Travelocity / quick to take your money, will not refund it
I wanted to travel from where I am working, Naples, Italy to where my family is, Alabama. I wanted to go for my daughter's first Christmas.
I booked using Travelocity. I paid extra for paper tickets and more on top of that for overseas mailing address - even though it is a military post office and therefore, not considered overseas by the USPS.
My paper tickets did not arrive before my travel date. This is the first time I have arranged flight for myself, so I did not understand the significance of this. I had my itinerary and my reservation code. I figured they could print me new boarding passes and I would be off. I went to the airport early to take care of it.
I was told that I could not fly without purchasing new tickets. I couldn't believe it. I made them tell me three times. I finally believed the floor manager. I broke down, in public. A grown man crying because I thought I could not go home for my daughter's first Christmas. I explained that I could not afford to buy a new ticket, considering the price of the first one and what the last minute ticket would surely cost. The clerk explained that I would be buying the same ticket, same price. I could not really afford it, but I decided to risk it. Of course they wouldn't take my Discover Card. Italy remember? So I had to use my company travel card. So now I'm risking reprimand from my company, but they told me I could file for a refund.
Ok. I make the trip home. I find a quiet time and call Travelocity. I only had to wait in the queue for about 15 minutes and I spoke with a polite and helpful young man who informed me that I could request my refund through customer service and that I could scan and send them my receipt and an explanation of what happened, with my Trip ID number and that they would get me a refund.
So I sent them the scanned receipt and explained my problem. Ten minutes later a response. I couldn't believe it. On Christmas Eve too. Happy Holidays indeed! Nope. Just an automated message confirming receipt of my message.
Three days pass before I can check my mail. A courteously worded email with name and address and phone number requesting that I fax several things. I respond with a request for clarification and explain that I do not have access to a fax machine (costs 6-20 Euro to send a stateside fax from here.) Automated confirmation. Remarkably familiar courteously worded email with name and address and phone number requesting that I fax in several things (some are different from the first.)
So I made it really easy, I made a numbered list of my questions and sent it back. So far I have gotten about 4 different responses, mostly canned. The most recent telling me that they did not receive my scanned receipt and telling me that the Italian airline with which I traveled would take a year to process a refund.
I wept again. This time privately. Then I decided to respond, politely, and ask once again that they refund the FIRST ticket not the second one. Attached the scanned receipt again.
Then I went on the web to see if anyone else had had problems like this, and if so, how they got them resolved. Not an excessive number of hits if you consider the amount of business they must do.
But here's the common theme. Travelocity's customer service is very slow, extremely bureaucratic and they simply do not like to return your money. I did find another email address for their 100% guarantee department, and have sent an impassioned plea for help. I do not hold much hope.
Tomorrow I try to contact my credit card company to see if I can dispute the charge that way. Tomorrow night I will probably be posting on blogs across the blogosphere. Hmm, maybe if I pasted together all the email traffic and posted that on a Google page. (Yahoo Travel is where I started...turns out it's a front for Travelocity).
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