Give me my money back, and don't forget my black T-shirt
March 9, 2008 5:38 PM   Subscribe

I need to get money from someone who has owed it to me for almost 5 months for a plane ticket through Travelocity. They have said that plane tickets are non-transferable. But it's on my credit card and if this guy doesn't pay me back, can I get Travelocity to transfer his ticket to me? Anyone have any experience doing that?

In October last year I planned a trip with a guy I thought I would be dating by now. He ended up being called away on a business trip for the time we were going to be gone (just a weekend trip) and we had to cancel. I booked it through Travelocity and got a full refund on the hotel, but we both have to pay for our non-transferable plane vouchers (plus pay to re-issue them when I/we use them).

So the reason I even put this trip on my card was because I didn't have all the money up front to pay him back, so I thought this would make sense and thought I knew him well enough to trust him to pay me back. Instead, every possible obstacle has cropped up since then and I'm completely over him and the entire situation. He has still not paid me, despite promising me for months that he is, will, would, had, etc. One month he mailed me a check and it got lost in the mail. (Right.) The next month he had to bail his buddy out of jail after a DUI. The next month... you get the idea.

I am horribly embarrassed that I've even given this idiot as many chances as I have, and I remind him at least once a week that I expect the $300 he owes me, and has owed me for months. I told him if I knew that timely pay-back wasn't important I NEVER would have charged the damn trip myself.

So I guess my question is two-fold. How can I get the money from him? Every time I bring it up he starts apologizing up and down and blowing sunshine up my ass about how great I am and how he wants to take me out and be with me and blah blah blah. It's a terrible cycle and I am sick of it. I just want my money.

Part two: If I just don't get the money from him, which is starting to look likely, do you have any experience in getting plane tickets/vouchers transferred to you with Travelocity or a similar company? I refuse to pay $300 for a "life lesson," as I could pay that much and take two classes at the local community college and learn more. I'm not willing to suck it up and let it go, but if I can get the ticket in his name into mine, at least I could get something out of this waste of a situation.

Thanks in advance.
posted by slyboots421 to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The ticket is in his name but does the refund voucher have to be in his name? Have you tried calling up Travelocity to see what can be done? Just tell them that you want to receive the credit, being the one who paid.

You can't make other people do anything. You can provide consequences/incentives but they can still choose the path you don't want. Sounds like he has chosen not to pay you and will not be moved. The only other thing I can think of is small claims court but I'm not sure how strong a case you'd have there (e.g. if he made up a story that contradicted yours and nothing is in writing). I hope you find a solution but "refusing" to lose the money doesn't get you the money back.
posted by winston at 5:51 PM on March 9, 2008

I'm not sure what good getting the ticket in your name would do you - surely then you'd have 2 tickets in your name for the same trip?

I find threatening legal action to be a very effective method of extracting money from people, but you have to back it up with action if the threat doesn't work. You should check with a lawyer about your chances in small-claims court.

The other option is to be a major pain in the ass until he pays up. Go to his house and ask for a cheque, then he can't say it got lost in the mail. Stay there until he gives it to you, don't accept excuses of any kind.
posted by missmagenta at 5:51 PM on March 9, 2008

Small claims court.

It's very unlikely that you will be able to get the name changed on the ticket.
posted by grouse at 5:51 PM on March 9, 2008

Response by poster: winston - I have probably dozens of emails from him promising to pay me, giving me a "deadline" set for himself, etc. I only say I "refuse" to lose the money because I really didn't want anyone to tell me that. I don't want any suggestions to just suck it up because I don't think that's fair at all and I won't go for it. He's walked all over me in every way possible and this is the only thing I feel I have a teeny bit of control over anymore.

missmagenta - I can use my ticket (the one in my name) for any flight I want. We don't have to rebook the vouchers together and we don't have to go where we originally planned to go.

Thanks all!
posted by slyboots421 at 5:55 PM on March 9, 2008

Best answer: If he has acknowledged via the emails that he does owe you the money, you might be able to snag him in small claims court. Small claims is a mild pain the arse, but you can file the complaint yourself fairly easily. Just make sure you hit him up for court costs, too (e.g., filing fees), otherwise it'd end up being a zero sum game.

One approach I've used in the past in similar ucky situations is to actually fill out the small claims paperwork and send it to the potential defendant. I'd send it registered mail with a note saying something along the lines of, "This is the small claims complaint I'll be filing Monday. If you'd like to resolve this and save yourself the additional court fees for which I'll be suing you, please provide me with payment by Sunday night."
posted by December at 6:14 PM on March 9, 2008 [4 favorites]

I had a similar problem with an airline ticket and I solved it by writing a funny letter and throwing myself on the mercy of the airline.
posted by astruc at 6:18 PM on March 9, 2008

astruc, JetBlue's conditions of carriage let you transfer your canceled ticket credit to anyone, so I'm sorry to report that it wasn't because of your letter. They were legally obligated to let you do that.
posted by grouse at 6:24 PM on March 9, 2008

The problem with small claims is that even if you win a judgment, enforcement can still be a pain in the ass. Maybe try getting him to pay in installments, with interest? You're basically at his mercy, which sucks. If he doesn't pay, I'd say just key his car at four in the morning and call it even.
posted by 1 at 6:24 PM on March 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Best answer: my experience with Travelocity has been absolutely horrendous.

I made the mistake of booking a hotel room through them. i didn't read the fine print and didn't realize I was paying up front to Travelocity. Dumb on my part, I admit.

So I have a "disagreement" with the person I was going on this (one night) trip with. I want to cancel. I call Travelocity. They tell me the cancellation fee is one night's stay, in other words, the entire price I paid to stay at this (rather expensive) hotel. Normally I have no problem with outsourcing customer service to India, because everyone there seems to speak english well. the people who answer Travelocity's phones there do not. It became a comedy skit of the guy saying "yes sir. I am understand. I am doing that sir" when he obviously had little to no idea what i was saying.

i call the hotel and they tell me a) there's nothing I can do, I bought the room from travelocity, not them and b) this happens all the time and very few people succeed in talking to a US-based travelocity rep, let alone getting their money back.

So you never know, but I wouldn't get your hopes up on getting anything out of travelocity.

I second the small claims court advice. Well, the threat of it may convince the guy you're serious and get him to pay up. Whether it's worth actually following through with the suit is another decision. Sometimes I find it's best to just let these things go- the misery and headache of pursuing it is sometimes just not worth the money.

ps great title!
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:35 PM on March 9, 2008

sorry I missed the part where you said you didn't want to let it go. In that case, sue.
posted by drjimmy11 at 6:38 PM on March 9, 2008

Seconding drjimmy11 on Travelocity's horrible customer service/unwillingness to give you a break.

We were told on a one-night hotel stay that no-fee cancellation was 24 hours in advance. I said "24 hours before check in or 24 hours before the day we are staying?" They said "Check in." I said "you see the difference there, right? Because there is chance we will need to cancel it, and if we do we will call you no later than 10:00 a.m. the day before, which would be 24 hours before check in but not 24 hours before the day we are staying." They said "I understand the difference, sir, and it is 24 hours prior to check-in time." Check in time was for a Thursday at 2:00 p.m. We called Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m. to cancel and were told we had to pay a one-night late fee. I said "we called more than 24 hours before. I've been over this." They said "that guy was wrong and you owe us the money." They took the money and never returned any of e-mails.

Travelocity sucks. Don't count on them to do anything for you.
posted by AgentRocket at 7:12 PM on March 9, 2008

astruc, JetBlue's conditions of carriage let you transfer your canceled ticket credit to anyone, so I'm sorry to report that it wasn't because of your letter. They were legally obligated to let you do that.

Aw, you're crushing my girlhood dreams of good customer service.
posted by astruc at 8:17 PM on March 9, 2008

it's interesting; is there a chance he's not paying you back because HE WANTS to keep hearing from you? or because he's trying to get even with you for not wanting to date him? or because he thinks you'll eventually tire out?

it just sounds so passive-aggressive, odd, fucked-up.

i mean, really, it's $300. it's not $30,000. over five months, that's not a ton of money. especially if he has the kind of job that sends him on business trips.

if it were me, (and i'm kinda evil when i get fucked over) i'd send him one more email. it would say that if i don't have the cash in my hand by the end of the week i'm going to take the issue up with other people who know him, including his boss and the HR department at his company. his reliability is questionable and there are people who should know that. his friends. his mom. his landlord. everyone.

i'd also demand he pay all interest due for the credit card expense. tell him if he doesn't have the cash he needs to sell some of his crap to get it or borrow it from someone else.

small claims court is also a good option but it's such a pain in the ass.
posted by xz at 9:27 PM on March 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Nthing -- Travelocity has the worst customer service of all the aggregators. Horrific. I would pay $300 NOT to have to call them about anything complicated.
posted by fourcheesemac at 6:03 AM on March 10, 2008

You paid for the ticket. You may not be able to get your money back, but you sure as hell can cancel the ticket so that he can't use it.
posted by oaf at 6:23 AM on March 10, 2008

Response by poster: You know, xz, I've thought the same thing. It's a weird little leash he's keeping on me. If there wasn't this money issue between us I would have stopped talking to him, or having any reason to, months ago. Every time I get serious and tell him I need/want the money NOW, that's when he lays on all this charm and blah blah blah.

That's another thing that bugs me, he could have paid me $50 a month and by now it would be done. Or at least close to it.

It's extremely passive-aggressive and also extremely annoying!!

And oaf - the bad part is, the ticket is in his name but he needs me/my credit card to re-issue him the ticket. So right now I don't think he could use it anyway, and that means he's got really nothing to lose. It's put me in quite the pickle!!

Thank you to everyone for your input and advice!!
posted by slyboots421 at 6:38 AM on March 10, 2008

If the ticket's in his name, and it's an e-ticket, usually he just has to show up at the airport and prove he is the person named on the ticket.
posted by oaf at 6:48 AM on March 10, 2008

Response by poster: Really? Uh-oh. I should get on that then!!! Thanks!
posted by slyboots421 at 7:03 AM on March 10, 2008

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