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She's waited two years for her Flight Network pandemic refund. Should she just give up?

 


After a pandemic flight cancellation, Waleska Abreu has waited almost two years for a refund from Corsair International and her online agent, Flight Network. Is her money lost forever?

I need your help getting a refund from Flight Network. I booked tickets from Miami to Paris on Corsair International, a charter airline, in 2019. We were supposed to fly in June 2020, but of course, we couldn't because of the pandemic.

I have been trying to get a refund from Flight Network since then. I have tried to call and email. Flight Network says it can't refund the money because Corsair hasn't refunded it yet. I just want my money back. Please help me -- and please don't give up.

Waleska Abreu, Pompano Beach, Fla.

Wow, are they trying to set a new record for the longest refund? It looks like you booked these tickets in late 2019. That's almost two years ago (I mediated this case with my team in late 2021).

I can't think of any reason -- none whatsoever -- for a company to keep your money for that long. Not a pandemic. Not the involvement of a third party, like Flight Network. Nothing. It's just too long.

I took a look at your correspondence and saw a few reasons for a potential delay. First, Corsair may have struggled with processing an inordinately large number of cancellations. And it's a small carrier, with just nine aircraft as of late 2021. So refunding the money may have been difficult, but it shouldn't be impossible, and it shouldn't take two years.

Second, while you had a paper trail of correspondence between you and the travel agency, some of your communication was by phone. For refunds, think it's always best to have all of your communication in writing, either by chat, text or email. As long as you have a written record, you can show your continuing efforts to get your refund.

Your paper trail was missing the initial "ask" and was not well organized, which may have made it harder for Flight Network to pursue Corsair for your refund. More difficult, but again, not impossible. I just can't think of a good reason as to why it would take two years to get your refund.

I publish the names, numbers and email addresses of the top executives at Flight Network on my consumer advocacy site. A brief, polite email to one of them might have helped your case along. I'm sure the executives would agree that your refund was well overdue.

I'm getting a little tired of reporting the same story over and over: pandemic flight refunds that take forever, and companies that can't or won't do the right thing by returning their customers' money in a timely fashion. As you might know, I write a companion column called the Travel Troubleshooter that deals exclusively with travel issues. I'm writing about this airline refund case to warn readers about this issue and to help them fix it. And if the escalation to an executive doesn't work? A trip to small claims court, a credit card dispute -- or an email to yours truly -- can get things moving along.

I contacted Flight Network on your behalf. It reported that Corsair had processed your refund and would send the money back to you. Finally, many months after you were supposed to fly to Paris, you received the $1,448 you spent on tickets. Something tells me that this record wait for a refund won't stand for long, given the ongoing pandemic.

Christopher Elliott is the chief advocacy officer for Elliott Advocacy. Email him at [email protected] or get help with any consumer problem by contacting him at http://www.elliott.org/help

© 2022 Christopher Elliott

 

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