Lufthansa Misrepresented Change Fee

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Jan 4, 2019
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#1
I was travelling on Lufthansa from DEN to LHR on Oct 27 and BOM to DEN on Nov 2 on a ticket of approximately $3500 USD (Premium Economy). My wife fell ill while I was travelling. She was not so ill that it required my immediate return home, however it was to a level where it would be a beneficial gesture.

I called Lufthansa customer service on Oct 31 from London to determine my options to cancel the BOM to DEN leg so that I may book another flight (on United) which left a day earlier. The agent explained that my BOM to DEN ticket was booked on a refundable fair. He was not able to tell me the exact amount of a refund if I cancelled as the ticketing department had to calculate the exact refund based on taxed and fees. However he estimated my refund to be approximately $2000 USD.

Utilizing this information on the refund I made the decision to cancel the BOM to DEN portion of my ticket. Weeks later I had not received my refund so I contacted customer service on Nov 15. On Dec 5 Customer service got back to me and denied to return any money. They said they had recalculated the ticket and there was no residual value. We had one more back and forth via email, with the same response from LH.

On Dec 11th I emailed the Lufthansa NA Customer Service Rep, and received no response from her. On Jan 3 I received a call from customer service where they offered me $200 to rectify the situation. I denied this because it was so far from the initial error.

My complaint is that I was misguided by an employee and representative of the company to make a decision which ultimately cost me $2000. A company can not tell you one thing and then bill you something different later, especially on the order of a $2000 difference.

Any help in rectifying this situation will be very appreciated.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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#2
Did you have Travel insurance? That often pays for these penalties.

If you didn’t, you are subject to rebooking fees. Most airlines aren’t willing to waive a fee that would be covered by travel insurance.

I would suggest that you use our company contacts and write to the first executive we show. You can continue up the Executives once a week for nevat a time.
 
Jan 4, 2019
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#4
Neil - Thanks for the advice. I don't have travel insurance unfortunately. I am mainly focusing on the point that the LH representative quoted me a figure that was far from reality and enabled the choice to rebook. I'll try another one of the execs to see if I have any luck (already tried the first one).

Christina - This was one ticket, a multi city, which was DEN to LHR (via FRA) and then BOM to DEN (via FRA). I was flying LHR to BOM on a separate other ticket which is not involved in this issue.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
So BOM to Den was completely canceled? Was another ticket bought from London to Denver?

I wonder if there was a massive fare hike because the ticket ending being one way? One way fares to Europe on non low cost airlines are very high, not just half of a round trip or multicity trip.

Neil likely has a better understand of this.
 
Jan 4, 2019
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#6
I flew on the original, one way ticket from London to Bombay. Then the second leg of the DEN-LHR & BOM to DEN trip was cancelled (BOM to DEN). I re-booked on United to get home earlier.

Lufthansa has this weird system where when you want to cancel flight legs they can't tell you the cost exactly, since the ticketing department has to recalculate. The agent estimated my refund to be about $2000, but said the exact amount would vary due to taxes and fees. Then weeks later the ticketing department calculated a $0 refund. This is definitely due to the one way tickets being extremely expensive to the EU.
 

Neil Maley

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#7
Did you take into account that there was most likely a difference in the price of the return ticket? When you rebook you have to pay the current flight price plus the change fee. So the ticket was most likely more expensive then your original return was as it wasn’t booked early plus the fee.
 
Jan 4, 2019
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#8
Sorry I should have clarified this. I booked the return ticket completely separately directly with United. From LH's perspective it was a simple cancellation of a leg.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#9
I just tried to make a test booking same route random dates in March and the fare for Den to LHR and BOM to Den was around $3870. That is a refundable fare but it has certain restrictions — like going out and returning to the same country.

For the same outbound date just Den to Lon one way the fare is $4,518– it is more to fly one way.

For the Cancellation on a multistop — and no rebooking— the fare is recalculated — and the one way is higher. This is why it had to go to the rate desk.
 

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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#11
I understand the underlying problem; you were misinformed by a Lufthansa agent. This happens all the time with airlines. Agents give passengers erroneous information, passengers make decisions based on that information, and passengers get short-changed. The airline makes no effort to determine the facts, they just re-calculate your tix. The passenger always pays, I don't think we've ever heard from someone who got money back from an airline when they cancelled a leg. Back in the good ol' days, airlines would take care of their passengers when they had issues. Now ... they just send you $2 instead of $2K.

Use our Company Contacts and write a concise, polite request for a refund of the amount for that leg. Submit to first exec, wait two weeks then run up the executive beanpole, one at a time, waiting a week between each. It will require patience and persistence. Occasionally we do actually see an airline do the right thing by a customer. Good luck, and please let us know how it turns out.
 
Likes: SierraRose49

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,163
14,752
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#12
Sorry I should have clarified this. I booked the return ticket completely separately directly with United. From LH's perspective it was a simple cancellation of a leg.
Why did you buy a new ticket? All you needed to do was change the return date on your existing ticket. Flights operated by United can be booked on Lufthansa. Premium economy can be rebooked, the original ticket amount is credited against the new ticket and no fees. But a refund for a refundable fare does have s cancellation fee. I find it hard to believe that the fee outweighs the cost of the return flight.

For a partially usage the applicable fare had to be recalculated. He told you that but his mistake was “estimating”- he had no right to tell you any amount.
If you have already dealt with Customer Service in writing from Lufthansa, start writing to the Executives and ask how they came up with the calculation they did. As long as you canceled a day or more before the flight, you should receive something back. By escalating and asking for a breakdown, it may find an error was made with calculating.

https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/lufthansa-airlines/

Start with Sharon Murphy. Tell her you need a breakdown to determine how they are saying that fees came to more than return half of the ticket.

Give her a week to answer- if she doesn’t or doesn’t help, then write to the next executive. Repeat weekly if needed. Let us know if that helps.