Man gets $4K refund after Troubleshooters investigate CheapOair.com complaint

PAOLI, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Action News has an update on a Troubleshooter story from last week about a travel company refusing to issue a refund for a COVID-19-related cancellation.

Rick Heuser, a hospital worker in Paoli with a baby on the way, bought four tickets to go to Seoul, South Korea for $4,000.

"I looked online and I found this company CheapOair, found a really good deal," he said.



But when COVID-19 hit, the airline canceled the flights. Heuser turned to the Troubleshooters when CheapOair refused to provide a refund and one day after our story aired:

"I got a call from a representative from CheapOair this morning, and he apologized for all the confusion and the lack of communication," he said.

CheapOair is also returning Heuser's $4,000 tickets.

"He called me back 30 minutes later and he said, 'Rick, you know, we're going to give you a full refund,'" he said.

CheapOair blames Heuser's particular situation on a very unusual mix up, and as for the hundreds of other complaints regarding COVID-19-related refunds, the company said while all its centers are back open, they are operating with very limited capacity.

This while "our daily inbound call volume rose from an average of 30,000 calls per day to over 250,000 calls per day" during the pandemic, they said.

Regardless, Heuser is ecstatic about getting his money back.

"Just so thankful to you and the investigative team," he said. "And it wouldn't it wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for you guys. We're really, really thankful."

CheapOair also told the Troubleshooters it "apologizes to all of its customers who've experienced delays and promises the company is working to clear all pending customer service requests... to date, we have processed $155,000 worth in over 452,622 credits, cancellations and refunds since the COVID-19 crisis began."

CheapOair also told the Troubleshooters normally its complaint ratio is .00006, a number it is very proud of.

Points of Consideration re: the Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Fareportal Business Operations (i.e. CheapOair)

- These are unprecedented times.
- We are experiencing a perfect storm in the air travel industry.
- The coronavirus pandemic has caused hundreds of thousands of cancellations and refunds.
- Airlines are continuously changing their policies and we are trying to stay up to date.
- We work with over 600 airlines.

- Some airlines are only processing credits and some have inhibited us from processing refunds. We must apply directly through the airlines.
- Additionally, all our contact centers were shut down globally due to government mandated restrictions.
- Even though our centers were shut down, our teams moved fast to set up online refund request forms and automated tools for processing credits, cancellations and refunds.
- Our teams also worked fast to set up systems so our agents could work from home.
- Today our centers are up, but with very limited capacity. Most agents are still working from home due to government restrictions. When the crisis first began, our daily inbound call volume rose from an average of 30,000 calls per day to over 250,000 calls per day.
- We apologize to all our customers who have experienced delays and are working to clear all pending customer service requests.
- To date we have processed $155,000,000 worth in over 452,622 credits, cancellations and refunds since the covid-19 crisis began.
- Normally our complaint ratio is .00006, a number we are very proud of.
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