Budgetair saved my credit card number and charged it later without authorization. When I alerted them of this, they refused to refund me.
I was viewing a plane ticket on Vayama.com. When I changed the currency to Canadian dollars, it redirected me to Budgetair.ca. I tried to book my ticket on Budgetair.ca, but the booking failed. The website gave me an error message saying my credit card payment didn't go through and to try again later.
A few hours later, I received an email from Budgetair.ca stating that they had charged my credit card for $2, 955.44 (the cost of the ticket I had previously been looking at) and purchased that ticket on my behalf. It appears they had saved my credit card number and tried to buy the ticket again later.
In the meanwhile, I had purchased my ticket from a different travel website, so now I had two tickets. I emailed Budgetair within 10 minutes of receiving my their email, alerting them of the unauthorized charge and requesting that they cancel the ticket and refund me immediately. They replied with a canned email stating that cancellations were not possible but there were various options for changing the dates of the flights. I replied that I was not requesting a cancellation of a ticket I had purchased, but rather that I wanted the unauthorized charge to be removed. They replied that I should call them. At this point, over 24 hours had passed.
When I called them, they told me that had I asked them to cancel the ticket that I had not purchased within 24 hours, they would have done so, but that now it was too late. However, I HAD asked them to refund me within 10 minutes. Instead of refunding me when I requested it, they had (wilfully?) misunderstood my emails, which were detailed and very clear on what had happened, until the 24 hours had passed.
My husband spoke on the phone several times with a supervisor, Sarah Matthews. She asked him to provide proof that we had purchased the tickets from a different travel website as proof that we did not wilfully make the Budgetair purchase. We provided this proof. We also asked them to check their website logs to see if there is evidence that there site was misbehaving in a way that would account for the unauthorized charge.
However, they were not willing to check their website logs. They also did not react to the evidence that they requested and that we provided that we had bought similar tickets for the same dates and destinations elsewhere. Instead, they avoided direct conversation with us, and repeatedly answered our questions with canned irrelevant statements such as "Our policies don't allow refunds". I'm quite sure that no policy disallows refunds of fraudulent charges.
In the end, Sarah Matthews offered us a credit for the amount charged. However, this didn't seem a fair reaction to an unauthorized charge, especially for such a large amount. We also didn't want the credit because we didn't want deal with Budgetair ever again. We just can't trust them.
I have filed a credit card dispute with my credit card provider, the National Bank of Australia. They agree that Budgetair made a mistake and should have refunded me immediately upon recognizing that, and they are confident that I will get my money back. However, it will take weeks, possibly months.
I believe that the problem is a bug on their website that continued to try to charge my credit card even after it had delivered an error message saying that the transaction did not go through. I do not believe that they intentionally charged my credit card. However, I do believe that once they were aware of this error, they intentionally led me in circles with their customer service in order for the 24 hour window to pass. After that, they pretended not to understand the situation and made communication with them impossible.