Jetstar Blues

Discussion in 'Jetstar' started by Talbo, Oct 16, 2006.

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  1. Talbo

    Talbo Newbie

    Oct 10, 2006
    4
    0
    A long story...would appreciate your opinion and advice.

    My friend, I will call her Sue, tried to book an international flight on the Jetstar website and charged it to my credit card (with my authorisation). She tried that 3 times and each time the site came back with an error message or saying that the seats she tried to book might have already been sold (despite the website indicating availability). Sue then immediately rang Jetstar and the person answering confirmed that although the website indicated otherwise, the seats she tried to book might have already been sold. He then offered Sue a booking for a different fight departing two days later. He rang my wife to confirm the use of the credit card (my wife is the additional card holder), then confirmed the booking by issuing a booking code to Sue. So far, so good.

    That was a Friday, and the following Monday, my online credit card statement showed that my credit card was charged twice--once for the online transaction that never went through, and a slightly different amount, evidently for the telephone transaction that was confirmed. Both amounts was over $3000, thus it was not a sum of money which one would like to part with for too long.

    Sue then rang Jetstar Monday to request a refund of the first charge. At first the Jetstar lady refused a refund, then after some argument, said that the company could only refund half the amount, then after still more argument, suggested that Sue revert back to the original booking (which did not go through), and cancel the telephone booking, and that she would then get a refund for the 2nd booking.

    This was a booking for an international flight and at this point, Sue had already booked the connecting flights, thus she refused to change the booking. The Jetstar lady then agreed to the refund as originally requested, but said that the refund process would take 7 weeks!

    I obviously was not impressed with having to wait 7 weeks to get my $3000 back, for what obviously was a glitch somewhere in their computing system. Thus I rang JetStar the next day. They did not really wanted to talk to me as it was not my booking, but did murmur that the refund might only take 4 weeks.

    I rang the Victorian Office of Fair Trading about this. They suggested that I send a register letter to Jetstar, give them a reasonable time to respond, and then contact them again. The bottomline is that I may have to wait for a few weeks anyway.


    I spoke to the local branch of my bank and they have agreed to issue a charge back—all I need to do is to provide a signiture.

    I pay off my credit card every month, thus the $3000 is not accruing any interests. I expect to get my credit card bill soon and the charge will be on there, and I will then have to come up with the money to pay it in about 3 to 4 weeks. At the same time, I only have a verbal promise from a Jetstar staff that my money will be refunded. I feel that I have the right to get a refund straightaway (it has now been one week).


    My question is (1) has something similar happy to anyone before? (2) What do you suggest I should do? Should I go ahead with the charge back, or just wait?


    Thanks in advance.
     

  2. Yada Yada

    Yada Yada Established Member

    Dec 6, 2004
    1,872
    7
    1F
    Hi Talbo. Welcome to AFF.

    It is quite typical for airlines to quote 6-8 weeks for the issue of a credit. There has been some discussion on this topic on the forums here in the past and some have suggested that the airlines need this long to go through certain procedures.

    I think this is bunkum. Any company with decent systems should be able to issue a credit within a few days. My opinion is that they do this simply to discourage customers from booking and cancelling tickets on a whim.

    I'm not sure I can advise you on what course to take but assume you will get your money back. It might just take a while. :-|
     
  3. Platy

    Platy Guest

    Case 1

    A few years ago I needed to refund a domestic business class ticket on Qantas for about $1,000. I cancelled the booking and requested the refund over the phone without being advised that the process was lengthy. A few days later I realised that my credit card balance was too high and rang QF back and then was informed to expect up to 6 weeks waiting. Basically I refused to accept this and after a number of phone calls (progressively irate) finally managed to talk to someone in their finance area and persuade them to give me my money back. This took about two weeks in the end. Their excuse was that they had to collate and batch the data and remit to the credit card company. The reality is that it is their choice to delay repayment. My take on this is that they accrue interest for the six weeks! Some writers on this bulletin board disagree and state their motive is to dissuade people from making late changes to their travel plans - in my book not an acceptable reason for failing to return someone's cash. After all, the cost of refundable tickets reflects their flexibility.

    My advice is to book flights at the last possible minute!

    Case 2
    Again as few years ago, I bought 2 discount business class tickets from Thai Airways Sydney office for Sydney Auckland return. The credit card did not go through the first time and the machine printed out a failed transaction notification. Despite this the second time the card was declined. I visited the bank forthwith and was told an authorisation had gone through after all (despite the transaction failure notice) and thus the card limit was compromised - the spooky thing being the authorisation amount was not the cost of the tickets! Persuaded the bank to remove the authorisation so the tickets could be purchased correctly.


    Overall advice, keep ringing and escalating your complaint at Jetstar until you get to someone with the power and inclination to fix the problem. Talk to the anti-fraud people at the credit card company to discuss whether the airline has breached due process.

    Personally, I don't think aiorline customer should accept the (common) industry practice of holding onto their money!!!
     
  4. Yada Yada

    Yada Yada Established Member

    Dec 6, 2004
    1,872
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    I forgot to add that I cancelled a BA flight on 31st August and am still waiting for my credit of over $3,000. :(
     
  5. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    You could try an institute a disputed charge but I don't really see that it will serve any purpose since JQ have already agreed to refund the ticket. It will take time for the dispute process to be followed and by the time it is finished you will most likely already have the refund

    A dispute process is only really worthwhile if there is something that is completely unknown or where there is a dispute with the retailer over getting a refund

    If they do not refund as agreed , then I would start a dispute procedure

    Dave
     
  6. Talbo

    Talbo Newbie

    Oct 10, 2006
    4
    0
    Thanks very much for the suggestion. But my rationale is that the $3000 owed to the credit card is not payable until the dispute is settled, thus I don't have to come up with the money (and pay the opportunity costs) to pay it.
     
  7. Altair

    Altair Active Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    809
    82
    Wellington
    That is correct. I have disputed transactions, all restaurants be careful with then as they can add amounts for "tips":evil: . When you dispute the transaction they will reverse it from the account and hold it until it is resolved. In Australia the merchant wears the risk of payments, not the customer.
     
  8. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    The airline earning interest by holding onto the refund for a ling period is only a secondary consideration for them. The main reason has nothing to do with slow processes or collating information, but is done to discourage people from making and then cancelling bookings willy-nilly.

    Now in cases like this one there is no justification for the refund taking any more than a few days. But they have their internal policy that says refund should be delayed to discourage people holding refundable bookings they have no (or little) intention to use.

    If they did process refunds reliably in less time that the credit card billing cycle, I am sure many people would take advantage of fully refundable fares by doing things like booking two or more seats, having seats pre-allocated to be adjacent, then no-showing all but one of them and asking for a refund for the others, and enjoying a block of 2, 3 or 4 seats with no neighbours. Now that would just completely screw up the airlines yield management if people exploited the ability to refund tickets.

    Unfortunately it is the airline's need to protect themselves from such practises that have led them to introduce their delayed refund procedure.

    I understand their need to be protected from the scammers. However, there should be some level of flexibility to ensure honest mistakes and even their airline's mistakes do not financially inconvenience their customers.

    Disputing the charge through your credit card provider is likely to end up costing you a disputed charge fee since Jetstar will inform the CC provider that a refund has already been authorised and is being processed. Check with you CC provider for their terms and conditions around disputed charges and any likely fees you may incur.
     
  9. Talbo

    Talbo Newbie

    Oct 10, 2006
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    Thanks NM. I probably would have accepted the delay in refund if it were a cancelled booking. (BTW, I think Jetstar bookings are non-refundable). In this particular case, as best as I can tell, it was a glitch in either their online booking system, or at worst the Internet transmission in general. And my friend had immediately rang Jetstar about it, and their staff had accepted that it was probably a glitch.

    I probably would also have accepted the delay in refund if it was a much smaller sum of money. $3000 at the interests rates usually charged by credit card company equates to about $70 worth of interests for 7 weeks. Not much for some people, but a couple of cartons of beer for me.[​IMG] As it turns out, I paid off my credit card last month and thus am not being charged interests now. But I will have to come up with the $3000 once my next credit card bill is due. And that money will need to come from interest bearing sources.

    If the company involved was not Jetstar, but a small mom and pops Chinese takeaway that charged your credit card by mistake for $3000, then insisted on holding your money for 7 weeks before refunding it. I think there would be an outrage. Am I being unreasonable for expecting Jetstar to treat me fairly as a customer?

    My credit card issuing back has agreed to issue a chargeback with no charge but I have not signed the request yet. Firstly, I want to give Jetstar a few days as I feel that is the reasonably thing to do on my part. But I am also somewhat weary what heavy-hand tactics a company such as Jetstar can do to its customer who justifiably asks for a chargeback, for a product or service never rendered.
     
  10. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    Given 56 days from purchase to payment being required , then I suspect that the refund will be in the account by the time that payment would be required and assuming that you have an interest free period on your card, then there would not be any interest owing either which is why I would leave it until close till when you would have to pay up money to the CC company before raising a dispute

    Dave
     
  11. NM

    NM
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    No, you are not being unreasonable. I agree that in circumstances as you have described that the incorrect charge should be reversed immediately. I was just providing some background as to why airlines have this delayed refund procedure.
     
  12. Platy

    Platy Guest

    NM said...The main reason has nothing to do with slow processes or collating information, but is done to discourage people from making and then cancelling bookings willy-nilly.


    I would be most enlightened to know, NM, whether you know this for a fact. Has someone in QF told you this? Have you seen this written in their process documentation? Or is this your own personal assessment of their logic?

    Remember that it used to be possible to book, change and cancel flexible fares such as domestic J WITHOUT paying for them until time of travel (and WITHOUT paying the regressive $27.50 booking fee using the phone). In those days the 6 week refund also applied so I can't see that your logic is particularly valid.

    I do not believe this is a justifiable reason for holding onto people's money for 6 weeks. Do you? Are you happy to have $1,000s riding around your credit card for that length of time to your total disadvantage (not just the interest accrued but the fact that your credit limit is being compromised as well).

    Do you accept this type of behaviour from other suppliers (hotel, car hire, companies, restaurants, etc)? I doubt it. If a different vendor accidently mischarges you or whatever you expect an immediate refund against your card, which they seem very easily to be able to do.

    Don't you think also that the huge cost of flexible tickets (CNS-BNE busines class just went up 3.25% not to mention recent fuel surcharges) that we are paying for just that - flexibility?

    Perhaps it is done because they want you to be COMMITTED to spend that money with them even if you cancel - they would much rather keep the money riding as a credit than pay you out becuase it ensures that you spend that money with QF sooner or later (and in the mean time they are earning interest on the credit, not you!).

    QF/Jetstar and others are quite simply srewing their customers with this sort of behaviour - it is not justifiable to treat customers in that fashion.
     
  13. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    You still can, the HOX/Y/DOX/J domestic fares do not have ticketing restrictions other than that they must be ticketed before departure


    Car hire companies routinely take authorisations for significantly more than the cost of the rental which then can take 2 weeks to return to the card

    It isn't just QF and JQ, it is common in the industry so without quitting flying, it is hard to avoid. If purchasing fully flexible tickets then just wait till day of departure to pay and its easy to avoid

    Dave
     
  14. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    It is my interpretation of discussions with several people, including QF accounts, travel agents and others in the industry. I would be extremely surprised if it was ever documented anywhere by the airlines. This is not unique to Qantas, but a common practice in the airline industry.
    Indeed, and some people extracted maximum benefit from that. But as I noted above, this policy is not unique to Qantas.
    Certainly not. And I think I noted previously that I do not condone the practice, but merely gave an explanation as to why it was introduced in the first place. And the example that commenced this thread has no justification for delaying the refund process in my opinion.
    I would not be at all happy. And I have been in a situation where I had to cancel a $10,000 ticket the day before I was due to depart. That ticket was replaced by two new tickets, costing a total of over $15,000. I was looking down the barrel of a $10,000 entry on my Diners Club card that would need to be paid to DC before the 6 week refund cycle quoted by Qantas. It was through the subsequent discussions with various people at QF accounts and our corporate travel agent that led to my understanding of the background.

    I was much relieved when the credit was processed in about 3 weeks and just days before the DC payment was due.
    Again I must point out that I do not find this acceptable behaviour. I Have never said that I do find it acceptable. I just understand why the airlines do it. That does not mean I think it is right.
    With any airline ticket you are paying for a service. Some of them involve flexibility, some don't. The airlines set their fares based on what they believe the market will bare. Increasing fare is the airline's prerogative and they can charge what they like. We have the choice as to whether we pay what they are asking, and other airline's have the choice to operate in the same market of they believe they can make money - of course that is providing they meet the regulatory requirements which may or may not be fair, but that is another story altogether.

    So yes, I do believe we pay for flexible tickets because the airlines know we perceive the flexibility as a benefit worth paying extra. But false bookings or booking seats that we never intent to fly just screws things up for everyone.

    People have also been known to do things like purchase seats on multiple peak time flights because they know the busy routes (lets us SYD-MEL on a Friday evening) can get full. So they book a seat on each of the afternoon flights knowing they will use one of them and just cancel the others. That is a pretty selfish approach that causes all sorts of ramifications, including the delayed refund policy.

    At least if the booking has not been ticketed, the airline will cancel it at some time before the flight closes and they can get someone else onto the flight. But if the ticket has been issued (and hence charged to someone's credit card), the reservation remains active until the flight is closed at which time the person is deemed a no-show and the gate agents can scramble to find a standby passenger for the seat.
    Sometimes they don't offer the ability to use the refund amount as a credit, such as in my own example above. I was not given the option to use the $10,000 cancelled fare as a credit towards they other two tickets purchased at the same time.
    I am not disagreeing with you.
     
  15. GDSman

    GDSman Member

    Oct 18, 2004
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    My understanding of the justification for lengthy delays for refunds is that traditionally airline ticket settlement has been handled by a third party being IATA BSP. This structure handles agency and interline settlements and, while technically irrelevant to a modern 'sole carrier, paid direct, ticketed on own ticket stock' ticket, most of the airlines' refund and financial systems are built around this process - a common single methodology that allows for the slowest possible mechanism. This may not be the absolute answer and there may be something in the risk mitigation and money market theories too. I do know that inter-carrier settlements take up to 24months.....I have heard that from several airline revenue managers, so I know it's an area they find 'challenging'........
     
  16. pauly7

    pauly7 Established Member

    Dec 8, 2004
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    Unfortunately this is absolutely not a QF/JQ specific practice, I have had the same treatment with Virgin Blue and Air New Zealand as well.

    Like someone else said, if booking Flexi, don't ticket until the last minute!
     
  17. Talbo

    Talbo Newbie

    Oct 10, 2006
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    Has been 5 weeks now and still no refund from Jetstar. I have filed a dispute with my credit card company. I am feeling really down been bullied like this....
     
  18. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    They said 7 weeks. 5<7

    Dave
     
  19. NM

    NM
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    For small values of 5 :mrgreen: .
     
  20. N860CR

    N860CR Established Member

    Nov 30, 2004
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    I've had to go through the displeasure of Jetstar's refund process also. Interestingly, over the time that this airline has "grown", their refund process seems to have lengthened. Back in their startup days I booked a number of flights (6 from memory) that all had to be cancelled due to their infamous "schedule changes". The refund time quoted was 2 weeks and it was processed within this time.

    12 months after that I had to cancel another booking for the same reason and suddenly the refund time was 4 weeks. 4 weeks passed and still no refund, so I called and was then told the standard time was 5 weeks. The guy on the phone tried to explain to me that this was due to the "huge number of refunds needing to be processed". He was a little stumped when I reminded him he worked for an airline that doesn't sell refundable tickets...

    So exactly 5 weeks (right on the day) later, the money was returned. Seems JQ are just extending and extending this process to suit themselves. Considering all Jetstar refunds are as a result of the airlines own mistakes/changes, this kind of time frame is totally unacceptable.

    Solution - don't fly Jetstar.
     
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