What is taking so long for Ovago to send my refund!?

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Christopher Elliott

The online booking agency Ovago owes Daniel Quinn-Shea a refund for tickets to Lisbon that the airline canceled last year. That fact isn’t in dispute. So why is it taking so long for the company to process the compensation? 


In December 2019, I booked four airline tickets from Seattle to Lisbon from Ovago, an online travel agency. As our travel date approached last May, I became concerned about our flights, so I contacted our airlines (Air Canada and Lufthansa). A representative told us that the airline had canceled our flights and that I needed to talk to Ovago about a refund.

I contacted Ovago and a representative told me they were in the process of determining refunds, and that we would likely receive a refund, less a “processing fee”. An Ovago representative promised to contact us with further information.

No one called or reached out, so I called Ovago. An agent told me they were working on it and that they would get back to me as soon as they heard from the airline. I never heard from anyone at the company.

I filed an unsuccessful credit card dispute and an unsuccessful complaint with the Consumer Protection Division of the Washington State Attorney General’s office. While that complaint was in process, however, we received an email from Ovago which said a full refund is allowed. We have mountains of documentation showing our efforts to get our refund from Ovago in compliance with their stated policy of “a full refund if the flight is canceled”. Can you help us get our $4,722 back? — Daniel Quinn-Shea, Seattle


If your airlines canceled your flights, you should get a fast and full refund. I can’t believe your credit card company didn’t see it that way and sided with the online travel agency.

Yours was a complicated case. For starters, Ovago preferred communicating by phone. That means you never received anything in writing to confirm your refund request last year. The only written response appears to be Ovago’s rebuttal to your credit card dispute and a brief acknowledgment that it would process a refund earlier this year. That’s unfortunate.

It looks as if your online agency made some claims about your tickets that you say were untrue. That further clouded the issue, and it may have confused your credit card issuer. Another unfortunate fact: Filing a credit card dispute can further slow a refund. I think that may have happened in your case.

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Just a little nudge, and here’s your refund from Ovago!

In a perfect world, both your online travel agency and credit card company would be on your side, fighting to ensure you receive a timely refund from an airline.

Remember, under Department of Transportation regulations, if an airline cancels your flight, you’re entitled to a refund within seven business days if you paid by credit card and 20 business days if you paid by cash or check. The airline can’t force you to accept a ticket credit.

I think Ovago just needed a nudge. It had already agreed in writing to give you a full refund. I contacted the company, and you received your $4,722 back.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, Forbes and the Washington Post. He also publishes Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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