“They seem to have no compassion”

Air travelers seem to delight in poking fun of people who ride the bus, but as someone who has driven coast-to-coast on Greyhound a time or two, I can tell you it was safe, efficient and inexpensive. Oh, and really long.

Not everyone has the same experience. Take Russ Judson, who bought a 21-day advance purchase e-ticket on Greyhound to drive from Minneapolis to Nashville to visit his daughter, who is sick. (That’s a 14-hour drive, in case you were wondering.) Along the way, Greyhound made a promise that it had no intention of keeping, according to Judson.

I studiously read the fine print on the Greyhound Web site before purchasing, which stated that you can take a later bus than the time listed on the ticket as long as you pay a $15 exchange fee.

Just in case, I placed an email (the day before I purchased the tickets) to their customer support team. She (Linda H.) told me that was the case, that I could take a later bus with a $15 per ticket charge.

Judson showed me the e-mail. And sure enough, it showed he could make the change.

But when I talked to them this week they are telling me that the tickets MUST be used by January 24, because they are e-tickets (they are saying these cannot be changed).

I tried to get them to change the tickets, but they refuse to do so. I was told “we apologize for the inconvenience”.

An inconvenience? $250 worth of tickets that I can’t use based on a technicality, when a representative from Greyhound specifically told me in an email that this was fine to do? This is a very important trip, my daughter is going for treatment for anorexia and could die without us making this trip. I made them aware of that. They seem to have no compassion.

Greyhound doesn’t publish a ticket contract, the way airlines do, but it lists the various types of fares on its Web site. As I review the correspondence between Greyhound and Judson, I think this came down to an honest misunderstanding.

I contacted Greyhound on his behalf. A few days later, I heard back from Judson.

I just spoke with a Greyhound representative, and she said I was given misinformation by the Web support team, and that I will be able to use the e-tickets after I pay the $15 fee for travel on the same route after the date on the tickets. She also told me that if I encounter any problems at the counter (but she does not expect any), to give her a call. Thank you very much for intervening on my behalf. You the man!

Greyhound did the right thing by fixing Judson’s ticket, but it shouldn’t have taken my intervention for it to acknowledge its mistake.

(Photo: heliosphan/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.

  • Anton

    Many airlines and other travel services do this to help in times of loss, it is a good policy. These are unscheduled trips and many may not have the extra money to spend to get to see their loved ones for the last viewing, it is a good policy I think. Most companies give you berevment pay and time off for a death in the family so it make sense that the travel industry would be considerate of someones untimely loss, it is for compassion just as berevement pay from your employer… It makes sense and is a good policy..Sadly you have to bring in death cert. because of so many people trying to scam a few dollars to go on vacation whihc are planned whereas deaths are not…

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