Aer Lingus says it sent me a refund — I never received it

When Elizabeth Crisp’s father dies during her visit to Orlando, she needs to adjust her flight back home to Ireland. She is comforted by the kindness of the Aer Lingus representatives and reassured that a refund for the change fees will be issued as soon as a death certificate is forwarded. So three months later, why hasn’t she received it?

Question: I flew from Dublin (I have expat status) on Aer Lingus to Orlando to visit my sick father. While I was visiting he was moved to hospice and died a few days later. I needed to change my return flight and was told to contact Aer Lingus special services for consideration of a refund of the change fee.

A representative explained that after providing the death certificate I would receive a refund of $150. I sent all the required documents in early July. In August, I sent quite a few emails asking for an update. I spoke to several different people at Aer Lingus and I was told that a credit was issued on July 31. Almost three months later and I still don’t have a credit for the change fee.

I would like Aer Lingus to credit my method of payment for this fee. I was told the airline would give me a refund and that it has already been refunded. Can you help figure out where my refund went? Elizabeth Crisp, Crystal Lake, Il.

Answer: Your case was mysterious. During your attempts to resolve this problem on your own using our Aer Lingus company contacts, you had been told that your credit card was refunded on July 31. This was two weeks after you had submitted the required proof of your dad’s death — a prompt refund if you had received it.

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But when you checked with your credit card company, your bank confirmed that no refund had ever been received from the airline.

Although this $150 refund was a gesture of goodwill by Aer Lingus it had become much more of a hassle. And you were beginning to wonder if you would ever see it. After many emails and phone calls between you and Aer Lingus you reached out to us for help.

I reviewed your paper trail and noted that you were told on multiple occasions that your refund was issued at the end of July.

The mystery deepened when I reached out to Aer Lingus on your behalf. Our executive contact quickly confirmed that you had been issued a refund. She had an alternative date for your refund — June 8th.

There was a problem with this date — a big one — because it occurred one month before you had even submitted the refund request.

A refund being issued before the request is made? Impossible.

And since your bank had already provided the proof that no refund had been processed from Aer Lingus, it seemed likely that there was a clerical error somewhere along the line.

When I pointed out the problems with the refund date of June 8, our Aer Lingus contact agreed that her team should take a closer look at your case.

It turns out that the date of June 8 was the date that the change fee had been charged — not refunded. For some reason your case had been marked as refunded when no reimbursement had been made to you.

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Aer Lingus has corrected the problem and issued your credit. And this time you actually received it.

Michelle Couch-Friedman

Michelle is the executive director of Elliott.org. She is a consumer advocate, SEO-lady, writer and licensed clinical social worker who spends as much time as possible exploring the world with her family. Contact her at Michelle Friedman Read more of Michelle's articles here.

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