Downgrading compensation - it's official!

 
Old Jun 21, 11, 7:38 am
  #136  
 
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My e-mail to SMI/J requesting a refund resulted in a short letter from Customer Relations, saying they wish they could have a do-over of that day and do it right, and that they encourage me to look forward and we will all get through this merger. The refund was never addressed.

31 days ago I spoke to a manager at my CC who decided to open a dispute anyway.

Last night he called me and said UA is fighting the dispute, he faxed me their paperwork. A UA auditor wrote a letter stating that I made a voluntary exchange of my ticket for another ticket, and that the fare was the exact same, and that the amount in dispute is a valid change fee. He also states that I was made aware of this before the new ticket was issued. He includes many pages of my PNR showing 12 changes including a line saying something like NoRef 150 change fee.

The CC company says that it would help if I can provide the receipt for the upgrade. Unfortunately, I don't have this. I was confirmed and moved on and my company won't pay for the upgrade, so I didn't keep it. When I enter my ticket number into .bomb, it says that ticket does not exist. When I enter the new ticket number, it shows my new flight, and a ticket price of over $1,200 which was not the case.

The CC manager said I can provide a statement and my customer service e-mails, but its hard to do much without the upgrade receipt.

I really think I should just drop this and move on. I am worried if I do pursue it, and somehow prove it, that the auditors will cancel all of my tickets or cancel my MP account.

I spoke to a travel editor about it, and he said that many times if a customer wins a charge back, the airline will simply send the customer to collection. He offered to contact them on my behalf, but said he would then have to write about it using my full name which I do not want him to do. So I requested he not do it.

I think the moral from this for me is to never pay for a buy-up if the fare is the same as a change fee, never pay for a buy up if I am connecting, and always keep my buy-up receipt if the first two criteria are not met.
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Old Jun 21, 11, 8:48 am
  #137  
 
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Originally Posted by emanon256 View Post
My e-mail to SMI/J requesting a refund resulted in a short letter from Customer Relations, saying they wish they could have a do-over of that day and do it right, and that they encourage me to look forward and we will all get through this merger. The refund was never addressed.

31 days ago I spoke to a manager at my CC who decided to open a dispute anyway.

Last night he called me and said UA is fighting the dispute, he faxed me their paperwork. A UA auditor wrote a letter stating that I made a voluntary exchange of my ticket for another ticket, and that the fare was the exact same, and that the amount in dispute is a valid change fee. He also states that I was made aware of this before the new ticket was issued. He includes many pages of my PNR showing 12 changes including a line saying something like NoRef 150 change fee.

The CC company says that it would help if I can provide the receipt for the upgrade. Unfortunately, I don't have this. I was confirmed and moved on and my company won't pay for the upgrade, so I didn't keep it. When I enter my ticket number into .bomb, it says that ticket does not exist. When I enter the new ticket number, it shows my new flight, and a ticket price of over $1,200 which was not the case.

The CC manager said I can provide a statement and my customer service e-mails, but its hard to do much without the upgrade receipt.

I really think I should just drop this and move on. I am worried if I do pursue it, and somehow prove it, that the auditors will cancel all of my tickets or cancel my MP account.

I spoke to a travel editor about it, and he said that many times if a customer wins a charge back, the airline will simply send the customer to collection. He offered to contact them on my behalf, but said he would then have to write about it using my full name which I do not want him to do. So I requested he not do it.

I think the moral from this for me is to never pay for a buy-up if the fare is the same as a change fee, never pay for a buy up if I am connecting, and always keep my buy-up receipt if the first two criteria are not met.
Wow. Just wow. I'm sorry to hear this.

So if I understand UA's position correctly, UFC doesn't entitle you to anything whatsoever, that it's simply a nonrefundable "change fee". It's borderline unbelievable and incredibly abusive. Obviously UA can and does change planes without notice, forcing downgrades and what have you, but it seems to me it would be a clear breach of contract to take your money for an F fare, stick you in Y due to a downgrade, then refuse to refund the difference. And yet this seems to be exactly what happened here, with the "fig leaf" exception of your paying a "change fee" rather buying-up to a higher fare class. It's like saying "I'll sell you an envelope for $500, and as a free gift, I'll throw in 2 SWUs."

Frankly I think this shameful behavior on UA's part deserves its own thread rather than being buried in this one. FTers should be aware of what happened to you.
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Old Jun 21, 11, 10:41 am
  #138  
 
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Originally Posted by emanon256 View Post
My e-mail to SMI/J requesting a refund resulted in a short letter from Customer Relations, saying they wish they could have a do-over of that day and do it right, and that they encourage me to look forward and we will all get through this merger. The refund was never addressed.

31 days ago I spoke to a manager at my CC who decided to open a dispute anyway.

Last night he called me and said UA is fighting the dispute, he faxed me their paperwork. A UA auditor wrote a letter stating that I made a voluntary exchange of my ticket for another ticket, and that the fare was the exact same, and that the amount in dispute is a valid change fee. He also states that I was made aware of this before the new ticket was issued. He includes many pages of my PNR showing 12 changes including a line saying something like NoRef 150 change fee.

The CC company says that it would help if I can provide the receipt for the upgrade. Unfortunately, I don't have this. I was confirmed and moved on and my company won't pay for the upgrade, so I didn't keep it. When I enter my ticket number into .bomb, it says that ticket does not exist. When I enter the new ticket number, it shows my new flight, and a ticket price of over $1,200 which was not the case.

The CC manager said I can provide a statement and my customer service e-mails, but its hard to do much without the upgrade receipt.

I really think I should just drop this and move on. I am worried if I do pursue it, and somehow prove it, that the auditors will cancel all of my tickets or cancel my MP account.

I spoke to a travel editor about it, and he said that many times if a customer wins a charge back, the airline will simply send the customer to collection. He offered to contact them on my behalf, but said he would then have to write about it using my full name which I do not want him to do. So I requested he not do it.

I think the moral from this for me is to never pay for a buy-up if the fare is the same as a change fee, never pay for a buy up if I am connecting, and always keep my buy-up receipt if the first two criteria are not met.
I would try calling the 1K line and then request to speak with customer relations. They should be able to either help clear this up or give you a goodwill voucher so you get your money back in some form. I would also emphasize to them how much time you have wasted for an error that is United's creation.
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Old Jun 21, 11, 10:52 am
  #139  
 
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Originally Posted by emanon256 View Post
I really think I should just drop this and move on. I am worried if I do pursue it, and somehow prove it, that the auditors will cancel all of my tickets or cancel my MP account.

I spoke to a travel editor about it, and he said that many times if a customer wins a charge back, the airline will simply send the customer to collection. He offered to contact them on my behalf, but said he would then have to write about it using my full name which I do not want him to do. So I requested he not do it.
On the first issue, don't think that's something worth worrying about. As bad as uaCO customer service is becoming, there isn't anything to suggest they would fire you as a customer. That would be both (i) nuts and (ii) of dubious status legally.

On the second point, you seem pretty concerned about your anonymity, and IMO, overly so. Maybe this is a difference in personal style, but I don't think I would be so worried about my name in this situation. It isn't "bad press;" uaCO wronged you, not you them.

On the whole situation, just ugh. While it's clear there was a misinterpretation / incorrect entry (could have even been the TA's fault from the get-go by characterizing the charge as a change fee, who knows?) on the uaCO end, it's crazy to me that they would so vehemently defend their position and not give the customer the benefit of the doubt in this case. I mean, let's be honest, if it actually were a change fee, the OP's complaints wouldn't even make sense- where would the C buy-up even come from?

The changes at uaCO are moving beyond just reigning in compensation; this is a fundamental shift in attitude toward customers. No, Mr. Smisek, I don't like.
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Old Jun 21, 11, 3:32 pm
  #140  
 
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The more threads I read like this one, the more I am considering doing all my flying on AA next year...depressing to see how quickly customer service has tanked at United post-merger.
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Old Jun 21, 11, 3:47 pm
  #141  
 
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Originally Posted by emanon256 View Post
My e-mail to SMI/J requesting a refund resulted in a short letter from Customer Relations, saying they wish they could have a do-over of that day and do it right, and that they encourage me to look forward and we will all get through this merger. The refund was never addressed.

31 days ago I spoke to a manager at my CC who decided to open a dispute anyway.

Last night he called me and said UA is fighting the dispute, he faxed me their paperwork. A UA auditor wrote a letter stating that I made a voluntary exchange of my ticket for another ticket, and that the fare was the exact same, and that the amount in dispute is a valid change fee. He also states that I was made aware of this before the new ticket was issued. He includes many pages of my PNR showing 12 changes including a line saying something like NoRef 150 change fee.

The CC company says that it would help if I can provide the receipt for the upgrade. Unfortunately, I don't have this. I was confirmed and moved on and my company won't pay for the upgrade, so I didn't keep it. When I enter my ticket number into .bomb, it says that ticket does not exist. When I enter the new ticket number, it shows my new flight, and a ticket price of over $1,200 which was not the case.

The CC manager said I can provide a statement and my customer service e-mails, but its hard to do much without the upgrade receipt.

I really think I should just drop this and move on. I am worried if I do pursue it, and somehow prove it, that the auditors will cancel all of my tickets or cancel my MP account.

I spoke to a travel editor about it, and he said that many times if a customer wins a charge back, the airline will simply send the customer to collection. He offered to contact them on my behalf, but said he would then have to write about it using my full name which I do not want him to do. So I requested he not do it.

I think the moral from this for me is to never pay for a buy-up if the fare is the same as a change fee, never pay for a buy up if I am connecting, and always keep my buy-up receipt if the first two criteria are not met.
After reading this story there is one thing that's strange to me... as a 1K why did you pay $150 to upgrade when you could have done it for free? And when did you pay it? At purchase? At a kiosk? At the gate?

$150 is a strange upgrade amount for ORD-DEN. When upgrades for cash are offered at checkin they're historically $65 per 500 miles (or portion thereof)..which would mean this segment should have cost $130 to upgrade.

But if this was all done at the airport..UA doesn't generally offer UFC unless there is NC/NF space available...in which case you'd be entitled to it for free.

You mentioned 12 pages of changes to the PNR..is it possible this $150 was for some other change and not for the upgrade? Maybe they didn't charge you for the upgrade at all (which they shouldn't have if you're 1K)..and the $150 change fee was for one of the actual changes you made to the itin?
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Old Jun 21, 11, 3:53 pm
  #142  
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Originally Posted by SEA1K4EVR View Post
After reading this story there is one thing that's strange to me... as a 1K why did you pay $150 to upgrade when you could have done it for free? And when did you pay it? At purchase? At a kiosk? At the gate?

$150 is a strange upgrade amount for ORD-DEN. When upgrades for cash are offered at checkin they're historically $65 per 500 miles (or portion thereof)..which would mean this segment should have cost $130 to upgrade.

But if this was all done at the airport..UA doesn't generally offer UFC unless there is NC/NF space available...in which case you'd be entitled to it for free.

You mentioned 12 pages of changes to the PNR..is it possible this $150 was for some other change and not for the upgrade? Maybe they didn't charge you for the upgrade at all (which they shouldn't have if you're 1K)..and the $150 change fee was for one of the actual changes you made to the itin?
I believe the OP took a buy up to C before arriving at the airport. The kind offered under "Premium Seating" on My Reservations. $150 for this flight seems like the right amount.
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Old Jun 21, 11, 4:07 pm
  #143  
 
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Originally Posted by SEA1K4EVR View Post
After reading this story there is one thing that's strange to me... as a 1K why did you pay $150 to upgrade when you could have done it for free? And when did you pay it? At purchase? At a kiosk? At the gate?

$150 is a strange upgrade amount for ORD-DEN. When upgrades for cash are offered at checkin they're historically $65 per 500 miles (or portion thereof)..which would mean this segment should have cost $130 to upgrade.
I paid for it at the time of booking or soon after. The reason I paid was because I don't typically get upgraded on that route. Even once with a CR1 applied a month out I didn't get upgraded on that route day time, etc. Every time it does offer it to me on that route, its $150. In fact, when I log in right now, it offers it to me for a flights on the same route: http://i1232.photobucket.com/albums/...non256/UFC.jpg

Originally Posted by SEA1K4EVR View Post
You mentioned 12 pages of changes to the PNR..is it possible this $150 was for some other change and not for the upgrade? Maybe they didn't charge you for the upgrade at all (which they shouldn't have if you're 1K)..and the $150 change fee was for one of the actual changes you made to the itin?
There were 12 changes listed, not 12 pages, sorry if I said that wrong. I did not make any changes from booking to the day of departure when my first segment got canceled.
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Old Jun 23, 11, 12:43 pm
  #144  
 
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Resolved!

Originally Posted by chitownflyer View Post
I would try calling the 1K line and then request to speak with customer relations. They should be able to either help clear this up or give you a goodwill voucher so you get your money back in some form. I would also emphasize to them how much time you have wasted for an error that is United's creation.
I called on Tuesday and went through a hierarchy of people explaining the situation, and that I had a pending dispute.

I finally got someone who found 3 separate tickets issued for me for that day on those flights, and on one apparently I was marked as a no show, this being the one with the UFC. I don't know what exactly happened, I can speculate, but I wont. The agent I spoke to could not decipher what had happened or what was done when I was rebooked. Whatever was done, was done incorrectly, and made things much worse. She said she would speak to an expert in the refunds department and try and get it resolved.

I just heard back, and the refunds expert was finally able to figure out what was done, and was able to fix it, and I will be getting my refund.

Hooray! The nightmare is over.
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Old Jun 23, 11, 1:55 pm
  #145  
 
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That's great; I take my hat off to the decent UA employees who took the time to figure out what had happened and to rectify it, but above all I take my hat off to you for being a loyal enough customer to give UA a final chance to sort this out. And shame on the numerous other UA employees who had the chance to sort this out but who were too lazy and/or arrogant to understand what had happened and preferred to spit in your face! I shudder to think of how many $$$ UA have lost by treating other loyal customers like they treated you in this matter until today.
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Old Jun 23, 11, 2:02 pm
  #146  
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Congrats to you and I commend your perseverance (as well as that of the UA agent that finally did some digging). I can only hope now that they took this as a lesson learned, and will educate not only the Agent that made the initial error, but others on the appropriate way to process a UFC for everyone.
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Old Jun 23, 11, 2:20 pm
  #147  
 
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I only write in for overnighting, but it has happened quite a bit this year I was given between 75 and 200 for each of these. The 75 was the last one and I asked for compensation at IAD baggage claim as they booked my room, I was pretty dissapointed but took the 20% option over the $75.
The MSY flight everyone was given a code the next morning, mine was for $150.:

2/11 PNS-ORD-ABE Overnighted ORD
2/11 ATL-ORD-ABE Overnighted in ORD mechanical
1/11 MSY-IAD-ABE Overnighted in MSY mechanical 150
4/11 ABE-IAD-JAX Overnighted ABE Mechanical
4/11 JAX-IAD-ABE Overnighted IAD mechanical

The first 3 were back to back to back Sunday evenings, the last 2 were on the inbound/outbound for easter.

I think I am missing another but cant remember it.
You would think weather with small airports in PA middle of winter but all mechanical.
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Old Jun 23, 11, 7:18 pm
  #148  
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I had a mechanical cancellation at DCA last week and ended up taking a $75 taxi to catch a later flight from IAD. Am I entitled to any comp? UA ended up saving the cost of a room as the alternative being offered when I exited the first flight was overnighting at a local hotel and then a 6am flight the next morning.

Addendum: After sending a complaint form via .bomb, I received a $300 voucher ^ That seems quite fair after suffering 6 hours in a middle seat.

Last edited by Boraxo; Jun 28, 11 at 1:12 am
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Old Jun 24, 11, 12:11 am
  #149  
 
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Originally Posted by emanon256 View Post
I called on Tuesday and went through a hierarchy of people explaining the situation, and that I had a pending dispute.

I finally got someone who found 3 separate tickets issued for me for that day on those flights, and on one apparently I was marked as a no show, this being the one with the UFC. I don't know what exactly happened, I can speculate, but I won’t. The agent I spoke to could not decipher what had happened or what was done when I was rebooked. Whatever was done, was done incorrectly, and made things much worse. She said she would speak to an expert in the refunds department and try and get it resolved.

I just heard back, and the refunds expert was finally able to figure out what was done, and was able to fix it, and I will be getting my refund.

Hooray! The nightmare is over.
Glad to hear of your success. As long as United keeps the 1K customer relations line, United can still provide good customer service to its elite travelers.
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