What to do when airlines go down

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iol travel aug 27 1time

INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

File photo: A 1time Aircraft at OR Tambo Airport at Kempton park Gauteng. Photo: Leon Nicholas

Pretoria - Predictably, last week’s news that budget airline 1Time was applying for business rescue proceedings due to financial distress at its subsidiary companies has 1Time ticket holders a little jittery.

The airline has reassured customers they would not be affected, but the widely reported collapse of Nationwide Airlines in 2008, followed by that of Velvet Sky earlier this year, which left hundreds of passengers with useless prepaid tickets, has alarm bells ringing.

“Do we just wait and hope that we will be able to use our tickets?” asked an anxious Debbie Duff, of Richards Bay, who last month booked two return tickets with 1Time from Durban to Joburg and then on to Zanzibar with 1Time for her October wedding anniversary celebration.

Well, yes, wait, and hope for the best. There is certainly no suggestion at this point that the airline’s scheduled flights will not continue to operate as normal.

Remember, if you pay for any goods or services with your credit card, if you do not receive them, either in full or in part, you can apply to the bank that issued your credit card for “chargeback”.

Essentially, your payment is reversed if your application is successful.

So, if you make an internet purchase with your credit card and the item doesn’t arrive, it’s not what you ordered or it’s defective, and the seller won’t refund you, you can apply to your bank for chargeback.

The same applies to any purchase made with your credit card.

But there’s relatively little consumer awareness of chargeback in this country, which is why I keep doing my bit to alert readers to this very useful consumer protection.

It certainly makes having to pay that annual card fee a little more palatable.

Jenny Williams, of Pretoria, wrote to me early last month about her failure to get a refund of her R1 200 ticket from Velvet Sky. I advised her to apply for chargeback from Nedbank, which issued her card, and she recently wrote back with good news.

“The bank has credited me with R1 200, the full amount I paid for that Velvet Sky flight… thank you for your chargeback advice, which has provided such a welcome outcome,” said Williams.

Each bank has varying procedures and timelines for chargeback applications. If at first you encounter a bank staffer who is vague or unhelpful in this regard, insist on speaking to a person in authority in the bank’s disputes department. - Pretoria News

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