Today I had a unexpected victory against The Man -- well, possibly. Back in January, the Heavy Metal Husband and I booked an April 2020 honeymoon to Disney and Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.
Enter coronavirus.... Obviously those plans were canceled, just like everything else in the world.
Canceling the hotel reservation was easy because our card hadn't been charged yet. No fees, no hassle, no problem. I thought it would be harder to get a refund on park tickets because they are sold as non-refundable and not date-specific. But since both parks were closed by the time of our trip, I was pleasantly surprised that they refunded our tickets with one phone call. Big relief because the tickets weren't cheap!
Next up was our flights on JetBlue, booked through Orbitz. I thought getting a refund would be easy enough since I had purchased the suggested travel insurance -- plus given the pandemic and the fact that travelers from my state were ordered to do a 14-day quarantine in Florida at the time of our trip. After all, this is what travel insurance was for, right? But lo and behold, after many emails over many months, AIG denied my claim because JetBlue so "thoughtfully" offered a credit for the flights.
We would have gotten a credit for whatever reason we cancelled the flights, so why had I paid for travel insurance? And guess what Orbitz/AIG, we're not frickin' flying anywhere soon..... Let's just say AIG got a nice email from me about how their product was a useless scam. I'm sure they were laughing all the way to the bank.
I complained about this on Facebook back in May and a friend suggested that I file a merchant dispute with my credit card company for the flights. I figured it couldn't hurt -- for a few minutes on the phone, I'd have a slim chance of getting my $800 back.
When I saw an email today from Bank of America saying I had a message about my claim, I assumed it had been denied. It's not really JetBlue's fault that the Orbitz/AIG travel insurance is crappy. (I guess?) But.... I had a temporary credit for one of the flights!
I can't go wildly spending all the money just yet -- according to the letter that came with the message, "If we determine the transaction(s) is valid, we'll let you know and the credit(s) we gave you may be removed." But y'know what? It's probably going to buy Heavy Metal Husband and I a nice dinner on our rescheduled, "cars only" honeymoon to Niagara Falls next month.
The moral of the story, even if I do end up making that $800 donation to JetBlue, is that it pays to be the squeaky wheel. In the past two years, I've been overcharged on escrow by my mortgage company; I had Verizon neglect to close a fraudulent account that was opened in my name.... The list goes on. It's essential to advocate for yourself if you notice something amiss on one of your statements; a short (or long) phone call can correct errors and save you money.
Yes, it may be a David and Goliath situation when you go up against these behemoths -- but if you don't try, you won't win. And if losing out on some plane tickets ends up being the worst thing that happens to my family in 2020, we'll be doing all right.
Have you won any victories against The Man lately? Or lost any battles? Leave a comment.
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