Cheaptickets - Absolutely Horrified With Customer Service
Airline Ticket - Complaint
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- I am absolutely horrified that a company like Cheaptickets is allowed by the air transport authority or any other third party regulatory bodies to operate its business in North Ameerica and there is no oversight by any of these agencies to bring and end to the Cheapticket’s behaviour that tantamounts to be negligent, fraudelant and next to criminal. The web is full of numerous complaints against Cheaptickets, where customers are being taken for a ride!
I bought a ticket to fly from Vancouver to Dhaka from Cheaptickets for US 1,302.90 on April 21st CheapTickets record locator PBCTIX4357096834. The flight was with China Eastern Airline due to leave on May 16, 2013 from Vancouver, arriving in Dhaka with two layovers in Shanghai and Kunming, China.
On April 28, over two weeks prior to the start of my trip, I received an e-mail from Cheaptickets notifying me that the airline has notified them of a change to my itinerary on my departure route. Previously, at Kunming, the layover was 7hr 20 minutes and with the change it stood at 12hr 15min-- an additional 5 hours. I was informed if the updated itinerary was acceptable, no further action was necessary. But I was not informed of any option in the event it was not acceptable. I did not want to have such a long layover on top of another layover in Shanghai for 4:30 hours without any accommodation or meals provided by the airline due to this change especially since it was arriving in Kunming after midnight at 12:35 AM and the next leg of journey wouldn’t start until mid-day next day at 12:50 pm and also since this change was made by the Airline. I decided to call and inquire what arrangement the airline could offer to accommodate me.
On Monday May 29, I called Cheaptickets and inquired whether the Airline can offer hotel and meals for this change in itinerary. The service agent on phone looked into it and informed me that there was no option available from the airline and inquired if I’d like to get a full refund instead and he could assist me by making a cancellation. I told him I was not interested in making a cancellation, I just want to be accommodated. Since there was no options that were offered other than the refund route, I inquired and double checked asking the customer representative that there would be a ‘full refund’ and no penalties or charges for making the cancellation.
As he confirmed that I would receive a full refund and no penalties or charges would be made, I agreed for him to proceed with the cancellation so I could make alternative arrangement for my trip. After he made the cancellation, he told me that I would have to wait 45 days for the refund to take place, and this was ‘AFTER’ not before the cancellation. I was quite upset that he did not tell me up-front about this policy and I could not accept this policy and expressed that to him, and he said he couldn’t do anything about it. Meantime, I’d received an email to an effect that my flight was cancelled and there was no mention of a refund whatsoever in the email.
For the next few days I made several calls to Cheaptickets, to get a written confirmation saying I was owed a full refund by Cheaptickets and I needed that in writing as an email of cancellation can be perceived as an act of cancellation made on my part, without any reference to the change in itinerary or no option being made available to me and the fact that it was actually a ‘refund notice’ that I should have received. Also, I wanted to have a written backup in the event of a dispute later as I only had the discussion over phone with the representative Each time I called Cheaptickets, I had to bear with long waits, mediocre customer service and a lot of frustration for not being able to get anyone to acknowledge me in writing that a refund process was underway. Meantime, I had to purchase another ticket from another travel agent and carry on with my trip.
Before the start of my journey, on May 13th I received an email from Cheaptickets ‘Refund Department’ CheapTickets Record Locator - AP270301LVRLPU8P saying they wanted to let me know that they have submitted my refund request to China Eastern and if the airline approves your refund, it will take an average of 45 days to process the refund to you. Also, they will send me an e-mail once the airline has confirmed the final status of this request. I was extremely upset that the notice was talking about ‘airline approval’, when I originally talked to the customer representative when we cancelled my reservation, there was no question of ‘ifs’ or ‘airline approvals’ mentioned whatsoever, I was told it was a ‘full refund’ and no penalties or cancellation charges would be there. Now after two weeks since the cancellation, all I got from Cheaptickets was that they are waiting for Airline approval. I would never have agreed for a cancellation had I known the refund was dependent on airlines approval.
It has been over 100 days since I my reservation was originally cancelled, over 90 days since I receieved the email from the refund department, I have made more calls to Cheaptickets and talked to customer reps and supervisors who expressed to assist, but I am no way close to getting any sign of my money or any information on the status or request. They reassure me every time that the record shows all what’s happened and since the cancellation was made due to a change made by the airline that I would get my money back, but there is nothing else. Customer agent Francis, employee # 104112, provided a reference file number, 130501-003564 that would describe the above.
Most recent calls I had been on August 12, with Zander, employee # 104319 and his supervisor Kevin, employee # 6341. All they tell me is that their record shows that Cheaptickets has made several attempts to contact the airline and they have not heard back from the airline on its status.On top of that when pressed that it’s been over 90 days and what about the 45 day timeline, one representative had the audacity to tell me the ’45 day period’ starts from the time Cheapticket would hear back from the Airline not from the time of the cancellation. This is a ludicrous and unheard of policy and I don’t think anyone in their right senses would accept this kind of policy. Besides I argued why doesn’t Cheapticket follow up with the Airline and get to the bottom of it. The supervisor was going to look into contacting the airline and put me on hold and after a half an hour wait and a total of over an hour on the phone I had to hang up. Phone calls with the customer services reps and supervisors seem to take me nowhere and I am yet to see any sign of my refund.
I want Cheaptickets to own up to their responsibility to clients and make my full refund as promised without any further delay.