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Today I thought I would share a reader tale from reader Dan (no relation!) who shared a story about a refund gone wrong on a trip with LATAM.
Cautionary tale for your readers.@LATAMAirlinesUS is not to be trusted.
Long story short: They only issued a partial refund on a fully refundable flight. They acknowledge they still owe me $166. 4 months later, still haven’t received a refund.
— Dan Weber (@projectx33) January 24, 2020
I followed up with Dan for some more details, and he wrote the following:
Booking the original LATAM flight
Back in September, I booked a refundable fare (paid with cash) through LATAM. I also made a date change to that ticket, which was a more expensive flight to the tune of $166; also a refundable fare. I ended up canceling the ticket and requesting a refund. It took three weeks, but I was happy to see the refund was delivered.
Or so I thought.
Calling Customer Service… take 1… and 2…
Turns out, they shorted the refund. The refunded the cost of the original fare, but not the $166 additional that was paid when I made a change. I reached out to customer service and received a prompt reply that acknowledged their mistake, opened a case number, and that the difference would be refunded within 20 days. I thought this was a long time to wait but moved on.
That 20-day time frame passed, and after 30 days, I reached out again via phone. This is when I learned how incredibly difficult it is to get a real person on the line. When I finally did, I was transferred to a few different people, until eventually I was given another case number.
This merry-go-round continued again and again. Several case numbers piled up. Each time, I continued to receive the same boilerplate response that they were working on my case, and they will contact me promptly.
Take #3 – move to Twitter
After three months, my patience and kindness wore out. I hit their Twitter account hard. Sending several tweets their way every day, and filing a complaint with the Department of Transportation (DoT). A few days later, they finally reached out to confirm the card I used and promised a refund. Finally, I thought, I can move on.
Well a couple of days later, I receive an email that the refund was canceled. No explanation. So I call. You guessed it… another case number. Then I receive an email that acknowledged my complaint with the DoT. A few days later, another email stating they would not issue a refund for the $166 because that refund was already complete. I dispute this and of course, what do I get? Another case number. And another, and another, etc.
It’s now been 4 months since the initial refund request. Continued broken promises that someone will contact me “promptly”, yet nothing ever happens. Thing is, this is not unusual for them. Do a bit of research and you’ll see many accounts of LATAM stringing out customers who are owed refunds.
It certainly is annoying when companies don’t follow through on things, especially when they owe you money! Personally, I have only flown LAN airlines twice, on a roundtrip from the US to Cuzco, and did not experience a problem. Though I suppose I only flew them and did not actually BOOK a ticket with them, since I used American and Alaska miles to book my business class flights to Peru.
This whole situation reminds me of the year it took for me to finally get refunded for my Aer Lingus business class flight being canceled on me (while I was sitting on the tarmac!)
(SEE ALSO: Why Aer Lingus is paying me $1306)
That whole thing was nothing but a lesson in the virtue of persistence and hopefully (the other) Dan can finally get some closure on his story as well!
What do you think? Anything Dan can do to get his money back from LATAM? Have you ever had problems with LATAM refunds? Contribute in the comments!
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