Opodo — complaint : I was told my 'cancel for any reason' insurance was not valid
The issue that I have experienced is that I booked flights from London Heathrow to East London, South Africa in February this year, including 'Cancel for any reason' insurance of £44.00. Total cost of flights £982.06.
In April, the airline, Virgin Atlantic, changed all their flight numbers as part of their new financial year reshuffle (I presume). I was given a new flight number for the outward flight, plus a time change of 5 mins. There were no other changes to the actual flights at all. Everything stayed the same except for the flight number of the outward bound plane. I received an email asking me to phone Opodo urgently when Virgin Atlantic changed the flight number, which I did. I was given the new flight number BUT at no time was I advised that the flight change now made my cancellation insurance null and void. This seems to me to be a very dodgy way of conducting your business.
Today 04/11/2019 I have tried to cancel my flight as my health has deteriorated since February and I have been told that it would be inadvisable for me to fly to South Africa. I was told I couldn't cancel as there was a change to my flight booking. I was horrified. I originally spoke to Vivek at about 14.45pm. I asked to speak to a Manager but was put on hold for over 30 minutes. I was eventually put through to Vinku at 15.26pm who told me that as there had been a schedule change the 'cancel for any reason' was no longer valid. There was absolutely no 'wriggle' room in her script.
I am absolutely stunned by this. How can something that has nothing to do with me initiating anything, cancel out the insurance with no one drawing my attention to this. If it had been drawn to my attention I would have paid another £44.00 willingly. But to leave me, from April to now, thinking that I was still covered is criminal. I specifically took the 'cancel for any reason' especially as I have fluctuating health problems and this offered me a 'safety net' in case of unexpected cirsumstances. I don't understand how I can be penalised for a change I had no control over. It never occured to me that Opodo would class this as a flight change when the difference was a changed flight number and 5 minutes. I feel that Opodo should have drawn this to my attention when they sent the urgent email asking me to contact them. This did not happen.
I am so unhappy about this that I am also sending a complaint through Resolver, in association with Money Expert.com. If no satisfactory response is received I will be contacting the media and review sites about the totally misleading way Opodo is extracting money from its clients without advising them of all circumstances when the insurance won't be paid out. The phrase 'cancel for any reason' is not the descriptor it seems to be and is exceedingly misleading. I wonder if anyone ever gets refunded after taking this out.
I would be exceedingly grateful if this could be looked at and the refund that I am entitled to, as sold to me by Opodo originally, be agreed and processed. I look forward to your prompt and positive response on this matter.
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