Some WestJet customers still waiting on refunds for flights cancelled in 2020 | CBC News

Two years after the pandemic ruined their journey plans, a number of pissed off WestJet prospects say they’re nonetheless ready for refunds — or affirmation they even qualify for one — after the airline cancelled their flights or trip packages in 2020.

The purchasers complained of difficulties making an attempt to speak with WestJet about their circumstances and advised the airline was making an attempt to make it exhausting for them to gather their money. 

“I believe they’re simply making an attempt to hold on to our cash,” stated Sue Andrews of Mississauga, Ont.

Andrews and her husband, Jim Scott, paid $7,031 for a trip bundle for themselves and two relations to Cancun, departing in April 2020. As a result of pandemic, WestJet cancelled the journey and gave the couple a journey credit score. 

They wished a refund as a substitute and have been making an attempt to gather it for nearly two years.

“We really feel fully ripped off,” stated Andrews. “They do not care about us.”

When the pandemic was declared in March 2020, WestJet suspended all worldwide flights and offered affected prospects with credit score for a future journey. Following public outcry, the airline modified its tune in October 2020, asserting it might provide prospects refunds for flights the airline had cancelled. 

“We’re an airline that has constructed its status on placing individuals first,” stated then-CEO Ed Sims in a statement

In July 2021, the airline prolonged the refund provide to individuals whose trip packages had been cancelled.

WestJet apologizes for lengthy delays

Andrews and her husband initially utilized for a refund in June 2020, but it surely was rejected. They reapplied in November 2021. 

Andrews stated the couple has reached out to WestJet quite a few occasions, and after they lastly made contact with the corporate on social media, they have been solely advised that their software is within the queue and has but to be reviewed. WestJet advised CBC Information this week that is nonetheless the case.

“I have been within the customer support business my complete life and have by no means seen something like this,” stated Andrews, a semi-retired insurance coverage agent. 

WATCH | WestJet apologizes after failing to supply refunds: 

Clients pissed off after WestJet didn’t give refunds for cancelled flights

Clients are pissed off that WestJet is providing solely credit when the airline cancels or reschedules flights, regardless of the air passenger invoice of rights requiring refunds for cancelled flights. 1:51

In an electronic mail to CBC Information, WestJet acknowledged it has “a backlog of refund requests,” and blamed the pandemic and a busy vacation journey season. It provided an apology to prospects who’ve skilled lengthy delays. 

“We acknowledge the frustration being felt by a few of our company as we work to expedite excellent refund requests,” stated Madison Kruger, a WestJet spokesperson. 

Airline ‘simply enjoying video games,’ says ready buyer

There is not any query Julie Jalbert of Minnedosa, Man., is entitled to a refund for a cancelled round-trip flight from Winnipeg to St. Maarten that was imagined to depart in October 2020. 

She initially acquired a journey voucher for the $769 she paid for the flight. As a substitute, Jalbert utilized for a refund in November 2020, and one 12 months later WestJet confirmed by electronic mail that she would be reimbursed. 

Julie Jalbert of Minnedosa, Man., is entitled to a refund for a cancelled round-trip WestJet flight to St. Maarten, however she says she will’t get by way of to the airline by telephone to assert her money. (submitted by Julie Jalbert)

However to be able to declare her money, Jalbert was advised she would have to name WestJet customer support. She stated she tried to take action quite a few occasions, however her name all the time received disconnected, typically after she had waited on maintain for hours.

“I simply consider they’re making an attempt to make the most of the shopper and hoping that we simply surrender as a result of that is too sophisticated,” stated Jalbert, who finally reached out to CBC Information for assist. 

WestJet advised CBC Information it has prioritized the pressing hiring of contact centre brokers and that decision wait occasions have “drastically improved.” 

The airline additionally requested for Jalbert’s telephone quantity and stated it might “contact her urgently.”

On Tuesday morning, CBC offered WestJet with the quantity. By Friday afternoon, Jalbert stated she was nonetheless ready to listen to from the airline. 

“To me, they’re simply enjoying video games.”

Neil Tucker of Edmonton continues to be ready for a refund for a $4,000 trip bundle to Cancun that WestJet cancelled in 2020. (submitted by Neil Tucker)

Refund requests in holding sample

WestJet buyer Neil Tucker of Edmonton can also be in a holding sample.

The airline cancelled a $4,027 trip bundle from Edmonton to Cancun that Tucker booked for his household. It was imagined to depart on March 24, 2020.

In October 2021, after studying that WestJet was providing refunds for cancelled flights, Tucker utilized for one and is nonetheless ready for his money. 

“Why is it taking so lengthy?” he requested. “I believe they need me to make use of their credit that they provided.”

WestJet advised CBC Information on Monday that it seems Tucker’s refund request is lacking some particulars and advised he ought to resubmit his request kind.

When CBC knowledgeable Tucker of this info, he was shocked and referred to as the state of affairs “completely ridiculous.”

“What extra info do they want from me? They’ve my contact info.”

Tucker stated he contacted WestJet on Tuesday and waited 4 hours on maintain earlier than he was capable of communicate with a customer support agent. He stated the agent advised him his kind had no lacking info and that his case has but to be reviewed resulting from a backlog.

“I am sick of the time I am spending with out compensation making an attempt to get this sorted out,” stated a pissed off Tucker.

“I actually simply need this to come back to an finish.”

Different choices

Daniel Tsai, a client advocate and Toronto-based enterprise lawyer, stated the lengthy delays are unacceptable.

He stated prospects can pursue different choices to attempt to get a refund equivalent to filing a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Company, disputing the charge with their bank card firm or disputing the cost underneath client safety laws of their province.

However Tsai stated these choices can also contain a prolonged or cumbersome course of, or, within the case of bank card disputes, prospects usually face a strict time restrict for submitting a declare. 

Clients ought to have the ability to “get their a reimbursement for flights that by no means occurred … with out making them undergo onerous procedures,” stated Tsai.

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