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Nightmare with Qatar Airways Refund Policy

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 6
Nightmare with Qatar Airways Refund Policy

I am having a nightmare going through Qatar Airways refund policy which I believe is unfavourable towards passengers.

I had purchased a return ticket from Singapore to Cairo from 11th Jan 2014 to 26th Jan 2014 for SGD $1,200

From Singapore to Cairo - I had paid a full fare of $700 under Economy Restricted which allows cancellation at a fee of $150.

From Cairo to Singapore - Based on the One World Promo, I purchased the fare at 25% discount at $500. No cancellation is allowed under this fare.

I recently got a new job and unfortunately, I am not able to travel on the dates purchased. When I put forward a cancellation request, I was told that only the tax amount of $70 would be refunded. This is shocking although I had bought 1 way of the ticket under the Economy Fare Rules.

Apparently, Qatar has a policy which states that "Restrictive Fare Rules" applies to the full ticket even though the trip is purchased under 2 different conditions. This means that the Promo clause (or the worse clause in the ticket) applies to the full ticket. This is really detrimental to consumers who have purchased the tickets and are unaware of this clause.

I have yet to receive answers to the Questions below which I have put forward to Qatar –

1) In my E-Ticket, it is clearly stated - "Outbound - No cancellation permitted". I agree with this as this was bought under Promo fare.

2) My problem is with the fact that in the ticket, it is clearly mentioned - "Inbound flight can be cancelled at a fees". I am willing to pay this fees and i expect Qatar to stay true to this clause.

3) Qatar however is sticking to the fact that - "Restrictive Fare Rules Applies". Due to this, i will only get a refund of my taxes. This i do not agree.

3.1) Why does this clause overwrite Point 1 & 2?

3.2) Why make this point which is extremely detrimental to passengers as the default clause for refund? Is this not Qatar's way of cheating passengers?

4) When I was booking, I was given the option to choose Economy Restrictive, Economy Semi-Flexible and Economy Flexible. Each of these conditions provides different administration fees when a passenger has to cancel or change the dates. Why are consumers given this option while booking when eventually all these fare benefit is going to be ignored just because 1 way fare is purchased under promo?

5) What if the consumer had paid double the amount and bought an Economy Flexible fare where cancellation is permitted. The passenger would lose out with this ridiculous clause.

I have been on the email with Qatar's E-Commerce representative and no one has been able to answer the questions I have brought up. Instead, I am being asked to check with other departments within Qatar.

Getting my money back is the least of my concern. Qatar is not being professional. From the point of booking, passengers are given the impression that cancellation is allowed at a fee only to be cheated with a "restrictive fare clause".

Anyone faced similar issue or can I do anything differently?

24 replies to this topic
Manchester, United...
posts: 318
1. Re: Nightmare with Qatar Airways Refund Policy

The 'Most Restrictive Fare Rule Applies' is a common feature on many fares across many airlines.

However, in this case I think you have a valid point and quite possibly QR is mis-applying its own rules.

I have had a look at a few Singapore - Mid East routes on QR's website, and the 'Most Restrictive' condition does not seem to apply when looking at detailed fare rules. Indeed, by offering the offering the upsell on a sector-by-sector basis, it would be incredibly misleading if QR did have a Most Restrictive conditions policy. I am assuming that similar rules would have been in effect when you bought your ticket.

I think you are probably dealing with poorly trained QR staff who are still living in the past when the Most Restrictive Conditions made the job quite easy for airline staff. The problem for you will be how to escalate this appropriately.

If you are dealing with local staff in Singapore, I would cease this and communicate directly with HQ in Qatar.

If this gets you nowhere, I am not sure what to suggest. In the UK, it is incredibly easy to file a law suit in a small claims court. I don't know if there is something similar you could do in Singapore.

If you paid by credit card, perhaps you can dispute the transaction? I would not be totally confident in this suggestion as the card issuer is probably not going to want to get involved in interpreting fare rules.

Manchester, United...
posts: 318
2. Re: Nightmare with Qatar Airways Refund Policy

Another possibility might be to go on the offensive on Twitter or Facebook.

Not sure how much QR uses social media, but as long as you keep things factual and don't turn it into an offensive rant, it wouldn't do any harm.

Fredericia, Denmark
Destination Expert
for Bentota, Beruwala, Sri Lanka
posts: 36,416
reviews: 7
3. Re: Nightmare with Qatar Airways Refund Policy

Have you visited QR office in Singapore?

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 6
4. Re: Nightmare with Qatar Airways Refund Policy

Hi PinkAardvark - thank you for your reply. I am actually communicating directly with the Qatar staff. I have been asking for the Manager to give me a call but i have yet to receive any calls. In fact, in the latest reply, i have been asked to contact the Singapore office. I have instead once again asked the Manager to contact me and answer my questions.

I have written on Qatar's facebook page as well.

The CASE (Consumer Association of Singapore) i believe is pretty passive as such i do not see any action from them if i were to bring the issue up.

I am glad at least someone agrees with my opinion. It is only right that Qatar should repay my 1 way ticket fare.

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 6
5. Re: Nightmare with Qatar Airways Refund Policy

Hi Hans_Den, No i have not tried contacting the Singapore office. I should probably try my luck as well.

Bangkok
Destination Expert
for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
posts: 13,894
reviews: 71
6. Re: Nightmare with Qatar Airways Refund Policy

Hi,

I agree that something - based only on what you've written - sounds amiss here.. However I too have heard of such a clause... But...

To that end, I think it's a very fair position to ask QR to explain and cite if you will, how/where/why they arrived at that refund decision.

To me, whatever the facts are, is what I would expect QR to adhere to.. That might be you're entitled to partial refund, less fees, on a part of the overall booking... It also might be that you're not..

So, to me, I'd want QR to at least explain in detail, and cite factually, how they arrived at that position .

If they're wrong, then they need to make it right.. If you're wrong, then that closes the matter.

This to me should be very much a "facts" based case.

Travel Safe,

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 6
7. Re: Nightmare with Qatar Airways Refund Policy

Hi Gopbi,

I agree everything should be based on facts. If i am wrong and overlooked something, i am willing to suck it up and take it as a lesson learned.

However, throughout my email conversation with Qatar, no one is able to answer any of the questions i have highlighted above. They are only insisting that "restrictive fare rules" applies.

Imagine if i had bought 1 way Economy Flexible at double the cost with the expectation that i could cancel the ticket and the other way at promo price. I would have paid double the amount and loss out to the restrictive rule. This does not make sense to me.

Edited: 9:39 am, January 06, 2014
Manchester, United...
posts: 318
8. Re: Nightmare with Qatar Airways Refund Policy

I have had a further look at this, and I think Qatar Airways has really screwed you over.

For their current lowest cost Singapore - Cairo fare (NLEE4MSG fare basis), the combinations paragraph on Qatar Airways' website reads :

Co.Combinability

Fare By Rule

Add-Ons Permitted.

End-On-End

End-On-End Combinations Permitted. Validate All Fare

Components. Travel Must Be Via The Point Of Combination.

Open Jaws/Round Trips/Circle Trips

Fares May Be Combined On A Half Round Trip Basis

-To Form Single Or Double Open Jaws/Round Trips/Circle

Trips.

Provided -

Combinations Are With Any Fare For Carrier Qr In This

Rule And Tariff.

-----------------------------------------

I subscribe to a service called Expertflyer which is great to see airline availability and fare rules. When I bring up the same Qatar Airways fare in Expertflyer, it reads (and bear with me, I am posting it in its entirety as this is what you will need, even though most of it is irrelevant) :

Double Open Jaws Not Permitted.

End-On-End Not Permitted. Side Trips Permitted With

No Restrictions.

Open Jaws

Fares May Be Combined On A Half Round Trip Basis

-To Form Single Open Jaws.

Open Jaws Note -

Open Jaw Permitted To All Online Points On Half Rt

Basis.

Surface Sector At Psgr Expense.

----------------------------------

Provided -

Combinations Are With Any Fare For Carrier Qr In

Rule Gp01/Qa47/Qr43 In Tariff

Iprmeas - Between The Middle East-Area 3

Or Rule Qa04 In Tariff

Iprsaa3 - South Atlantic/Central/South America/

Mexico/Caribbean/Greenland/St Pierre Et Miquelon -

Area 3

Or Rule Qr11 In Tariff

Iprpg - Within Area 3-International

Or Rule Qr57 In Tariff

Iprafas - Between Africa-Area 3

Ipreuas - Between Europe-Area 3

Or Rule Sgca In Tariff

Iprai - Between The Usa/Canada-Area 2/3 Via Atl

Or Rule Qa33 In Tariff

Ipra - Between Usa/Ca-Area 2/3 And Guam-Area 2.

Round Trips/Circle Trips

Fares May Be Combined On A Half Round Trip Basis

/Round Trips

-To Form Circle Trips.

Round Trips Note -

Surface Sector At Passenger Expense.

-------------------------------------------------

The Most Restrictive Rules/Conditions Applies.

Provided -

Combinations Are With Any Fare For Carrier Qr In

Rule Gp01/Qa47/Qr43 In Tariff

Iprmeas - Between The Middle East-Area 3

Or Rule Qa04 In Tariff

Iprsaa3 - South Atlantic/Central/South America/

Mexico/Caribbean/Greenland/St Pierre Et Miquelon -

Area 3

Or Rule Qr11 In Tariff

Iprpg - Within Area 3-International

Or Rule Qr57 In Tariff

Iprafas - Between Africa-Area 3

Ipreuas - Between Europe-Area 3

Or Rule Sgca In Tariff

Iprai - Between The Usa/Canada-Area 2/3 Via Atl

Or Rule Qa33 In Tariff

Ipra - Between Usa/Ca-Area 2/3 And Guam-Area 2.

This, to me, looks like QR is only putting a very condensed version of the fare rules on its website. Towards the end of the long version of the rule, you can see the 'Most Restrictive' clause. This is probably what QR staff are using to make their judgement. If I was in your shoes, I would be livid. The website appears to be completely misleading.

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 6
9. Re: Nightmare with Qatar Airways Refund Policy

Once again Pink, thank you for looking into this. Its 12am in Singapore and i have yet to receive any reply from QR and can't think straight now.

In the E-ticket, it is clearly stated that the Inbound flight can be cancelled at a fees. Why should the restrictive fare overwrite this. I have too many questions and no answers unfortunately.

I have provided a screenshot of my E-Ticket - As per the E-ticket - https:/…

FARE CONDITIONS & INFORMATION

Fare: 4EDAYSALE (Outbound)

Changes Before departure Not Permitted

Changes After departure

Not Permitted

Cancellation Before departure Not Permitted.

Cancellation after departure

Not Permitted

No Show Not Permitted

Fare: ECORESSG (Inbound)

Changes Before departure SGD 50+Additional Fees May Apply.

Changes After departure SGD 50+Additional Fees May Apply.

Cancellation Before departure SGD 150+Additional Fees May Apply.

Cancellation after departure SGD 200+Additional Fees May Apply.

No Show SGD 100+Additional Fees May Apply.

- For Codeshare (4-digit flight numbers) and feeder flights baggage conditions of the operating airline are applicable.Please contact operating airline for detailed information.

- An additional administrative fee for rebookings/cancellations may apply.

- Most restrictive fare rules apply.

- Other conditions, like minimum / maximum stay etc., may apply.

- Fares are not guaranteed until full payment is received and tickets are issued.

Singapore, Singapore
posts: 6
10. Re: Nightmare with Qatar Airways Refund Policy

Dear all,

Thank you for your advise. I have come to a settlement with QR. 

They would be issuing me with a Transport Voucher to be used within the year of same value as my ticket fare. I guess this is the best outcome. At the very least, I will be able to utilise my money in the near future. 

A lesson learnt and not to be forgotten anytime soon.

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