Travel Company Penalty for Cancellation

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Jan 26, 2018
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#1
On January 21 at 8:41 pm I placed an order for two airline tickets with Explore Trip at a cost of $1249.68.
On January 22 at 6:15 I called Explore Trip to cancel this reservation.
They demanded a $150 cancellation fee.
They stated that the airlines require this fee.
I read to them the DOT regulations that state that consumers may cancel a reservation without penalty within 24 hours <//www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/Notice_24hour_hold_final20130530_0.pdf>.
My request to speak with a supervisor was denied.
On January 24 my credit card statement showed a charge of $1249.68 to Explore Trip.
My credit card company has filed a claim against Explore Trip.
Is there anything else I can do to make sure I get a refund without penalty?
 

Neil Maley

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#2
Did you buy a business class ticket? They are lying about the fee being from the airline. Its THEIR fee and unfortunately - they CAN charge a fee because they disclose the fees on their website but they have to refund the rest. And their terms say it may take 45 days to refund you which is very convenient because that is about the length of time that you can file a dispute with the cc company. If they put you off long enough - you can't file a dispute.

However - I think you did the right thing by contacting your cc company but ExploreTrip might still be able to fight you for their fee because it is disclosed.

Never book through a third party - they can charge fees for booking and canceling where booking directly through the airline they can't.

1517005077798.png
 

Neil Maley

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#3
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
I do not believe the 24 hour rule extends to OTAs --

https://www.travelersunited.org/policy-columns/24-hour-rule-for-travel-agents/

From the article:

One rule in particular that DOT is examining is the extension of the 24-hour rule to travel agents to mandate refunds. Currently, only airlines are required to make refunds for airfares within 24 hours of booking (excepting those reservations made within a week of flying). For the uninitiated, the “24-hour rule,” thanks to consumer groups like Travelers United, means that consumers generally have 24 hours after booking to cancel a ticket with major airlines with no charge.

That is from 2016.

The 24 hour rule is for consumers booking directly with airlines

I do not think a chargeback would work.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#6
Good find Christina. There is also this, however:

As with many issues, the devil may be in the details. Travel agents who book in an airline GDS reservations system usually do have 24 hours to void a ticket. And, in the case of a simple mistake or change of mind regarding a regular client, many agents already will cancel a ticket without charge.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#10
I am not so sure. Chris already helped someone who booked through Expedia get their refund:
https://www.seattletimes.com/life/t...line-ticket-within-24-hours-wheres-my-refund/
Neil Expedia honors the 24 hour rule but is not required to, so this traveler got stuck waiting for Expedia to refund. they do not charge a sleazy fee.

Exploretravel is honoring the 24 hour rule but is charging a "service fee", Expedia did not -- the problem is that Exploretravel does disclose the fee as you posted.
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
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Apr 13, 2016
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St. Louis
#11

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Dwayne Coward

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Apr 13, 2016
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St. Louis
#12
Neil Expedia honors the 24 hour rule but is not required to, so this traveler got stuck waiting for Expedia to refund. they do not charge a sleazy fee.

Exploretravel is honoring the 24 hour rule but is charging a "service fee", Expedia did not -- the problem is that Exploretravel does disclose the fee as you posted.
It is in the user agreement, which is linked to on the booking page:

Capture.JPG
 

Neil Maley

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#13
I do not believe the 24 hour rule extends to OTAs --

https://www.travelersunited.org/policy-columns/24-hour-rule-for-travel-agents/

From the article:

One rule in particular that DOT is examining is the extension of the 24-hour rule to travel agents to mandate refunds. Currently, only airlines are required to make refunds for airfares within 24 hours of booking (excepting those reservations made within a week of flying). For the uninitiated, the “24-hour rule,” thanks to consumer groups like Travelers United, means that consumers generally have 24 hours after booking to cancel a ticket with major airlines with no charge.

That is from 2016.

The 24 hour rule is for consumers booking directly with airlines

I do not think a chargeback would work.
Christina, you are exactly right. I apologize. The rule was supposed to be changed to include travel agencies but may have been part of the bill that the DOT decided not to go forward with this year. I think that townsendd may lose the chargeback.
 
Likes: Christina H
Sep 19, 2015
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#16
Neil, we know that good travel agents (not OTAS) will void the ticket, but awful OTAS will charge a fee for everything.

And I think you are right, that very few people realize this, the see the words cheap and lowcost on the OTAS --

Look at the bad text of the about US for exploretravel:


ExploreTrip is a Bay Area, California based company making online International travel easy and complication free. ExploreTrip has quadrupled in the past few months in terms of sales. What matters to us most is whether people get value from the site, and we believe they will.
ExploreTrip provides travelers access to a vast array of private, discounted international Air Fares, blending online convenience with personalized service. By using the decades of experience from the technology experts and specialists in Travel industry, ExploreTrip stocks unmatched wholesale fares of the best International airlines.


Private Fares and no booking fees
We are able to give the lowest fares because we provide negotiated Private fares and there are no booking fees.
No cached results
We display real time availability of fares and not cached results like most International Travel online booking systems. This means avoiding frustration of dealing with baloney of looking at good fares but finding out that there’s no availability at the time of booking. With ExploreTrip you are actually looking at real time flight availability and can finish whole searching and booking process in just a few minutes.


"frustration of dealing with baloney of looking..." does this not scream mail drop with overseas call center? The strange grammar and capitalization......
 

Dwayne Coward

Administrator
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Director
Apr 13, 2016
362
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St. Louis
#17
"frustration of dealing with baloney of looking..." does this not scream mail drop with overseas call center? The strange grammar and capitalization......
Good catch. I've worked several cases concerning this company and you are correct, it is apparently run out of India with a mail drop in California. Company called Mondee Inc.
 
Likes: VoR61

Neil Maley

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#18
Good catch. I've worked several cases concerning this company and you are correct, it is apparently run out of India with a mail drop in California. Company called Mondee Inc.
I am just shocked at the BBB rating. The complaints are awful too. Why don't people take all this into consideration before booking with these companies?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#19
For future consideration, I found this article which states that brick-and-mortar travel agents "can" hold air bookings for 24 hours (vs the OTAs);

http://hostagencyreviews.com/3-ways-travel-agents-save-you-money/

Neil, perhaps you can speak to the veracity of this article?
Yes this is true. We do it all the time for clients. But we only book air with packages - we don't do air without a package. When we quote, we can hold the air for 24 hours. I have even used suppliers who were able to get air pricing that was available two or three days ago but changed. Its all in the suppliers we use.
 
Likes: Christina H
Jan 6, 2015
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#20
Excellent, thanks Neil. Valuable to know that this is a safe option to OTAs where a traveler can have 24 hours to cancel ...