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Warning: Beware budgetair, Vayama

Oregon
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Warning: Beware budgetair, Vayama

IDENTICAL long error messages came up from the "two" companies budgetair and vayama for flight info (gotten, sadly, via Tripadvisor).
 Each lists a certain trip at amazingly low fare, then has error message saying can't access the flights, try again later.

Lots of great sounding reviews for all at a website clearly set up by budgetair.
 Fishy!

84 replies to this topic
amsterdam
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76 posts
13 reviews
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31. Re: Warning: Beware budgetair, Vayama

Came to budgetair.com /vayama via skyscanner. Had booked previously with BudgetAir.nl and no problems. Booked ticket online and paid by Mastercard. Two days later received phonecall followed by email that credit card was declined. Than called call center 24/7 and paid by amex (3 days later) by phone. Still against the same ticket price. No news or confirmation. Sent email and received reply that " [ ref. nr] is being processed and once completed you will be notified immediately " and do not purchase new ticket. No news. Sent message again. Very friendly reply, that amex was also declined (5 days after initial booking). Than called help center Amex and they confirmed that no effort had been made to charge my card. Amex can see that in their system. Of course price of ticket has increased. Just I do not understand their strategy. Why don't they simply say that they cannot issue the ticket? Budgetair.com did not charge me anything, so why are they doing this?

Berkeley, California
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4 posts
7 reviews
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32. Re: Warning: Beware budgetair, Vayama

I was notified by email this morning that an Air Macau flight I had booked on Kayak (actually serviced by Vayama) was cancelled. A full refund was offered. When I contacted Vayama, they said it would take 45-60 days for the refund to show up on my credit card. I asked whether the full amount of the ticket would be refunded, and they told me no. The full price of the ticket included a $55 Vayama service charge, which would not be refunded. I have scoured the Kayak/Vayama websites and see no mention of a service fee. By contrast, the Orbitz site has a detailed list of when they charge service fees and how much they charge. This debacle with Kayak/Vayama has cost me money - flights are now more expensive. And now Kayak/Vayama wants to keep the 'service fee'? If this is not refunded, I will dispute the charge with my bank.

Edited: 21 August 2013, 21:51
Edinburgh, United...
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33. Re: Warning: Beware budgetair, Vayama

From Vayama T&C:

"Vayama may charge a fee for the service provided when you book, and/or modify travel services through the site. Any such service fee is non-refundable."

Whatever happened to you, it has nothing to do with Kayak.

Edited: 21 August 2013, 22:09
Berkeley, California
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4 posts
7 reviews
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34. Re: Warning: Beware budgetair, Vayama

Thanks for your prompt reply. Where on the Kayak website where I booked my ticket is the quote you provided? At the bottom of the confirmation email, there is the following information which relates to passenger-initiated changes/cancellations (which is NOT my situation', as the airline cancelled the flight):

"Change Policy

In addition to increased fares, if allowed, cancellation or changes may be subject to fees/penalties (fees/penalties vary based on factors such as airline, market, and the applicable fare rules), and may be $150 or more for domestic flights and $200 or more for international flights, plus up to $100 fee from Vayama per ticket.

Cancellation Policy

Booking cancelation requests must be made by phone and received no later than 7pm Central Time following the date the booking is completed. For cancelation requests received AFTER 7pm Central Time following the date the booking is completed, all associated fare rules will apply.

To request cancellation, call Vayama at +1 877 717 0210 (toll free) or +1 650 265 1856."

There is an additional link in the "Terms & Conditions" to 'Airline baggage fees and optional service fees may apply and may not be included in the price.' However, when you click on the link it just brings you to a page on the Kayak website which lists the carriers they deal with.

So frankly I'm puzzled by the Vayama post which states that my situation has "nothing to do with Kayak". I booked the flight on Kayak. I didn't have any idea that the flight would be 'processed by Vayama' when I booked the ticket. There's nothing on my confirmation which lists any service fee, nor is there a link to any information on service fees included in the ticket price (or the fact that they are non-refundable).

I expect transparency when I deal with travel companies and airlines. I don't expect recourse to fine print buried in another company's website when I book a ticket.

Fredericia, Denmark
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35. Re: Warning: Beware budgetair, Vayama

Kayak is a search engine. You selected to book the flight with Vayama.

Edinburgh, United...
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36. Re: Warning: Beware budgetair, Vayama

"I booked the flight on Kayak."

No you didn't, you searched for a fare on Kayak, Vayama was an option listed, you clicked it and then you were re-directed to the Vayama website. In principle it's no different from searching for something on Google and then clicking whatever link comes up. Frankly I don't understand how you could miss this, they even tell you you are being re-directed when you click the link.

You chose to book from a 3rd party, presumably to save a few bucks, now you're experiencing the downside of doing so. Next time book direct from the airline.

Edited: 21 August 2013, 22:50
Berkeley, California
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4 posts
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37. Re: Warning: Beware budgetair, Vayama

Thank you for your post. After doing some sample bookings today on Kayak, I agree that they do tell you that other companies will be processing the booking, so I must accept some responsibility for this fiasco. However, I think it's disingenuous to claim that Kayak is simply a search engine. It's way more than that. From their website:

Why book via KAYAK?

One place with all the same prices and booking options

Faster checkout

View and share your trips online and on your phone

Free flight status alerts

They provide excellent tables showing comparative baggage charges, charges for food, etc. etc. by a variety of airlines. They would be doing an important service to travellers by providing similar comparative information for their partners (Vayama, Priceline, WebJet, Travelocity, Expedia, etc.) regarding fees, changes, etc.

And to reiterate, nowhere on the Kayak confirmation or on the Vayama website do I find it stated that the air fare includes a $55 service fee, which is non-refundable.

Shanghai, China
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38. Re: Warning: Beware budgetair, Vayama

Vayama? And you want to know why they do what they do? Read this... story in progress. I am preparing to post this on every site possible...

The worst. They are either the most incompetent company in the world or just flat-out scam artists. You decide.

I've had the unfortunate luck to be booked through Vayama (via Kayak) for several different flights around Asia. The routine always involves these elements - and I think that together they paint a picture of a business purposely working to manipulate and defraud travelers:

First, they offer what appears to be the lowest airfare. Then, they collect your details and tell you to wait for confirmation (supposedly a 24 hour time period). Then, you receive email stating that your credit card has been declined. Lastly, they will offer to resolve the issue by booking a more expensive ticket for the same time/date/flight.

Trying to contact customer service and deal with any issue - a time consuming nightmare. I've been put on indefinite hold for 20~30 minutes, until I finally decide to hang up and call in again. It's clear the people working the call center would rather not deal with all the righteous anger being generated by this scam business model. Every issue has to be elevated to some “higher department” as do issues related to payment processing.

To “re-process” a supposedly declined credit card means going through the payment department, which again means a 24-hour wait. I’d like to point out that in today’s digital age, NO ONE makes you wait 24-hours to process a credit card payment.

I believe this process (wasting massive amounts of time) is all part of the scam – to wear down customers who cannot afford to wait, whose vacation or business travels plans are being threatened, so that when a more expensive “solution” is offered, it’s taken immediately. It’s a well-known negotiating tactic used in situations where the other party has a deadline and/or cannot afford to wait. It seems to me Vayama’s entire business model is built around this concept.

During my most recent experience, the insanity was taken to all new levels. I preemptively called Vayama customer support to verbally confirm credit card details and provide a second credit card number in the event the first one didn’t work. Guess what? They told me, before either card had been processed (or any attempt to process them was made) that the card had been declined! How can a card be declined that hasn’t even been put through the system!?

Both of these cards worked perfectly for other transactions that day and that week – AND I called both banks to alert their processing departments to the incoming transactions. Both banks confirmed that the cards were fine and that they would be on the lookout for possible ticket purchases. At the time of these calls, and AFTER Vayama claimed the cards had been declined, neither bank had any record of attempted transactions or either card being declined.

Later that night, I received an email entitled, “Vayama Ticket Confirmation/Receipt” and an SMS from one of my banks detailing the charges made to my credit card in connection with this ticket. Success?

You’d think the story ends happily there. You don’t know Vayama.

Seven days later… I get an email entitled “Booking Cancelled” telling me (again) that my credit card has been declined and that the booking has been canceled. This, on a ticket, for which I have email and SMS proof of purchase! It’s now SEVEN DAYS since the “confirmation” email and SMS from my bank saying my card has been charged.

---

I'm now preparing myself for the ticket to no longer be available at the original price and for any refund to take 40+ days, without any hope of getting back the Vayama service fee.

Moral of the story so far: THIS COMPANY IS A SCAM. DO NOT USE VAYAMA, NO MATTER WHAT!

Berkeley, California
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4 posts
7 reviews
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39. Re: Warning: Beware budgetair, Vayama

My condolences for your frustrating experiences with Vayama which mirror mine. I'm surprised that Kayak continues to partner with Vayama as Vayama is extremely unprofessional in their customer service and billing practices. I won't use Vayama or Kayak to book any tickets or hotels (and go only directly to the airlines or hotels, even if I have to pay more).

Houston, Texas
Destination Expert
for Solo Travel
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40. Re: Warning: Beware budgetair, Vayama

traveling_american13: I see you've been a member of TripAdvisor since 2007. Why is it that you are just now doing research on Vayama? I guess what I'm trying to say is why don't all the "haters" research the company that they are giving their money to BEFORE giving them their money?

www.tripadvisor.com/SearchForums…

www.tripadvisor.com/SearchForums…

Vayama Voice seems to monitor the boards here, so check out post #92 in this thread and private message David:

tripadvisor.com/…54143003

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