refunds from Qantas

Discussion in 'Your Questions' started by leadlegs, May 2, 2014.

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  1. leadlegs

    leadlegs Newbie

    Jun 21, 2012
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    My daughter and her partner bought return tickets SYD-Mumbai with Qantas early in 2012 for something over $2000 - yes it was a super cheap special. One week later Qantas cancelled the Mumbai service. They were unable to offer satisfactory alternative flights. They did not offer a refund, and unfortunately my daughter did not push very hard. They gave them a credit voucher, but my daughter understood it could only be used for them to travel together (as they were doing on the cancelled booking). She accepted this. They opened a retail shop in April 2012, and have been unable to travel together since, especially after they opened a second shop in April 2013.

    My daughter renewed the voucher once in early 2013, at which point she learned they did not have to travel together, but it was too late as they were now running 2 shops. She put the renewal date in her phone so she would be reminded to do it again. Qantas sent her a reminder email on 21st December 2013 that the voucher expired on March 21st 2014 - this was 3 months before it expired. This was right in the middle of the very hectic Christmas/January sales trading for them, but she wasn't worried - the alarm was on her phone. Some time in January her phone got drowned and she lost everything on it, including her reminder to call Qantas.

    She remembered the voucher this week and called Qantas to learn that the voucher had expired and that she had lost more than $2000. They told her there is no way she can get that money back.

    Remember this was all cauuused by Qantas cancelling the Mumbai service. It was no fault of my daughter's back then.

    Suggestions please as to what she can possibly do about this, or is there absolutely nothing and she shrugs it off and learns from it.
     

  2. mannej

    mannej Senior Member

    Mar 16, 2009
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    I am sorry but I have to shake my head at this. Yes Qantas cancelled the service (it has been happening a lot lately), using your logic, it is not the fault of Qantas that the voucher expired (they gave 3 months warning - what more do you want?), but the fault of your daughter.

    I honestly don't think there is a lot you can do considering the voucher was issued 2 years ago.
     
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  3. harvyk

    harvyk Senior Member

    Apr 15, 2009
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    Sorry leadlegs, but I have to agree with mannej...
    Whilst yes QF should have offered the choice of a refund perhaps a little more obviously, it is often up to the customer to actually ask for it. Since she accepted the voucher two years ago she has also accepted the terms of that voucher.
    To put it bluntly, IMHO QF went above and beyond in December by reminding her that her voucher was about to expire. Most companies which offer vouchers will stay mute even when the vouchers are coming up to their expiry date.
    Whilst it's certainly a bit of bad luck for your daughter losing her phone like that, but it's hardly the fault of QF.

    Not what you wanted to hear I know, but in this instance, because your daughter didn't ask for a refund at the beginning (and every media release that I'm aware of when QF scraps routes does state that a refund is available) the onus is on your daughter to then to conform to the conditions of that voucher.
     
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  4. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
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    I would speak to your local consumer affairs office about what rights you may have. It seems unfair that the party breaching the contract can limit the remedy to a set time limit that for many may not be suitable for all when such a large amount is at stake. It's a trip most take once in many years for the average consumer.

    A court might well find two years is reasonable, I have a feeling it's 50:50, contractual unfairness cannot be excused by policy.
     
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  5. burmans

    burmans Senior Member

    Feb 21, 2006
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    I agree with this, offering a voucher with a limited usage is not really adequate recompense for failure to provide a service. Personally am not sure why a voucher rather than a refund was ever a serious option in the first place and think a refund should have been offered without needing to be asked for.

    Having accepted then I agree she should have used but put it this way, she was entitled to her money back and their's no expiry date on cash. In offering a voucher with such an expiry date I personally dont think Qantas actually met their refund or replacement requirement. It's not a replacement if the flight never occurred.
     
  6. harvyk

    harvyk Senior Member

    Apr 15, 2009
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    There is nothing illegal about a company offering a voucher first and foremost for use on their services if they are unable to provide the originally agreed service, and if you agree to take a voucher then you also agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of that voucher. Basically when a company is unable to deliver a product or service, in the first instance it is up to the consumer and company to work out a mutually acceptable resolution. There are certain laws which the company must honour, such as they must give a full refund if requested, but even fair trading won't get involved until a genuine effort has been made to resolve the issue with the company first, and in this case the issue would have been considered resolved when the pax accepted the voucher.

    If the law simply said "unable to supply, refund must be given" it would limit a companies ability to resolve issues. For example if you where in the middle of a trip, and the airline was forced to cancel a flight you where planning on taking, it's really suck if the airline simply said "here is a refund for the airfare" rather than actively look for alternate flights they can put you on. But if the law said "unable to supply, refund must be given" an airline would have no choice. (Just look at the number of TT pax who complain with good reason when they get stranded somewhere)

    Where there would be a problem is if the pax said "no I want a full refund" and QF either said no we don't provide refunds, or if QF took out a refund processing fee from that refund. Then and only then would the pax actually have grounds to complain about.

    So since the issue was resolved by the pax agreeing to take the voucher, I'm 99.99999% sure that fair trading will simply say "sorry can't help".

    Edit: So long story short, it's important for consumers to learn their rights, and be confident in standing up for them.
     
  7. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
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    Accepting the voucher does not limit your rights to a remedy if it's deemed to be unfair down the track, it's not a deed of release or remedy per se. If a settlement and release agreement was signed, that's the end.
     
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  8. leadlegs

    leadlegs Newbie

    Jun 21, 2012
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    3
    Thanks for the insightful comments from everyone. As markis10 said "It seems unfair that the party breaching the contract can limit the remedy to a set time limit that for many may not be suitable for all when such a large amount is at stake. It's a trip most take once in many years for the average consumer." This is true for my daughter and it's an enormous amount of money for her.

    I'll suggest my daughter call consumer affairs/fair trading or whatever it is these days and see what they say. It might be a very high hourly rate if they agree Qantas is liable. If not, she'll at least know that there's nothing else she can do.
     
  9. burmans

    burmans Senior Member

    Feb 21, 2006
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    I agree that companies can offer a replacement service but it has to be essentially the same. If they are unable to offer a service to Mumbai and are unwilling to put the OP on another similar flight they are unable to provide a replacement and should have offered a refund.

    As for the consumer accepted, the advice (and I received on the company side not a consumer advocate) aligns with markis10 that this does not limit remedies if the original offer is found to be inadequate, so just don't agree but guess we will need to differ unless you happen to be a consumer law lawyer ( as the person who provided this advice was).
     
  10. lovestotravel

    lovestotravel Senior Member

    Sep 18, 2008
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    It's too late now basically, should have obtained a refund initially!

    As for Consumer Affairs they can't force Qantas to do anything, but simply recommend.

    If Qantas doesn't want to refund, they won't and you'll have to take them to Court
     
  11. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
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    Consumer Affairs will advise you what your rights are and assist in action via NCAT, which (just like Jetstar found with VCAT) is very much binding, just based in NSW where it's likely jurisdiction would lie.
     
  12. lovestotravel

    lovestotravel Senior Member

    Sep 18, 2008
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    Yes but it's still up to you personally to make the effort to attend a hearing... as I said.
     
  13. markis10

    markis10 Veteran Member

    Nov 25, 2004
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    No one is saying they will champion your cause, and it's certainly not too late as you claim.
     
  14. lovestotravel

    lovestotravel Senior Member

    Sep 18, 2008
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    I am saying it's too late.

    It's over 2 years and now they want a refund after previously accepting a credit note which was extended for a year and a reminder email was sent 3 months before the expiry.

    For a small amount of $2000 I'd say there is pretty much 0.0001% chance of getting a refund now
     
  15. muppet

    muppet Active Member

    Jun 19, 2010
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    This is a funny one.

    Because my initial reaction is, QF should have had to re-accommodate your daughter to the destination and any additional expense.

    However, I really have difficulty sympathising with people who hand over their money to companies, get nothing in return and then wait 2 years to complain. In my opinion, the money is gone. Lesson learned. If you're daughter is too busy to spend $2000 then who cares? If the money is significant then why didn't she take action? Just doesn't make sense.

    I don't think you should stress yourself over it - mistakes made,.... 2 years ago by accepting a credit, five months ago by ignoring the warning and two months ago by letting it expire.
     
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  16. medhead

    medhead Suspended

    Feb 13, 2008
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    Consumer affairs body is my view. The massive question for me is whether Qantas even made the customer that a refund was an option. If they didn't and just said here's voucher that is clearly inadequate.

    As for the Qantas sycophants, exactly how are your posts providing advice to the OP on the way to proceed. I have to shake my head at people who jump in apportioning fault rather than anything constructive.
     
  17. muppet

    muppet Active Member

    Jun 19, 2010
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    Usually I'd agree with you medhead... but two years? Give me a break.

    The title of the thread has an angry face... presumably at Qantas, even though fault lies almost entirely with the OPs daughter.

    Qantas was at fault two years ago!

    No indication the daughter ever asked for a refund, only extending the voucher, of which QF obliged.

    I'm usually on the consumer's side.... but this one takes the cake.

    EDIT: oh and i did provide advice, not to stress and move on, lesson learned. :)
     
  18. leadlegs

    leadlegs Newbie

    Jun 21, 2012
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    Thanks markis10
     
  19. medhead

    medhead Suspended

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    refunds form Qantas

    I don't see an angry face on the phone app.

    I didn't say anything about Qantas being at fault for 2 years, just, potentially, at the point that the voucher was issued. The passage of time does not nullify that initial potentially wrong outcome. If the OP's daughter didn't want a voucher in the first place and was clearly entitled to a refund. Waiting 2 years does not change that they should have been issued a refund. And that Qantas should have informed them of the ability to take a refund. There have been plenty of stories here of Qantas CSA offering a voucher when a refund was due and people having to fight to get a refund.

    That's before we even get to the replace or refund requirement with a voucher being neither a replacement nor a refund.
     
  20. Pushka

    Pushka Enthusiast

    Jan 26, 2011
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    refunds form Qantas

    I'm not sure the time delay in using the voucher is actually relevant if the consumer in the first instance is not advised correctly about how the cancellation will be processed (refund or voucher). It will depend on what your daughter was told when advised the flight was cancelled.

    I hate credit vouchers. I was offered one when I cancelled a flight a few months ago but knew I could get a refund under the cancellations conditions. But I had to force that. But that was me cancelling, not the airline.

    When you try to redeem vouchers, the flights offered are significantly reduced in terms of times available and more expensive than if you just do a normal booking. And then there's a fee deducted to use the voucher.

    Does she have anything in writing (eg email) where Qantas have advised her that a voucher was the ONLY option they would provide? Because that is the crux of it all.
     
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