare in of itself.

First online submission referencing the confirmation code, reply, can't find the reservation. We resubmit with the ticket number, then are threatened that they should have charge $150 redeposit fee since the award ticket was cancelled.

What should we do? How do you deal with such madness? Delta isn't perfect but dang, they tend to get things done at least....
Have you actually given them a telephone call?
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Old Jun 24, 19, 8:44 am
  #10  
 
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me too

I too have had # issues with UA award travel on Star Alliance Gold partners.
I agree a refund is in order. Also, re-instate the miles. Not sure about using credit card to initiate claim. For what?
I am normally in favour of calling UA. But in this instance everything is after the fact. Why counsel the OP to spend time on hold when the same is available on line?
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Old Jun 24, 19, 8:53 am
  #11  
 
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman View Post
The way I read the OP, he already got the miles back. It's just that on subsequent, United says he should have been charged. It's only the taxes that are in question, and a credit card dispute will solve that issue quickly and cleanly.
I agree. I would email UA from the website setting out the facts and file a disputed charge claim with the credit card at the same time. That usually gets their attention. I prefer the trail of online complaints rather than phone calls where agents say all manner of odd things (though I do that if needed). Occasionally, I will file a complaint with the DOT when I am clearly in the right under the agreements, and can't get the parties to take action (like when an OTA and the airlines kept blaming each other for something).
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Old Jun 24, 19, 9:07 am
  #12  
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It is unclear to me that the $150 has actually been charged. It is simply UA saying that it ought to have been charged. Whether that is the case or not is irrelevant and is exactly why this should have been and now should be dealt with on a call to MP. Because this ticket was involuntarily cancelled, OP is due a fee-free redeposit of the miles and a refund of the taxes. Anything else is extraneous and simply complicates the matter.

As the ticket (not simply the reservation) had already been issued, UA cannot increase the price at rebooking, but we are past that now.
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Old Jun 24, 19, 5:45 pm
  #13  
 
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There's a lot unclear about this situation as it's described by the OP, but I have a question that's not really been discussed so far. Most of us know of the situation of phantom award inventory, especially with partners. Sometimes this gets caught before you finalize the purchase request, but especially with partners, this may not be caught until some time later and often manifests as a failure to ticket with no notice given. With some partners, there may be a manual approval-to-ticket process on their side that takes a few hours, and sometimes comes back with a negative response, and that the purchaser has no standing in such situations.

But what about this situation, where the ticket was actually issued? Since the ticket was issued on 016 stock and UA presumably had control over it, any cancellation by BR after ticketing should be clearly visible by UA as having come from BR, and not anything the passenger did. What vested interest does the passenger have in such situation, assuming that they still want to travel and don't want a refund? Does the ticketed carrier (by this I mean the carrier whose flight number appears on the ticket - sorry if I'm using the wrong term) have a responsibility to re-accommodate the passenger? If so, how does the passenger get this to happen, since the ticketed carrier doesn't control the reservation?

To answer the OP's question, it's a bit unclear what situation they're in. My best guess is that they requested a refund via the web form, were told that they'd need to pay the redeposit fee, and that nothing beyond that has been done. What I would do is respond back to them, clarifying that this was an involuntary cancellation on the carrier's part, such that there should be no fee involved. Probably 99.9% of redeposit requests after cancelled reservations are due to passenger-requested cancellation, such that they probably didn't even look at that the cancellation source before asking for the redeposit fee. If you point them in the right direction, you may find that you get your fee-free redeposit soon after.

Last edited by Steve M; Jun 24, 19 at 5:51 pm
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Old Jun 24, 19, 5:57 pm
  #14  
 
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You should have hung up and called again. A good agent (or supervisor) should have been able to get her last seat availability in business for the same number of miles if the issue was on UA's end.

I've had this happen a few times int he past, and not only have they been able to force availability on UA metal, but partner metal as well (by getting in touch with the right liaison).
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Old Jun 25, 19, 8:06 am
  #15  
 
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Originally Posted by findark View Post
I suppose it's a little late, but for the next time.. if a ticket number was issued, she should have the right to be rebooked using last-seat availability on United metal to TPE in her original class of service (Business) for no additional miles.
Sure, that's usually how it's done but it's far from a right!

Rule 24(C)
  1. Schedule Change- When a Passenger’s Ticketed flight is affected because of a Schedule Change that modifies the original departure and/or arrival time by 30 minutes or more, UA will, at its election, arrange one of the following:
    1. Provided that the dates of departure and arrival must be within 7 days of the originally scheduled dates of departure and arrival, respectively, transport the Passenger on its own flights, subject to availability, to the Destination, next Stopover point, or transfer point shown on its portion of the Ticket, without Stopover in the same class of service, at no additional cost to the Passenger;
    2. When a Schedule Change results in the cancellation of all UA service between two cities, at UA’s sole discretion, UA may reroute Passengers over the lines of one or more carriers in an equivalent class of service;
    3. Advise the Passenger that the value of his or her Ticket may be applied toward future travel on United within one year from the date of issue without a change or reissue fee; or
    4. If the Passenger is not transported as provided in C) 1) or 2) above and does not choose to apply the value of his or her Ticket toward future travel as provided in C) 3) above, the Passenger will be eligible for a refund upon request. See Rule 27 A).
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