This case should have been a slam-dunk for David Garcia-Solorzano, if not also for our advocacy team. Instead, I’m sorry to say it’s going into the “Case Dismissed” file.
Garcia-Solorzano’s story is an important reminder that you can be right and still come up short, especially in the airline world.
Last summer, Garcia-Solorzano booked two tickets on AeroMexico using two separate credit cards. One of the credit cards didn’t go through. “I was told to call customer service to complete the purchase,” he says.
When Garcia-Solorzano phoned the carrier, a representative informed him that the system did not recognize the card.
“I thought that it was strange since in March I bought tickets for my family and myself to travel in May,” he says. So he called his credit card company. Still no luck. Finally, he offered AeroMexico another credit card number. Success!
AeroMexico charged him $878.
“The next morning, I noticed on their website that the same two tickets for the same travel dates now cost $632,” he says. “I called customer service in regards to their 24-hour guarantee and I was told that policy only applies if the purchase was made on the website. As I just explained, I could not make the purchase on the website because the card was not recognized by the system.”
Garcia-Solorzano wants a refund. AeroMexico refused, initially saying it was because the 24-hour rule only applied to tickets purchased online.
Our advocacy team contacted AeroMexico and it corrected itself.
“Let me apologize for the incorrect information that was provided to you by our representative about the 24-hour refund policy,” a representative told Garcia-Solorzano. “As you mention, they should have honored it even if the purchase was not made online.”
But AeroMexico refused to budge on Garcia-Solorzano’s request.
“Unfortunately there is nothing we can do,” a representative said. “The tickets were used.”
Well, of course they were used.
This is classic false airline logic. After the initial hassle of booking the ticket, it refused to let him cancel and rebook at a cheaper flight because it said his ticket didn’t qualify. But it did qualify. Now, AeroMexico says it won’t refund the difference because he used a ticket that it more or less forced him to use.
There’s only one place to turn: The U.S. Department of Transportation. Only they can sort out this mess and hold AeroMexico’s feet to the fire.
This one kind of reminds me of that Austrian Airlines case, where they weighed a passenger’s luggage and sent it down the conveyor belt before she could repack the bag. Too late!
Only, if the DOT does its job, it may not be too late. I’ll report back on this case soon, which, come to think of it, may not be a “Case Dismissed” after all.