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Old 08-05-2007, 09:21 AM   #1
zanderch
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Thumbs down I felt as if I was in a horror movie.!!

I have to say that if anyone has to deal with Costless Travel online only, please be very aware that you do not make a mistake, because you will be truly frightened by the way in which you are treated.

About a month ago I was searching for a costing for a flight for two on Malaysian Airlines from where I live to Rome. I remember giving details of the names and dates of birth of both parties and thinking it strange in doing this for a quote or as they called it a costing, but just presumed that this was their way of doing things.

Late on a Friday night, I discovered an email telling me that through another company, called Sabre, that my tickets were ready & waiting for me online. Having frequently booked travel online previously for myself and others before, I basically went into a state of panic and could not understand why this email was there and with a company that I did not recognise and also I had given no other details such as credit cards etc to this company binding myself to any agreement to purchase these tickets on my behalf.

At this stage I had just booked and paid for two tickets on travel.com without a problem, on my home computer, within a secure website that i had used before. No other details were given as I said to this other company, because all I wanted was what they called a costing.

Of course this happened on a Friday and I had to wait til Monday as early as possible, to ring this company and ask about what had happened. As soon as I mentioned that I had given no one authority to do this and go ahead and book two tickets, the person a supposed "LADY" started to scream and yell and go on & on and I literally had to beg her to stop screaming whilst I was in tears, to explain that I had not authorised this transaction. This lady had me in tears and I can tell you I have never ever felt so badly after a conversation with anyone. I tried to follow up with a complaint but the only numbers I had all through Australia, were numbers for most states each state had a different number that obvioulsy were diverted to her number, and each time she knew who was calling as she called me by my first name each time I tried to ring these different numbers.

Finally I found a different name and sent an email, even admitting that I might have misunderstood the costing, the reply I got from some customer services manager was that she was right ,and they never take credit card details online only over the phone.

That gives me a very big message that something is very wrong in the way they treat customers and by the way after 10 minutes of her screaming at me she finally said that she would cancel the tickets and hung up on me. Have no other way of stopping this lady from doing it to anyone else, but how does a travel company manage when they do not talk to theuir customers in a dignified manner.

Last edited by Ned; 08-05-2007 at 09:41 AM. Reason: Formatting to make post readable.
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Old 08-05-2007, 09:54 AM   #2
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Do not freak out on Sabre. They are the "ticketing source" for many airlines and agencies. THe agency has an agreement with Sabre to access and ticket airline reservations. I suspect that you were sent a Virtually There itinerary.

But in order for that to be issued by Sabre, they would have had to had your email address and also a paid reservation.

If you did not give your credit card number, the only way they could have ticketed it was on their OWN credit card, or processed it as a cash transaction in which case the money would be drafted from them.

A lot of people (us included) as for names, addresses, phone numbers, etc to make sure the people are legitimate and serious about purchasing. But a credit card number is the last thing we ask for.

I would check with your credit card company and see if it was indeed charged to your account and if so, I would immediately file a dispute.

And, here will be my pontificating, sometimes it is better to use a real live travel agent. They have them in Australia I know!
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Old 08-05-2007, 10:12 AM   #3
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Welcome to Tripso, Zanderch. I hope we'll be seeing your posts often, but under more satisfactory and happier circumstances.

Your post brings to my mind some guidelines I always follow on the phone, with these booking agencies, or most anyone in general when obtaining a price quotation and trying to obtain a credit for an unauthorized charge.
  • Whenever trying to get a quotation:
    • Never give the names of anyone other than yourself.
    • Never give personal information of anyone beyond that necessary to receive a written quotation, if you want that, as opposed to an oral quotation (i.e. email address or street address if the quotation is to be mailed).
    • Never give social security numbers or other ID numbers.
    • NEVER give any credit card information for a quotation (Without the credit card information you couldn't be charged).
  • Whenever a charge is made without your consent:
    • Immediately, run, do not walk, to contact the credit card company, and dispute the charge. Follow that up within a day or so with a letter to the credit card company, confirming the dispute.
    • When getting a credit on a charge made without your consent, get the person's name who's issuing the credit.
    • Get the person issuing the credit to give you a transaction number for the credit.
    • Get the company issuing the credit to send you an email or letter so you have a record of the credit in writing.
    • Don't remove the dispute from your credit card account until the credit on the charge goes through and can be confirmed. Then inform the credit card company that a credit has been issued ending the dispute.
So, if I may suggest, while you're waiting for the credit, dispute the charge with the credit card company immediately. Don't wait and see if the company actually issues a credit, especially since they haven't mailed, or emailed you a written confirmation of the same.
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Old 08-05-2007, 07:43 PM   #4
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Thumbs down You miss the point

You obviously miss the point. At no time did I give any credit details to this company or this lady, and if she had taken five seconds to stop the yelling and screaming at me, I would have had satisfaction in tellijg her this, but it was only after she stopped this screaming, without any consideration of my emotions at the time, and her not even knowing my age, for example if I had been elderly, she just kept on going. As I said in the end she yelled that the tickets would be cancelled but they were never purchased in the first place and all I wanted was an email assuring me that somewhere along the way I could not be charged for these tickets. If that is the way this company does business, can you see some people feeling as if there is no way out, even if the quote was huge in comparison to the tickets I purchased.

Yes it is good to use a travel agent, if they did not charge so much or give you biased advice, when wanting to have that culture feeling of living amongst the people, and the power to choose where you want to stay by your own research.

I would now be interested in your replies, as you immediately presumed that I had done what some people do make the mistake of doing. I have been doing this long enough and carefully enough to never have this happen. I could not even get a reponse by email, that all tickets were cancelled, which was what my biggest issue was, as she made it sound as if I had consented completely to have them go ahead and book tickets.

And also remeber that the customer relations person was also not interested in apologising to me regarding her behaviour even if i had given details of names only nothing else.

This is what scres people ointo believing they cannot possibly do this themselves and will make a mistake.

Last edited by Ned; 08-05-2007 at 09:06 PM. Reason: Format to make readable.
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Old 08-05-2007, 07:49 PM   #5
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all I wanted was an email assuring me that somewhere along the way I could not be charged for these tickets.
If you never provided her a credit card, there is no way they could be charged. Somewhere on that Sabre communication, there is a record locator number in the details for the reservation. It is usually a six character code. Might be called a confirmation code.

Call the airline directly and ask the status of that reservation. If it does not exist, no problem.

I am wondering if the AU system is different than the US. Perhaps the system allows for a reservation to be issued prior to payment and allowed to be cancelled if it is not acceptable.

Here in the US it is called churning and the airlines will fine agencies that do that. Perhaps this was just their way of sending the reservation to you showing that they could indeed get the space for you and wanting you to confirm the dates and times and so forth. Granted, they could have explained it better.
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Old 08-05-2007, 09:44 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by zanderch View Post
You obviously miss the point. At no time did I give any credit details to this company or this lady, and if she had taken five seconds to stop the yelling and screaming at me, I would have had satisfaction in tellijg her this, but it was only after she stopped this screaming, without any consideration of my emotions at the time, and her not even knowing my age, for example if I had been elderly, she just kept on going. As I said in the end she yelled that the tickets would be cancelled but they were never purchased in the first place and all I wanted was an email assuring me that somewhere along the way I could not be charged for these tickets. If that is the way this company does business, can you see some people feeling as if there is no way out, even if the quote was huge in comparison to the tickets I purchased.
My bad, I did miss the fact which you did state in the body of your last post, that you hadn't given your credit card details. You did say you did give some personal information, such as birth dates, which are not necessary for a reservation. I would not have given that information, by the way.

Yes the behavior of this woman, representing her company, was outrageous. It would have been grossly offensive no matter to whom she was talking. Clearly, she wasn't going to consider anything you had to say. Were it me, I would have raised my voice back to her and told her to cease or I would hang up, or that I wanted to talk with a supervisor immediately. If satisfaction to those demands would not have been quickly met, I would have hung up. I then would have sent them a registered letter (I assume you have that "down under.") ordering them to cancel the reservation within 24 hours and send a written confirmation back to you, indicating the same.

Furthermore, I would have called the airline even before I called the agency, since I could get the airline's reservation people on the phone on the weekend. I will assume the email contained the reservation locator. You could have found out about the reservation, if any, and if it was only a pending reservation, canceled it yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zanderch View Post
Yes it is good to use a travel agent, if they did not charge so much or give you biased advice, when wanting to have that culture feeling of living amongst the people, and the power to choose where you want to stay by your own research.
Did you have a bad experience with a travel agent? Your statement about overcharging and bias is a very strong indictment. Personally, I have never felt overcharged by a travel agent, and have always settled on the fees in advance of working with a new travel agent. I have twice in the past gotten bad advice from a travel agent (never used them again), but I've found that in general, agents working with me, have steered me toward situations which I'll like and enjoy, since they want my continued business. To give a client poor advice, because they might get a one time favorable commission, is bad for business, and not in an agent's self-interest. I've used my current agent for the last couple of decades.

Quote:
Originally Posted by zanderch View Post
I would now be interested in your replies, as you immediately presumed that I had done what some people do make the mistake of doing. I have been doing this long enough and carefully enough to never have this happen. I could not even get a reponse by email, that all tickets were cancelled, which was what my biggest issue was, as she made it sound as if I had consented completely to have them go ahead and book tickets.

And also remeber that the customer relations person was also not interested in apologising to me regarding her behaviour even if i had given details of names only nothing else.

This is what scres people ointo believing they cannot possibly do this themselves and will make a mistake.
After describing the behavior of the company's representative, I am not at all surprised by their other actions. I would definitely call the airline to make sure the "reservation" has been properly canceled. I'm not sure why you are so concerned with the accusations of this woman. It's clear that she and the company are lying, and it's unlikely that at this point they will admit that. The only important thing is that the unauthorized reservation is canceled.
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Old 08-06-2007, 09:49 AM   #7
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There is of course no excuse for someone treating you badly.

Another thing I might add to the above posts would be if somewhere on that confirmation there was a ticket number.

Most of us send the client an itinerary with flight information.
It does not mean a ticket a ticket was issued.

Our purpose in sending the itinerary is for verification purposes
correct spelling of names, dates and city pairs
If we do not get an okay to ticket the reservation auto cancels.
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Old 08-07-2007, 05:00 PM   #8
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At this stage I had just booked and paid for two tickets on travel.com without a problem, on my home computer, within a secure website that i had used before. No other details were given as I said to this other company, because all I wanted was what they called a costing.
I am just guessing - guessing - that travel.com uses Sabre as it's platform and that what you received is a Virtually There email from Sabre. I believe this is related to your travel.com booking, not the Costless booking. Now, one thing to keep in mind - you should see a charge on your credit card to the airline - not travel.com - for the cost of the tickets (one charge for each ticket, not an aggregate amount) and then a charge from travel.com for their fee(s). Do not panic. I think what you have htere is an email from Sabre from which you are able to print an Invoice - the Invoice should indicate that it is your travel.com booking.

From the Virtually There/Sabre email - after you click on the link, choose "E-invoice" from the drop down menu.

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Old 10-19-2007, 07:49 PM   #9
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Default The REAL Story

I am not really sure what the motivation behind the post by zanderch - but to clarify.

A lady browsed the costless website - we presumed found an airfare she liked and proceeded to 'request booking' - at no time was she asked for any credit card details as we do not operate an online booking engine.

The booking request was received and actioned by a live consultant - and an itinerary link was sent to the lady for preview and approval.

She never called back for a few days - the booking was canceled automatically as no reply was received from the lady.

The lady than in turn proceeded to call an email asking for her money back - BUT no matter how many times she was told that we had NOT charged her anything and COULD NOT charged her anything - she kept accusing us of having her money.

No words could convince her other wise.

It was an unfortunate incident - in which an honest person with limited experience with the internet and its many wonders and scams got into a panic - that is completely understandable.

BUT, to vilify Costless is not - we had apologised to the lady in question in regard to any confusion and tried to reassure her in regard to her credit card, but to no avail.

As far as anybody yelling at anybody else - well that is something that is not acceptable - and we would hope that it does not happen at costless, but without being privy to the conversation and a denial from the consultant concerned - there was not a great deal that costless management could do. Other than go over procedures and more training with the consultant.

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Old 10-19-2007, 10:43 PM   #10
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Thanks for posting the clarification Costless.
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