Friday, 7 November 2008

TD Visa Makes No Promise to Refund Zoom Tickets

When discount air carrier Zoom Airlines went out of business August 28th, some credit card companies like MasterCard and American Express were quick to issue public statements that they would refund amounts for tickets bought with their credit card. The Canadian Transportation Agency post of Oct.24th also lists some travel operators who made promises to refund.

Visa issued no such statement but I assumed that Visa would merely follow suit. It appears now that Visa's policy is different. Having applied in writing to TD Visa with all the necessary documentation within days of Zoom's demise, I have received a partial refund in mid-October. In a phone call with TD Visa's disputes department the other day to ask about the remainder, I was told by a certain "Andrea" (why does no one at these customer service lines ever have a last name?) that Visa does not promise to refund me, it only undertakes to request a refund from Zoom's bank on my behalf as a secured creditor. That has two consequences: if the collateral assets are insufficient, there won't be a full refund and; it will take a lot longer to get the money back since Visa waits till it receives funds from the bankruptcy, which can take a long time. For a card that presents itself as a premium travel card, that pretty pathetic on TD Visa's part. Beware folks, as is too often the case, the fine print and the company's behaviour don't live up to the marketing hype. It's time to look for another credit card.

In the UK, there is a useful discussion on MoneySavingExpert of experiences with various credit and debit card providers in making Zoom refunds.

2 comments:

Kimmo said...

FYI
From www.royalbank.com

ZOOM AIRLINES PASSENGERS WHO PURCHASED TICKETS ON THEIR RBC Visa CARD
Customers who purchased their Zoom Airlines tickets using their RBC Royal Bank Visa Credit Card and are unable to take their scheduled flight due to Zoom Airlines recent declaration of suspended operations will be reimbursed.

In addition, Visa cardholders who purchased their ticket online, by phone, or by mail, are protected through the Visa E-Promise. The Visa E-Promise ensures that cardholders who did not receive services as promised can contact their issuer directly to obtain a credit to their account. More details of the Visa E-Promise can be found on www.visa.ca.

CanadianInvestor said...

Thanks Kimmo for the info. On the Visa.ca website, it says "Cardholders may be entitled to a refund if the services they purchased with their Visa card were not rendered and should contact the financial institution that issued their card as soon as possible to discuss their specific situation." I note the prevaricating, ambiguous phrase "may be entitled", which says in effect it is up to each Visa issuer to decide. It seems RBC has done the desired thing and said categorically it, not Zoom's bank, will provide a refund. TD seems not to be taking the same position at all and makes no such definitive promise, at least that I can find on the web or that its customer service reps tell customers.

The Visa e-promise says: "if they have tried to (and have been unsuccessful) resolve a dispute with an online, phone order or mail order merchant, they can contact their Visa card issuer directly to initiate whatever action may be available to the issuer to resolve the credit card charge in question*." That means I would have to take up the matter with Zoom directly, or the insolvency trustees, to try getting a refund before making a claim to TD Visa.

What TD Visa needs to do and should do is directly and immediately reimburse card holders who provide proof of unused Zoom tickets and to stop jerking customers around.

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