How can I find an advocate?

Travel Forums General Talk How can I find an advocate?

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Last Post This thread is marked as being about USA
1. Posted by GLSmyth (Budding Member 5 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I have been trying to get my money back from Aer Lingus and am wondering if there is a way to get some entity to advocate for me. 

My flight was cancelled a year and a half ago due to COVID and I am basically out $900+.  Expedia tells me that I need to get the money from Aer Lingus, and Aer Lingus tells me that I need to get the refund from Expedia.  I have tried everything I can think of and am wondering if anyone has any ideas on the path forward.

Thanks -

​​​​​​​george

2. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 3341 posts) 3w 3 Star this if you like it!

I'm sorry you're having trouble but I'm afraid you're not alone...nor is this an issue exclusive to Aer Lingus and/or Expedia. Many people who booked flights using a third party such as Expedia have had difficulty getting refunds for flights cancelled because of Covid.

When you book through a third party such as Expedia your contract is with that third party rather than the airline or hotel concerned. You paid Expedia who then used the money to book a flight on your behalf. It is legally difficult...potentially impossible....for airlines (or hotels etc) to process a refund for someone other than whoever paid for a flight.

It is thus the third party who should refund the client and claim the money from the airline. That's why third party flight booking websites often (usually?) charge an admin fee for flight cancellations.

Aer Lingus (and other airlines) make this clear in their t&c:

https://www.aerlingus.com/support/cancellations-and-refunds/

To be fair, Expedia (like the airlines and many other travel companies) has been inundated with Covid-related cancellation claims but it is simply wrong to tell you that you must claim directly from AL. I am aware of at least one (US) court case which has been brought against Expedia for exactly this issue.

Imo it is always best to book flights directly with the airline concerned. In late 2019 I booked a 2020 flight to the US directly with Aer Lingus. The flight was cancelled due to Covid and I received a full refund within 4 weeks of making my claim.

As well as continuing to hassle Expedia (I know it's tedious and exhausting) there are three routes you could pursue (if you haven't already done so):

1. Contact your credit card provider. They can tell you if there are grounds for them to institute a 'chargeback' against Expedia. If they can't, they may be able to offer advice about what to do.

2. Contact your travel insurance provider. If you can't make a claim they too may be able to offer advice.

3. I don't know US consumer rights law but can you get legal advice about pursuing Expedia?

Good luck!

[ Edit: Edited on 30 Sep 2021, 07:14 GMT by leics2 ]

3. Posted by ToddP (Moderator 226 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

It's always that bit more complex when booking through a third party rather than directly with the airline. My friends had exactly the same issue with another airline. Contacted airline and was told to contact the agent who they booked with as money is with them. Rang the agent and was told to contact the airline.

It's up to Expedia to refund you in this particular case as your contract is with them and money is paid to them. But to make your life easier I suggest what my friends did...

- call your credit card company that you paid for your trip;
- open dispute resolution for the transaction with the credit card;
- they will require more information etc etc, but not a big deal.

Took maybe a month or so (can't remember exactly), but the money was refunded back to the card by the credit card company.

Due to Covid so many flights were cancelled and credit cards are the best way to resolve the issue if 'some issues' with the agent and/or the airline.

Good luck!

4. Posted by adamnav (First Time Poster 1 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Sorry to hear that you r in trouble. Facing flight booking problem.

5. Posted by GLSmyth (Budding Member 5 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I contacted my credit card company but was told that since it was past the 60 day limit there was nothing that they would do.

The problem with opening up a legal case against them is that it would cost much more to do so than I would possibly be able to get back.

I will be filling out a form with the Department of Transportation, though I doubt that that will do much.

6. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2418 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Quoting GLSmyth

I contacted my credit card company but was told that since it was past the 60 day limit there was nothing that they would do.

Am I correct in thinking you're in Ireland?

In that case credit card chargebacks apparently have no basis in consumer law (unlike the UK) and they are all at the discretion of the card company. So, the 60 days thing is merely of their own making. I wonder if you could escalate it within the card company to someone who could exercise their discretion in your favour?

I just found this site which suggests their policy may actually be limited to 120 days past the date of non-delivery of the service.

[ Edit: Edited on 30 Sep 2021, 15:34 GMT by AndyF ]

7. Posted by GLSmyth (Budding Member 5 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

I am in the United States. I am going to see if I can talk to someone at the credit card company because while the purchase was made a year and a half ago, I did not realize that there was not a problem until recently.

8. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2418 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Ah. I've updated the location to USA from Ireland then.

9. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 3341 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

>I am going to see if I can talk to someone at the credit card company because while the purchase was made a year and a half ago, I did not realize that there was not a problem until recently.

Do that...and if the call-handler isn't helpful you should push to speak to a supervisor. And do check with your travel insurance provider as well (I assume you had/have travel insurance?)

>The problem with opening up a legal case against them is that it would cost much more to do so than I would possibly be able to get back.

I'm sure there are 'no win, no fee' legal advisors in the US just as there are in the UK. It might be worth doing a bit of research and contacting one?

10. Posted by GLSmyth (Budding Member 5 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

The credit card company was not helpful. Since this has been slow-walked, it is now "old news" and "too late" for anything to be done.

No, I do not have travel insurance.

I have opened a case with the Department of Transportation, which appears to be my last and only chance for recompense.