liquidated: Some customers who bought Velvet Sky plane tickets have been refunded in full thanks to chargeback.

So budget airline Velvet Sky has finally been liquidated, leaving those who bought tickets for flights scheduled for take-off after the airline stopped taking to the skies in late February to join the long list of its creditors.

The airline apparently owes its creditors almost R100 million.

Those who bought their Velvet Sky tickets at Computicket outlets were refunded by Shoprite, which owns Computicket, and many of those who paid for their tickets with their credit cards successfully applied for chargeback from their banks and have since been refunded.

For the rest, who paid cash or did an EFT, all hope of a full refund has now evaporated. When companies liquidate, creditors, especially the smaller ones, such as individual customers, can expect to get only what is referred to as “a few cents in the rand” – in other words, a tiny fraction of their losses, if anything. That’s if they register their details with the attorneys appointed to handle the liquidation.

The upside of paying for goods or services by credit card is that you have the protection of chargeback – offered by banks and their credit card company partners – which sees you being refunded if you can prove that you didn’t get what you paid for.

Last week Tjeerd de Wit wrote to say: “I read your article about chargeback on credit card purchases … (and) sent an e-mail to Standard Bank … I was fully refunded R2 900. Thanks a lot.”

Another Velvet Sky “victim”, Bruna Gillham, wrote: “We followed due process with chargeback, and although it has taken a while, I am happy to report that we have received our money back from the bank. Thank you for all your advice – I would not have known about chargeback if you hadn’t written about it some time ago when Nationwide airlines collapsed.”

In my Consumer Watch column of April 17, I have details on each of the four major banks’ chargeback procedures and time frames. To access that column, go to www.wendyknowler.com and scroll down to the column of April 17. - Pretoria News