Remember how United Airlines charged me for $75.00 against my will 2 months ago? Well, it seems I’ve been on a bad luck streak ever since… not only is United STILL battling me on it (more to come in a bit) but I’m now facing off with Marriott and very briefly with American Express (it only took them 10 mins to solve my problem and issue me a refund – so it’s also a shout out to them!). Either way though, it’s probably not a good time for me to be playing around with the lottery, eh? ;)
Update on my hatred for United Airlines
If you recall from my first post on United, they charged me a $75 fee but wouldn’t tell me what it was for, or why I got it. Which of course is hard to figure out when they a) don’t like to pick up the phone, and b) tell you to email them with the complaint, only to make you wait a few weeks to get a response (which you then can’t respond to because it bounces back! Arghhh….). This is why I can’t stand United Airlines. Not because they made a mistake in charging me, that’s fine – we all do that – but because they have the WORST customer service so far in all the airlines I’ve dealt with over the years. And I used to work for the airline industry myself, so I know some bad service when I see it ;)
At any rate, after disputing it through American Express – because at least THEY listen to you and pick up the phone – United shot back a 5-6 page packet documenting why I was charged for this $75.00 to begin with: a flight change fee. (The packet also contained receipts of my baggage fees which is why it was so big – and those fees I’m okay with, I agreed and used their services completely). Funny enough, though, their “proof” that I changed flights contradicted their own story! They claimed I change my flight from San Diego to Denver, to a *different* flight from San Diego to Denver that morning, when I never even went to Denver to begin with ;) I flew to Washington, DC. And those baggage fees I got charged for on that flight? Shows CLEARLY that I flew from San Diego to Washington, DC – NOT Denver! So that was mistake #1 by them, haha…., using their own receipt to show I didn’t fly to Denver.
Mistake #2? My favorite one? That I’m now a Hispanic Woman :) Yup, according to their OWN records again, I somehow changed names (and gender) from the time I checked my bag in, ’till the time I “flew to Denver,” haha… what a mess. 5 hours wasted so far and this issue STILL isn’t cleared up. But I refuse to let them win!! I will waste another 5 if I need to until it’s finally resolved… I’m sure companies like these count on people giving up…
Minor American Express issue
Now this one I only bring up because it shows the level of customer service that’s AWESOME. Due to this same $75 issue above there, I was charged $35+ for interest fees which didn’t make sense because Amex had wiped away the $75 completely I first disputed it – but then added it back to the original statement it first appeared on, since they thought the issue was now resolved. (Guess they didn’t notice the change in gender either). BUT, what they DID do, was wipe away the interest fees entirely and literally resolved it within 7 mins on the phone. On a Sunday night AND at 11pm. Now THAT’S service. And why I’ll always continue promoting them whenever I can. If you have a small business, and are looking for good credit cards, keep American Express on the radar! :)
New Marriott Battle
Well, not a battle yet, but if it doesn’t go in my favor it will surely become one :) And this one’s a little easier to follow because it clearly states on my credit card statement WHY I was charged this $93 from Marriott: for not showing up. Which is funny because I DID show up, for 4 days actually, and the next charge on my statement shows a very powerful $360 charge telling me so ;) I’ve already spent an hour on the phone with them today, and they’re currently researching it and says I should receive a call back here shortly (we’ll see how that goes), but for now I’m on the hook for another stupid fee.
The only thing I can think happened is that they booked me in a night there w/out my permission. Which of course would trigger a “no show” on my behalf. The week before flying out, I had called to ask how much an extra day would cost at the hotel since I had changed my plans to stay another day, but the room went from $80-something a night to $280 a night!! Which obviously I’d never do, so I booked a different (crappier) hotel a mile down the street, which set me back a reasonable $55 instead ;) I was only gonna be there to sleep, anyways, so it really didn’t matter where I was gonna stay. My guess is Marriott booked me another night at their place instead, and is now charging me for never showing up. I’ll update this post in a bit if they do ever get back to me
(I wouldn’t hold your breath). **They just called me! Update below.
Takeaways from everything…
So yeah — bad week for random charges coming at me. The biggest takeaway from all this is to ALWAYS KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN on your bills and statements because mistakes DO happen! Even if they don’t for years, and then hit you back to back to back out of nowhere ;) OH! That actually reminds me of another charge I just got, and disputed, actually! A double tip on some food! They had it both in the credit card receipt, AND on the tip line (I had prepaid for it and didn’t notice it until it hit my statement last month), but a quick call to them fixed it all up pretty easily too. Almost forgot about that one ;)
Of course, the other way to avoid all this – which I’m sure some of you credit card haters are about to remind us of, haha… – is that if you used CASH only, you’d never have these problem to begin with ;) Though it’s kinda hard to book flights and food and everything else online when you need a credit card (or debit card) to do so. And you’d have to be talking straight up cold hard cash too, as it gets WORSE when issues come up involving debit cards! Cuz THEN you’re battling to get all that money sent back INTO your account, rather than credited off your credit card statement. And if you relied on all that cash in your checking account to pay for your daily bills/food/etc, you’d possibly be $hit out of luck until all your complaints were refunded. IF they were refunded. Another good reason to have Emergency Funds set up too ;)
Whew it feels good to get all this out there! Thanks for letting me rant and go over why it’s important to pay attention to this stuff. Every now and then I need reminders too cuz it’s SO EASY to just assume everything is right in order to save some time and sanity. And maybe it is worth it to some of y’all, but over time this stuff adds up and can really affect your game plan if you’re not paying attention. If you could at least review this stuff just ONCE a month, I think you’d be happy with yourself and knowing things are going as smoothly as you were hoping for. And if they’re not, just give me a shout and I’ll gladly jump in any battles with you… I’m really starting to get the hang of all this ;)
***UPDATE*** Marriott just called — I got my $90 refunded!!! WOO!!! So much easier talking to someone on the phone about it than email/websites/etc… Thanks Marriott! One down, one more to go!
(Photo by cliff1066™, un-friended by J$)
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!