An Aussie woman who tried for weeks to get refunded from Qantas after flight fares were wrongly charged to her credit card says she’s "fed-up" with the airline's "dirty little tricks".
Gold Coast-based mum of three Sam Cardone tried to book flights for her family to travel from Brisbane to Fiji back in May using her Qantas Pass — a voucher-like system that stores travel credit — in addition to her credit card.
"We had credit that was due to run out, this was leftover from different things that happened during Covid," Ms Cardone explained to Yahoo News Australia.
After her tickets were purchased, she soon realised after checking her bank statement that she'd been charged the full amount of the return fares, in excess of $6000, all to her credit card. With the knowledge that the pass' expiry date was looming, she had hoped to exhaust the voucher so that she didn't lose any money.
Ms Cardone raised the issue with Qantas staff over the phone, where she was told she'd need to rebook in order to redeem the credit accrued, but at a higher fare.
"This surprised me, as I was simply just returning the tickets, then re-buying them, simultaneously," she said.
"I was told that the ticket prices were made on the day, and that Qantas had the right to change the prices."
She was advised there appeared to be two bookings under her name, no refunds on her credit card and that staff saw "no attempts to use the pass" in the system — though Qantas later acknowledged to her that she had tried to use the card, but claimed it wasn't able to be processed.
Eventually, Ms Cardone agreed to the new ticket price, however, when attempting to proceed, was told by a staff member that they themselves had received an error when trying to use the Qantas Pass.
Ms Cardone says she was told to expect further assistance and a call back, though after another couple of days had passed and she'd still heard nothing, she called again.
This time, Ms Cardone says, the prices had increased for a second time.
"I then followed up with them again, and was told the only way to resolve it was to cancel everything, again," she said.
Fees hiked again
"Then I was told that the price had gone up — again! So, as you can imagine, I was pretty furious."
When she took the issue to Qantas's live chat on Messenger, the situation spiralled further.
"The people on the phone didn't have the capacity to help me," Ms Cardone said.
"And even my conversation with the Messenger people ended up lasting over two weeks. Every few days they'd send me an email saying the issue had been resolved and I was able to use up my credit. But forced me to pay more and more in order to do so.
"At the end of the day, I was forced to pay an extra $1000 for the same tickets I bought in the first place."
According to a transcript of the conversation between Qantas staff and Ms Cardone, seen by Yahoo News Australia, a staff member told the Queensland mum that the new prices were more than $300 per child, and more than $400 more per adult, compared with the original booking fare.
"For everyday they (Qantas) don't resolve the issue, you're charged more for these increasing fares, and at the end of the day they're the ones increasing the fare," she said.
Over $1000 out of pocket
The saga "went on for weeks and weeks", Ms Cardone explained
"I honestly spent so many hours on the phone and on Messenger, wasting my time fighting to constantly get the same message of 'the price of the fare has changed'."
She said that she was eventually able to use the credit from her Qantas Pass, but was out of pocket over $1000.
"If there's an error — that's fine, let's just fix it straight away," she said.
"Glitches happen. But a month later to still be fighting about it, but to charge me the price difference from then to now, that's the bit that really just got me over the line.
"It's a bit rich."
It's standard procedure in the airline industry for air fares to increase as the flight's departure date nears closer.
A Qantas spokesperson told Yahoo News they will be looking into Ms Cardone's experience.
"We understand this would have been a frustrating experience. We are reaching out to the customer so we can look into this further," they said.
Qantas 'most complained about airline in Australia'
Back in May, it was revealed that Qantas was the most-complained about airline in the country.
Just this month, data obtained by the Australian Financial Review (AFR) found that complaints to the airline — largely from frustrated Aussies unable to use $400 million worth of travel credits issued during the pandemic — had skyrocketed.
According to the Airline Customer Advocate (ACA), the number of complaints involving the airline now exceeded levels prior to the pandemic, with over 4,000 of the 6,918 in total relating to Qantas. Though it was deemed just 1,400 of said complaints were "eligible".
Qantas subsidiary Jetstar closely followed its parent company, before Virgin Australia and Regional Express. Qantas carried over 60 million passengers in 2022.
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