Travelocity — fraud and theft
On March 1, 2009 I made an on-line reservation through Travelocity for airline tickets to Puerto Vallarta. The selected airline was Mexicana Airlines and we were to fly June 6th. I paid for the tickets and for a flight cancellation insurance policy.
In April, the governments of the United States and Mexico, along with the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization all issued travel advisories against vacation travelling to Mexico due to the recent Swine Flu outbreak. Mexicana announced that it would issue refunds to travelers wishing to cancel their trips.
My wife and I made the decision to cancel our trip. Our two young daughters, who were to travel with us, had pre-existing medical conditions that could have been complicated by a swine flu exposure and a quarantine preventing re-entry to the U.S.
I contacted Travelocity Customer Service by phone, requesting to cancel. Travelocity was unable to contact Mexicana and suggested that I try to contact them directly. For ten days I tried to call Mexicana using every telephone number I could find. The recorded “All circuits are busy” message was the only response I could get. Finally, I was able to make contact, only to be told that I could not cancel my reservation, only my agent, Travelocity could. The Mexicana customer service agent was rather brusque and could only repeat the same answer to each question I posed. When I asked to speak with a supervisor, I was told that none were available, ever!
Frustrated after speaking with Mexicana, I contacted the insurance carrier, Berkely Care (owned by Travelocity and underwritten by AIG) to file a claim and retrieve the cost of my tickets. After explaining the situation with the insurance company, I was immediately told that my claim would not be honored because “disease” was not a covered item. I hadn’t even filed the paperwork or pediatrician statement yet!
Angry at the treatment I received at the hands of Travelocity and Mexicana, I filed payment disputes with my credit card company, American Express. I also initiated complaints with the Better Business Bureau.
Several calls between me and Travelocity ensued, with no resolution. A few days later, my wife received a phone call at work from an individual representing herself to be an employee of American Express. This individual wished to resolve the Travelocity (but not Mexicana) payment dispute and release the funds for payment to Travelocity. My wife forwarded the call to me. I spoke to the person and recognized the same East-Indian accent that all Travelocity Customer Service agents seem to have. This person again represented herself as an employee of American Express and wanted to resolve the Travelocity payment dispute. I asked her if she really was an American Express employee or an employee with Travelocity and she assured me she was with Amex. I asked her for a call-back number which was refused. I told her I was sure she was a Travelocity employee and she told me, “We are one and the same.”
I asked her to clarify for me that she was stating that Travelocity and American Express were the same company and she said, “Yes, that is true.” Truly amazed at this statement, I asked to speak with a supervisor and was of course, refused. When I accused this individual of making a fraudulent statement for the purpose of coercing me into releasing my payment dispute, she back-tracked with another gem, “We are affiliated companies.” I hung up and contacted American Express.
There has been no contact with Travelocity since, other than an indirect suggestion through the BBB complaint to tell me to file a claim with Berkely Care. I found this amusing because Berkely Care had already told me, “Don’t bother.” They have not responded to my letters. I never did receive any airline tickets.
Mexicana patently refused to get involved. They denied each request for a refund or modification, pointing me back to Travelocity.
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