Garuda denies refund for a refundable ticket

Niko Z.

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In Nov 2019 I had purchased refundable tickets to Japan and back. The flights were supposed be in March, and I cancelled them ahead of time according to Garuda procedure. On March 15, they reverted with the sum they would pay back and a time frame for the payment, all according to fare rules.

So far, so good.

Today I got an email, cheerfully informing me that I will get no refund, but if I call a certain number I can get e-vouchers.
I called the customer service, and was politely informed that this is what they do now, 'due to coronavirus', and they have not intention of ever processing the refund.

The way I see it, I bought the tickets that had fare rules attached to them, and those rules should be honored. However, Garuda does not care, and simply decided to not honor the ticket rules. I am couple of thousand dollars out on this business, and would really like to see it back.

Does anyone know how I could step this up a notch? Is there a consumer protection agency, or anything I could pursue?
 

Tupai Hitam

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There is the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) : http://ylki.or.id/kontak-kami

Sometimes, Indonesian consumers feeling ripped off can get satisfaction by writing a letter of complaint to Tempo magazine (the Indonesian language edition), as Tempo might forward the complaint to the accused company, which sometimes responds with an explanation or some act of compensation.

In the old days, you could write a letter to The Jakarta Post and see it in the print edition, but I don't think it has readers' letters any more. So instead, you can try emailing a well-written complaint to the Expat magazine run by the Bugils group of bars, and see if they publish it online.

I am doubtful of Garuda honoring a refund if they are strapped for cash. Remember that this is the airline that in 2004 took orders from a state intelligence official to have an off-duty Garuda pilot assigned to a flight in order to murder human rights activist, Munir. Rather than apologize for its role in the murder, Garuda tried to sue Munir's widow. Charming.
 

Jaime C

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Did you use an Indonesian credit card? I try to use a US based one for all purposes, as they are usually much easier to use if a chargeback is needed.
 

Niko Z.

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@Tupai Hitam Thank you for an informative list of options. I will follow up with YLKI

@Jamie C I have used a foreign card. I have received chargeback for my other bookings on it, so there are no technical issues. It's just Garuda ordering customers to sponsor it in the time of crisis.
 

Euc-

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My wife works for Garuda, she and most of her direct colleagues that she knows haven't received salary on time or in full for at least a month now.

Even before this crisis they had huge financial problems and now with this crisis they are extremely strapped for cash.

Most airlines currently take the voucher approach, including for example Singapore Airlines. If they had to refund everyone they better go out of business right away.
 

Vanhelsing

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With four flights booked with AirAsia over the coming months and their notification they've gone into hibernation, I've ordered my bank to engage in the dispute process to reclaim my money. In the past this has been effective in recouping funds but it may be more problematic this time with current events being what they are.
 

Jaime C

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I am very much against financing billion dollar corporations with only downside involved.

If I can’t deliver a product to my customers, I need to quickly refund the money, or risk my merchant account. Even if there are worldwide problems, I’m expected to play by the same rules.

Who knows how many airlines will be in business a year from now. I’d much rather have the cash in hand, and repurchase a ticket later, if needed. If the airline was more proactive and offering a bonus of some sort, then that might be a deal I’d take.
 

Niko Z.

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With all due to respect to folks whose family works for Garuda, but they are going out of their way to shift the burden on the customer and even profit from the situation. I have just got from the phone call with Customer Service, I have suggested I re-activate the original tickets and just use them for the same dates next year.

Guess what? They came back with explanations I would have to pay penalties and extra fees as the rebooked dates fall under peak season (blackout dates). Nevermind that my original tickets were for exactly the same season... These details say a lot about their level of care for the customer. Last time I will ever trust Garuda for international flights.
 

Helpful Herbert

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Most airlines currently take the voucher approach, including for example Singapore Airlines. If they had to refund everyone they better go out of business right away.
If they cannot provide the service and will not refund the customer they deserve to go out of business!! Etihad has just done this to me for $7000 and I'll happily join a class action suit against them as and when the time comes, to get compensation.
 

Euc-

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All im trying to say is, its not just Garuda. See attached email just received from Singapore Airlines.

Once they go Bankrupt you all will be the last in line for refunds. Better get something and help them stay afloat instead of nothing. That's my view anyway.
 

Attachments

Euc-

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And FYI I've got 2 business class return tickets to NZ booked with SQ in May that I'm not getting refunded in cash, so I'm also personally affected.
 

harryopal

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My experience has been to find the name of the CEO of the organization and then their office address. Write a letter explaining the circumstances and suggest that in pubic relations terms the cost of the refund would be far less than loss of trust with the general pubic if the issue received publicity. Try not to make it sound like a threat.

Letters to the CEO tend to go direct to their office and now with so many emails the novelty of a letter means it will get read. I had an issue with Jetstar and dealt with it this way and when the CEO says deal with this the matter gets treated properly. Similar success with a number of other organizations.

However, if Garuda's financial crisis is as bad as suggested then this may fall on deaf ears. Good luck.

With the Indonesian postal system you may have to use special delivery Express Mail Service (EMS) .

Good luck.
 

snpark

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I'm KF elite gold with SG and also had j class ticket that they cancelled and promised to REFUND but instead I got an "open" ticket for a year with no booking fees
I got that same email just now also
At least they renew my elite gold status for another year
Screenshot_20200401-171045.png
 

Niko Z.

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Again , all respect to folks connected to Garuda, but...
I had just wasted over two hours on the phone with 5+ customer service representatives, to claim the EMD voucher at least. The number of times I was placed on hold and disconnected, the different information I got from each representative, and the steps I had to go through to get this voucher were all quite stressful. I almost gave up on getting anything out of my initial purchase of over $2,500. The system is clearly designed to mess with people so they give up.

At this point, and I have spent the major part of the day on the whole charade, I don't even know what I am getting. I have heard different information from Garuda; voucher can only be used once/multiple times, only national/international/both types of flights, including/not including peak season etc. Only thing that was clear is that the company can issue new 'rules' as they see fit in the future, and that in order to use the voucher I have to take a day off work and drive an hour each way to their office. So yeah, if Garuda goes under and saves me further grief in trying to actually use the vouchers, I would not even mind the money lost at this point.
 

snpark

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I know it's painful but they probably have 100,000 like you also calling and they are only doing their jobs, best thing is under the circumstance at least try and be a little patient, wait for the worse to pass then try and reorganise, not ideal I know but what to do?
 

snpark

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Try as hard as you can to get your money now,, any patience may well be rewarded by the Airline's empty coffers.
I doubt it, not for SG. Or for Garuda, even if they went bankrupt someone would buy up the fleet and the routes, even if it were a Middle East airline, then you only need to pray your voucher is still valid

Even AirAsia would survive
 

Niko Z.

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@snpark, I aplaud the sentiment behind your post. The point is, if they wanted to offer e-vouchers sincerely, the whole process could have been automated online quite easily. I am not talking about getting actual refund at this point. The amount of hoops I had to jump through to try to even get a voucher for future flights would not be realistic for me unless I were on holidays now. I have started this process almost three weeks ago, this is about 8-9 phone conversations, multiple emails, scanning documents, etc later, and it's still not done. They are now saying 7-10 more days, 'hopefully.

This whole system is clearly put in place to exhaust the customer until they give up.

I can't help but contrast this with five other cancellations I had to do for this trip. Three were handled through a single email, a couple required a single call. The irony? They were all explicitly non-refundable tickets and bookings at a time I was making them. However, due to a tremendous amount of goodwill in the travel and hospitality industry, I got all of them fully reimbursed.

The only explicitly refundable booking I made was with Garuda, and I contacted them before the other companies. So, while I understand that customer representatives here have been given the task of polishing a turd, the turd it is, nonetheless, and Garuda is making the customers swallow it whole.
 

snpark

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I understand. I had a j class ticket which they cancelled and they said I would get a refund to my card. And I still only got a credit

Airasia offered me a choice, I said refund to card, they said ok but takes longer. I said no problem happy to wait. 2 weeks so far

And yes I understand you booked to travel that date not for next year and these days having a few thousand $ in your account is better than a credit note for a flight next year. When you fly a lot and have several flights cancelled and expect to be refunded it suddenly adds up and becomes a decent amount of money.
 

Euc-

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ive pm'd you the contact details of the VP of ground services who helped me out of a jam once. If she is still there it might be worth a shot.
 

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