merlin

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Where is Lastminute's price-match refund?
On the case (travel telegraph UK)
Gill Charlton answers questions on flight price-matching, airline seat pitches, Florida villas and car collection systems.



A Reader writes and enquires....

At the end of May, I purchased two Excel Airways flights to Dalaman in Turkey through Lastminute.com for a total of £453.50. I then found the same flights advertised on the Airtours website for £388.20.

Having read Lastminute's "price match" policy, I duly e-mailed the company with a link to the relevant Airtours webpage, as requested, and asked to be refunded the difference of £65.30.

Lastminute e-mailed back asking for a fax to be sent. I did not have access to a fax machine and there is nothing in the policy about having to send a fax confirmation.

After more e-mail exchanges, I eventually relented and drove into town to send the fax. Lastminute then denied having receiving it. I phoned customer services, where someone finally found the fax. But this was not the end of the matter.

Another blood-pressure-raising dialogue ensued when Lastminute said that because the fax did not contain the class of travel a refund was not allowed.

As far as I am aware, this Excel Airways flight is a classless charter. Can you please find out why Lastminute is not honouring its price-match promise?



The Telegraph replies:

Lastminute says that its price-match policy is clearly set out on its website: "To request a price-match refund, just e-mail pricematch@lastminute.com, including the name of the website where the product is cheaper, and a telephone number, address, website and e-mail if available.

You will receive an automated acknowledgment of your request, and we will review the details and reply to you via e-mail within three business days."

This all seems straightforward and, as you say, there is no mention of the need to send a fax.

However, there is a strange disclaimer lower in the terms and conditions, which says: "To avoid potential abuse and to enable us to honour our price-match refund guarantee to genuine customers, the acceptance of all refund requests is ultimately at the discretion of Lastminute.com, who will at all times act reasonably and in good faith."

"At the discretion of Lastminute.com" is not a very firm sort of promise. Either it has a price promise or it doesn't.

Excel Airways confirmed that its flights to Dalaman are a one-class charter, so the seats sold through Lastminute and Airtours would be the same. So what is going on?

"We very much regret that this reader's inquiry was not handled in an efficient manner due to a customer-service agent error," said a spokeswoman for Lastminute.

"It is clear that she had a valid claim for a price-match refund." You have now been refunded the difference of £65.30 and I understand that Lastminute is sending you a £50 voucher to redeem against any of its services by way of apology for the inconvenience caused.
 

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