Lucky Paras in New York
Lucky Paras didn’t have to live up to its name to get its money from an airline. He just approached the problem from a different angle.
The 23-year-old University of Manitoba student had reserved seats for him and his girlfriend on a Swoop flight from Winnipeg to Las Vegas in May for a week-long trip with friends. But in March, the airline canceled the flight with thousands of others as border closures and quarantine rules prompted carriers around the world to anchor most of their fleets amid the COVID pandemic. -19.
Instead of refunding his money, Swoop offered Paras a voucher valid for two years, valued at $ 501.38, the total price of the return tickets.
“I thought it was completely unfair and a bit unethical,” he said.
Paras attempted to contact Swoop for a refund, but said he could not communicate with the phone and had not received a response to a Facebook Messenger note for two weeks. So he found another way to get his money back.
Paras initiated a chargeback through its Visa card provider, by calling the Toronto-Dominion Bank and filing a dispute on March 31. On May 19, he recovered his money.
“This is really a relief for me,” he said, noting that his part-time job at Bell MTS Place, home of the Winnipeg Jets, was gone after the containment measures were put in place.
A customer can initiate plausible litigation if the carrier canceled a flight, but not if the passenger did, said passenger rights lawyer Gabor Lukacs. But before initiating a chargeback, consumers must request a refund directly from the ticket seller – by phone, email, social media or all three.
If a response is not received within 15 days or is declined, customers can call the payment card issuer and request a chargeback on the grounds that the services they have paid for have not been rendered.
“The burden of proof is now on the carrier,” said Lukacs.
He recommends asking a litigation counselor or agent with a similar title from the credit card department. Customers should insist on a chargeback process even if the bank suggests the problem is between them and the airline or that tickets are non-refundable – an irrelevant point, said Lukacs.
“You have to be very, very confident. “
Credit cards define the rights of consumers in online documents.
“There is a right to charge back when services are not provided, including when they are canceled due to an emergency due to government restrictions, insolvency or other exceptional circumstances”, according to a guide in Mastercard dispute resolution line published May 1.
Customers should be prepared with documents proving that the flight has been canceled – usually an email from the airline, but a public statement announcing a series of cancellations may also suffice – as well as the date and amount of the charges. credit card, said Lukacs.
“There is some variation between the different credit cards,” he noted. “And there are very few cases that have been finalized so far.
“Overall, of course, the banks also don’t want to hold the bag for the airlines. This may be a reason for some Canadian credit card issuers to be less cooperative than others. “
Lukacs suggested customers record their calls to airlines and financial institutions for future reference.