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United Airlines says they have refunded my flight. They have not, advice
January 29, 2013 9:16 AM   Subscribe

United Airlines says they have refunded my flight. They have not, advice?

I cancelled my round-the-world trip on the united website within the 24 hour time window. I even received a confirmation email. MasterCard is telling me they have not issued a refund. I also checked my online billing. I can't talk to anyone at united refunds on the phone and no one has got back to me for weeks from their website support area.

What should I do now?
posted by audio to Work & Money (16 answers total)
 
How long has it been? A business day? Two? If it's less than five, I'd just give the bureaucracy time to work. If it's more than that, I'd call MasterCard and ask them to reverse the charge.
posted by valkyryn at 9:18 AM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's been weeks? I would instruct MasterCard not to pay the charge, I think, and use the email as proof.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:19 AM on January 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Silly question, but what happens when you check the refund here?
posted by onalark at 9:22 AM on January 29, 2013


Sometimes it takes a while between the time when the airline says "we have cancelled your flight" and when the credit card says "we have gotten the money." I cancel a lot of flights for my bosses, and sometimes it takes up to a month between the time that we cancel a flight and the credit shows up on their card.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:33 AM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


It is probably just bureaucratic incompetence. But their bureaucratic incompetence is not your problem. You have waited a reasonable amount of time, and they have failed to make themselves available for an alternative resolution. Reverse the charge.
posted by zjacreman at 9:43 AM on January 29, 2013


I really hate to say this, but complaining on social media seems to get the attention of companies like nothing else will.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:43 AM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't understand this: "I can't talk to anyone at United refunds on the phone."

Why not? Get on the phone and wait for 20+ minutes on hold and repeatedly ask to speak to the rep's manager. Make a fuss. Call different numbers. Be nice to the individual you are talking to, though - you need them to help you and feel bad for you and be your advocate. But don't get off the phone until they have fixed it/assured you it will be fixed/explained the issue.

If it's been less than two weeks, you could wait and see if the charge reverses. More than that, time to get on the phone. Email and online web support are useless.

Your credit card company can also help you fight this. Tell them it's a false charge and not to pay it.

And yes, social media. You should tweet directly @ United.
posted by amaire at 9:51 AM on January 29, 2013


Three weeks
Nothing happens when I use the online "checker" thing.
Tried asking for a rep on the phone numerous times. No luck.
posted by audio at 10:21 AM on January 29, 2013


Document everything, put it in writing, send it to your CC company, and reverse the charge.

If you had more time I'd say send them a letter, sometimes that works and is generally less wasteful of your time than waiting on hold (which I refuse to do, whenever possible), but since you may be pressing up against the window for a backcharge I'd go ahead and exercise the nuclear option.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:40 AM on January 29, 2013


Maybe try customer care. They may have the authority to accomplish a solution that the regular rep doesn't have. I believe their number (which I couldn't find on the website, but which I was given by a customer service rep) is 800-932-2732. Pick "feedback" in the menu prompt, if there is one.
posted by odin53 at 10:46 AM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've had cancelled airfare refunds take upwards of 4 weeks to show up on corporate charge cards, but I'd still recommend staying on top of this. You might also check to see whether United issued you a credit rather than a refund.

In addition to wielding the power of Twitter and/or Facebook, I might suggest dropping a tip to Consumerist with your grievance. They can be really good about rooting out one or more knowledgeable, helpful CSRs at the most laboriously bureaucratic organizations, specifically in order to solve this exact sort of problem.
posted by divined by radio at 11:22 AM on January 29, 2013


Have you tried other phone numbers for United? I've had luck with the entries listed at Get Human.
posted by juliplease at 11:31 AM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Your credit card company should reverse the charge with no problem, and it's easier on you to get them to do it than to spend any more time on hold with United. If you're in the U.S., you have up to 90 days to get the charge reversed, so you don't need to hurry (or worry), but there's really no drawback to disputing it right now. If United puts through the refund, it's just a wash.

If it's been 3 weeks, I'd go ahead and dispute the charge. You can probably do it online.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 1:31 PM on January 29, 2013


You need to try harder on the phone. I have had no problems getting through to a human at United and even successfully escalated several issues to supervisors and got them all resolved, even some fairly bonehead things that I brought on myself.

Yes, it is annoying that the refunds department is somehow actually not reachable by phone. Only the folks at the call center can get through to them. But if it's between 8-5 Central time, they should be there.

Do you have a frequent flyer number?
posted by MonsieurBon at 1:51 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Nthing Consumerist - I complained to them last year when I got the runaround about a laptop, and I had an offer of a full refund within a few hours of the story being posted. This all depends on the company, of course, but it's always worth a shot.
posted by littlegreen at 4:25 PM on January 29, 2013


Reverse the charge. It will probably trigger an investigation at United, at which point you will be able to explain the problem (keep all your documentation, including your documented attempts to reach someone who can help you) and get it resolved.
posted by elizeh at 8:44 PM on January 29, 2013


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