Trouble with Vayama website

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Jun 8, 2018
Hello, my name is Diego Hernandez. I recently moved to Taipei in order to teach English. On May 30th, I arrived at the San Francisco airport to fly to Seoul and then to Taipei via Korea Air. I was told by my new employers (AEI, formerly ACI) that I would not need to say much to the people at the airline. However, the airline people said that I needed a return ticket because I was listed as Visa Exempt, a rule which no one, including my employers, knew about. I have high functioning autism, and my understanding of things outside of my immediate environment is very limited. I arrived at the airport early but it literally took hours to talk to the airline people about my options. I didn’t have much money (I used to work two part time jobs), and the price of a return ticket bought directly at the airline was unaffordable.

During this time, I became increasingly nervous and towards the end, I nearly suffered a panic attack. Eventually, I became desperate and used the Kayak website to buy a return ticket via Philippine Airlines (I can provide emails containing the flight itineraries). The Philippine Airlines website said that refunds were possible if made within a week of purchase, so I planned to cancel the ticket once I got into Taipei and receive my refund.

When I contacted Philippine Airlines (Once I was settled in Taipei: buying the return ticket got me on the flight), they told me they couldn’t refund me because I didn’t buty the ticket from them. I did some research and learned that Kayak is just a search engine. Going through my emails, I learned that I purchased the tickets from the website Vayama. My father contacted them and learned that they don’t do refunds and that they could only change the flight date by adding a fee.

I would like a refund, but if the fee is reasonable enough I would be willing to change the flight date. This may be irrelevant info, but I’m at least giving myself until December to decide whether I will stay in Taipei or not. Because of my illness, I am not able to live without external support, and the American friend who helped me get this job will be leaving at the end of summer so I’m not sure if I will stay in Taipei long. If I complete the summer and fall semester, this experience might be enough to get me a teaching job back in California, closer to my family (I have a BA and a TEFL certificate but not a teaching credential).

Thank you for any help you can give!

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Dec 27, 2014
New York
Unfortunately whenever you buy an airline ticket, you are responsible for know all rules about documentation you need to fly, including Visas and/or passports. Every airline and every travel agency has this stated in their terms and conditions.

When you book on your own, you act as your own travel agency and need to know exactly what you are buying and you are subject to the travel agency rules besides the airlines.

Vayama rules apply because you booked through them.

I don’t understand what you are saying about a refund from Phillipines airline. So you bought a bogus ticket you didn’t intend to use so you could get on your flight?

I checked Phillipines airlines website and don’t see information about refundable tickets. It says if the ticket was paid with a credit card, refunds depend on the type of ticket you bought. Depending on the ticket class you bought, some are totally nontefundable, some are partially refundable. But the website states if you bought a ticket through a travel agency you are subject to the websites terms.

From the website:

Payment Mode: Mastercard/Visa/American Express/JCB Credit/Debit Cards

If the fare conditions permit, you may refund the unused tickets bought online subject to possible penalties. Please visit or call any Philippine Airlines Ticket Office or send an e-mail to Unless we hear from you, we will not automatically refund your unused tickets.

If the credit card used is not under passenger’s account name, passenger and the credit card holder both agree that:


Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
San Francisco
I am very impressed with your zeal to move ahead in the world regardless of your circumstances. It must have taken a great deal of fortitude to fly around the world for a job that will benefit you for the rest of your life. The internet booking sites are really good at convincing you that they're good, solid businesses but they're often not. They spend all their money on advertising and have nothing left over for customer service. They're only interested in booking whatever you tell them to book. Even frequent travellers get caught up with them every so often. I wish I had some answers for you.
Sep 19, 2015
US citizens are eligible for Visa Free travel to Taiwan providing they have a ticket out of Taiwan within 90 days -- this is because the visa is for 90 days
-- I hope your employer is straightening out the visa issue as visa free travel is only for tourism or similar and only for 90 days -- not for employment:

The need for a ticket to leave are on the website under requirements:

A confirmed return air/sea ticket or air/sea ticket and a visa for the next destination, and a confirmed seat reservation for departure flight ;

I think there was a misunderstanding with Philippine airlines -- the airline will refund the ticket in 7 days if the fare allows it. From the website

Upon receipt of a complete refund request, and where ticket refunds are due, PAL shall provide prompt refunds, seven (7) business days for credit card purchases,

Tickets bought straight from the airline on the website in the US are eligible for a refund within 24 hours. Online booking agents do not have to honor the 24 hour rule, although some do.

Vayama seems to charge an administrative fee for everything.
Likes: Neil Maley