Refund in limbo

Old Oct 18, 2023, 9:37 am
  #1  
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Refund in limbo

Timeline of issues:

1. In mid-July I purchased two 016 tickets IAD-YYZ-IAD to be flown at the end of July. Outbound flight was a United codeshare operated by Air Canada. Return flight was on United.

2. Went to the airport for an 8:15am departure. Checked in with AC and was informed that flight was delayed until 12:50pm.

3. Flight did not depart gate until about 1:30pm. It taxied halfway to the runway, then pulled off into a parking area. After about 30 minutes, the captain announced that the plane had a mechanical fault and they were attempting to troubleshoot. Another 30 minutes passes and it is announced that we are returning to the gate. We arrive back at the gate area, but are unable to dock until about 3:45pm. We are told to contact the gate agent for further information about the flight.

4. At about 4pm, the gate agent announces that checked bags will be available on carousel X in the main terminal. Taking this as a strong indication that the flight is cancelled, we return to the AC desk in the main terminal and are informed that yes, the flight is cancelled, and we had been rebooked on the same flight the next day.

5. Because our trip was to be a short one and losing a full day made it without purpose, we told the AC agent to cancel our whole itinerary. AC agent said fine, but since our tickets were purchased from UA, we would need to contact UA for a refund and to cancel our return segment. Immediately called UA, and telephone agent said that since AC had taken control of the ticket, we needed to contact AC for the refund.

6. We returned back to the AC desk and explained what UA had told us. AC agent then went into our records and relinquished control of the ticket back to UA. We called UA again, and agent was able to cancel and commence the refund process.

7. The next day we received email from UA that our reservation had been cancelled, and after another week received an email saying that our refund request was in progress but was waiting further information from AC.

8. Twelve weeks have now passed. I have called UA several times to inquire about the status of the refund, but they keep telling me that they are still waiting for information from AC.

Possible complications:

My wife’s ticket (exact same itinerary) was bought with a different credit card, so was on a separate PNR. Curiously, UA did refund what I think was the allocated cost of the UA return portion of her ticket. When I asked UA about this, they told me that it was likely that the refund processor that handled my wife’s ticket just did things differently from the refund processor that handled my ticket.

When I received my cancellation email from UA, instead of showing our original outbound AC flight, it showed the next day’s flight that AC had auto-rebooked us on. So it appears that AC may have never fully cancelled its portion of our reservation.

In any event, this situation is intolerable. What should be my next step? Attempt to escalate within UA? Dispute with credit card company? Or DOT complaint? (I do realize that I would have to shorten my description of the timeline in any communication to UA, the DOT or credit card company.)
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Old Oct 18, 2023, 9:39 am
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DOT complaint. Under DOT regs, the refund is supposed to be issued w/in 7 business days.
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Old Oct 18, 2023, 9:56 am
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UA keeps telling me that by its agreement with AC, AC has 30 business days to respond. But of course we are well beyond 30 business days. Indeed, nearly 60 business days.

Last edited by seenitall; Oct 18, 2023 at 11:42 am
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Old Oct 18, 2023, 12:13 pm
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Originally Posted by seenitall
UA keeps telling me that by its agreement with AC, AC has 30 business days to respond. But of course we are well beyond 30 business days. Indeed, nearly 60 business days.
Doesn't matter they answer to DOT (as mentioned earlier).

Bottom of page, link to file complaint. Not quite sure if link is informal or formal DOT complaint,

https://www.transportation.gov/indiv...ection/refunds
How quickly are airlines, travel agents, and online travel agencies required to process a refund?Airlines and ticket agents are required to make refunds promptly. For airlines, “prompt” is defined as being within 7 business days if a passenger paid by credit card, and within 20 days if a passenger paid by cash or check. For ticket agents, prompt is not defined. This may be addressed in a future DOT rulemaking. More information can be found here
:
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Old Oct 18, 2023, 1:22 pm
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UA has recurring refund problems. Not only will you get your refund asap w/ a DOT complaint, you will also help the DOT with future enforcement action against UA. The more complaints they have the more likely they will force UA to fix their broken processes.
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Old Oct 18, 2023, 2:02 pm
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I would also contact your credit card company about the problem and file a dispete on the charge. That will get you an immediate temp credit and then UA and AC can deal with the card issuer and not you. No excuse for them to be holding up your money.
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Old Oct 18, 2023, 6:23 pm
  #7  
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Originally Posted by gene2632
I would also contact your credit card company about the problem and file a dispete on the charge.
There is a time limit on credit card disputes. If you booked far enough in advance, this won't work.
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Old Oct 18, 2023, 6:29 pm
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman
There is a time limit on credit card disputes. If you booked far enough in advance, this won't work.
The clock does not start until the "non-delivery" of service --- the travel day.
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Old Oct 18, 2023, 8:03 pm
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Originally Posted by mahasamatman
There is a time limit on credit card disputes. If you booked far enough in advance, this won't work.
We have the details - end of Jul. The time window is 120 days, so OP is good to go.
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Old Oct 18, 2023, 8:30 pm
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Originally Posted by seenitall
UA keeps telling me that by its agreement with AC, AC has 30 business days to respond. But of course we are well beyond 30 business days. Indeed, nearly 60 business days.
UA's agreement with AC is irrelevant as you are not a party to this agreement. UA is obligated by regulations to initiate your refund within 7 business days. What UA does behind the scenes to rectify this with AC is not your responsibility.
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