I have no idea what is going on and why I’m being asked to pay for a ticket that’s already been refunded

When Borga Dorter’s $472 airfare on Etihad is canceled because of an error, the refund never shows up on his credit card. A chargeback complicates things. Can our advocates help?

Question: I’m having issues with Expedia sending a chargeback to their collection agency. The chargeback in question is 100 percent legitimate and the dispute has been resolved in my favor.

Last June, I purchased a one-way ticket in business class from South Africa to India on Travelocity for $472. A little more than a week later, I received an email from Travelocity saying there was an error in the booking and that I can either cancel for full refund or travel in economy class.

I called Travelocity and canceled the ticket, which they did over the phone. They told me to expect a refund. About four weeks later (when there was still no refund from Etihad), I called Chase to initiate a chargeback.

Etihad issued a refund of to my credit card. Shortly thereafter, I got an email from Chase saying the dispute was resolved.

In October, I received an email from Expedia saying that “the tickets have not been paid for.” The tickets were for someone else, flying to another destination, and ticketed through Expedia, not Travelocity. I thought it might be a phishing attempt. When I contacted Expedia, a representative told me to file a police report for the charge.

Now Expedia has sent a collection agency after me. I have no idea what is going on and why I’m being asked to pay for a ticket that’s already been refunded (as per Travelocity’s own email).

I checked again by calling Etihad and they say my ticket is definitely canceled and refunded.
I can’t reach anyone at Expedia who is willing to help. Can you help me? — Borga Dorter, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Answer: There’s something fishy about this case, starting with that $472 airfare from South Africa to India. You probably don’t need me to tell you that $472 is a ridiculously inexpensive fare — probably too good to be true.

There’s no evidence in your paper trail that you intentionally booked an erroneous fare that you found on one of those bottom-feeding loyalty program blogs, so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. Certainly, the fact that you accepted the refund without complaining is in your favor. An entitled fare-thief would have pressed the matter. I believe your motives were on the up-and-up.

But that’s not the end of the fishiness. You booked your tickets on Travelocity, and then Expedia pursued you for someone else’s tickets? Huh? (Expedia owns Travelocity, but still, you made your reservation on a different site. Should have raised a red flag somewhere. I can’t believe it didn’t.)

The paper trail then shows something even more remarkable. It appears Expedia doubled down on your case, insisting that you made these charges. Despite your protests, it referred your case to a collection agency — a lowdown dirty thing for a company to do.

We don’t care; pay up!

This is such a brazen case of corporate intransigence, I am almost speechless. Appealing to one of our Expedia executive contacts may have helped, but given all the times you pushed back, I’m not so sure it would have done you any good.

Expedia just wanted its money. Facts be damned.

But facts matter, and the fact is, you didn’t book these tickets — indeed, didn’t even use Expedia. If you could see me now, I would be palming my face.

I just. Can’t. Believe. It.

Our fearless advocacy team found the nearest phone booth when they heard your case and swooped in to the rescue. They contacted Expedia on your behalf, which acknowledged that the charge was indeed a mistake. Expedia called off the collection agency, which it should have done months ago.

By way of apology, Expedia also offered a $100 discount on a future stay at any Travelocity Rate Pre-Paid property. Your nightmare is over.

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