Help! My balloon trip refund is up, up and … away


balloonHere’s a balloon disaster with a happy ending.

Michael Buss and his fiancée booked a balloon trip this spring through a company called Go Wild Ballooning in Melbourne, Australia. When strong winds prevented them from taking off, they asked for a refund. They never got one.

Was Go Wild keeping their money?

Buss believes it is. “The secretary agreed on that and promised to give us a $750 refund via my credit card,” he told me. “Despite her promise and a couple of reminders I sent her we actually never got the money back.”

Go Wild’s refund policy is clear:

Unlike powered flight, hot air balloons depend on wind currents and wind direction to travel from one point to another, so inclement weather such as gusty or high winds and rain can prevent a flight from taking off. In the event of possible inclement weather, passengers will be notified the night before when they ring their pilot; they then have the option of rescheduling the flight or receiving a refund of any deposit monies.


So what happened?

I contacted the company on Buss’ behalf. It promptly responded:

We tried to contact Michael Buss by phone to refund his credit card as his credit card had been stopped but we could also not get through on his phone. A cheque for $750 was sent out to Michael Buss [at his address].

In other words, Go Wild made every effort to refund the money.

I asked Buss about that.

My credit card was replaced by a new one in May, yes. And of course I do no longer use my Australian mobile. The address corresponds to my friend’s place where I was staying in March when I booked the flight. Unfortunately, I cannot check right now since my friend is on vacation and will not return until September 1st. But I will keep you posted.

Please do. In the meantime, for those of you who are still waiting for a refund from a company, here’s a little advice: Make sure they have your latest address and phone number, and try not to switch credit cards. Otherwise, your refund could be gone with the wind.

Frankly, my dear, I couldn’t resist that conclusion …

(Phto: ronnie44052/Flickr Creative Commons)


Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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