Two a long time soon after the pandemic ruined their travel strategies, a number of frustrated WestJet consumers say they’re nonetheless ready for refunds — or confirmation they even qualify for one — immediately after the airline cancelled their flights or getaway packages in 2020.
The prospects complained of troubles attempting to converse with WestJet about their cases and proposed the airline was hoping to make it difficult for them to obtain their cash.
“I think they are just hoping to cling on to our money,” reported Sue Andrews of Mississauga, Ont.
Andrews and her spouse, Jim Scott, paid out $7,031 for a holiday bundle for themselves and two spouse and children associates to Cancun, departing in April 2020. Thanks to the pandemic, WestJet cancelled the excursion and gave the pair a vacation credit score.
They wanted a refund in its place and have been seeking to gather it for practically two yrs.
“We experience totally ripped off,” claimed Andrews. “They you should not care about us.”
Successful Monday, November 2, we will commence to provide refunds to friends whose flights ended up cancelled by WestJet as a final result of COVID-19. Understand far more – https://t.co/PSV4bxcYn0 pic.twitter.com/97939lpSlD
When the pandemic was declared in March 2020, WestJet suspended all global flights and presented affected customers with credit rating for a potential journey. Following public outcry, the airline modified its tune in Oct 2020, saying it would offer clients refunds for flights the airline had cancelled.
“We are an airline that has developed its status on placing individuals initially,” said then-CEO Ed Sims in a assertion.
In July 2021, the airline prolonged the refund offer you to individuals whose holiday offers had been cancelled.
WestJet apologizes for long delays
Andrews and her partner originally applied for a refund in June 2020, but it was rejected. They reapplied in November 2021.
Andrews mentioned the few has attained out to WestJet a lot of situations, and when they eventually built get in touch with with the company on social media, they had been only told that their application is in the queue and has still to be reviewed. WestJet instructed CBC News this 7 days that’s nonetheless the case.
“I have been in the purchaser provider market my whole daily life and have never ever observed everything like this,” explained Andrews, a semi-retired insurance policies agent.
In an electronic mail to CBC Information, WestJet acknowledged it has “a backlog of refund requests,” and blamed the pandemic and a hectic getaway travel year. It presented an apology to shoppers who have skilled extensive delays.
“We figure out the aggravation being felt by some of our guests as we get the job done to expedite superb refund requests,” reported Madison Kruger, a WestJet spokesperson.
Airline ‘just enjoying game titles,’ claims waiting around shopper
You can find no concern Julie Jalbert of Minnedosa, Gentleman., is entitled to a refund for a cancelled spherical-excursion flight from Winnipeg to St. Maarten that was supposed to depart in October 2020.
She originally gained a vacation voucher for the $769 she compensated for the flight. Instead, Jalbert used for a refund in November 2020, and a person yr later on WestJet confirmed by e-mail that she would be reimbursed.
But in purchase to claim her hard cash, Jalbert was advised she would have to get in touch with WestJet purchaser assistance. She claimed she tried using to do so various times, but her contact often got disconnected, in some cases immediately after she experienced waited on hold for several hours.
“I just feel they are striving to get gain of the customer and hoping that we just give up mainly because this is as well difficult,” mentioned Jalbert, who at some point achieved out to CBC Information for help.
WestJet explained to CBC News it has prioritized the urgent choosing of get in touch with centre brokers and that simply call wait around moments have “considerably enhanced.”
The airline also asked for Jalbert’s phone quantity and explained it would “get in touch with her urgently.”
On Tuesday morning, CBC furnished WestJet with the number. By Friday afternoon, Jalbert mentioned she was still waiting to hear from the airline.
“To me, they are just actively playing video games.”
Refund requests in holding sample
WestJet shopper Neil Tucker of Edmonton is also in a keeping pattern.
The airline cancelled a $4,027 holiday vacation package from Edmonton to Cancun that Tucker booked for his family members. It was supposed to depart on March 24, 2020.
In Oct 2021, right after discovering that WestJet was supplying refunds for cancelled flights, Tucker applied for one and is still ready for his cash.
“Why is it taking so very long?” he requested. “I assume they want me to use their credits that they provided.”
WestJet told CBC Information on Monday that it appears Tucker’s refund request is lacking some facts and prompt he need to resubmit his request form.
When CBC educated Tucker of this info, he was surprised and termed the scenario “unquestionably ridiculous.”
“What a lot more information do they require from me? They have my get in touch with details.”
Tucker said he contacted WestJet on Tuesday and waited four hours on hold in advance of he was capable to speak with a purchaser support agent. He mentioned the agent explained to him his sort had no missing information and that his circumstance has however to be reviewed thanks to a backlog.
“I am ill of the time I am paying without having compensation striving to get this sorted out,” claimed a disappointed Tucker.
“I really just want this to appear to an conclusion.”
Daniel Tsai, a purchaser advocate and Toronto-primarily based organization law firm, said the very long delays are unacceptable.
He said customers can pursue other possibilities to consider to get a refund these kinds of as submitting a grievance with the Canadian Transportation Agency, disputing the charge with their credit card organization or disputing the demand under consumer protection laws in their province.
But Tsai stated those possibilities could also include a prolonged or cumbersome approach, or, in the case of credit score card disputes, buyers generally encounter a rigorous time limit for submitting a claim.
Prospects really should be ready to “get their money back for flights that never ever occurred … without building them go via onerous procedures,” claimed Tsai.