United Reneged on Agents' Refund

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Oct 5, 2017
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We were nervous about the virus 3 days before our trip and had questions about the voucher system if we were to cancel. Since the wait time on the phone was hours long, we drove to our local airport and talked to the United gate agents. To our surprise, they offered a full refund (Clarified - cash refund, not a voucher.) We were still unsure, but they said the offer was good until a few hours before the flight. The next morning, we went back to the airport to take them up on this. The new agents denied it was true, but believed we were telling the truth about the offer (we were) and put in a refund for us. They printed a screenshot of their computer that said refunded and assured us our credit card would show the refund in a few days. A week later, we received an email saying we were not eligible for a refund and would not be getting one. I wrote again and asked that if no refund would be issued, could we at least get an extension on a voucher so we'd be able to use it. They emailed back that they had carefully reviewed our case and we were not eligible for a refund. I've now emailed them asking them how we get a voucher (which had also been offered.) I know we are lucky we didn't go on our trip. Our decision to cancel was based on United's refund offer, but the decision was a good one, regardless. Considering how much loss has happened recently, I am rather inclined to drop it. But the exact same thing just happened to some friends of our's. Very similar story. What would you do?
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
1,238
1,371
113
NAPLES FL or Denver CO
We have tickets for RSW>DEN 29 Apr 2020
Frontier (Daily) emails me an offer to cancel these tickets for vouchers with the added bonus of a $50 voucher for each of us to use later.
I am somewhat baffled by this. We would like to use the tickets if life is returning to normal at that time.
If we cancel now and flights return by then, surely they will cost more than the tickets we hold now, maybe even considering the extra $50 voucher.
I realize that they don’t want to refund our money, but why the big push to cancel more than 30 days out?
If they cancel they must refund us, right?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,572
21,567
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
We were nervous about the virus 3 days before our trip and had questions about the voucher system if we were to cancel. Since the wait time on the phone was hours long, we drove to our local airport and talked to the United gate agents. To our surprise, they offered a full refund (Clarified - cash refund, not a voucher.) We were still unsure, but they said the offer was good until a few hours before the flight. The next morning, we went back to the airport to take them up on this. The new agents denied it was true, but believed we were telling the truth about the offer (we were) and put in a refund for us. They printed a screenshot of their computer that said refunded and assured us our credit card would show the refund in a few days. A week later, we received an email saying we were not eligible for a refund and would not be getting one. I wrote again and asked that if no refund would be issued, could we at least get an extension on a voucher so we'd be able to use it. They emailed back that they had carefully reviewed our case and we were not eligible for a refund. I've now emailed them asking them how we get a voucher (which had also been offered.) I know we are lucky we didn't go on our trip. Our decision to cancel was based on United's refund offer, but the decision was a good one, regardless. Considering how much loss has happened recently, I am rather inclined to drop it. But the exact same thing just happened to some friends of our's. Very similar story. What would you do?
When was your flight and from where to where?
If the airline cancels your flight, you are due a refund. Otherwise, regular cancellation fees apply that were if effect at the time of cancellation .Since you don’t have it in writing, it becomes a he said/she said situation.

I would suggest sitting tight right now- this is a tumultuous situation right now and things could change.
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
2,529
3,212
113
Maui Hawaii
We have tickets for RSW>DEN 29 Apr 2020
Frontier (Daily) emails me an offer to cancel these tickets for vouchers with the added bonus of a $50 voucher for each of us to use later.
I am somewhat baffled by this. We would like to use the tickets if life is returning to normal at that time.
If we cancel now and flights return by then, surely they will cost more than the tickets we hold now, maybe even considering the extra $50 voucher.
I realize that they don’t want to refund our money, but why the big push to cancel more than 30 days out?
If they cancel they must refund us, right?
Wait to cancel but you should not expect that you will be flying in April. Life will not be returning to normal by then.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,572
21,567
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
If your reservations aren’t until April, I suggest not doing anything now. Wait it out- if the airline cancels your flight you will be eligible for a refund.

If you cancel it now and your flight is still flying, you are subject to the current cancellation fee.

Be patient- we have had clients that rushed to cancel when we asked them to wait and now are mad that they were charged a cancellation fee because they didn’t wait to see if the airline would offer a waiver.
 
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Sep 9, 2018
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[ They printed a screenshot of their computer that said refunded and assured us our credit card would show the refund in a few days.
[/QUOTE]



Does that screenshot count as being "in writing?"
 
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mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
1,238
1,371
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NAPLES FL or Denver CO
If your reservations aren’t until April, I suggest not doing anything now. Wait it out- if the airline cancels your flight you will be eligible for a refund.

If you cancel it now and your flight is still flying, you are subject to the current cancellation fee.

Be patient- we have had clients that rushed to cancel when we asked them to wait and now are mad that they were charged a cancellation fee because they didn’t wait to see if the airline would offer a waiver.
Frontier IS offering vouchers for full prices paid along with the incentive of $50 each to cancel NOW. No fees. No Penalties.
Flight is scheduled for 29 Apr.
i do plan to wait until flight is cancelled if that is what is going to happen. Would prefer refund over vouchers any day.
Return flights ticketed at southwest using points. Best of all worlds to cancel.
Of course all bets are off on any airline who files for bankruptcy.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,572
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www.promalvacations.com
And that’s the problem. What airlines will be left when this is over.

Is there a date you have to sign up for that offer?Does the screen shot you have show that you would receive a 100% refund or just that they processed a refund?

It won’t hurt you to use our contacts for Frontier about what they told you and the screen shot but I have a feeling the agents might have misunderstood the notices that Frontier had posted on the date you sent back.

Fo you still even have an active reservation or has it been totally canceled?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,248
10,033
113
San Francisco
I was eyeballing the United site a little while ago to be sure I understood their change/cancel rules; I need tix to the East Coast in September. There was not a single mention of a refund; the website is very clear. They outline all the details and how it all works. I had not known that they were extending the no-fee offer to people who had already booked tix. Have you read the information?

I'm sorry to say that you just encountered two examples of why a traveller never asks an agent anything except what's right under their noses, like when you arrive to board your flight. With an airline, if it's not in writing, it doesn't exist.

I just went back up to re-read your post ... I got you mixed up with mmb's issue. Please make a list of the facts in chronological order so we can see the best way for you to keep the value of your tix. This is such an unprecedented time in America that it seems that everything is up in the air and only comes down for a few seconds before disappearing again. I'd like to see if we can help you.
 
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Oct 14, 2015
231
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28
50
We have tickets for RSW>DEN 29 Apr 2020
Frontier (Daily) emails me an offer to cancel these tickets for vouchers with the added bonus of a $50 voucher for each of us to use later.
I am somewhat baffled by this. We would like to use the tickets if life is returning to normal at that time.
If we cancel now and flights return by then, surely they will cost more than the tickets we hold now, maybe even considering the extra $50 voucher.
I realize that they don’t want to refund our money, but why the big push to cancel more than 30 days out?
If they cancel they must refund us, right?
this whole they must refund us, is irrelevant. No airline can refund everyone & they shouldn't even try to refund anyone. This is "war".

Airlines should not get any govt dollars either. In Australia, airlines are not getting any money given to them.

They are however getting concessions on taxes & charges. Excise tax on fuel in Australia is very high. Think it amounts to something like 50% of the cost of fuel but could be wrong on the %.

So airlines don't have to pay the excise tax nor do they have to pay air services australia for air traffic control charges which are also substantial.

So airlines only make savings if they fly.
 
Oct 5, 2017
25
26
3
60
When was your flight and from where to where?
If the airline cancels your flight, you are due a refund. Otherwise, regular cancellation fees apply that were if effect at the time of cancellation .Since you don’t have it in writing, it becomes a he said/she said situation.

I would suggest sitting tight right now- this is a tumultuous situation right now and things could change.
The flights did go as scheduled. I do have a piece of paper that is a screenshot from the United agent showing that my flights were “refunded.” I have sent a picture of this paper to them but they don't even mention it In their reply.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
21,572
21,567
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
The flights did go as scheduled. I do have a piece of paper that is a screenshot from the United agent showing that my flights were “refunded.” I have sent a picture of this paper to them but they don't even mention it In their reply.
Use our company contacts and write to the first executive shown.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,248
10,033
113
San Francisco
The flights did go as scheduled. I do have a piece of paper that is a screenshot from the United agent showing that my flights were “refunded.” I have sent a picture of this paper to them but they don't even mention it In their reply.
I think it's important to establish the difference between a cash refund and a credit towards future flights. Have they already issued the credit voucher? I'm sure everyone is receiving little but boiler-plate responses from airlines right now ... I assume that everyone who works for an airline is up to their chins in trying to help as many people as possible.
 
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Oct 5, 2017
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I think it's important to establish the difference between a cash refund and a credit towards future flights. Have they already issued the credit voucher? I'm sure everyone is receiving little but boiler-plate responses from airlines right now ... I assume that everyone who works for an airline is up to their chins in trying to help as many people as possible.
I am not certain about a credit voucher. I have been replying to a customer care agent via email and cannot get a clear answer from them. We did have verbal clarification from the agent who offered our cash back, not a voucher. We have come to terms with United not honoring the cash back refund. These are bad times and United is suffering, too. Many people have worse scenarios than our's at this time. It would be nice to find out whether or not we have a voucher And how soon we would need to book another flight. I know the flight must be completed before the one year anniversary of the original booking. So far, I don't see any vouchers at our mileage plus account at the United Website. It just says we have no flights scheduled. I may just have to get in the phone cue. If that does not work, I will follow your advice to write a snail mail letter. Thank you for reading and for being so nice in return. I would like to leave my query posted in case anyone else is experiencing the same situation.
 
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Oct 5, 2017
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I think it's important to establish the difference between a cash refund and a credit towards future flights. Have they already issued the credit voucher? I'm sure everyone is receiving little but boiler-plate responses from airlines right now ... I assume that everyone who works for an airline is up to their chins in trying to help as many people as possible.
Good news! We did get through on the phone after a one and a half hour wait. We have flight “credits” that are attached to our confirmation number. These credits will not show up on the online account at United and it is possible we will have to call the airline to rebook tickets if/when we are ready. I am nervous that once again we have nothing on paper. But I have no recourse - the phone agent assured me the credits are there. We have until one year before our original booking to rebook and then 330 days from the new booking date to fly. Note - because we booked in fall of 2019, before United made some fare change rules, we were awarded this credit under the “old” rules that applied at our time of booking. Though I think we would not have qualified for any credit at all if United had not made exceptions for the pandemic cancellations.
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,248
10,033
113
San Francisco
I am not certain about a credit voucher. I have been replying to a customer care agent via email and cannot get a clear answer from them. We did have verbal clarification from the agent who offered our cash back, not a voucher. We have come to terms with United not honoring the cash back refund. These are bad times and United is suffering, too. Many people have worse scenarios than our's at this time. It would be nice to find out whether or not we have a voucher And how soon we would need to book another flight. I know the flight must be completed before the one year anniversary of the original booking. So far, I don't see any vouchers at our mileage plus account at the United Website. It just says we have no flights scheduled. I may just have to get in the phone cue. If that does not work, I will follow your advice to write a snail mail letter. Thank you for reading and for being so nice in return. I would like to leave my query posted in case anyone else is experiencing the same situation.
You are most welcome, JStan. I am so glad to read that another traveller has some empathy for airlines and other travel providers. So many people are jumping up and down about a trip that's 30 days away. Agents can only get so much done in a day and need to prioritize problems by urgency. Nice to see that someone understands this besides me! Don't know, but I think that your credit would appear under the confirmation number of your original res in your account. And I also believe that United has set the expiration date of the credits to one year after the original flight. I've been reading so much that I may be mistaken.

FOR ALL READERS
Travel providers are trying, I do believe that. It's important for you to check on your status regularly. You should be reading the daily bulletins on their websites. Things are changing at blinding speed. You don't want to miss an opportunity waiting for them to contact you ... get in the habit of checking websites regularly. We should be in Normandy right now on a river cruise, Avalon has been great about cancellations, but their story changes every day. They publish information, they tell my cruise agent something else, they publish a third notice the next morning. By shuffling around in their website every morning for a few minutes, I just determined that a promotion they're having now will end of April 6. Since Avalon has all my money, it's important to rebook what we want before we miss something.
 
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Jun 24, 2019
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Good news! We did get through on the phone after a one and a half hour wait. We have flight “credits” that are attached to our confirmation number. These credits will not show up on the online account at United and it is possible we will have to call the airline to rebook tickets if/when we are ready. I am nervous that once again we have nothing on paper. But I have no recourse - the phone agent assured me the credits are there. We have until one year before our original booking to rebook and then 330 days from the new booking date to fly. Note - because we booked in fall of 2019, before United made some fare change rules, we were awarded this credit under the “old” rules that applied at our time of booking. Though I think we would not have qualified for any credit at all if United had not made exceptions for the pandemic cancellations.
I would wrote a polite e-mail to United customer service and say, "I am writing to confirm what you agent XXX told me on the phone on DATE. Etc."
 
Oct 5, 2017
25
26
3
60
Good news! We did get through on the phone after a one and a half hour wait. We have flight “credits” that are attached to our confirmation number. These credits will not show up on the online account at United and it is possible we will have to call the airline to rebook tickets if/when we are ready. I am nervous that once again we have nothing on paper. But I have no recourse - the phone agent assured me the credits are there. We have until one year before our original booking to rebook and then 330 days from the new booking date to fly. Note - because we booked in fall of 2019, before United made some fare change rules, we were awarded this credit under the “old” rules that applied at our time of booking. Though I think we would not have qualified for any credit at all if United had not made exceptions for the pandemic cancellations.
And more good news... United called us today. They are now offering travel certificates with less restrictions. The offer just changed last night at midnight, they said. Getting through to them is still quite difficult and it will take some time for the certificates to be issued. The agents on the phone were very polite, patient in answering questions, apologetic, and helpful, even though the wait times are crazy long. We feel fortunate and thankful. Stay well, everyone.