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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 118061
Experience:  Attorney experienced in commercial litigation.
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Bought an airline ticket over the internet, used debit card

Customer Question

Bought an airline ticket over the internet, used debit card which was paid direct to the airlines. Plans changed and asked to cancel, whereby the airlines said there was a $200 cancellation fee which would be deducted from the already received payment, however they claim they cannot refund unless permission is given by a 3rd pty who we had booked online through. When booking, there was no mention of using a 3rd pty, or would not have booked. Now the referred 3rd pty states that they will not authorize the refund unless pay them an additional cancellation fee of $175 and sends me an "authorization form" to use the debt card for this extortion. I say, "I never agreed to pay 2 cancellation fees", thus the authorization form to debit my card again. Airlines claims they cannot directly give me refund without their 3rd party giving them the "ok", 3rd pty says no " refund without also paying us $175. This is clearly extortion by 3rd pty. there is no contract concenting to this, and the airlines say will only give refund if we pay the 3rd pty. Who is the govt agency who controls the 3rd pty for such things that we can get to force them to give up this extortionate conduct? they must be licensed by some govt agency in the travel biz, right?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.

Did you read the site's terms and conditions, which they made you click on agreeing to when you made your reservation, since every third party site does have terms and conditions and before someone makes a purchase they have to click agreeing to those terms?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

There wasn't any, that's why I thought it was direct to the airlines.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.

Please return to that site, because every airline booking site I have ever seen does have terms and many people miss them or just click the block agreeing to the terms without reading them. Go look and see what that site's terms say, because that is what governs what they can legally charge you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

There is nothing regarding site terms.Take a look.

http://e-traveltochina.com/cheap-flights-from-los-angeles-to-beijing/

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.

I apologize, I cannot read Chinese and the site you sent me is all in Chinese. If there is nothing in there about any cancellation fees, the only cancellation fee you have to pay is the airline fees, not the site. This would be a breach of contract with you to try to charge you a fee that you did not agree upon in the terms of service. If they are refusing to assist in the refund without making you pay the fee you never agreed to pay them, then you are going to have to file suit against the site to recover your money and that would be your only remaining recourse to recover your money.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Where to sue the site? They only have offices in TX and NY. Small claims?

The site I look at is translated into english via google translate. Are the agency's controlled by the US travel associations, and is that a pressure point to get them to lift the block?

L

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your reply.

You have to sue them in the state they are located in, because that court would be the only one that has personal jurisdiction over them. So you can sue in small claims in NY or TX to recover your money.

You can file a complaint with the US Travel Associations to see if they can resolve your complaint and also with the Better Business Bureau, but if those two cannot resolve the dispute, you would have to file in TX or NY and you can sue for the reasonable costs of having to travel there to sue them as well as part of your damages.