Monday, February 15, 2010

British Airways, Part 1

A few minutes ago, I sent the following to The Consumerist

A few months ago, my best friend James and I decided to celebrate my 30th birthday in Barcelona. After weeks of ticket research and price watching, we dropped ~$1800 for two round-trip tickets on British Airways. Since then, I have vowed to never fly with them again, nor will I let any of my friends make the mistake I did.

I paid for my tickets on 1/30, and the charge appeared on my debit card on 2/5. Three days later, another charge for the same amount appeared. I called them immediately to find out what had happened; I work for a very large credit card processor and certainly understand that double-charges happen. The first agent I reached claimed that he'd need to send out my file for investigation, but wouldn't give me an ETA on the refund. Two days later, with no word from BA, I called again. This agent worked with their ticketing department while I was on the phone and assured me that my refund would be expedited. Later that afternoon, I got an email from their research department stating that my case was closed without action, but if I could send them a copy of both passports (mine and James') they'd be happy to reopen the case and try again. I dispatched the copies immediately. We are so very lucky that James had received his renewed passport in the mail two days prior to this, as heaven knows what I would have done then.

So it's President's Day and I still have not reached satisfaction. I called them again today, trying to determine the status of my issue, but all they would tell me is that "someone is looking into it". I also tweeted @BritishAirways, but they don't seem to have someone manning that post today.

I have contacted my lawyer (aka James in this story), and will have my bank initiate a chargeback tomorrow morning, but I fear that the chargeback might result in the cancellation of my ticket, and fares have increased considerably since I purchased it. I really don't want to risk that, but on the other hand, I'm trying to close escrow on my new house in the next week or two, and can't afford to be missing part of my down payment. I'm lucky that my down payment funds were sitting in my checking account at the time; I don't even want to think about what might have happened at any other time of the year.

I don't know if they'll post it, but i thought it was worth a shot. Further updates will appear both here and on my Twitter feed.

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