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Buying flights in the UK from 3rd party - Cautionary Tale.

Liverpool, UK
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Buying flights in the UK from 3rd party - Cautionary Tale.

The details set out below appeared in the Daily Telegraph Travel Section and may serve as a warning to those considering buying flight tickets from 3 rd parties in the UK.

A couple bought flights costing £531 with Opodo for travel with Malev Airlines which went bust before the date of travel and for a variety of reasons the couple lost all the money. The key lessons for others are as follows:

ATOL Licence - Although Opodo has an ATOL licence it was not possible to claim via this route as its holiday bond did not cover flight only arrangements.

Credit Card Protection - In this instance the couple paid by debit card so the Consumer Credit Act was not relevant but even if they had paid by CC they would not have been covered as they made the payment to the agent rather than direct to the airline. There is a common misconception that the CC Act offers protection for all credit card purchases but it doesn't apply when payment is made to a 3rd party agent.

Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance - This can be bought to protect against the airline's failure but was not - in fact the underwriters withdrew this cover several months previously and when this happens most agents stop selling tickets but Opodo did not.

The position in other countries will vary as the consumer law will differ but this story reinforced my view that it is better to buy flights direct from the airline and may prove a timely warning to others about making assumptions that you will be covered by an ATOL bond or by paying with a CC.

Manchester, United...
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11. Re: Buying flights in the UK from 3rd party - Cautionary Tale.

Thanks for taking the the time to post this information tom, i had no idea about the credit card cover, i just automatically presumed you were always covered when paying by credit card.

Lancashire, United...
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12. Re: Buying flights in the UK from 3rd party - Cautionary Tale.

family-parry, chargeback doesn't create joint liability. Your bank approaches your supplier to claim the money back, but they can only get the money if it is there. It is not guaranteed as it is under section 75.

Liverpool, UK
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13. Re: Buying flights in the UK from 3rd party - Cautionary Tale.

Family-Parry

Chargeback may work in some cases but it does not have the same legal status as Section 75 of the CC Act. Here is a link to the Which website with more information.

which.co.uk/consumer-rights/…

The key element is that it is a reversal of the original transaction with your bank getting the money back from the suppliers bank if the money is there.

"When can chargeback be used?

Like section 75, chargeback can be used in cases of goods not arriving, arriving damaged, arriving not as described, or where the merchant has ceased trading; but it does not create joint liability on the card company in the way that Section 75 does.

You can ask your card provider to try to recover the money you paid or part of it (if for example you ordered two items but only one arrived), you couldn't though claim back the cost of fixing a faulty item.

Claims must be addressed to the bank that provides your debit card or your credit card, which in turn will put in a request to the merchant's bank. As a result, you could still get your money back from the merchant's bank if the money is there to be recovered. However, there are no guarantees that your bank will be able to recover the money through chargeback."

Llandudno North...
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14. Re: Buying flights in the UK from 3rd party - Cautionary Tale.

I understand its not a legally binding scheme but a voluntary one, but having used it successfully to reclaim money for goods paid for and not received, I think it is still something to consider rather than just saying "oh well "

There is no guarantee you will get your money back but a chance is still a chance isn't it and like I said it worked for me.

:-)

Lancashire, United...
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15. Re: Buying flights in the UK from 3rd party - Cautionary Tale.

Your bank claiming money back for goods not received is different to your bank trying to claim money from a company that has ceased trading (as in this instance).

Llandudno North...
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16. Re: Buying flights in the UK from 3rd party - Cautionary Tale.

The cover applies to Visa debit cards, prepaid cards and Visa Electron cards, and purchases made on a Visa credit card which don't qualify for section 75 cover

• There is no upper limit on spending

• There is a 120-day limit on claims which starts "the day you are aware of a problem". When an airline goes bust, the countdown starts on the day that the flight was due to depart; when a retailer goes out of business the time limit starts "the day the cardholder is made aware that the supplier is unwilling or unable to provide the goods"

Apparently not, clearly say s about airline s going bust.

:-)

Liverpool, UK
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17. Re: Buying flights in the UK from 3rd party - Cautionary Tale.

I'd agree that the chargeback route should be considered but in the majority of instances it is unlikely to be successful where the supplier has gone bust.

Chargeback requires that the supplier has money in their bank account to enable your bank to basically get some of that money to put back into your bank account.

I would expect that where a business has gone bust that they do not have any money in their bank account - in all probability there are more likely to have an overdraft.

Lancashire, United...
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18. Re: Buying flights in the UK from 3rd party - Cautionary Tale.

"As a result, you could still get your money back from the merchant's bank if the money is there to be recovered. However, there are no guarantees that your bank will be able to recover the money through chargeback"

Chargeback applies to everything, so they are laying out the rules that apply to failed airlines, but surely in the case of a failed business, you become just another in a long line of creditors wanting to be paid, making it highly unlikely that the bank are going to be able to get the money (presuming they had any)?

Garden Bay, Canada
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19. Re: Buying flights in the UK from 3rd party - Cautionary Tale.

No...

SAF = Small Albino Ferrets

Unfortunately, most aircraft delays are caused by very small albino ferrets (VSAF) which are specifically excluded by the fine print in most policies. In order to get compensation, you must capture and measure the ferret to prove size and albino nature.

Edited: 15 July 2012, 13:55
Italy
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20. Re: Buying flights in the UK from 3rd party - Cautionary Tale.

This is a good post as I never imagined I wouldn't be covered by my credit card if a company went bust booking through a 3rd party all the more reson to always book directly with the airline.