Hey, what happened to my GotoGate refund?

gotogate refund

Alaska Airlines canceled Marcos Schapira’s flight from Los Angeles to Santiago, Chile. But did it decide to keep his money — or was it GotoGate, his online travel agency? Where’s her GotoGate refund?

Question

I recently bought plane tickets from Seattle to Santiago, Chile, on Alaska Airlines for my family through GotoGate, an online travel agency. The company contacted me the same day, saying they couldn’t book the tickets I requested, so I canceled the reservations.

A GotoGate representative told me to call the airline directly to cancel. I called Alaska Airlines and a representative confirmed that the reservation had been canceled. I sent an email to Gotogate saying that my reservation was canceled, and the company confirmed that it would issue a refund. GotoGate said the refund would take between two and eight weeks.

At the 5th week, I sent an email to check the status of the refund. A GotoGate representative told me there is no refund being processed, and that the reservation was still active. I needed to call Alaska Airlines again, a representative said. I called Alaska again to confirm the cancellation.

Alaska sent me an email verifying that a full refund was made to GotoGate. I forwarded the information to GotoGate but I haven’t received a response. Can you help? — Marcos Schapira, Seattle

Answer

When an airline cancels your flight, you should receive a full refund within a week. But I’ve noted many times before in this column, when an online agency gets involved, it can lead to delays. I’m not surprised you had to wait this long for your GotoGate refund.

It looks like you followed all the right steps to resolve your issue. You contacted Alaska Airlines and GotoGate in writing, asking about the refund. A quick look at your paper trail shows some confusion about who had the money — was it the airline or your online agency? — which may have led to the crossed wires on the cancellation.

You could have appealed this to one of the executive contacts at Alaska Airlines. You could have also reached out to Gotogate’s managers. A short but cordial email to [email protected] might have led to a quick resolution. (All email addresses at GotoGate follow the convention [email protected])

How do you get GotoGate refund?

Under federal regulations, an airline, travel agent, or online travel agency must process your ticket refund within seven business days if you paid by credit card, and 20 business days if you paid by cash or check. However, as regular readers of this feature know, “processed” doesn’t mean the same thing as “received.” It can take an additional one to two months (two “billing cycles”) before you see the money in your account.

Even though the law requires a prompt refund, the airlines and travel agencies have figured out a way around it. I get to tell that to readers every day. It’s just one of the less fun parts of travel.

The fix? Don’t give up. Keep steady (but polite) pressure on all parties until they disgorge your money. I supplied you with a contact at GotoGate. Separately, I also got in touch with the online agency. GotoGate said it needed some paperwork from Alaska Airlines so it could help. GotoGate contacted the airline on your behalf and processed your refund.

Posted in The Travel Troubleshooter Tagged , ,

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can’t. He’s the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, and the Washington Post. If you have a consumer problem you can’t solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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