Old Jun 5, 2018, 12:34 PM
Lislespence Lislespence is offline
Join Date: Jun 2018
Posts: 1
Default Poor customer service re baggage info


Dear Sir /Madam
I am writing on behalf of my son, Joel , who is currently in transit to Prague. I am also writing this because Joel has an intellectual disability and would not be able to write a suitable letter himself.
On 22nd May I went online to book extra baggage for my son. I could not find an option on the website to purchase extra baggage, so I went to excess baggage and found that it said it would cost over $1500 to send an extra 20kg. Believing this situation to be impossible, I decided to ring the Sydney office the following morning. I rang the Sydney office at approximately 10 am on the 23rd May, and was greeted with 15 minutes of suggestions that it was so easy to book online and started to wonder if this number was attended. I decided to call later and did so at about 1.30 pm, only to be greeted by another 15 minutes of suggestions to do things online. My suspicions that the line was unattended grew, so I decided that sending an email might be the thing to do. I sent a brief email, suggesting that the Sydney office might call me on the number I provided. I received a prompt email back, saying that the team was working on the request. I assumed that I would hear from the Sydney office later that day, but also wondered whether the email was robot generated. Having not heard from anyone the following morning, I decide to try ringing the Sydney office again. I was successful this time in speaking to a person. I explained what I wanted to know, but found the person very difficult to understand as they had a thick accent and we were not able to communicate well. The telephone line also seemed to be dropping out, giving me the impression that the person might be using Whatsapp or something similar, or that the person might not actually be in Sydney. When I asked how much it would cost for 20 kg of extra baggage, the person took quite a while to answer the question, as though some very complex calculation had to be made. Eventually he got back to me and said it was $75 dollars online and $100 dollars at the airport. This seemed reasonable to me and as I was having difficulty understanding much of what he said, I thought ok, I’ll just sort it out at the airport or have another look online tonight.
I went online that night and went to excess baggage as I could not find an option for an extra bag. Once again it gave me a figure of over$1500. I thought this can’t be right. This is more than the cost of the ticket! I decided that I would not go ahead with this. It was clearly an error on the part of the airline. There was a decimal point or two missing. The people in Qatar have made an error with exchange rates perhaps. So I decided that I would just pay a little extra and sort it out at the airport.
Upon checking in my son and I were told that there would be a charge of $1577aud for about 17kg of excess baggage. My chin dropped to the floor almost. My son understood that I would have to pay this exhorbitent amount of money and became extremely upset. The customer service officer suggested we could go to another area and send some as cargo but that the items would be delayed, possibly by as much as a week.
My son is travelling to Prague with a magic show for a Children’s Festival. He could not afford to wait for even 5 days to get everything to Prague. I felt I had no choice but to pay the amount requested. But as I commented quite calmly(!) to the customer service officer, “this is extortion”. The fee was paid and my son went on his way.
To sum things up, this is the worst experience by far that I have had with an airline. I have checked some other airlines and have found a variety of options, including buying extra baggage items at a reasonable cost. Excess baggage is generally quite expensive, however Qatar charges two to three times as much as other airlines and doesn’ t allow you to buy extra baggage as a routine thing as most other airlines do. Communication with Qatar is absolutely appalling. Poor response to telephone calls, email response that achieves nothing, customer service over the phone by people with unsatisfactory communication skills. I felt that the poor communication was perhaps even intentional in the end, so that it was intended that people would turn up at the airport and pay the maximum possible charges. What do you do do when confronted with missing a flight because the airline has hit you with a cost that is exhorbitent? You have little choice. I believe that this is very close to extortion indeed. I am not poor but I didn’t actually have quite enough credit on my credit card without going over my limit a little. My son would have been unable to pay if I had not been there with him. Pity those with little in the way of spare resources.
The process of dealing with Qatar lacks transparency and decency. I am not stupid. I can deal with most computer bookings, registrations, etc. Qatar made it difficult to get information and then charged prices far greater than the cost of providing the service and far greater than the industry standards for these services. Australian banks have been accused recently of unconscionable conduct for not acting in the interest of their customers. I believe Qatar airlines could be accused of this as well.
I will forward a copy of this letter to the Australian airline Ombudsman as I feel it is in the public interest to inform them of Qatar Airlines conduct. If seen fit I will also forward it to other organisations including the media.
This situation has caused considerable distress to my son and to myself. I have spent several hours considering what action to take. I expect to be refunded the full amount of the excess baggage as a minimum compensation for the time and distress. Whatever the outcome, I will send this letter to the airline ombudsman.
I hope that I will receive a positive response to this letter and that Qatar Airlines will take seriously the need for transparency and fairness in dealing with their customers. In the absence of these, Qatar Airlines will not have a good future.
Yours sincerely,
Lisle Spence
On behalf of myself and Joel Spence

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