Told to Rebook by American, but no refund in sight!

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Feb 3, 2016
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#1
I am currently in the process of requesting a refund as well and this story is kind of a doozy. You ready?
So here’s the story:
I live in Dallas, TX, but I’m originally from Puerto Rico. All my family, friends, and my girlfriend are still on the island (which is a US territory). I frequently buy my girlfriend her tickets to come see me and vice versa. This time was no different, except it was.
We talked about it and decided on a trip from March 19, 2016 to March 27, 2016. However, after checking my work schedule (I travel A LOT for work) I noticed that I would likely be flying that week and we decided against the trip. I had already filled out the information; passenger name, AAdvantage #, credit card info, etc., but was aware that nothing was final as I still had one “click” left to go to finalize the deal. Instead of clicking out, my computer (which uses a trackpad as opposed to a mouse) clicked on the purchase button. (I should add, this has happened to me before on sites like Amazon and other online retailers. For the most part, they make cancelling a mistaken purchase a breeze, though, opposite of American.)
I’m the first to admit, I panicked and immediately canceled the flight without first checking about the refund policy as it was only about 15 to 20 minutes after the mistaken purchase. After that, we called and were re-assured that as it was such a quick cancellation, we would be receiving a refund, no problem. I was given a refund document number and explained what happened in the lowly 250 characters American lets you use to explain. (Which is definitely not enough, BTW!)
The next day I show up to work and talk with my boss about the situation and he says that it’s fine, we can schedule around the trip and my girlfriend can come. I immediately contact American and request to just leave the ticket alone; I said something to the effect of “don’t cancel or refund me, I want to use the ticket!” They told me that they could not stop the refund process and that the only way I could get the flight back was to rebook.
I followed the instructions to the letter. I rebooked and was lucky enough to get the exact same flights for the exact same price for my girlfriend.
However, the issue is that American has yet to refund me. I followed the instructions given to me by American staff. As I am a bit skeptical it would be this easy, I called back 4 separate times and was re-assured 4 separate times that my refund had been approved, but it was just being “processed” and might take anywhere from 7 – 10 days for it to show up on my account again.
I am writing this because I have no other way of advocating for myself except for basically writing another document like this to AA, explain it just like this and hope they understand the situation.
I feel a refund for the 1st purchase would only be fair as I was given the instructions to purchase the 2nd ticket by American staff, 2 of which gave me their names as only “Sheena” and “Marilyn”. I tried to press for last names, but they refused to give them to me.
Is there any way that someone could help me out here? I’m a repeat customer with American and I love flying with them, they make traveling less of a hassle, but at the same time, they are treating me and my request in an extremely concerning manner. It’s almost like they don’t even listen to you, even if you have a valid reason for the refund. A couple hundred dollars is a significant amount for me at this stage of my life and while I am perfectly willing to pay for the ticket, I would only like to be charged 1 time, not twice.
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
R

Realitoes

Guest
#2
Marvin,

American Airlines is the only US airline without a 24 hour cancellation policy, instead they allow you to place the ticket on hold for that period. They normally won't refund the ticket, even if you call a few minutes after the booking. In most cases, though, you will have a credit good for one year from date it is ticketed (purchased), minus any change fee. If the representative did state you would get a refund, then I believe they should be refunding you.

First thing is to find out the status of your refund (or if it is even being refunded). You should be able to check this online at this site using your document number.
https://prefunds.aa.com/refunds/

Once you've checked that site, please come back to let us know the status so we can advise further.
 
Feb 3, 2016
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#3
Well I understand the policy, but the truth is the whole "cancellation and then me calling back to un-cancel and un-request-the-refund" was all within less than 24 hours. I feel like they're at fault here for not being to stop the cancellation and/or refund process when requested, especially if within 24 hours.

I also understand the hold suggestion. Truth is I've never used it, because I've never "kind of" wanted to buy a ticket; it's either I know I can do the flight or I can't. If you read the story you will see the initial purchase was not on purpose, but rather a trackpad mistake that has happened to me dozens of times. I can't remember how many times I've accidentally closed out of Chrome, for example, only to reopen the browser, hit Ctrl + Shift +T and reopen everything I accidentally closed. Had I known the hold worked as it was described to me, I would have used it. But, you don't know what you don't know.

IMO the real issue is them telling me that rebooking was the only way to get the ticket "back" because refund process can't be stopped while also telling me the refund was on its way. I can ask them to review the phone call I had with "Sheena" as they presumably archive them. I don't need anything else. She was extremely helpful and explained everything in plain English. She was also one of the 2 that said the refund was already on its way, it just takes some processing time.

Also, I checked the status and it still says "Pending Review". They say it's on queue to be reviewed, but who knows how long that could take.

Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

technomage1

Verified Member
Jan 5, 2015
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#4
@marvin.suarez,

As noted by Realitoes, AA does not follow the 24 hour refund policy, but instead uses a 24 hour hold option. Once a ticket is purchased, it doesn't matter if its 1 minute, 23 1/2 hours later, 80 days later, it's bought, all sales final.

In your case it sounds like a computer glitch caused you to purchase a ticket you didn't want, then you placed a request for a refund, then you decided to go anyway and rebought the tickets.

If you haven't seen a refund in 14 days, in 250 characters or less write to AA customer service with this:

"While browsing your website, I changed my mind on reservation number XXXXX. While backing out of the reservation, the computer glitched and bought the ticket. I called and canceled the ticket. How long will this take, & will I be fully refunded?"

You really don't to go into anything else, it's irrelevant and just muddies your case.

If you don't get a full refund and/or it takes longer than 14 days, come on back and we'll walk you through the appeals process.

I might also suggest that if a trackpad causes that many issues for you, a mouse might be a better solution for you. That's not a dig at you, it's just some things work better than others for some people.
 
Mar 4, 2015
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#5
@marvin.suarez , if I'm following correctly you created 2 identical reservations, one of which is now cancelled.

If so, another point in your favor is that AA's contract prohibits "duplicate and impossible/illogical bookings." So they ought to cancel one of the duplicates and refund you even if you didn't request it.

When you write to AA, use our Company Contacts: http://elliott.org/company-contacts/american-airlines/

Start with the customer relations form. If you are unsatisfied with the response or if they don't respond after a week, appeal to the first Executive Contact and so on.

If AA is unhelpful you might try disputing the charge with your credit card company on the grounds that it is a duplicate charge. Note that the deadline for disputing a charge is (generally) 60 days from when it first appears on a statement.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,418
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www.promalvacations.com
#6
While everyone is correct about how AA works with the hold and buy (which is actually a better system than buying and having to request a refund) and why you can't get a refund one you hit that buy button, I would suggest you use our contacts as Michael K suggest and see if you can find a sympathetic executive who might waives the fees since it was such a short period of time. They may not, but you might find someone who is sympathetic and will do it for you. Just remain polite with your letter.
And now you now why perhaps you should use the hold button whenever booking with AA.
 
Feb 3, 2016
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#7
Like I said before, completely unaware of any "hold"feature that American uses at the time of purchase. I understand what you're saying about contacting an executive, but I will wait for customer relations as I have already written them and they are supposed to be working on it.
The one thing I would like to point out is that the real issue, IMHO, is that they can't stop a refund request if you no longer want it and decide to use the ticket. That to me is the whole issue because if they had that capability, there's no problem whatsoever. I never have to make a duplicate purchase and everyone gets what they want. If you have a hold period, why not have a hold on cancellations/refunds for 24 hrs as well?
Who knows, they're the only ones with no 24 hour cancellation policy, but in reality, how is anyone supposed to just know that? I've never cancelled on any flights before, American or otherwise, so it's not like I'm some kind of policy expert or anything, either.
But at the same time, I feel like the point made by @Michael K is also another entrance point for a refund should the initial process not work out.
I honestly feel like any reasonable person would see that this is all very strange circumstances and that a refund request is valid because of what actually happened, backed up by phone calls (presumably archived by them) and the fact that the 2nd ticket was indeed purchased with the exact same flight schedule. Heck, I was even able to get her some of the same seats, too!
Anyway, let's see what happens with customer relations. Maybe they see that I have a point and give it back. If not, then I guess we start again.
I have a strong feeling that ethically and morally, a refund is the right thing to do if you're American. If I didn't feel like I had a point, I'd just suck it up and deal with it, but I really feel like I do because of the extenuating circumstances in this particular case. It's not like I'll stop fighting for my refund, I'll just re-strategize.

While everyone is correct about how AA works with the hold and buy (which is actually a better system than buying and having to request a refund) and why you can't get a refund one you hit that buy button, I would suggest you use our contacts as Michael K suggest and see if you can find a sympathetic executive who might waives the fees since it was such a short period of time. They may not, but you might find someone who is sympathetic and will do it for you. Just remain polite with your letter.
And now you now why perhaps you should use the hold button whenever booking with AA.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
19,418
17,918
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#8
Marvin, the airlines don't want you to cancel or make changes to your ticket once booked. That's why they make it difficult. The days of making a booking and then changing your mind once or twice are over. Once you say cancel - it means cancel, they can't take it back.
The hold system does away with the need for for 24 hours to cancel or change. You can cancel and change the reservation within 24 hours if you simply hold the ticket instead of buying. I wish every airline did it this way.

The issue we have with AA is that they don't clearly explain why you should use the hold button. They have had this for years, but if you don't hover over the button to read what it does, you are out of luck if you need to make change.

Travel agents have the ability to do these tickets for you. You might want to consider a travel agent next time.
 
Feb 3, 2016
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#9
I absolutely understand your point about the track pad. The reality is that it's an old (2011) computer and it happens all the time. A mouse has been bought.

Thank you for your template on how to request the refund. I can definitely try that in the future if I re-sbmit a claim. Currently, they had me go through Customer Relations because they have 2,000 characters there and can explain better my story.

I have a feeling that things will work out, but if they don't I will definitely be coming back and asking for advice. Thanks for your reply.

@marvin.suarez,

As noted by Realitoes, AA does not follow the 24 hour refund policy, but instead uses a 24 hour hold option. Once a ticket is purchased, it doesn't matter if its 1 minute, 23 1/2 hours later, 80 days later, it's bought, all sales final.

In your case it sounds like a computer glitch caused you to purchase a ticket you didn't want, then you placed a request for a refund, then you decided to go anyway and rebought the tickets.

If you haven't seen a refund in 14 days, in 250 characters or less write to AA customer service with this:

"While browsing your website, I changed my mind on reservation number XXXXX. While backing out of the reservation, the computer glitched and bought the ticket. I called and canceled the ticket. How long will this take, & will I be fully refunded?"

You really don't to go into anything else, it's irrelevant and just muddies your case.

If you don't get a full refund and/or it takes longer than 14 days, come on back and we'll walk you through the appeals process.

I might also suggest that if a trackpad causes that many issues for you, a mouse might be a better solution for you. That's not a dig at you, it's just some things work better than others for some people.
 
Likes: technomage1
Feb 3, 2016
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#10
The HOLD feature was news to me. Now that I know about it I'll use it every time.

But as I said before, you don't know what you don't know.... And I didn't know, plus like you said, they do not really help you realize that a hold button even exists. I had to actually go back and set it up like I was going to buy another ticket and actively look for it. The only reason I found it is because I knew to look this time. It's on the extreme right and unless you click on it, there's no way for you to know what that option even does.

Picture this: You're buying a ticket and get to the payment screen. Your options are credit card, debit card, check, wire, etc. and hold. Who in their right mind instinctively thinks to click on HOLD? I've never heard of any form of payment called a hold, so how am I supposed to know? This is the sort of thing you only learn about after you "screw up" and they surprise you by still charging you because every other airline has a 24 hour cancellation policy. But really, how is it screwing up when you didn't know about that option? If I'd had known, we're not talking right now.
(I should point out I travel a lot for work and when I do, it's usually with Southwest because I live in Texas. When I go home to Puerto Rico, then I use American because no one else goes there from Texas, except Jet Blue, and they don't service Texas.) Basically, I'm saying I have little experience dealing with American's policies or their HOLD feature. Matter of fact, I didn't even know it existed until 2 days ago!
 
Likes: Neil Maley