Debunking the mystery of the missing hotel refund

Why didn’t Jessica Radosevic get her refund from Traveluro? Could it have to do with the credit card dispute she filed?

  • By Wire Service
  • Saturday, June 8, 2024 1:30am
  • Life

Q: Last year, I booked a trip to Las Vegas through a site called Traveluro. My airline canceled the flight, and I could not get another flight. So, I had to cancel my hotel reservation.

I contacted Traveluro, and a representative agreed to cancel my reservation and give me a full refund. But the refund showed up in my account as “pending” and then completely dropped off. It was never fully processed.

I filed a credit card dispute with my bank, but my bank denied my request. Traveluro is extremely hard to get in touch with. I call, and it rings once, then hangs up on me. I’ve been trying for months!

The one time I got through — other than my first call — a representative said they would escalate the situation and that somebody would call me within 24 to 48 hours. That never happened. Please help me get my $444 back!

— Jessica Radosevic, Danville, California

A: If Traveluro promised you a refund, it should have delivered one.

First of all, you might be wondering what Traveluro is. It’s an online travel agency operated by Holisto, a company based in the United States and Israel. Traveluro offers support in several European languages, which is perhaps where the “uro” part comes from.

So, why didn’t Traveluro refund your hotel? First, online agencies don’t control refunds on nonrefundable rooms. They would have to ask the hotel in Las Vegas for a waiver, which would take some time. It looks as if Traveluro tried to get your money back — hence the “pending” refund. But it ran out of time when you decided to file a credit card dispute.

A credit card dispute means you are asking your bank to reverse a transaction because it’s fraudulent, or you didn’t receive the product or service you ordered. I have more on how chargebacks work in my ultimate guide to credit card disputes on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org.

So, what went wrong? I mean, besides trying to call an online agency, which is usually a bad idea. (Always email to create a paper trail.)

Well, it turns out the company was able to secure a full refund for your hotel, according to Elad Shmilovich, Holisto’s chief operating officer. “However, in parallel, the customer submitted a charge-back, which prevented the refund from being fully processed,” he says. “That’s why the customer saw a pending notification, which disappeared.”

“Not to worry,” Shmilovich added. “I’ve asked my ops team to issue a new refund, which should already be in her account.”

Ah, I love a happy ending! But there’s an important lesson here for the rest of us. When a company promises a refund, you have to give it time. Sometimes a refund to your credit card can take up to two billing cycles, which is more than two months. If you lose patience and file a credit card dispute, it doesn’t just stop the refund process. It can actually reverse it, ensuring that you never end up getting your money.

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy (elliottadvocacy.org), a nonprofit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Email him at chris@elliott.org or get help by contacting him at elliottadvocacy.org/help.

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