Airfare.com / Fraudulent activity
DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH AIRFARE.COM THEY WILL STEAL YOUR MONEY!!!
On 2/19/2010, I began searching for airline tickets for my boyfriend, my sister, and I for a vacation we are planning to Europe this summer. I went to Kayak.com and found decent tickets through one of their sponsored sites, Airfare.com. It seemed fairly routine until I had to put in my bank's 1-800 number, but as I had never done business with Airfare.com before, I did not think much of it. What did strike me as odd, however, was that as soon as I put in my information into the system, I received a phone call from an Airfare.com representative who told me I need to fill out and fax back an authorization form that would give them permission to charge my card and complete my transaction . They also informed me that I needed to fax them a copy of my driver's license and credit card. This seemed extremely strange, but when I questioned this, they told me that I should black out all my information on the cards, and that they just need to see that the name on the credit card matches the name on my ID. They said this is all for my own security, and that they are just trying to verify that I am who I say I am, and that the extra precaution was being taken because we were trying to purchase one way tickets and that we have different last names. I still did not feel right about the whole thing, but since I have never purchased international airline tickets before, I thought maybe things were different than when buying domestic tickets. Then, I saw on the authorization form (please see the attached form), the word “signed” is spelled incorrectly as “singed” near the bottom of the page. This was a major red flag for me, as spelling errors are extremely unprofessional. I then noticed the form says “I hereby authorize WTC to charge my (credit card name)”--I thought the tickets were from Airfare.com, and did not know who WTC (Wholesale Travel Center) was, so I did an internet search on the company.
The results I got were frightening. Page after page, complaint after complaint, from tons of people who have been swindled by this company. Apparently, they take your money, make a reservation for you, either never put the reservation through so you are never ticketed, or cancel your reservation days before you leave so that you are stranded at the airport. You get to the airport, find out you have no tickets, and then find that if you are able to get through to someone at Airfare.com, you either get hung up on, transferred, or left on hold forever. If you actually get to speak to a representative, that person speaks terrible broken English and will only tell you that there are no refunds.
So, the first thing I did was check my bank account. I found that the despite the fact that I did not sign and fax the authorization form, the authorization had been put through and was showing up as a pending authorization from Continental Airlines. I immediately called Airfare.com and told them that they absolutely do not have authorization to charge my card, that I would not be sending in the authorization form, and that they need to cancel my reservation right away. I was told that it was too late, and there was nothing that could be done. All tickets are non-refundable and that is just how their policy is. I told the representative repeatedly that I did not sign the authorization form, and they do not have permission to charge my card. The man had terrible English, I could barely understand him, and no matter what I said to him, all I could get out of him was that it was too late, and their policy does not allow refunds. The representative was then trying to hang up on me and give me an extension to a supervisor I could reach the next day, and at this point, my boyfriend got on the phone and tried to reason with him. He repeatedly told the representative that we are not signing the authorization form, and they do not have permission to charge my card.
The next morning, I called to speak with a US Bank representative to see what could be done on my end. After I told my story to the first representative, she immediately put me through to the fraud department. When I first started to tell my story to the fraud specialist, she stopped me and said, “Did you do business with them?” I told her that yes, I intended to and I did give them my card number. She then said that my case would be a dispute, not fraud. I asked her to please listen to the details of what had happened, and upon hearing the whole story, she said, “Oh no, that is fraud!” and immediately began the fraud process for me. However, I just received a letter from my bank—they are denying my fraud claim, and I am now out $1400.I REPEAT, DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH AIRFARE.COM THEY WILL STEAL YOUR MONEY!!!
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