Small print surprise in Travelocity’s Low Price Guarantee

ABC News Fixer helps a family come home from halfway around the world.

February 26, 2014 ?? — Best ABC News Fixer: After seeing airline flight prices hit an all-time low that we thought was low, we bought round-trip flights from Seoul, South Korea to Dallas with Travelocity. My wife and I are teachers from Texas who live and teach in Seoul with our three daughters. Buying five flights can be very expensive.

Within 24 hours of our purchase, we found a lower price on the exact same itinerary through Travelocity (same flight numbers, same dates and same class of service). My wife submitted the online claim form for their low price guarantee, along with screenshots, and got a response saying we would be contacted within 72 hours. We heard nothing.

My wife then tried to call customer service and got a lot of hassle for over two hours. First, they couldn’t see that we submitted the online form. After several more phone calls – and hours on the phone from Seoul, with a 14 hour time difference – we found out that we had been refused due to a booking code that we cannot verify.

We fulfilled all the conditions of the low price guarantee. I have screenshots showing the prices and the dates and times. We are talking more than $500 difference. Travelocity is really giving us a detour and we need help.

– Michael and Michelle Ganus, Seoul, South Korea

Do you have a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your issue online. Letters have been edited for length and clarity.

Dear Michael and Michelle: You two are the kind of consumers ABC News Fixer loves – you’d been keeping a close eye on what you bought, when and how much airfare prices dropped, and all the back and forth you had with the company.

As far as we could see, you were indeed comparing the same flights, the same passengers and the same seat class – and you had made your claim within the specified time frame. First off, you mentioned that Travelocity customer service couldn’t find your claim form. You resubmitted it and that form has also been lost. Then they seemed confused as to whether the flights were the same and whether your kids were kids or adults (the two eldest paid an adult fare, but you had to list their ages —15 and 13– on the site when you bought the tickets. bought ).

In between, there were some promised callbacks that never came true, lots of long wait times, a disconnected call, and a phone battery that was dead. When you finally got a reply 10 days later it was that they refused you the refund because some seats on the two flights were coded with a different letter even though they were the same flight, class and price.

We contacted Travelocity and asked them to take a look. It took about a week, but they looked at the whole thing and decided that given all the hassle you’d done, they’d extend the low price guarantee, even with the different code numbers. They agreed to refund you the $841 price difference, plus they gave you a $100 travel coupon as a goodwill gesture.

But back to the low price guarantee. We’ve read all the fine print and there are some expected exceptions, such as you can’t claim a lower price due to a company discount or an obvious website error. But the part that the booking codes must be the same is also stated in the policy. These letter codes are used internally by airlines and are not something the consumer has to deal with when searching for a flight date, time, airline and seat class. Is the low price guarantee difficult to obtain?

Travelocity spokesman Joel Frey said he doesn’t have figures on the number of claims, but overall he said: “If you get it (a lower price) within 24 hours, there’s a good chance we can help you.” admit that experiences like your family’s are “something we constantly look at” to refine their practices.

Our advice for consumers planning to take advantage of a price guarantee – and it’s offered on everything from carpets to appliances – is to make sure you read all the fine print before buying. File your claim immediately and keep detailed notes, receipts and evidence of competitive pricing in case you need to file a case later.

– The ABC news fixer

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