Vayama — hidden terms and conditions and poor customer service experience
I have had the worst experience after booking my tickets through Vayama. Even though their tickets are non-refundable, nowhere in there terms and conditions is it mentioned that if you cancel the trip then the entire value of the ticket is lost. Neither do they mention their no-show policy or the fact that Vayama would not assist you in any way on the phone. Every time you call them, after making you hold for about an hour and listening to your concerns, they tell you that they will respond via email, which in my case took about 10 days. And after that I received a quote for $1900 for making a change to a ticket that I brought for $1282. I had no option, but to buy new tickets all together. What is the use of cancelling the ticket in advance, if the entire value is going to be lost. I wrote a letter to Kayak in order to share my bad experience, and I received a response from Anna (KAYAK Consumer Services Rep) giving the Vayama customer care number and asking to call them for assistance. How is this supposed to be of any help??
COPY OF LETTER
I booked my tickets on September 21st, 2014, using the Kayak website, which redirected the booking to Vayama.com. Since, I knew that Kayak was a trusted booking site, I went ahead and did the booking. The result of this trust was a waste of $1282.32, which was price of my entire ticket, and a painful and honestly the worst customer service experience of my life. What has happened has happened, but I cannot let this go without sharing my experience and I will also be sharing on public forums, so that others do not have to go through such a terrible ordeal.
The problem started, when I found out that since my trip from US to India, included two stops at Germany, I would be requiring a Schengen tourist visa. Because my H1-B visa had expired, and I was going to get my visa renewed in India, getting the Schengen visa was not possible. So, I tried to get my flight scheduled changed, as having a single stop in Germany would not require for me to have the visa. After that I called Vayama, about five times, each call lasting for more than an hour because of the long durations of waiting in between calls. First of all, no helpful information was provided via phone. Every time I called, they listened to my concerns and said that they would me sending me the quote for getting the ticket changed within two business days. After waiting for those two days, and not getting any reply, I would have to call again and they would unapologetically ask me to wait another two days. When I tried calling the main airline company, i.e. Lufthansa, they said that they could not help in any way and only the agent, which was Vayama could do that. Why was I not given this piece of information clearly, while booking the ticket?
Finally, after waiting for 8-9 days, I got an email with a quote for $1900 for making the required change. (Additional airfare - $1500, airline change penalty - $300, Vayama service fee - $100) This quote seemed like a ridiculous joke, as they were just making a change to my outgoing flight and the price was more than the cost of my entire ticket. Since, no changes were required in the return flight. So, I decided to book an altogether new one way ticket from US to India, and was hoping to use the Lufthansa ticket for the return journey. But then a new piece of information was given to me. If I do not show up for my flights from US to India, I would be considered a no-show and my entire trip ahead would be cancelled. I felt really helpless and angry at this point of time. I decided to forget about this ticket completely book new return tickets for my return trip as well.
The monetary loss is still acceptable, but the fact that I was not informed about so many things while booking the ticket, that I found out about later, such as the no-show policy, or that any changes to the ticket in future would have to be made through the agent only, makes me feel cheated. I really regret not looking up the reviews for Vayama online, before booking my tickets as they would have prevented me from making the booking. The complaints posted by other customers seem to match my experience and not surprisingly I did not come across any positive reviews at all. I will not be making any future purchases from Kayak or Vayama and advice other also to do the same.
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