In another topic, an unfortunate traveller tells about her severe problems with TUIfly. Here is a story of lesser importance with Brussels Airlines, published on the same day in "20 minutes" (Switzerland).
Due to a bug, he pays three times his Brussels Airlines ticket
A passenger feels that he has been kidnapped and mistreated by a Belgian airline, which admits it was at fault. A computer problem affected several of its customers.
Family is sacred. To go and see them in Belgium, Jean* decides on 20 June to buy a Geneva-Brussels ticket, via his PostCard. But on the site of Brussels Airlines, which he regularly flies, the payment by internet does not go through for the first time. He starts again: new bug. He finally manages to finalise his purchase online using another credit card and flies to the flat country July 22. But surprise, receiving the statement of his PostCard, the sexagenarian finds that the price of the ticket (95.90 CHF) is debited twice.
From then on, another trip begins, this time into the administrative meanders of the Belgian company. Jean tells the problem and asks to get his money back. By e-mail, Brussels Airlines confirms on 4 July that it has, in all, "charged three times the payment" and states that "the file has been sent to the service concerned for the reimbursement of the expenses taken in excess".
Then nothing more. For six weeks, "I am told every time that the treatment of my case is in progress and when I will be called back. But no one does, the Lausannois gets upset. The quality of customer service should be a priority for them ... "
The company apologises
Contacted, Brussel Airlines recognises its mistakes. Last June, it put online a new payment method, that of PostFinance, but there were problems with the implementation of the system. "It does not come from them but from us," says the company spokeswoman Kim Daenen. “Several customers had the same setbacks as this gentleman, who was paid last Friday. Other repayments are underway."
This malfunction however does not justify the treatment of Jean, continues the young woman: "This passenger has not been properly treated. We apologise for that.”
The path to recover the money
In a case like Jean's, the French speaking Consumer Federation (FRC) advises to warn the company issuing the credit card that debits are disputed and at the same time politely ask the debtor to repay the amounts due. These can be likened to illegitimate enrichment, notes Valérie Muster, FRC lawyer: "The alleged offender has one year to assert his rights; as to the time of repayment, there is no precise delay". But if nothing moves, the sexagenarian can put in residence the airline "by setting a reasonable time, relatively short in this case, since it has already been warned of the existence of a problem". Prosecution would be a last resort for the Lausannois.
* Not his real name
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ex Sabena #26567
ex Sabena #26567