Why won’t JustFly help me out?

JustFly help seems to be an oxymoron these days. Deonna Pruitt is the latest in a long queue of customers to make that discovery.

Pruitt booked an airline reservation for her uncle through JustFly. But when she tried to change it, the online travel site charged her uncle’s credit card twice. And nobody at JustFly was helpful when she asked for assistance.

Unfortunately, Pruitt’s experience exemplifies why we urge travelers to book their reservations through brick-and-mortar travel agents or directly through travel providers. When something goes wrong, customers of these sites find themselves stranded or out significant sums of money they can’t afford to lose.

In order to successfully advocate on behalf of a customer of these sites, we need a solid paper trail. We’re wondering whether we should take Pruitt’s case, as you’re about to read.

A charge that “couldn’t be completed” went through

Pruitt had invited her elderly uncle to attend her son’s wedding. She purchased a ticket through JustFly for her uncle for a flight on United Airlines from San Francisco to Tampa. But after she made the reservation, she learned that the nonstop flight she booked was too long for him. He needed shorter flights with connections.

She returned to JustFly’s website to change the reservation. The replacement airfare was $588. The website returned a message that her transaction “could not be completed at [the] time.” She signed out of the website and tried again, but to no avail — or so she thought. JustFly’s website processed both changes to the reservation, and her uncle received a copy of the new itinerary. He called Pruitt to tell her that he was happy with the new flights.

The second airfare, which Pruitt charged to her uncle’s credit card at his request, cost $1,129. This included two air transportation charges of $200 and change fees of $275. According to Pruitt, JustFly should have applied a credit of $552 to the purchase, so the total charge should have been $863.

“Nothing we can do” — so no JustFly help

Pruitt contacted JustFly to ask for help. A JustFly manager told her that because the company sent two emails confirming the changes, there could be no JustFly help.

She then contacted our advocates and sent us her paper trail. Our advocate, Dwayne Coward, noted that “the itinerary was changed twice; therefore, the reissue fee and modification fee was charged twice.” He also suggested that one set of the charges was a hold on the credit card.

He advised Pruitt that her uncle should not yet dispute the additional credit card charges, because this might lead JustFly to cancel the tickets. He asked for her uncle’s credit card statement, which showed that JustFly had directly processed only the change fees. JustFly would have to contact United to request a waiver for the additional transportation fee.

“We get a lot of complaints about this company, and this is probably going to be an uphill battle,” Dwayne told Pruitt. “Because we have had a lot of cases, they have stopped responding to many of them.”

Before our advocates could seek JustFly help on Pruitt’s behalf, she would have to first self-advocate her case by all possible means.

“Has this been a complete waste of my time?”

Dwayne suggested that Pruitt write to the executive contacts for JustFly listed on our website. He advised her to write to the lowest-ranking contact first and allow that person at least three business days to respond. If that person didn’t give her a satisfactory answer, then she should write to the next highest-ranking person on the list. He referred her to our advice on self-advocacy, in which we advise consumers to observe the three P’s: patience, politeness and persistence.

If this didn’t work, Dwayne suggested, her uncle should then dispute the additional credit card charges. He asked Pruitt to notify him if she was able to resolve her case by writing to JustFly’s executives.

Ironically, Pruitt responded to Dwayne’s advice by ignoring the first two P’s: “Are you in the position to help me or has this been a complete waste of my time?”

Dwayne responded that he would need a paper trail from Pruitt documenting her own efforts at self-advocacy. If she was unsuccessful, he could then ask for JustFly help on her behalf. She could also post about her case in our forums, although she hasn’t done so as of this writing.

And that was our last contact with Pruitt.

We’re writing about her case to warn readers about the hazards of booking through online websites, which include potential extra credit card charges. We offer the solutions Dwayne provided to Pruitt for self-advocating with online travel companies. But we don’t know whether we should do anything more for Pruitt.

Should we advocate Deonna Pruitt’s case with JustFly?

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