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Beware when you bid for an upgrade with Virgin Atlantic

Sydney
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2 posts
18 reviews
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Beware when you bid for an upgrade with Virgin Atlantic

I booked and paid for an Economy return ticket to Hong Kong with Virgin Atlantic at end of Sep 2013 for AUD 911.66.

I received an email from Virgin Atlantic, inviting me to bid for an upgrade to Premium Economy in mid Oct 13.

I thought it was a great idea, the business maximising return on unsold seats, and not realising it would cause me so much pain, time and energy. I have to cancel my credit card and am potentially liable for interest charges during the investigation.

I bid $50 for the day flight to HK and $135 for the over-night return flight. I did not hear any more till I received the E-ticket a week before I was due to fly. The ticket showed I would be in Premium Economy for Sydney - HK and Economy for HK – Sydney. Total fare shown on the ticket was AUD 911.66.

I received another E-ticket a week before I was due to fly back, showing I would be in Premium Economy. I was surprised total fare was still AUD 911.66.

I was shocked when I checked my credit card transactions. Virgin Atlantic had charged me an extra $550 and $635 for the 2 flights.

The only way I could contact Virgin Atlantic from Australia was submitting an on-line form, which I did on 25 Nov 2013.

Emma, from Customer Relations UK, responded on 19 Dec 2013, asking me for the confirmation email. I replied on the same day, telling her I did not receive any confirmation communication and asking her for a copy instead.

Emma replied on 09 Jan 2014, 4 weeks later, saying the bidding would not start as low as AUD 100 and 2 confirmation emails were sent to me. She did not attach the said email.

I went through my mailbox and could not find such email and replied Emma on the same day, 09 Jan 2014.

Emma replied after 3 weeks, apologised for the late reply because she had been out of office. She did not respond to my question why I would put in a bid that was much higher than a normal upgrade. (Premium Economy is 60% - 70% more than an Economy seat. I was charged 130% on top of my Economy flights.) When I checked the attachments, I noticed immediately the confirmation emails were sent to a wrong address.

I am still waiting for Emma's reply. It has been more than 2 months. I do hope this will be resolved soon.

The flights were very pleasant. I am surprised it took the Customer Relations UK team 3 – 4 weeks to respond to each of my emails. I wondered if Emma had checked if there was a system issue reported around mid Oct 2013 or had assumed I was lying. She did not spend much effort in investigating the case or contemplate why a reasonable person would put in such a high bid when he/she could upgrade at a lower cost.

Vancouver, Canada
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for Vancouver
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60,783 posts
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1. Re: Beware when you bid for an upgrade with Virgin Atlantic

With all the documentation you have, I would be heading to your Credit Card company to file a dispute over those charges. Let them deal with getting your money back. You can show that you were overcharged for the flights. And you can show that you never received the emails.

Kiama, Australia
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3,008 posts
180 reviews
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2. Re: Beware when you bid for an upgrade with Virgin Atlantic

If you noticed this back in November, then you should have lodged a dispute with your credit card company for fraudulent withdrawl back then.

By waiting another 2 months, you have not done yourself any favors and will make the process more difficult and likely waiting for Virgin to respond.

You can go via Dept Fair Trading and file a claim in the tribunal in this regard

Sydney
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2 posts
18 reviews
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3. Re: Beware when you bid for an upgrade with Virgin Atlantic

I tried to get this resolved with Virgin Atlantic first, believing it was a genuine error on their side.

I lodged the 2 transactions as unauthorised payments with my credit card company a month later, thus the cancelled card.

I have kept Emma, Customer Relations UK, informed on my actions, including filing a claim with NSW Fair Trade.

I have spent a lot of time and energy, contacting Virgin Atlantic, credit card company and Fair Trade, to try to get this resolved.

I hope others can learn from my experience, taking extra precaution when they bid for an upgrade, so they don't have to go through all these.

Brooklyn, NY
Destination Expert
for New York City
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25,342 posts
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4. Re: Beware when you bid for an upgrade with Virgin Atlantic

What "extra precaution" are you recommending, exactly?

London, United...
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611 posts
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5. Re: Beware when you bid for an upgrade with Virgin Atlantic

Back in December I bid for an upgrade with Virgin Atlantic and was succesful. The bid amount was taken from my credit card and not a penny more.

I was pleased with the price and will bid again in the future.

6. Re: Beware when you bid for an upgrade with Virgin Atlantic

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post was determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community and has been removed.

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Removed on: 31 January 2014, 14:35
7. Re: Beware when you bid for an upgrade with Virgin Atlantic

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This post was determined to be inappropriate by the TripAdvisor community and has been removed.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

Our staff may also remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason. Thanks for being a part of the TripAdvisor travel community!

Removed on: 31 January 2014, 14:35
Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle
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8 reviews
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8. Re: Beware when you bid for an upgrade with Virgin Atlantic

Does someone have 2 TA accounts? The avatar pictures certainly look similar.

UK
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49,560 posts
92 reviews
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9. Re: Beware when you bid for an upgrade with Virgin Atlantic

I suspect it's another case of TAs clumsily worded messages which seem to encourage people to mistakenly create extra accounts.

Surbiton
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1,997 posts
77 reviews
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10. Re: Beware when you bid for an upgrade with Virgin Atlantic

I know that you can select your own pictures, but I've no idea how.

If you don't provide your own, then presumably TA allocate them from a relatively small stock. I know that I've seen mine used by other FMs.

Of course, if you're talking about a picture which has clearly been supplied by an FM, then that's different.