Chicago Tribune (Sunday)

Complicati­ons stall Ovago refund for canceled tickets

- Christophe­r Elliott is the chief advocacy officer of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit organizati­on that helps consumers resolve their problems. Contact him at or chris@

By Christophe­r Elliott

Q: I booked four airline tickets from Seattle to Lisbon from Ovago, an online travel agency, in December 2019. As our travel date approached last May, I became concerned about our flights, so I contacted our airlines (Air Canada and Lufthansa). A representa­tive told us that our flights had been canceled and that I needed to talk to Ovago about a refund.

I contacted Ovago, and a representa­tive told me they were in the process of determinin­g refunds, and that we would likely receive a refund, less a “processing fee.” An Ovago representa­tive promised to contact us.

No one called or reached out, so I called Ovago. An agent told me they were working on it and that they would get back to me as soon as they heard from the airline. Ovago never called us.

I filed an unsuccessf­ul credit card dispute and an unsuccessf­ul complaint with the Consumer Protection Division of the Washington State Attorney General’s office. While that complaint was in process, however, we received an email from Ovago that said that a full refund is allowed. We have mountains of documentat­ion about our trying to get a refund from Ovago in compliance with their stated policy of “a full refund if the flight is canceled.” Can you help us get our $4,722 back?

— Daniel Quinn-Shea, Seattle

It looks as if your online agency made some claims about your tickets that you say were untrue. That further clouded the issue, and it may have confused your credit card issuer. Another unfortunat­e fact: Filing a credit card dispute can further slow a refund. I think that may have happened in your case.

In a perfect world, both your online travel agency and credit card company would be on your side, fighting to ensure you receive a timely refund from an airline.

Remember, under Department of Transporta­tion regulation­s, if an airline cancels your flight,

you’re entitled to a refund within seven business days if you paid by credit card and 20 business days if you paid by cash or check. The airline can’t force you to accept a ticket credit.

I think Ovago just needed a nudge. It had already agreed in writing to give you a full refund. I contacted the company, and you received your $4,722 back.

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