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COMPLAINT: AC screws over voucher from other ticket
 
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  #1  
Old Oct 16, 2010, 11:45 PM
bearyukon bearyukon is offline
 
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I had leftover money from a canceled ticket--totaling $280. Called Air Canada to make a new reservation, to use the voucher money. The first service person, after taking a lot of information, put me on hold to figure out the difference...and after a long hold, another person picked up and she didn't know why I was on the line. He apparently, it seemed, dropped the call.

So we started over from the beginning. Annoying, but not bad. The new ticket I wanted was $191...plenty far from the $280 I had. She informed me that there would be a $75 fee to change the ticket, and I said, cool--thinking I was still in the range of equity with the voucher dough.

Then, through a series of complicated math computations---involving taxes, etc, she found a cheap ticket--the 193, but wanted something closer to my original ticket (around 230) so tried to bump it up. I thought this weird, but didn't say anything. After her calculations, she said "Today, I will collect from you $104." I said--WHAT? How does a ticket at 193 subtracted from a voucher of 284 become a ticket suddenly worth $388???

She liked to yell over me, tell me to "pay attention" and that the problem was that I couldn't understand the math. She talked about the fee of $75, but that doesn't add up to an increase of $200! Even taxes wouldn't take that into consideration... since the original $284 was including the taxes I paid.

I have this sneaking suspicion that they outsourced their HOLD calls to another location outside of Canada, and that this overcharge is their fee for picking up the call...

I did not make the reservation. I asked for her manager. There are no managers, she said, on Saturday. "So I can't even talk to your manager?" She offered to connect me to a lead, but after 10 minutes of hold time, she came back on, and said that the number was busy. But that they would call me.

I immediately wrote to Air Canada customer service, explained the problem, and asked for either my money back, or the ticket I want. There's no way that I should have to pay so much for a ticket that's covered by that voucher. That $191 dollar ticket would end up costing me $388 bucks...

Any thoughts? Any other people treated this way?
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  #2  
Old Dec 2, 2010, 1:38 PM
Survivor Survivor is offline
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This is the hardest part of understanding the conditions of purchase. Regardless of what you originally paid, the change fee is paid outside the cost of the ticket. 75CAD rapidly becomes 84.75 of the total of 104CAD leaving 19.25 being collected most likely in a tax adjustment (could be GST,HST,Airport Imprvmt, Aviation Insurance, NAVCAN). The Goverment ensures they get their share by making the tax nonrefundable/non assumable when you buy a non-refundable ticket so even when you have paid enough - you still pay more.
It does seem wierd to keeping the fare closer to your original amount; this is because you take the loss if your fare is reduced. The difference between the 230CAD and 193CAD is lost to you and is not useable towards anything else. You might not care about that at the time. But if you cancel and try to travel again - you are now starting with a "credit" of 193CAD; not 230.

I realize anything I post here will not be well taken and I know even this will still be hard to swallow. This is a simple explanation with not nearly enough info - but this is the jist of the math.
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  #3  
Old Dec 2, 2010, 6:17 PM
HoustonFlyer HoustonFlyer is offline
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It was well taken except that I did not understand your math. Don't forget that if a passenger takes it to court, the airline has to put it in such a way as to make sure the Judge understands the "jist" of the math.
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  #4  
Old Dec 3, 2010, 2:01 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Quote:
Regardless of what you originally paid, the change fee is paid outside the cost of the ticket. 75CAD rapidly becomes 84.75 of the total of 104CAD leaving 19.25 being collected most likely in a tax adjustment (could be GST,HST,Airport Imprvmt, Aviation Insurance, NAVCAN). The Goverment ensures they get their share by making the tax nonrefundable/non assumable when you buy a non-refundable ticket so even when you have paid enough - you still pay more.
It does seem wierd to keeping the fare closer to your original amount; this is because you take the loss if your fare is reduced. The difference between the 230CAD and 193CAD is lost to you and is not useable towards anything else. You might not care about that at the time. But if you cancel and try to travel again - you are now starting with a "credit" of 193CAD; not 230.
That explanation is so ridiculously incomprehensible it is laughable.... I would love to sit in court and have that explanation put forward.
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  #5  
Old Dec 3, 2010, 4:12 AM
Survivor Survivor is offline
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Of course this is ridiculous, there are no specifics here. If you want a totally absurd answer tell me when did you buy your ticket (exact purchase date) what were your original travel arrangements (cities,dates etc) and now when did you want to use it and between where?
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  #6  
Old Dec 3, 2010, 3:43 PM
HoustonFlyer HoustonFlyer is offline
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Survivor, the OP said he had a voucher for $284. How can it be relevant when he bought the ticket or between what cities? It's like if I take a $100 bill to pay my taxes, in order to assess the value of my $100 the cashier asks me when and where I got this $100 bill. It cannot matter whether I got it from my employer or whether my granny gave it to me. It says $100 and that's what it's worth.

An Air Canada voucher for $284 must mean exactly that - $284 value for air travel. The history of when and where it came from has come to an end by the issue of the voucher.

Air Canada would need to explain why he cannot use it to purchase a $193 ticket

Last edited by HoustonFlyer; Dec 3, 2010 at 3:47 PM.
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  #7  
Old Dec 3, 2010, 10:14 PM
Survivor Survivor is offline
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All that is done is the Electronic ticket is set aside in its original state, it is not a single value "voucher". It is then exchanged as a ticket for another ticket, each component having to match up fare for fare, tax for tax, fee for fee based on the basis of being refundable or not. What ever terms are used - credit, voucher, bank etc. its still an IATA ticket subject to IATA guidelines and participating country tax rules. The lingo is not the reality.
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  #8  
Old Dec 3, 2010, 11:29 PM
HoustonFlyer HoustonFlyer is offline
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If a merchant wants to impose this kind of thing on a customer, the details, the "jist of the math" as you call it, must be posted somewhere in an intelligible manner accessible to the customer. But when the explanation of how the voucher works borders on gibberish, if he took the airline to court I don't think any Judge would have any difficulty in Ordering the airline to give him the full value of the voucher and leave you and your math out in the cold.
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  #9  
Old Dec 4, 2010, 12:26 AM
Survivor Survivor is offline
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There is no voucher, this discussion is stuck on a "term of reference"! This is a Virtual/Electronic ticket. In the absence of any "real" document people call it what ever they desire, hence voucher, credit, credit bank - what ever works when they think of it. The money left over is governed by the conditions of the airfare it was bought it under (Tariff, Rules and Regs, Contract of Carriage, Conditions of Sale - they are all the same thing). The details are all on the purchase receipt which can be printed at the time of purchase and anytime the purchaser requests.
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  #10  
Old Dec 4, 2010, 12:28 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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AC have chosen to wildly overcomplicate the process in order to discourage them actually being redeemed. Other airlines don't do this, so it has to be legally possible. I would take my chances in small claims...
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  #11  
Old Dec 4, 2010, 12:54 AM
Survivor Survivor is offline
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Exerpt from BA conditions of purchase for a 34 fare:
Changes
Time/date changes permitted at any time before each flight departure for a change fee of 60 or an upgrade fee of 60 plus any difference in fare. Changes subject to availability. Fees apply per ticket
If you want to cancel your flight
There are no refunds except for any government & airport taxes

The principal is no different!
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  #12  
Old Dec 4, 2010, 9:09 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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The link to BA has no relevance to this topic. If AC wanted to tell the customer clearly that there is no refund of a non refundable ticket, then they could be as clear as BA and state it in black and white. That is not what happened here.

Do you receive special training at AC in obfuscation?

These are the facts:

The OP had a credit or voucher to the value of $280.

The OP sought to purchase a ticket for $191.

AC, after applying the "voucher" managed to contrive their "special maths" to demand an additional $104.

If the OP had a voucher for $280 and had to pay $104, then the ticket is costing him $384 in the real world.

Let me explain how this works, as it is clear that AC operates in a parallel universe. You add the $104 to the existing credit of $280. This equals $384.

As the ticket is on sale for $191, this means that AC has levied charges of $193 on the purchase of a $191 ticket.

It is ludicrous. AC would have to defend in court how they can justify either:

Misleading the OP as to how much the "credit voucher" is worth

OR

Explain the parallel universe maths applied in your "clarification".

Either way, it is bonkers
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  #13  
Old Dec 4, 2010, 1:59 PM
HoustonFlyer HoustonFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by Survivor View Post
Exerpt from BA conditions of purchase for a 34 fare:
Changes
Time/date changes permitted at any time before each flight departure for a change fee of 60 or an upgrade fee of 60 plus any difference in fare. Changes subject to availability. Fees apply per ticket
If you want to cancel your flight
There are no refunds except for any government & airport taxes

The principal is no different!

Survivor, the "principal" is completely different.

I will repeat that a merchant cannot impose on a customer something it has not made clear. When the consumer goes to court, any misapprehension on his part will be resolved in his favour unless the merchant can show that it has made its position clear and the customer knew or ought to have known the position. British Airways is here making something clear about the non-refundability of a certain ticket.

In the OP's case, he got a refund and it matters not whether it is a paper voucher or an electronic credit. When he went on the phone to try to use it the agent appeared to acknowledge that he had a credit. The airline is not allowed to use any kind of mathematical gymnastics to say a $280 credit is not worth $280 unless it can show that this was made clear to the customer either directly or on its website.

Can you show that the "jist" of the math is posted somewhere accessible to the customer, e.g. on the AC website?
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  #14  
Old Dec 4, 2010, 2:55 PM
Survivor Survivor is offline
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Thank you for pointing out the clarity of what BA is doing with their "ticket" - now if that BA customer incorrectly referred to it as a "voucher" would that clarify the situation here?

AC rule for a 239.00CAD Tango fare:
  • Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.
  • Flights can only be used in sequence from the place of departure specified on the itinerary.
  • Customers who no-show their flight will forfeit the fare paid.
  • Same-day standby is not permitted.
  • Change fee per direction, per passenger, is $75 CAD plus applicable taxes and any additional fare difference.
  • Airport same-day changes are subject to availability and are permitted only for same-day flights at a fee of $150 CAD/USD per direction, per passenger, except for passengers travelling on a flight between Toronto and Montreal, or Toronto and Ottawa (connecting flights excluded), for whom the flat fee is $75 CAD/USD. Same-day flights only.
  • Changes can be made up to 2 hours prior to departure. Cancellations can be made up to 45 minutes prior to departure. Provided the original booking is cancelled prior to the original flight departure, the value of the unused ticket can be applied within a one year period from date of issue of the original tickets to the value of a new ticket subject to the change fee per direction, per passenger, plus applicable taxes and any additional fare difference, subject to availability and advance purchase requirements. The new outbound travel date must commence within a one year period from the original date of ticket issuance. If the fare for the new journey is lower, any residual amount will be forfeited.
  • Read complete fare rules applicable to this fare.
Here is what is presented 3 times during the purchase process, printed with the purchase receipt and itinerary. This person does not have a "voucher" - tickets are not turned into vouchers when they are not used. If you still persist in clinging on the "incorrect reference to a voucher" there is no sense continuing.
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  #15  
Old Dec 4, 2010, 7:14 PM
Survivor Survivor is offline
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Or send Bearyukon to small claims to be advised in discovery what he has is infact - the unused portion of his purchase (ticket) - governed by the original purchase contract..
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  #16  
Old Dec 5, 2010, 5:47 AM
HoustonFlyer HoustonFlyer is offline
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Originally Posted by Survivor View Post
Cancellations can be made up to 45 minutes prior to departure. Provided the original booking is cancelled prior to the original flight departure, the value of the unused ticket can be applied within a one year period from date of issue of the original tickets to the value of a new ticket subject to the change fee per direction, per passenger, plus applicable taxes and any additional fare difference, subject to availability and advance purchase requirements. The new outbound travel date must commence within a one year period from the original date of ticket issuance. If the fare for the new journey is lower, any residual amount will be forfeited.

This is the only part of the excerpt that is relevant.

The OP said he was prepared to pay the change fee which was quoted to him as $75. There was no additional fare difference, in fact the fare was $191 and lower. No other charges are mentioned apart from taxes.

I have been reliably informed that both in the US and Canada, neither Federal government nor State or Provincial government collect taxes when there is a refund and this applies to all merchants. The merchant's accountants periodically file returns showing what taxes they collected during the period and pay these over to the relevant authorities. If they have given a refund, they are allowed to deduct the taxes from the period when the refund is made so the customer gets his refund including taxes.

Everyone knows full well that if you deal with a merchant and you return goods for a refund, the store returns the entire purchase price.

However even if the airline was charging him taxes twice (which would be dishonest since they are only paying the taxes once), that is keeping the taxes from his original ticket then charging him taxes on the replacement ticket, there is no way the change fee of $75 plus taxes could equal $193.

I'm not sure why you are getting bogged down with the word voucher. Nothing turns on whether it is a "voucher" or a "credit" or a "refund" or the "value of an unused ticket".
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  #17  
Old Dec 5, 2010, 6:12 AM
Survivor Survivor is offline
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Did your reliable source also explained that in the past 6 months that there were Canadian Governmental and Provincial tax changes "raising" the tax levels and that affects the manner in which purchases are assessed taxes? I'm sure you would agree that if your Government raised you tax levels you would have very few avenues to escape that "adjustment". Hence my question about when the original ticket was purchase and when is it now being used. I have to assume his value was non-refundable otherwise this whole post would be mute - a refund would have be provided = end of story!
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  #18  
Old Dec 5, 2010, 7:26 AM
Survivor Survivor is offline
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As for being bogged down on "voucher" - you referred to it like a 100.00 bill and I have to correct that perception. It's an "unused ticket" as it plainly states in the rule and as an unused ticket it has components - the fare, insurance fee, NAVCAN fee, Canadian Air Transportation tax, Airport Improvement Fee and general tax based on the province of issue - GST, HST and/or QST. When the Government changes the taxes these have to be reassessed. The purchase conditions do not state an unused ticket will be turned into "one lump sum" to be used at a later date.
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Old Dec 5, 2010, 11:48 PM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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In actual fact survivor, you are hoist by your own petard. The T&C's do not say it is an unused ticket.. . it says this...

Quote:
the value of the unused ticket
The value of the unused ticket, is a different thing to an "unused ticket". Canadian law is based on British Common Law, and one of the key unpinning principles of common law is that the interpretation of the law is based on what the average citizen would understand the meaning to be. Here the meaning is clear. The customer had a credit of the value of the unused ticket.. the value was $280. There can be no other reasonable interpretation of this other than to assume that you would have a credit to the value of $280 towards the cost of purchasing a new ticket. The new ticket costs $191. In addition, there is a fee to be levied of $75. On my calculation, the total cost should therefore be $266. As he has a credit of $280, he should have a total of $14 credit remaining.

That is applying the rules you have just quoted. I find it hard to believe that anyone other than an AC employee, trained to confuse, could reach any other conclusion.
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  #20  
Old Dec 6, 2010, 1:23 AM
Survivor Survivor is offline
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So its okay to dismiss the "plus tax" aspect of the purchase(T&C)? The original ticket was 230.00 and assessed a 5% tax at the time of purchase (11.50 tax) and 191.00 at 13% (24.83 tax) at the time he called in to use it. Houstonflyer is right, we can't charge tax twice but we are required to charge the correct tax (an additional 13.33) when he reuses his "Value". And the 75.00 is subject to tax too so that's an additional 9.75. Are we getting any closer to the $104.00 he was shocked about? As I mentioned the Navcan and the Insurance and all of the other fees have to be "upped" to the new tax level since the courts have deemed it so!
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  #21  
Old Dec 6, 2010, 1:31 AM
Survivor Survivor is offline
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Its also pretty clearly spelled out that "If the fare for the new journey is lower, any residual amount will be forfeited." The original fare was 230.00 and the new fare is 191.00 - there is a loss of 39.00. There goes the $14.00 credit remaining.
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  #22  
Old Dec 6, 2010, 9:23 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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Are you genuniely trying to help us to understand or are you deliberately missing the point? It is so frustrating.

Let's accept the following.

The fee of $75 is accepted
The fare is $191 is accepted.
Additional Tax of $13.33 is accepted.
Tax on the $75 of $9.75 is accepted.

Let's add these up now:

Fare $191.00
Fee $ 75.00
Tax $ 13.33
Tax $ 9.75
Total $289.08

He had a credit for $280.

Even on your calculation, AC needed to ask for $9 surely?
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  #23  
Old Dec 7, 2010, 1:47 AM
Survivor Survivor is offline
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I would really like you to understand this, but this thread has gotten so convoluted with guessed amount and dismissed processes and assumed application. I will post what would have been done from beginning to end and you can pick it apart and tell me where I'm absurd; but you have to grant me the condition that this person bought their ticket before April and request its use after April. There is no reason a tax adjustment would have come into the conversation unless these were the conditions in the first place.
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Old Dec 7, 2010, 1:58 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
 
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I think the answer is right in front of us. Even an AC employee, with a high degree of goodwill, is unable to explain the ridiculously complex mechanism which generated the final charge. If I was the OP, I would take it to court and let them explain it there...
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  #25  
Old Dec 7, 2010, 4:47 AM
Survivor Survivor is offline
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AIF varies based on city of departure
NAVCAN 9.00/15.00/20.00 depending on distance between cities

Prior April 2010 Tax (5%)
Airfare 230.00 11.50
Insurance 3.00 0.15
NAVCAN 15.00 0.75
ATSC 4.67 0.23
AIF 20.00 1.00
Total 272.67 13.63
Grand Total 286.30

After April 2010 - Change to travel anytime after increase - customer subject to new tax level
Tax increase depending upon province of commencement 12%, 13%, 15%
ATSC Fee increase to 7.12
After April 2010 Tax (12%)
Airfare 191.00 22.92
Insurance 3.00 0.36
NAVCAN 15.00 1.80
ATSC 7.12 0.85
AIF 20.00 2.40
Total 236.12 28.33

Per T&C if airfare less than original difference is forfeit (230-191=39CAD unusable)
ATSC increase 2.45
Tax increases
Fare 11.42
Insurance 0.21
NAVCAN 1.05
ATSC 0.62
AIF 1.40

Total Increases 17.51
Change Fee 75.00
Tax (12%) 9.00
Total 101.51

This is how the calculation is done (like it or not, held up by the courts; administered by Revenue Canada)
So pick away! (tax amounts beside each value

Last edited by Survivor; Dec 7, 2010 at 4:50 AM. Reason: cosmetic to line up text
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