Qantas Credit Vouchers/Refunds & Overloaded Call Centre

Considering the value of a flight credit, does the ACCC need to clarify for consumers how a credit should be valued? @BrendanMays

Is it a cash amount equivalent to a full refund?
In which instance should the ACCC argue the basis of the original fare booking including flight sectors or class of fare are not relevant. IE It should be treated as a cash equivalent the airline has had the benefit of for months, or years. The customer should be free to draw on the credit and purchase travel on the same basis and equal terms as any other consumer making a flight purchase.

Is it simply a promise by the airline to offer an equivalent number of passenger miles, if and when there is a spare seat available? As an outcome it might be of fair value but certainly not to the convenience of the customer. Hardly an equitable outcome if cancellation was due to the airline or actions beyond the reasonable control of the customer.

A third possibility is the ACCC might accept the airlines offer of a credit is at the airlines discretion. IE the airline is free to decide which flights and seats the credit can be used on and at what cost the airline chooses up to and including a maximum of a not discounted full service fare.

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Hi, Heard the news article on the radio with Dean Price. Yes, I fit exactly into that category. I paid for a return Business Class flight to HK/SYD/HK. The second leg return - SYD/HK - had to cancel because of COVID. I then called and found - yes, you have around 2,000 dollars in your account, but you paid in HK dollars, so unless you plan to fly that specific leg back to HK, you won’t be able to redeem it. That explains why Alan Joyce said - You get exactly what you pay for - he was meaning people like me. You can only go SYD to HK - which sounds pretty ridiculous, given that we are just talking about a credit. I also found on the phone that they will not bring it up or apply to any other flights.

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Welcome to the Community @cgecowley,

I merged your topic into the existing one about QF vouchers. Reading between your lines it appears QF ticketed you and the flights were QF numbers?

That does not sound correct because the currency used to purchase a ticket is not related to a route. You should be able to purchase a SYD-LAX but it would be paid for in HKD at the prevailing xrate excepting for sanctions that might apply between various governments for their currencies (AUD and HKD not affected, trying to use RUB could be difficult).

While it may be difficult to contact QF at the moment rely on what they tell you not what you hear on talk back radio, and look at the T&C, although you indicate you have ‘found by phone’…

Would that be with QF’s call centre? Did you cancel or did the airline cancel - it makes a difference in your rights.

Suggest you read about your rights in the current climate. Use the Community search tool for COVID cancellations and similar terms.

If I got anything incomplete or incorrect please add to your story.

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I’m not an expert in the area unlike some of my colleagues, but I imagine that there could be some variation or similar ideas being discussed as part of the complaint and the potential response. Certainly the response from the public has been overwhelming and I think most people are in agreement that the situation has gotten out of hand. It’s very disappointing as I’ve personally heard from scores of people who have been patient and considerate to travel providers in regards to COVID and the effects, forgoing significant sums over a long period and now simply seeking a reasonable outcome.

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Thank you for the note. The varied and number of posts has certainly highlighted the scale of the issues faced by many. I was lucky in using the only flight credit I held in 2020, just prior to Covid hitting. It was a surprise that redemption did not go as far as the original purchase. Townsville to Brisbane cashed in paid for a Brisbane to Newcastle. Same model of aircraft but half the flight distance!

From talking with others in the extended family who had international flights cancelled it seems a mixed bag. Those paid with Qantas points and on a high status seem to have received points credits readily. Although if booked on higher fares one can cancel without penalty right up to the last day or for business class perhaps even miss the flight entirely and still receive full credit. It would seem those on lesser fares, early purchases or discounted fares (the economy traveller) have had the lesser outcomes. I may be wrong, but it is just possible QF and some other airlines may be treating customers very differently according to the class of fare. It might be worth some further discussion as to why some customers who can least afford to are carrying the greater risk when the service cannot be delivered.

OTOH there is the possibility that a customer owed a flight should be happy that the airline has not collapsed leaving but cents in the dollar in compensation?

Certainly a discussion for those more versed in the Industry and with a keen interest in ensuring adequate protections for the average consumer.

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I booked a rellie US-AU-US with points and everything went pear shaped, cancelled kaput the month before the flight. I have a few points in the QF bank but no status. The points were promptly returned as were add-ons/taxes. The US travel policy also promptly refunded the full cost of the policy. How times have changed.

That was May 2020 before it got ‘deep’.

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If the $1.4 Billion in the QANTAS coffers of the value of credits/vouchers is true (see no reason to doubt that figure), QANTAS may be using that to buffer their bottom line. If they don’t pay it out, it is money that remains in QANTAS hands. Right now it may be held in a payments reserve account but if enough time passes it reverts to income for the business. A nice little journal entry moves it over and no pain experienced to do so (well for them anyway).

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@FraM If I were you I would follow phb’s recommendation, sit and wait until the 5 business days have lapsed.

I don’t think public holidays count in the five days Bpay can take to be received.

Your suggestion of buying another ticket means you’ll pay Virgin in addition to what you paid QF, because until say 5 business days pass and still they have not issued the e-ticket, from where I sit (and I am no fan of QF), they have done nothing wrong.

Your perspective of defining payment by Bpay as the instance when your account is debited is incorrect. What is crucial is when the funds hit QF’s account. Of course, when QF contacts you to issue you the e- ticket or tells you when the funds actually hit QF’s account is not only beyond your control, it may be some time after the funds have really been received.

For countless reasons, I never Bpay for such purchases. I use credit cards if for no other reason, if the e-ticket is unreceived by a reasonable date, I can seek and often receive a ‘chargeback’ ie a reversal of the original debit.

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When a bill is paid by Bpay, with some exceptions, the receiver is contracted to date receipt on the date the BPay was sent regardless when they receive it. The payment may not be processed and show on the account for 2 to 5 business days after being sent. eg a BPay sent today for a water bill is posted as received today even if the water company receives and processes it 2 to 5 days later.

OTOH if one pays for a ticket by BPay the recipient does not know if the customer has paid or ‘done a runner’ until the funds are received and processed into the account so a ticket may not be issued until the BPay is received and processed into the ticket account. It is generally unwise to pay for a ticket by BPay within a week of the ticket time in normal conditions; in these times following up anything with QF seems at the buyers risk.

There are some companies and often government agencies that clearly state the date of receipt is the date of receipt, not the ‘standard’ BPay agreement.

Everything might be on track on schedule but until a ticket is issued the traveller reasonably can become concerned. If there is a problem, waiting until a few days before travel and trying to contact QF when they seem all but uncontactable?

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Hi

FYI, have sent you below a copy of an email I sent to Qantas on 21 March, the content of which is self explanatory.

Needless to say, I have had no response from them at this time of writing to you.

Am sure this email is just the tip of the iceberg you will have received. Feel free to add mine to the collection and pursue to whatever extent you consider necessary via ACCC or otherwise to add weight to the complaints.

FYI, the flight credit for $224.68 is stated to have a redemption expiry date of 31 December 2023 which I should have been entitled to redeem and use against a 21 April 2023 flight I have had to pay for afresh. Also, the 11 January 2021 was a Qantas cancelled flight (not by me), I had to book an emergency last seat ticket on Flight QF619 on 8 January 2021 to get out of Brisbane pre lockdown (Booking 6xxxxx) costing me a rediculous $832.48 that I would love to claim part or all of that back.

Over to you.

Allan (Choice Member)

From:
Sent: Monday, 21 March 2022 2:57 PM
To: frequent_flyer@qantas.com.au
Subject: Query Regarding Bookings and Redemption Credits

Hi

I have recently booked 2 flights that I was hoping to redeem credits from the cost of the flights. After waiting on line for over 90 mins on 3 occasions I had to hang up due to commitments so had to pay full amount for the 2 flights.

Trying to redeem when trying to make on line booking of same failed as the reference number was not for whatever reason acceptable and just kept repeating the request for details.

As I have paid for the now booked 2 flights in full I would like and prefer to get a reimbursement to my bank account before the expiry date of the credits rather than try in the future to hopefully have the system accept the credit redemptions.

That is the background and my aim by virtue of this email.

Now the details for you to match up and look at:

Name: Allan

FF Member No:

Flight Credit 1: Ref 5xxxxx - $224.68 for Qantas cancelled Flt QF617 Bne/Mel on 11 Jan 2021

Flight Credit 2: Ref Kxxxxx - $40.00 paid for seat selection upgrade on Flt QF610 Mel/Bne on 4 Dec 2020 that was cancelled. Receipt number ##########

Flight Credit 3: $5 paid re Flt QF617 Bne/Mel on 11 Jan 2021 that was cancelled. Receipt number ##########

The above 3 flight credits were confirmed in a previous telephone discussion with Qantas in early 2021 as being recorded and confirmed available.

One last thing, my upcoming flight bookings are on references 6xxxxx and 5xxxxx. The booking 6xxxxx will not as yet allow me to choose seating. When will that option be allowable under “Manage My Booking” for the 21 April flight?. I already have seating allocated under booking 5xxxxx.

I await your response.

Allan

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Welcome to the Community @Foxmulda

That is a terrible experience and you were fortunate to be able to buy a fare while you try to get it sorted.

It is not obvious the frequent flyer program is the best place since they are all about miles not bookings and fares, even though they seem inextricably linked and FF members are encouraged to use that portal.

You might embed your original email(s) using the form at Customer care feedback form | Qantas AU as a complaint?

This 3rd party page has many (unconfirmed) methods to contact QF. Whether there is any better response from one or another remains to be discovered.

Good luck with it, and please let us know if any of these contact points are helpful/responsive to get you sorted.

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"You can only go SYD to HK " Is this not the same as before COVID? A flight credit was only ever given for a specific flight and could not be transferred to a different one (or indeed a different person) i.e. it was never considered the same as a cash refund ti be spent in future as you wished. Granted COVID situation is/was different but it seems the terms of refunds/credits have not changed.

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Qantas advice is different. The credits are saved as a dollar value. They can be used on available flights. There are some restrictions indicated.

Note there are 2 sets of conditions accessible through the link. One covers where QF cancelled the flight. The other if it was the passenger due to ……

The conditions avoid defining ‘available flights’. This could be interpreted as any flight with unbooked seats. It might also apply if a more restricted set of seats on a limited selection of flights. The second would be similar to how the original ‘frequent flyer’ rewards seats were managed.

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Hi, just reading through the notes here - thank you. Helped put a bit more clarity around this. They were QF ticketed flights and it was not my choice about paying in HK dollars. If you purchase the tickets on the QF website and it detects that you are sitting in HK when making the booking, the QF portal currency switches over automatically. That makes sense, but the downside is that moving back to Aust, complicates the refund. I did go to a call centre, and to Qantas’ credit, when I brought the subject up, they (call centre) were quick to locate the credit in my account, but restricted in what they would do to recognise the credit. So, to my mind, it is a policy position that I am bringing into question, not anything to do with the call centre. I am just hoping, after hearing on the radio from Dean Price, that Qantas had squirrelled away 1.4Bn in credit refunds, that they may change their position, because it appears to be skewed.

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(apologies for the length of this reply - once I started getting it off my chest, I could not stop)

This is just another sad story regarding Qantas flight credits.

It all started well enough when, due to the Covid situation, I decided to book our economy class return trips from Sydney to London using the Qantas Flexible fare option.

I did not mind paying more than the normal prices as I was buying some insurance against having to change dates or cancel.

Sure enough, I changed the dates twice and although there was no charge for this service, the available flights were $250 more expensive the first time and $500 more expensive the second time. At the time I shrugged this off as availability due to increased demand.

Finally, because of the escalating Covid situation in the UK, I cancelled my flights until the situation settled down. I received a credit voucher for the full amount of $7,500 (yes, that is a lot of money for 2 economy return flights).

Now for the really sad part.

When I finally decided to re-book on-line, I dutifully put in my credit voucher number but only received the offer of flights costing many hundreds of dollars more than my $7,500 available credit.

I thought “that is weird”, so I tried re-booking without using my credit voucher, and low and behold I could get my flights for a total of $3,600.

I did some research on the internet and reread the Qantas Terms and Conditions. The Qantas answer was basically “tough bananas mate, we make the rules and you have been done over”.

I could almost have accepted the result, if I could have used up all my credit for the flights. But I could not. There was no way the Qantas system was going to let me use my credit without spending more money for extremely expensive economy flights.

So, I booked my cheaper flights and kept the Qantas credit which expires at the end of 2023. I am hoping, but not expecting, that Qantas will voluntarily or be forced to do something reasonable with their Customer’s credit.

Wondering whether this was all a bad dream, I have just been online to check Qantas flights to London for October 22.

Without using my credit voucher I can get return economy flights for 2 people for $3,816. This is using the normal Qantas online booking website.

When I use my credit voucher, the Qantas system takes me to a special web page for redeeming credit. In this case it offers me no economy flights as they are all less than my credit voucher value. The cheapest flights it will offer me are Premium Economy Saver. Total value $10,550.

So, effectively, Qantas wants to charge me another $3,000 to redeem my credit. Qantas has my money, but they will not let me use it in what I consider an equitable way.

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@JodiBird, @BrendanMays is this seemingly common behaviour by QF something of interest to Choice?

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Thanks, these first-hand account continue to inform our work, and sorry to hear you have been affected @DaveB. It is shocking to hear the number and severity of the issues occurring, and specifically around Qantas. We know it’s not fair or reasonable, and we have an ongoing complaint with the ACCC. Unfortunately, we don’t have perfect solutions in the short term. The only success we have heard about is by pursuing Qantas persistently via their customer service to try to get a better outcome. If you have the luxury of time on your voucher, it may be best to hold on and wait but we know that this isn’t an option for many of us.

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A month old, but relevant.

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A bit OT but QF seems on a roll of abusive tactics, whether or not on purpose.

Not able to fly QF until QF sorts their own errors?

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Why would anyone fly Qantas? Seems like they are just in business to rip off their customers.