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Suggestions for CC Refund
Old 05-27-2007, 04:16 AM   #1
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Suggestions for CC Refund

Long story short, a buddy and I were supposed to fly on Cebu Pacific -a budget Philippine airline- Bangkok to Manila On March 15. I booked the tickets online and charged them to my Visa CC.

My buddy (relative actually) skipped out and returned to the USA on Feb 28. I subsequently researched Cebu Pacific's web site and noted that they gave refunds for cancelled and missed flights. I phoned Cebu's call center in Manila (20 cents / minute on Skype -Ouch!) and cancelled my buddy's flight. Was told that a refund would be no problem and would post to my account in about 40 days.

Cool.

On March 15 I reported for my flight but was denied boarding because I as traveling on a one way ticket. I've traveled to the PI before on OW tickets, but the ticket agent would not budge and my apeal to the gate supervisor was also denied. The next day I duly applied for a refund from Cebu's Bangkok ticket agent.

As of May 15 the credits had not been posted to my account. I called Cebu's call center and was given the run around, even though I had the reference codes, etc documenting that i had cancelled the flights. They even told me a refund would take four months to post to my account!

I then faxed my cancelation info to Visa. I also followed up with a call. Since I have already paid for the tickets, Visa was not interested in helping me saying "you don't have to pay the interest on th charges." When I pointed out that I had already paid the bill, he only responded "Oh...."

I am tempted to wait four months and one day and if the refund is not posted to my account, I'll simply make charges to my Visa in an amout equal to what Cebu owes me and ignoe Visa until they make it right with me.

Yeah, I am pi##ed!

Anyone else been in this or a similar situation and how did you handle it?

Lance
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Old 05-27-2007, 04:28 AM   #2
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I then faxed my cancelation info to Visa. I also followed up with a call. Since I have already paid for the tickets, Visa was not interested in helping me saying "you don't have to pay the interest on th charges." When I pointed out that I had already paid the bill, he only responded "Oh...."
I'd file a charge dispute with Visa reciting all the circumstances, names, & references. Yes, you've paid the bill, but the problem is unresolved and you want a refund. Visa doesn't really care what you say but they'll pass on the info when they process a chargeback against the airline.

The chargeback will cause some bureaucratic pain at the airlines and they'll respond to your "customer concerns" a bit more promptly. They may also try to pull a fast one by simply resubmitting the charge, so keep telling Visa that the situation is unresolved.

I squabbled with a merchant for over six months this way, and whenever they resubmitted the charge I kept charging it back. Mastercard eventually got tired of us kids bickering and made the merchant refund the money.
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Old 05-27-2007, 04:35 AM   #3
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I'd file a charge dispute with Visa reciting all the circumstances, names, & references. Yes, you've paid the bill, but the problem is unresolved and you want a refund. Visa doesn't really care what you say but they'll pass on the info when they process a chargeback against the airline.

The chargeback will cause some bureaucratic pain at the airlines and they'll respond to your "customer concerns" a bit more promptly. They may also try to pull a fast one by simply resubmitting the charge, so keep telling Visa that the situation is unresolved.

I squabbled with a merchant for over six months this way, and whenever they resubmitted the charge I kept charging it back. Mastercard eventually got tired of us kids bickering and made the merchant refund the money.
Thanks Nords. Do you mean to contact the VISA organization directly?

I did speak with the disputed transactions department at my CC company and that was the helpful fellow that informed me that I had a zero balance and did not have to pay the interest charges
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Old 05-27-2007, 04:44 AM   #4
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Thanks Nords. Do you mean to contact the VISA organization directly?
Yep. You don't need to use the phone any more. On the back of your paper bill (or somewhere on their website) is the dispute form. One of the categories will be something dealing with "merchant disputes" or "unauthorized charges". You usually can't fit all your info in their tiny little blocks so you add an explanation letter. Everything you say may be immediately copied to the merchant to "help resolve the dispute" so state the situation professionally/respectfully and don't expect Visa to keep any of your info confidential.

Every time I've tried to do this over the phone or via e-mail I've been told to file the form, so it must set the bureaucratic machinery in motion. Usually that process begins with the credit-card company issuing a chargeback (credited to your account) followed by the merchant stating their case.

Fidelity's Mastercard even made this work with with eBay/PayPal when I was defrauded by a seller for $1200. Thank goodness I'd processed the PayPal charge on the card.
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Old 05-27-2007, 07:14 AM   #5
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Yes, I did the dispute thing. I could not copy the form online, so I copied and pasted the info on my home made form. I also added an explanation letter and my Skype telephone logs to prove I had called Cebu Pacific. I then faxed the info to them using faxzero.com, followed up by a call to confirm receipt. yes, Visa had received the fax.

I am going to interpret the guy in the "Dispute & Fraud Department" statement "You don't have to pay the interest charges" in this manner: the tickets cost $280 USD, so I'll charge an equal or greater amount, pay any difference over the $280 and ignore any demands to pay the amount ($280) in dispute. I'm reasonably sure that Visa has already remitted payment to Cebu Pacific (I booked the tickets on Feb 12) so Cebu is just jerking me around, hoping that I'll give up or at the very least enjoying a four or five month interest free loan at my expense.
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Old 05-27-2007, 07:16 AM   #6
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First... disclaimer... not a lawyer....

But, the only LEGAL way you can keep your rights is to send your CC company a written letter... all other ways can come back to screw you if they so desire...

So, find the place to mail disputes and send a letter... tell them everything that happened. They are supposed to refund your money IIRC.. (when I did mine, I did not pay so I don't know for sure)..

The merchant is then supposed to give them their version and then CC company makes a determination of who they will side.. you are not always assured of getting your money.... let me explain... sorry for being long on this post...

My first dispute was many years ago on Christmas eve... I had about $300 of work done on my car.... they ran the CC through the machine... and something came back, but the machine reset so they thought it was an error.... ran it through again... same thing happened... gave them another CC which they ran through... same thing agian.... so they wrote the number down and said they would try again the next day.... Well, I got two charges on one CC and one on the other... sent proof to CC company that I had PAID the CC with the one charge, but wanted the other two reversed... they did so... Now the problem as Nord said... 6 months later the charge is back on, I get a nasty letter from CC saying I had 10 days to pay... Got on the phone and was nasty to this lady as I was about to go on a two week vacation etc etc.... faxed her the info and she called back and said that she reversed the charges again and put something down not to ever charge me again... problem solved..

Second dispute... bought some new headlights for my car... with 100% satisfaction guarantee all over their web site.... well, both bulbs blew in less than 3 weeks... called the company to get the refund info... no answer... nothing from the web complaints etc.... Finally went the CC route (but did not write them... just online and phone but it worked)... the CC company said that I still had the product so there was no way they could give me a refund... I said the company would not talk to me so what could I do... well, mail it back!!! SO, to cut this one short... I just mailed the product back with a letter saying the same thing about them blowing out etc... got proof from the post office... sent that to the CC company and got a full refund... the company never tried to submit it again....

SO, make sure you put the web site reference about refunds and show that you did what it said to do.... good luck...
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Old 05-27-2007, 10:06 AM   #7
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In the '70s, on our first credit card, I ordered something over the phone from an ad in the back of a magazine. The postage/handling charge was clearly stated as $1.00. The CC was from a credit union whose office was in the same building that I worked in. When the bill came in the guy had charged me $1.50 postage. I called him, on his 800 number, and he told me "Too bad." and hung up on me. I went down to the credit union and got my $.50 overcharge reversed.

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Old 05-27-2007, 10:21 AM   #8
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Let me add a twist to all this. Do any of the laws of the USA apply to this disputed transaction? My guess is probably not. And even so, don't you have only 60 days to dispute in writing? And ain't 60 days long gone?
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Old 05-27-2007, 10:33 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Lancelot View Post
I am going to interpret the guy in the "Dispute & Fraud Department" statement "You don't have to pay the interest charges" in this manner: the tickets cost $280 USD, so I'll charge an equal or greater amount, pay any difference over the $280 and ignore any demands to pay the amount ($280) in dispute.
i would continue to maintain a zero balance while fighting the bill through visa in the manner nords suggests and be happy with winning back my money without worrying about having lost the opportunity value of $280 by charging up to that amount while intending not to pay interest on it.

otherwise, what you are doing, in effect, is trying to punish visa while visa takes on your battle for your $280.
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Old 05-27-2007, 11:26 AM   #10
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Let me add a twist to all this. Do any of the laws of the USA apply to this disputed transaction? My guess is probably not. And even so, don't you have only 60 days to dispute in writing? And ain't 60 days long gone?
I would think that there is a "Universal Merchant" agreement. In other words, everything else being equal. the merchant agrees to receive an immediatly discounted payment while Visa asumes responsibility for collection of the debt. I tried in good faith to resolve the issue with the merchant and only after the merchant did not refund my credit due did I immediately notify Visa by telephone and fax.
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Old 05-27-2007, 11:50 AM   #11
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i would continue to maintain a zero balance while fighting the bill through visa in the manner nords suggests and be happy with winning back my money without worrying about having lost the opportunity value of $280 by charging up to that amount while intending not to pay interest on it.

otherwise, what you are doing, in effect, is trying to punish visa while visa takes on your battle for your $280.
I hear what you are saying and I am opposed to not honoring debts. However:

Today I again researched Cebu's website and I found this:
  1. Refund will be made provided that the unused coupons are surrendered to Carrier within two (2) years after the expiry date of the validity of the ticket. Refunds for credit card transactions are processed within 45 working days.
  2. The following refund fees shall be collected for voluntary refunds: Domestic tickets PHP 300.00 ( CAB approval dated December 4, 2006 ) ; Hong Kong tickets PHP 1,500.00; Singapore tickets PHP 1,500.00 (CAB approval dated February 28,2006); Kuala Lumpur tickets PHP 1,500; Bangkok tickets PHP 1,500; Jakarta tickets PHP 1,500
Cebu Pacific Air - It's time everyone flies - Terms and Conditions


So the first Cebu rep was correct in telling me that I could expect my refund in about 40 days. The second rep told me four months, totally different from the information posted on their website.

Now Visa has little incentive to resolve my CC issue. Had I not paid the bill in full by the due date, I would have had more leverage. I do not believe that Cebu has issed the credit, but how do I know that Visa is not sitting on my credit and dragging their feet to post the refund?

I will follow up with phone calls to Visa (800 numbers are free on Skype, even from Thailand) but I am not going to eat this charge, especially when I have followed all of the proceedures for obtaining a refund.

In any case, I appreciate the feedback, be it ya or nay
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Old 05-27-2007, 12:03 PM   #12
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Today I again researched Cebu's website and I found this:
  1. Refund will be made provided that the unused coupons are surrendered to Carrier within two (2) years after the expiry date of the validity of the ticket. Refunds for credit card transactions are processed within 45 working days.
  2. The following refund fees shall be collected for voluntary refunds: Domestic tickets PHP 300.00 ( CAB approval dated December 4, 2006 ) ; Hong Kong tickets PHP 1,500.00; Singapore tickets PHP 1,500.00 (CAB approval dated February 28,2006); Kuala Lumpur tickets PHP 1,500; Bangkok tickets PHP 1,500; Jakarta tickets PHP 1,500
Cebu Pacific Air - It's time everyone flies - Terms and Conditions


So the first Cebu rep was correct in telling me that I could expect my refund in about 40 days. The second rep told me four months, totally different from the information posted on their website.

Now Visa has little incentive to resolve my CC issue. Had I not paid the bill in full by the due date, I would have had more leverage. I do not believe that Cebu has issed the credit, but how do I know that Visa is not sitting on my credit and dragging their feet to post the refund?

I will follow up with phone calls to Visa (800 numbers are free on Skype, even from Thailand) but I am not going to eat this charge, especially when I have followed all of the proceedures for obtaining a refund.

In any case, I appreciate the feedback, be it ya or nay
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Old 05-27-2007, 12:27 PM   #13
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I've been caught in CC refund limbo a couple of times. Once it took me over a year to get the billing corrected. That was over 4 years ago. I've successfully contested charges more recently and have benefited from previous mistakes. Your case may be different, but here's what I think I've learned and what I would do.

1) You're gripe is not really with VISA, it's with Citicorp or Bank of America, or MBNA, or . . . and with the airline. That may or may not be an important fact, but it's worth remembering as you continue the struggle. Don't expect VISA to care.

2) Telephone calls are a waste of your time and money. They do not have any legal impact and the people you are talking to are probably unable to do a thing for you even if you could make them feel guilty and want to. Chances are you can't make them feel guilty anyway. They just want to make you go away -- happy or angry doesn't even make a difference. That's their job.

3) On the back of most VISA payment statements is a form to fill out in case you want to contest a charge. That form is the only thing that matters. Fill it out and mail it to the address indicated. Don't mail it to where your bill goes. Write a letter with it if you want, but it probably will not be read.

4) In the past, I have withheld payments while I contested them. I would not do this today. The charges that get added while they work out the problems each have to be contested again with another completed form. It's hard to wait for the wheels to turn, but they usually do once you know which wheels to push.

Good luck.
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Old 05-30-2007, 02:46 AM   #14
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1) You're gripe is not really with VISA, it's with Citicorp or Bank of America, or MBNA, or . . . and with the airline. That may or may not be an important fact, but it's worth remembering as you continue the struggle. Don't expect VISA to care.

Good luck.
Agreed, it is between me, my cc issuing bank and the merchant.

I called the bank's disputed transactions department last night and YEAH, they have charged back one ticket and are investigating the other. I think that I am going to have a few more problems with the second ticket because I lost the cancellation record locator, but I still have my ticket numbers and the original booking references. I will keep up the faxes and calls to cc company to keep the pressure on.

I feel a bit better that a charge back against Cebu Pacific is finally in effect
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Old 05-30-2007, 06:18 AM   #15
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A charge back was posted to my account

Nords, Texas Proud and Lazy...Bum were correct and (hate to admit it...) I was over reacting because I felt both the merchant and the cc company were ignoring me. Now I'm glad that I worked within the system and didn't run up some charges to "force" the credit.

Thanks for your guidance!

Now we'll see how many times they reapply the charges, lol.

BTW, I used fax zero to send a (free) online fax detailing my documentation and it worked like a charm.
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Old 06-02-2007, 03:47 PM   #16
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A charge back was posted to my account

Nords, Texas Proud and Lazy...Bum were correct and (hate to admit it...) I was over reacting because I felt both the merchant and the cc company were ignoring me. Now I'm glad that I worked within the system and didn't run up some charges to "force" the credit.

Thanks for your guidance!

Now we'll see how many times they reapply the charges, lol.

BTW, I used fax zero to send a (free) online fax detailing my documentation and it worked like a charm.
Man I love American Express. A charge dispute takes only a couple minutes. I just push the dispute charge button on the website and answer a couple questions and done.
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Old 06-08-2007, 06:32 AM   #17
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Man I love American Express. A charge dispute takes only a couple minutes. I just push the dispute charge button on the website and answer a couple questions and done.
That would be nice.... I am using a Visa card from my old credit union. Not the most automated or (online) user friendly but they don't tack on silly currency fees like most other cards...
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