Think I'll get my money back?

Old Aug 12th, 2002, 05:00 PM
Posts: n/a
Think I'll get my money back?

When Vanguard ceased operations I was stranded out-of-state. United saved the day with $99 one-way tickets for me and my son, and I went to the airport to pay for the tickets and fly home. The ticket agent swiped my credit card, said it was declined, then swiped my debit card and said it, too, had been declined. I ran to the ATM, got cash, and paid for the tickets.

Now that I'm home, my bank statement shows that the "declined" debit card transaction actually posted to my account! I've now paid for the tickets twice. I called United Customer Relations, and was instructed to send my receipt because "we have no record of cash transactions." ????

I'm concerned because my receipt doesn't show the method of payment--just the itinerary, flight, ticket number, and dollar amount. On the other hand, there's no receipt with my signature at United. What are the odds I'll get my money back? Anyone ever have a similar experience?
Old Aug 12th, 2002, 05:33 PM
Ken Longo
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The airline ticket cannot be issued without showing the
form of payment used on the receipt. The receipt is the
last coupon in the ticket pack handed to you and, on the
top edge, center, clearly says 'passenger receipt'.

The 'swipe' does not generate any kind of message from the
credit card computer. It merely reads the card number and places
that number in the reservation. It is only when an effort is
made to issue the ticket at a specified price that the credit
card computer accepts or rejects the charge.

If you used a credit card, the form of payment is shown beginning
midway down on the left edge of the ticket receipt. If a Visa bank

IF the ticket was issued against a cash payment the form of payment
will show Cash.
Old Aug 12th, 2002, 06:48 PM
Nancy H.
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Uh-oh, this doesn't look good for me. What the agent gave me (the last card in the ticket pack) shows neither of those codes you describe, and doesn't say cash anywhere on it. It doesn't read "passenger receipt" on the front, but on the back.

I still don't understand how the card could be declined but the POS still posted to my account. Can't wait to see how this turns out.

Old Aug 13th, 2002, 04:43 AM
Ken Longo
Posts: n/a
You are lucky that all of these transactions have been
recorded electronically with a date stamp.

You credit card company and your bank have a record of when
the requests came through that were declined.

Your bank has a record of the time you withdrew your cash
for the tickets.

If United is telling you that there is no way for them to
tell if your tickets were cash or credit card, they are lying.
Give them the ticket numbers. The info is in there, along with
the time the tickets were issued.

And make sure you are not confusing your white card itinerary for
the green-tint card receipt.

Incidentally, on every credit card charged ticket at the ticket counter
you are handed an "auditors" coupon and asked to sign it. Ask UA
to send you the copy of your signed card.
Old Aug 13th, 2002, 04:51 AM
Posts: n/a
Also call the credit card company (800 number is on the card) and dispute the charge. Explain why and they will also send a request to United for the signed card. If it cannot be produced, and you can show the cash payment, they will (should) reverse the charge.
Old Aug 13th, 2002, 12:01 PM
Posts: n/a
Thanks for all the info. I have contacted United and my bank has also opened an investigation. Ken, you are right about the benefit of having everything recorded electronically. Let's hope that works in my favor. Thanks again!
Old Aug 15th, 2002, 09:28 AM
Posts: n/a

I sent an e-mail to the address shown on your post.

I am a real person. I work for United Airines in the sales department. I work with travel agents every day, and sometimes need to do research on strange things such as this.

If the form of payment is cash, it may not show on the ticket for various reasons. Don't panic.

Strange things have happened when computers are involved. Stranger things happen when one computer talks to another.

Please email me with your ticket numbers. I would like to help.
Can't promise you I have the answer, but
I can sure try.

Thank you.


Was the charge
Old Aug 15th, 2002, 02:31 PM
Posts: n/a
Nancy, call your credit card bank, ask for dispute department, get the mailing address and send them a detailed letter. Include description of your call to the airline. Attach copies (not originals!) of all receipts. In the letter offer to send copies IF NEEDED. Follow up with the bank - NOT THE AIRLINE.
Old Aug 15th, 2002, 03:46 PM
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I am helping her with the investigation.

Yes, she needs to dispute this with the credit card company, ASAP, to keep interest from accruing. But if I can get
some answers for her, because of contacts I have, it might be faster.

In her email to me she indicated that the ticket agent told her she was the fifth person that day this had happened to, which leads me to believe there was
a glitch in the communication between
the credit card company's computer system and United's.

My boss used to be the station manager at one of the smaller stations, and he is helping me with this. He said that
this does happen sometimes, and it's really difficult to sort out.

I hope I can make it go faster. She's a very nice lady.

Old Aug 19th, 2002, 12:24 PM
Posts: n/a
Frances has been very kind to step in on my behalf at United. I should get such service from my bank! The bank is completely unconcerned and doesn't care that there's no signed receipt for the debit card charge.

Lessons I've gleaned from this experience: 1. Debit card use is too risky for my liking. There's very little recourse once the merchant has the money in hand. 2. Always, always check the receipt. In this case, I wasn't given one and I didn't check the ticket pack. Traveling alone with a 3-year-old and all our attendant baggage, I was distracted and didn't check.
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