Travelocity denied me a valid refund of over $1600.00 by purposefully denying information to me, and ignoring my communications with them until after their self-imposed period of limitation had expired. Then they acknowledged my complaint, and proceeded to move slowly. Later, they falsified information to make it appear as if I was the party who was at fault. Let me explain this in detail.
In January of 2008 I made plans to meet my wife, who was a Nepalese citizen and living in our house in Nepal, for a vacation in Bangkok in late March of the same year. I was teaching at an arts high school in San Lorenzo, CA, and I made a reservation and bought a ticket through Travelocity, to fly to Bangkok via Hong Kong and back again. However, on February 22nd of that year, my wife died in a car accident. I cancelled the trip that night and tried to use the credit for a flight to Kathmandu. However the trip reservation as arranged by Travelocity fell through while I was at the airport (San Francisco International), and I ended up paying for the trip myself.
Due to legal complications arising from the settlement of our estate, I had to quit my job and go to Nepal for an extended period of time. I came back to the US in early April, and on April 20th of that same year (2008) I flew back. Again I tried to use the Travelocity credits, but the reservation did not work again, so I ended up yet again paying for the one-way ticket myself.
I was now living in Nepal full time, trying to protect the house I bought over there, along with bank accounts and other assets from unscrupulous family members. Around June of the same year, aware that I was going to be in Nepal for quite some time, I started calling Travelocity to request a refund. Here is where the problems started. Travelocity, first of all, has customer relations times from 7AM to 7PM CMT. Nepal is roughly 12 hours ahead of Central Time, so those times translated from 7PM to 7AM. We did not have, nor was it available until early in 2009, long distance service from our house, nor internet service. I had to call from ISD/STD shops, where long-distance service is available. There were several problems. First of all, they are open from 8 AM to around 8PM, which gave me roughly one hour a day to call. Second of all, Nepal has had, like many countries in the world, an acute electricity problem, and there are rolling brown-outs many everyday, further compounding calling as many of the lines are Internet based, or the shops simply closed as they could not operate computers which people rent by the hour, the shops’ main source of revenue. In the winter we had 16 hours a day of “load-shedding, ” as these brownouts are euphemistically known as. Still I tried to call once or twice a month, which was all I could manage. Often I would wait twenty-five minutes or more on these pay phones, as the toll-free numbers (and collect numbers) did not work from abroad. A few times I was connected with representatives, who said that they would have to get back in touch with me. As I did not have a phone number which they could reach me at, just a mobile number (which in Nepal are very difficult to reach from abroad) I gave them my email address ([protected]@yahoo.com) to reach me at. They never emailed me.
Finally in early 2009 I started emailing them, again explaining the problem, asking for a refund. Each time it was as if they had never heard of the situation before. It was not until March 3rd of 2009 - fourteen months after the ticket was purchased on my Chase Bank - Amazon.com Master Card - that Travelocity emailed me back with instruction on which documents to supply them with at their Texas headquarters. Even then they said nothing about their one-year time limit on refunds, nor had they said anything before that. I sent the documents later, about one week afterwards. They never acknowledged receipt of these documents. It was not until June of this year that they acknowledged this, and sent the information on to Cathay Pacific, the carrier. Cathay bounced it back to Travelocity, stating that as Travelocity was the ticketing agent, they were responsible.
Then finally, last week, in a phone conversation with a representative, I was told that it was too late, and that the window for refund had passed. I am firmly of the belief that Travelocity knowingly delayed responding to my phone calls and giving me information on what documents to send to them to process my refund request. I finally spoke to a manager, Victor, who claimed that in a phone call they told me, in November of 2008, to send a death certificate, marriage certificate and a copy of her ID. This is a flat-out fabrication. The first information I received from Travelocity on what to provide them with, as I stated earlier in this letter, was in March of this year. So they have also falsified information in order to make it appear as if they had proceeded in a due fashion. I am not a wealthy individual, and had they told me what was needed in November I certainly would have provided it then. Then in an attempt to pacify me they offered me a 100 dollar rebate. In a not very polite email, I told them what they could do with their rebate.
I am writing this letter, again as a complaint against what I see as Travelocity’s willfully negligent and misleading business practices. Their aim is solely monetary. My aim was to gain a refund, due to the death of my wife, and this company took advantage of my difficult situation to bilk me out of what should have been a normal business transaction. Perhaps there are other consumers who have had a similar experience with Travelocity.