Alitalia Airlines ~ unethical & rude

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Dec 12, 2018
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#1
1 adulto - Ticket No.: ____123_____
The following began on August 22, 2018
• An underage (17 yo) and under duress teenager made a reservation on airline by mistake. It was without parental permission.
• She became ill while visiting friends in Italy and wanted to come home
• She was under a physiatrist care and was very much under duress at the time. I can produce a doctor’s note.
• She called me to tell me, her mother, and told me what she did, which was not acceptable to me as she booked a flight that put her overnight in Rome, alone. And it was not affordable.
• Within minutes from when the reservation was made I called the airline to cancel. I have the phone records to prove this.
• Alitalia customer service was extremely rude, they called me a liar, offered me a change of ticket for $150 (which was of no use, as my daughter was already booked on a flight with them a few days later) so I lost my temper, which I do very rarely, hung up and proceeded to call my credit card company thinking they would protect me.
• The Credit Card company seemed to understand and credited back the $1540.51 for the one-way ticket that was made by mistake.
• Three months later I was rebilled for $1540.51, Capital One informed me that Alitalia would not support my claim.
• I have spoken to numerous supervisors and managers at both Alitalia and Credit Card CO. to no avail.
• Alitalia told me since I accepted a $77 refund for the taxes that they closed the complaint. I never accepted the $77 as a refund; I did not even know why they credited my account for that amount.
In closing I did not receive any services from this company, they were extremely rude and I feel that this is totally unfair. An underage, under duress teenager made an error, I didn’t think underage children were even allowed to enter into a contract with an airline….she just did not understand what she was doing, she was a minor.
 

Neil Maley

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#2
If the ticket was booked in the US and the departure date was more then 7 days from when the ticket was purchased you would have 24 hours to cancel at no charge.

If it’s less then 7 days, the 24 hour rule doesn’t apply.

Alitalia is a rude airline but they don’t owe you a refund. They don’t care that she was under duress even with a dr. note. An apparent nonrefundable ticket was booked with a valid credit card.

Who’s card did she book the ticket with? Apparently it sounds like you told Alitalia to cancel the ticket and the $77 might have been the taxes on the ticket, which would be all you are due by canceling a nonrefundable ticket.

Wish we had better news.
 
Jul 13, 2016
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#3
What do you mean by "under duress"? Being under duress means being coerced or forced, or intimidated into performing an action. Who was forcing her to make the booking?
It sounds like your daughter decided to come home early and ignoring her paid ticket for a few days later, and without speaking to you, used your credit card to make a new non-refundable booking.
If your daughter did not understand what she was doing, then it is probably best that she not have access to your credit card.
 
Mar 29, 2016
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#4
As she is a minor, at least in the eyes of US law, there is a legitimate question whether she had the capacity to enter into a contract. This is an avenue for appeal that I would investigate.
 
Likes: Deb A
Nov 20, 2015
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#5
What do you mean by "under duress"? Being under duress means being coerced or forced, or intimidated into performing an action. Who was forcing her to make the booking?
It is clear what she meant by "under duress". The source of the compulsion to act may also be a condition or circumstances.
It doesn't have to be a person. Her compelling circumstances were illness and separation.
 
Likes: jsn55
Jun 30, 2017
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#7
As she is a minor, at least in the eyes of US law, there is a legitimate question whether she had the capacity to enter into a contract. This is an avenue for appeal that I would investigate.
"She became ill while visiting friends in Italy and wanted to come home "
But it appears she was in Italy, not in the US. She presumably booked this ticket on the Alitalia Italy website. This would be an issue for Italian law.
The mother can appeal to Alitalia which is in bankruptcy and will be very reluctant to part with any refund.
https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/alitalia/
These contacts are the US contacts.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#8
As she is a minor, at least in the eyes of US law, there is a legitimate question whether she had the capacity to enter into a contract. This is an avenue for appeal that I would investigate.

This is an excellent point. The age of majority in Italy is 18 as well. As a minor, she probably would not be able to enter into a contract (to prevent this exact circumstance). Since her guardian called immediately afterward to cancel the ticket, I think there is a pretty good case that Alitalia needs to void the transaction and return her money. (I think EU law is similar to US law on this but am not sure.)

I don't think the credit card company can reverse the transaction because the daughter was presumably an authorized user. This needs to be pursued through Alitalia.

DebA, I suggest you simplify your story and remove everything about duress, psychiatric care and rudeness. Write Alitalia and tell them only the reservation was made by a legal minor who was therefore unable to make a contractual commitment. Add that you notified them of this fact shortly after the reservation was made. Ask them to void the transaction and return your funds.
 
Likes: Deb A
Dec 19, 2014
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#9
Here's what I interpret from your post.
Your 17 year old daughter was in Italy. She had access to your credit card information. She decided she wanted to fly home and booked a one way ticket on Alitalia so she booked a ticket to fly home using mother's credit card information.

1) The 24 hour cancel rule would not apply here
2) Since the ticket was booked in Italy, US law would not apply
3) Unless you are willing to say that the credit card was stolen, you have no case.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#10
Here's what I interpret from your post.
Your 17 year old daughter was in Italy. She had access to your credit card information. She decided she wanted to fly home and booked a one way ticket on Alitalia so she booked a ticket to fly home using mother's credit card information.

1) The 24 hour cancel rule would not apply here
2) Since the ticket was booked in Italy, US law would not apply
3) Unless you are willing to say that the credit card was stolen, you have no case.
Thats the point I was trying to make- Mom may have to press charges against daughter fur using her credit card. Does age really want to go that route?!
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#11
Thats the point I was trying to make- Mom may have to press charges against daughter fur using her credit card. Does age really want to go that route?!
I don't think this is necessary. The credit card is only an issue if the Mom says the credit card use was unauthorized.

The question raised by Cayohueso is whether Alitalia's ticket purchase terms and conditions apply if the purchaser was a minor. In many places, contracts with minors are not legally enforceable. So the mother could say that the contract was voided as soon as she called to notify Alitalia, the penalties for cancellation are not enforceable and thus Alitalia must return the full amount of the purchase. I don't know if this will work but it seems like the mother's best shot.

On a related topic, there seems to be a misunderstanding on this board that if a ticket is purchased in another country then the 24 hour rule does not apply. I don't believe this is true. It applies to all tickets purchased from US airlines or from foreign airlines for flights to/from the US. However, it does not apply to tickets for travel in the next 7 days, which appears to be the case here.
 
Likes: mmb

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#12
I am so sorry this happened, Deb. Is your daughter home safe now? That's the most important thing. This is a large amount of money to lose, but my colleagues are right. Non-ref tix are not refundable. If it were any other airline, I'd advise that you should try and ask for an exception. Alitalia has been in financial trouble for years, and I'm sure that morale is terrible, so their uncaring attitude is not surprising.

I would suggest that you establish a credit account with a limit for your daughter. She would have access to the card in an emergency, but the amount could be controlled by you. This is indeed a heartbreaking situation. I wish you both the best.
 
Likes: Deb A

Neil Maley

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#13
The 24 hour rule doesn’t apply for flights booked less then 7 days before flying. That applies in this case as she was flying less then 7 days before she booked the flight.

We have company contacts for Alitalia and Mom
Should appeal to them using those contacts as we advise in this thread:

https://forum.elliott.org/threads/resolving-consumer-complaints-and-developing-a-paper-trail.8903/

If that doesn’t work Mom can try small claims court but with Alitalia bring in bankruptcy I’m not sure that will help
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#14
This is an excellent point. The age of majority in Italy is 18 as well. As a minor, she probably would not be able to enter into a contract (to prevent this exact circumstance). Since her guardian called immediately afterward to cancel the ticket, I think there is a pretty good case that Alitalia needs to void the transaction and return her money. (I think EU law is similar to US law on this but am not sure.)

I don't think the credit card company can reverse the transaction because the daughter was presumably an authorized user. This needs to be pursued through Alitalia.

DebA, I suggest you simplify your story and remove everything about duress, psychiatric care and rudeness. Write Alitalia and tell them only the reservation was made by a legal minor who was therefore unable to make a contractual commitment. Add that you notified them of this fact shortly after the reservation was made. Ask them to void the transaction and return your funds.
The purchase was done in Italy under Italian law. There are nuances to what a minor can purchase.

Here is a text from an Italian magistrate who has a website on Italian laws and rights.

"Una grande quantità di acquisti per il consumo sono compiuti direttamente dai minori, come ad esempio un servizio (contratto di trasporto su un mezzo pubblico) o cose consumabili (acquisti di beni, di cibo, o altro). Questi atti sono validi e il minore deve pagare il prezzo."

Basically he is saying that there are certain contracts that a minor can enter into in Italy, and one of them is transport on public transportation. In most places an airline ticket is public transportation.

Does the parent want to press charges against the child for unauthorized use of the credit card? File a theft or fraud report?
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#15
The purchase was done in Italy under Italian law. There are nuances to what a minor can purchase.

Here is a text from an Italian magistrate who has a website on Italian laws and rights.

"Una grande quantità di acquisti per il consumo sono compiuti direttamente dai minori, come ad esempio un servizio (contratto di trasporto su un mezzo pubblico) o cose consumabili (acquisti di beni, di cibo, o altro). Questi atti sono validi e il minore deve pagare il prezzo."

Basically he is saying that there are certain contracts that a minor can enter into in Italy, and one of them is transport on public transportation. In most places an airline ticket is public transportation.

Does the parent want to press charges against the child for unauthorized use of the credit card? File a theft or fraud report?
Nice find. Did you look at the paragraph before that, though? Here's both as translated by Google:
Although the law does not explicitly say so, the jurisprudence considers that the minor can personally carry out minor legal acts, such as the purchase of an ice cream or a newspaper, provided that the customs and the daily experience authorize it.
A large amount of purchases for consumption are made directly by minors, such as a service (transport contract on public transport) or consumable items (purchases of goods, food, or other). These acts are valid and the minor must pay the price.

It appears that the criteria is small purchases as opposed to the specific category. If this is so, a minor might be able to purchase a $10 train ticket while a contract to purchase a $1500 plane ticket purchase may still be voidable.

Obviously none of us are experts on Italian law, but from what I see there's a real possibility that airlines can't collect cancellation penalties if the purchase was made by a minor. And, frankly, it's the only real avenue that I can see for the OP to pursue. Alitalia has already said no to a good will refund, and I don't think there's a realistic case for credit card fraud (even if the parent wanted to claim it).
 
Likes: Deb A
Sep 19, 2015
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#16
Nice find. Did you look at the paragraph before that, though? Here's both as translated by Google:
Although the law does not explicitly say so, the jurisprudence considers that the minor can personally carry out minor legal acts, such as the purchase of an ice cream or a newspaper, provided that the customs and the daily experience authorize it.
A large amount of purchases for consumption are made directly by minors, such as a service (transport contract on public transport) or consumable items (purchases of goods, food, or other). These acts are valid and the minor must pay the price.

It appears that the criteria is small purchases as opposed to the specific category. If this is so, a minor might be able to purchase a $10 train ticket while a contract to purchase a $1500 plane ticket purchase may still be voidable.

Obviously none of us are experts on Italian law, but from what I see there's a real possibility that airlines can't collect cancellation penalties if the purchase was made by a minor. And, frankly, it's the only real avenue that I can see for the OP to pursue. Alitalia has already said no to a good will refund, and I don't think there's a realistic case for credit card fraud (even if the parent wanted to claim it).
My point is that the OP would have to pursue this in Italy and with an Italian court and it is not cut and dry and one cannot throw this at Alitalia as a slam dunk.

Do you really think one could argue that a wealthy Milanese 17 year old with a credit card on the parent's account is not able to buy the newest iphone (which costs as much as this plane ticket) because they cannot enter a contract with the store?

I live in NYC. Christmas shopping would be easier if there were no under 18s shopping on their parent's dime because they cannot enter a purchase contract. Maybe I should push my way in front of them because they are not legally able to buy anything.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#17
My point is that the OP would have to pursue this in Italy and with an Italian court and it is not cut and dry and one cannot throw this at Alitalia as a slam dunk.

Do you really think one could argue that a wealthy Milanese 17 year old with a credit card on the parent's account is not able to buy the newest iphone (which costs as much as this plane ticket) because they cannot enter a contract with the store?

I live in NYC. Christmas shopping would be easier if there were no under 18s shopping on their parent's dime because they cannot enter a purchase contract. Maybe I should push my way in front of them because they are not legally able to buy anything.
I never said it was a slam dunk. And the OP wouldn't necessarily have to go to court. I just suggested they present it to Alitalia this way.

As for your analogy: Yes, I think that a cell phone contract signed by a 17 year old would not be enforceable. That's why the carriers require you to be over 18 to sign one.
 
Likes: Deb A
Sep 19, 2015
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#18
I never said it was a slam dunk. And the OP wouldn't necessarily have to go to court. I just suggested they present it to Alitalia this way.

As for your analogy: Yes, I think that a cell phone contract signed by a 17 year old would not be enforceable. That's why the carriers require you to be over 18 to sign one.
Again we are talking about Italy where pay as you go is the norm. But again claiming what works in the US is not going to work in Italy, and even in the best of times Alitalia was not easy to work with -- best of times being not bankrupt.

The OP already tried a credit card charge back and lost. Alitalia, being an Italian company, is well aware of how lengthy the court process is in Italy, and the purchase was made in Italy and likely on the Alitalia Italy website. Claiming that the person was a minor and under psychiatric care -- well, why was the minor in a foreign country with a credit card billed to someone else? Why do credit card allow minors to have cards as an authorized user on their parents account if they cannot legally purchase anything or enter into a contract for the credit card to be paid for the purchase?
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Mar 14, 2018
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#19
Again we are talking about Italy where pay as you go is the norm. But again claiming what works in the US is not going to work in Italy, and even in the best of times Alitalia was not easy to work with -- best of times being not bankrupt.

The OP already tried a credit card charge back and lost. Alitalia, being an Italian company, is well aware of how lengthy the court process is in Italy, and the purchase was made in Italy and likely on the Alitalia Italy website. Claiming that the person was a minor and under psychiatric care -- well, why was the minor in a foreign country with a credit card billed to someone else? Why do credit card allow minors to have cards as an authorized user on their parents account if they cannot legally purchase anything or enter into a contract for the credit card to be paid for the purchase?
Once again, what I'm suggesting has nothing to do with the credit card. It would be just as applicable if the minor had bought the ticket using cash.

In any event, I'm tired of arguing with you. I've made my suggestion for a way the OP might be able to get a refund. They can choose pursue it if they so desire.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#20
Another question they may ask is if the minor billed anything else to their parents credit card.

We can’t offer legal advice here. All we can do at this point is give the writer our company contacts and advise her to write.

This is becoming argumentative. Let’s give the OP time to come back and answer questions. Otherwise the lost is going to need to be closed to end the arguing .
 
Likes: jsn55