Embarrassing lies and incompetence by Elevate

Old Nov 30, 16, 10:19 am
  #1  
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Embarrassing lies and incompetence by Elevate

Yesterday I redeemed some of my Elevate miles to redeem two Business Class return flights on Virgin Australia for MEL-SYD-MEL. At the time of booking, the operator ran the usual searches to identify which flights had award availability. I was told that on 28 December, I had a choice of the 0600 or 0700 departures from MEL in Business only.

I chose the later 0700 departure

The booking is made and the friendly guy thanks me for supporting VX, whilst also noting that I have 24 hours to make free changes, and any changes/cancellation after that period incur a $100 fee.

The call ends, and all seemed well until I receive the itinerary within an hour or so and check the booking reference on the Virgin Australia website. It now appears that, contrary to my instructions on the phone, the booking has been made for the outbound 0600 flight!

So, I immediately call Elevate back to have this issue fixed. Operator 1 listens to me explain the situation, and then spends some time tapping away on the computer. I get the usual confused reaction when the operators have to deal with partner redemptions, and I have to explain that I used Elevate points to book on VA, so it was indeed Elevate that was responsible for dealing with this rather than VA. She then says she needs to transfer me to the Burn Department to have this resolved.

I again explain everything from the beginning to Operator 2. She listens. After a few minutes, I get the same 'I need to transfer you to the Burn Department' nonsense, so I get put on hold and transferred again (who the heck was she if she wasn't in the Burn Department, having supposedly already been transferred there?)

Finally, Operator 3 appears to be somewhat interested in helping. But, seemingly having not listened properly to my explanation, she tells me "oh you need to pay a $100 change fee". I then have to remind her that this contradicts the 24 hour policy I was told about in the initial call, and that it was grossly inappropriate to charge me for a mistake that was made by Elevate. She puts me on hold for a while, and eventually says that she needs to escalate the issue and, to avoid me being on hold for an uncertain/long period of time, she takes my phone number down and promises that I will receive a call back within 1-2 hours.

No return call is ever received.

The next day I call again to try and have this fixed. Sick of being given the run around and the lack of answers, I immediately ask Operator 4 to transfer me to a manager immediately. She asks me why. So I again (it's all getting rather tiring by now) explain what happened and say that I need a resolution. I explain everything and she runs some searches - after 10 minutes, she comes back and asks if my booking was made by the Burn Department. I say yes of course - there isn't anyone else who can make reward bookings, right? She then says she needs to transfer me, but being mindful of the annoying situation I've been in, she promises to find me the right person.

Thus far, not a single person has expressed the slightest bit of sympathy, even though I have remained polite in the face of breathtaking incompetence by Elevate staff from the moment I first tried to make this booking.

I then speak to Operator 5, and, yet again, have to explain everything from scratch. I have to deal with the change fee nonsense again. She folds on that issue and then goes to search for whether the 0700 flight has availability so she can switch me on to it. Eventually she comes back and tells me the 0700 flight is full, and that no other flights are available. Her explanation, without any real apology, is "there mustn't have been 0700 availability yesterday, so we must have booked you on another flight".

By this point:
  • I have had to speak to 6 people (including the original guy who booked it) at Elevate to try and book the flights I want, based on the flights I was originally told were available
  • 4 of those people showed no interest in fixing the issue and simply passed the buck
  • Elevate twice tried to suggest that "changing" the flight (to what I had originally agreed to book) would require me to pay the change fee
  • Operator 3 lied when she said that I would definitely receive a callback within 1-2 hours; no callback was ever received
  • According to Operator 5, it is apparently acceptable for VX to book you on a completely different flight to what you had agreed to be booked on without telling the passenger and getting their consent

It seems most likely to me that 0700 was available when I first made the booking but, due to incompetence, in the intervening time between the booking and getting the operator to fix it, the award availability has disappeared due to others making the bookings.

At that point I said that the appalling lack of service, combined with the lies, were grossly unacceptable, and that I deserved to be compensated - not only for the aforesaid, but also because:

(i) this has taken more than a day to resolve;
(ii) I have wasted almost 2 hours on the phone trying to fix this;
(iii) I have had to explain the same issue 5 times; and
(iv) since I'm based overseas, I have had to waste significant $$$ making international phone calls to speak with the incompetent and contemptuous Elevate staff.

I then get offered an insulting 500 Elevate Points for this staggering level of inconvenience, deceit, and incompetence (not only did I have to ask for compensation and suggest points - I get a disdainful 'oh that's unlikely, I'll have to check with a supervisor. Do you want to hold?'.

As I said to Operator 5, that whole department should be embarrassed by their failures. It does nothing to inspire confidence in VX.

The moral of the story is to stay well away from VX and Elevate - they have no respect for their customers and think it acceptable to lie to your face and change your bookings without your consent.
Isochronous is offline  
Old Nov 30, 16, 10:25 am
  #2  
 
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Ask them to pull the tape of the original call

Or just take the 6am and move on....
ajeleonard is offline  
Old Nov 30, 16, 3:23 pm
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Although I have my own issues with the "new" VX, it seems like spending hours and "significant $$$" trying to move a flight by 1 hour is a bit much.

VX call center folks are the worst though. It is known.
esquesk is offline  
Old Nov 30, 16, 10:00 pm
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Who should I escalate this to in VX management? 500 points is not an appropriate remedy. Then again maybe they stopped caring about their customers since Alaska is taking them over - hopefully Alaska call centre is better.

It is completely unacceptable that they can just book someone on a completely different flight without their consent and contrary to what was expressly agreed. It is about the principle and appalling disrespect shown.
Isochronous is offline  
Old Dec 1, 16, 11:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Isochronous View Post
Who should I escalate this to in VX management? 500 points is not an appropriate remedy. Then again maybe they stopped caring about their customers since Alaska is taking them over - hopefully Alaska call centre is better.

It is completely unacceptable that they can just book someone on a completely different flight without their consent and contrary to what was expressly agreed. It is about the principle and appalling disrespect shown.
Good luck with that. Things happen, move on. Partner redemption's are difficult with VX, you should feel lucky you found a flight a premium cabin partner flight to begin with. Those are seriously unicorns.
esquesk is offline  
Old Dec 13, 16, 10:33 am
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Originally Posted by Isochronous View Post
Who should I escalate this to in VX management? 500 points is not an appropriate remedy. Then again maybe they stopped caring about their customers since Alaska is taking them over - hopefully Alaska call centre is better.

It is completely unacceptable that they can just book someone on a completely different flight without their consent and contrary to what was expressly agreed. It is about the principle and appalling disrespect shown.
All things being equal, if your only "discomfort" is getting on a flight that is one hour earlier, then really just move on. It's not like it is on a different day and in a different class. Unless you will miss a connection on the arriving side, no big deal here.
rubbernyc is offline  

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