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Air India forcing me to pay extra **RESOLVED**


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Hello All,

 

I am in this strange dilemma. I had made a booking in Nov-2021 to travel from London to New Delhi by Air India (intranational ) and from New Delhi to a city within India (domestic service).

 

Both legs, were provided by same airline. I received an email today saying that because of some government regulations in India, the original domestic flight cannot be taken as it was just in 3 hour overlay but revised govt regulation requires minimum 6 hours. Therefore I will have to take another domestic flight and I will have pay fare difference. They said that I cannot drop the second leg altogether or cancel the whole itinerary.

 

Does this sound okay and acceptable under current times? Please help me with latest airline regulations on this matter.

 

Many Thanks for your inputs.

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Hi Mountaneer,

 

It is correct that the airline cannot be held responsible for government regulations changing.

 

However I did a quick google and I see that Air India have declared that change fees will be WAIVED for passengers like you:

https://www.airindia.in/images/pdf/Waiver-1stDecember-21.pdf

 

This looks like it applies to you. You should call the airline again and point them to this internal document. I don't see it being a problem then to get your change issued for free. Ask to speak to a supervisor and give them the link to their own website.

 

Good luck and please report back.

 

(Just to explain, it's not unusual at all that airline agents don't know their own companies rules and regulations, since there are so many bulletins to follow, esp with covid.

 

The helpful ones will research carefully and help you out - some will just fob you off with the default change fees because they can't be asked, so it pays off to do the research for them

- if you can't get someone helpful ask to talk to their manager, or even hang up and call again until you hit someone sensible. and of course record your calls)

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Hello Kyosanto, Many Thanks for our help on this and for the link. I hope that can help.

 

The agent is saying that fare difference is applicable and so I was asked additional money on pretext of fare difference?

 

Can you please share your thoughts on this.

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Hi there, 

 

Before you read the long reply below, couple of questions

  1. When is your flight? 
  2. How much are they asking you for the fare difference? Is it a lot?

If your flight is very soon, then you will want to either a) suck it up and pay or b) get a full refund and buy another ticket - that way you don't find yourself out of options. If you have the time read on:

 

So regarding "fare difference"

 

Ok the bulletin does just mentions "booking charges", and doesn't mention fare difference, but this still reads very wrong to me because of this bit I highlighted in bold below:

 

Quote

Rebooking will be allowed to any available booking class maintaining Cabin Class. Re-booking charges will stand waived.

 

Cabin class is what you paid for (for example Economy Class) but Booking Class indicates the fare code, for example Y is economy flex, and something like X would be economy hard discount. If you have to pay a fare difference (esp. a substantial one) it is because you will usually be changing from one booking class into another.

 

So it doesn't make sense that they would say you can rebook any fare (as long as it's still economy), with charges waived, but then still charge you for booking you into another fare.

 

It's like saying "hey we ran out of big mac, so you can have any other meal with no charge" and then say "sorry the chicken selects cost 50p more so you have to pay the difference".

 

 

I think that the agent you spoke to is wrong and the bulletin says you shouldn't pay the fare difference.

If the bulletin implies you should pay the fare difference than it is misleading and poorly phrased.

You should try and speak to a senior member of staff. If you get the same response again and again I would suggest you go on twitter and ask them to clarify their bulletin, and ask them why they say you can rebook into any booking class if they're going to make you pay for it, contrary as what the writing suggests.

Important to do this publicly.

 

Let us know how you get on.

Edit: When you speak to the agent ask them for your original booking class (assuming you don't know it) and the available booking classes on your new flight. 
You could also try to ask if to search for other flights which have the same booking class you originally had, and to book you on those flights which should avoid the reprice.

Edited by Kyosanto
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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes. My first step was to get clarification from airline on email about the waiver. I have highlighted the line you

mentioned, which actually implies that fare difference is waived-off as well.

 

Its a very good point you caught Kyosanto, you have keen eyes I must say. I await response from airline. Should come within a week.

 

I don't want to hassle the agents fearing what if they cancelled all my ticket. Can they do that, on some pretext?

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No, don't worry, they can't just cancel your ticket like that, unless you ask for that to happen.

 

The worries though is that just take you for a runaround and don't get back to you. I hope you have recorded the call or some written evidence that they will get back to you in a week's time?

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I'm not really an expert in taking businesses to courts sorry. 

 

But my guess is no. If you pay them to take you somewhere, and that's what they do, then there is reasonable grounds to assume they have fulfilled their contract. They are not obliged to rebook you free of charge due to government changes. But they are obliged to refund you if you ask them to, due to them not allowing you to board your initial flight.

 

Like I said if you are unhappy with paying the extra fee (And I can understand why you would be... it sucks), your only valid plan B is to cancel the whole ticket for a full refund, and buy a ticket with someone else.

 

Did they give you a final no then? Can't hurt to insist. DO go on twitter and make this public, it will put extra pressure. Something like 

 

"@Company Tag   On this link you say rebooking fees are waived. BUT you still ask me to pay £240 pounds for a change that you are forcing me to make. It's outrageous, please explain."

 

Usually best way to get things moving :

 

 

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  • 3 months later...
  • dx100uk changed the title to Air India forcing me to pay extra

Hello @Kyosanto,

 

Many Thanks for your inputs so far and these had been quite instrumental in giving me a faith to fight back. That link of Air India you provided was the Key. The southall travel finally yielded when I asked the call recordings, so they had no way to hide the evidence. So while they have the refunded the £240.00. I had to literally work through my nose to get my own hard earned money.

 

First SUCCESS on this matter. Few more yet to come.

 

Can a business get away easily with this kind of behaviour? Isn't there any law which holds them answerable for such behaviour which was ultimately a way to take my money for no genuine service or product.

 

Also if the ticket had to be necessarily changed to new regulations of Covid, could I not simply cancel the ticket and get a full refund? Southall said that I will lose my deposit they had taken in advance. So what laws/regulations could come handy to me if I want to take the matter to court. I believe it was a forced selling.

 

Secondly they also wrongly advised that the luggage will be a through check-out from London to a domestic terminal within India. That was clearly wrong since customs is an age old mandatory step. I see it was a mis-selling of tickets as well.

 

Please I requst experienced members of the team can advise me on how can nail down this SouthAll agency to court. I have worked hard for six months and still have the energy left to bring this, sort of scam by SouthAll, to the court and see them through.

 

However I lack full knowledge of the technical and legal points which will form the basis of my fight back.

 

Thanks in advance for everybody's forthcoming help.

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Posted (edited)

@Honeybee13, Many Thanks for your reply.

 

With regards to their behaviour for making me work so hard to recover my money, they must be made to compensate. They have refused to make any such offer. Isn't there any law or default terms of contract that applies to business to prevents them from doing such acts with impunity.


This is the first point that can be discussed first.

Edited by Mountaneer
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After Kyonsanto's post, I raised the matter to Southall about the link on Air India's website but SouthAll said that they will not refer to such announcements and that I will need to get a document from Air India. stating that there were no charges applicable for my ticket.

 

Air India said they cannot send any such document as the ticket has been booked by agent.

Southall also did not agree on the email that the charges were levied by them by telling us that they were as demanded by Air India.

 

I then raised a GDPR query in May first week to ask the call recordings.

It was only then they realised that they cannot escape anymore and then refunded after 30 days of GDPR request.

 

During these times from Feb to May, I made numerous calls to Southall to explain how the additional charges were not legitimate but each time I was refused. 

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@Mountaneer

 

What loss have you suffered that you want to take Southall Travel to Court for ?

 

Have you looked into complaining to ABTA ?

We could do with some help from you.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

If you want advice on your thread please PM me a link to your thread

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Does the loss only refer to monetary loss?

can a agent force me into paying him additional money or else me have to lose the deposit with agent? And then I be made to follow-up on this for four months to get my money back. The loss is my time and as everyone will agree it was a stressful time. 

 

can a trade get away with impunity for having duped me of £240.00. 

 

I am here to find what are the things I have lost that can be raised in court.

Is someone's time not worth and do traders have a free hand to give grief to someone?

I hope there will be legislation to prevent such behaviour.

The law cannot encourage such ill practices by traders..

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Posted (edited)

Hey there. First of all I'm really glad you managed to get your £240 back! Well done. And thanks for getting back here to let us know. Always good when there's a happy end to a thread.

 

I can't give you advice whether you can take them to court for being incompetent and trying to overcharge you. Ultimately it's good that they failed to do that and you should definitely mention your experience on social media, but I've never tried to sue someone after a successful refund 

 

Regarding the couple of other points that you ask:

  • If the ticket had to be necessarily changed to new regulations of Covid, could I not simply cancel the ticket and get a full refund? Southall said that I will lose my deposit they had taken in advance. So what laws/regulations could come handy to me if I want to take the matter to court. I believe it was a forced selling.

Don't think so. Firstly the government changing covid regulations is not the fault of the airline here (or the travel agent). For any travel that was booked after covid became a thing, it could be argued that you were taking a risk and should have insured against it. It's up to the airline to decide how flexible they want to be. The reason why you could have got a refund is because your flight schedule was changed involuntarily which is grounds for a refund, but it's not because of covid itself. Maybe there is room to argue but in this case it's a moot point anyway since you flew the ticket.

Then since you bought your ticket via an OTA they are allowed to charge you some form of "Admin fee" to process cancellations and refunds. This is usually something you will have agreed to when you bought the tickets. It's also why buying tickets from an OTA is generally cheaper than buying from the airline, and more dangerous. You get what you pay for and that is zero customer service and extras fees to do things that would be free if you did it direct with airline. You would only have a breach of contract here if they tried to charge you more than what you signed for. (edit: some members here might have more helpful information about what constitutes an abusive fee - to me they all look abusive :p )

 

  • they also wrongly advised that the luggage will be a through check-out from London to a domestic terminal within India. That was clearly wrong since customs is an age old mandatory step. I see it was a mis-selling of tickets as well.

If I could sue a travel agent every time they give me garbage information. I would be a millionaire by now 😂   They clearly either thought they knew or didn't know and wanted to get rid of you. It's shocking but less than surprising. You could do a formal complaint for the wrong information you were given. Like someone said above complain to travel standards or on social media. I'm not sure it would lead anywhere legally though as ultimately you are responsible for checking the information for your travels. (For example you couldn't use "my OTA tell me I didn't need a passport" as an excuse)

 

 

See with other members of the forum if anyone reckons this is worth suing for, but honestly, you got your money back, and sounds like you pissed them off as well with your GDPR requests, looks like 2 victories to me already!

 

Edited by Kyosanto
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42 minutes ago, Kyosanto said:

I can't give you advice whether you can take them to court for being incompetent and trying to overcharge you. Ultimately it's good that they failed to do that and you should definitely mention your experience on social media, but I've never tried to sue someone after a successful refund 

 

nope.

 

42 minutes ago, Kyosanto said:

but honestly, you got your money back, and sounds like you pissed them off as well with your GDPR requests, looks like 2 victories to me already!

:cheer2:

 

thread marked as resolved

 

dx

 

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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  • dx100uk changed the title to Air India forcing me to pay extra **RESOLVED**

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