After my last post which detailed the huge scam perpetuated by BudgetAir, I reached out to the airline, Etihad, to help out with the refund. Their social media team engaged with me over twitter, shared an email id with me to give more details of my case and promised to look into the refund when their Customer service person called from Abu Dhabi. They even promised refund through their Bangalore office. I was very impressed with Etihad who had clearly gone out of their way to help out a customer in distress.
After Etihad team engaged with me, magically BudgetAir.in woke up from the dead. They sent their first email with a reverse invoice mentioning full refund on 20th August, 2015 after our tickets were cancelled on 19th August, 2015. Hallelujah, we rejoiced but it was too soon. The email mentioned that the refund was processed and we must check our bank accounts. Like kids waiting for Christmas gifts, we kept checking the bank account. Nothing materialized.
Aug 21, 2015 – Same email. Check your email. Refund is processed.
August 25, 2015 – “We would like to inform you, we have not taken any money from your account. we have stop the payment from your bank.” This was a bizarre message because they only issued tickets after we had transferred money to the Travix account in Netherlands. We asked them to explain.
August 25, 2015 – Email in response to the above email said “We are very sorry for the inconvenince caused to you, we had already processed the refund with in 48 hours its reflect in your account.”
August 28, 2015 – Email said “Kindly check with your back , from our end its already refunded.”
August 31, 2015 – Email said “We are very sorry for the inconvenince caused to you, your refund is under processed , with 8-12 weeks its reflect in your account.”
September 1, 2015 – Email said “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused here. Refund was processed from our end on 21st August. Please check and confirm If amount is now reflecting on your account.”
It was not only the grammar and spellings which was bothering me about the emails. Continuous lies and more lies and the conflicting statements took the cake. What is also pertinent is that no transfer reference number or transfer details were shared clearly showing that they are sleeping over the refund.
Etihad did process our refund on 24th August pretty quickly by all accounts but sent it back to the travel agents, BudgetAir. Of course, that is normal procedure because we had bought the tickets from BudgetAir.in not Etihad directly. But there was nothing normal about this case. I had hoped and pleaded with Etihad to do the refund to us directly. In any case, they could have raised a flag for this particular transaction. How could they send the refund back to BudgetAir when we had expressly told them not to? Yet, they still promised that BudgetAir was going to process our refund within 5-10 days. Taking solace in that, we waited. But the 10 days are up. We are still waiting.
These constant flip flops by the thieves and crooks that BudgetAir are have been wreaking havoc on the entire family as you can imagine. Of course, they never provide any address in India or even a phone number so that we can reach them here. Their invoice has an address in the Netherlands. Last 2 emails had a name — Rati Rakheja Sahu whoever she is.
Fed up of lies and evasive replies, I am contemplating legal action. The first steps for which I am at the moment putting in place. I am also going to write to IATA to remove BudgetAir from their fold.
A word about Etihad too: You disappointed me. After almost giving us the refund you went ahead and gave it back to the scamsters leaving us at their mercy with nowhere to go. I still request you to get them to refund our money. You can do it. They are your contractors. Don’t let them get away with harassing and humiliating your fare-paying customers.
You will earn immense goodwill, not only of this family but of all those who read my story on the net.