$440 flight ended up a $840 flight

Buckle up, this a very long, confusing complaint.
I booked a flight totalling $440 from Sydney to Brisbane to visit my mum for her birthday on 1st April to the 4th. Tickets are already expensive, given it’s Easter holidays.

Found out today that Brisbane is in a 3 day lockdown from now until April 1st so I’d like to cancel my flight and book another flight to visit my husband in Hobart for the same dates instead.

I phone the call centre to cancel my flight. They tell me that I will receive a credit voucher within 14 days. I wasn’t happy with that as the credit probably wouldn’t be processed before my flight in 2 days. I asked for a refund as I didn’t know when I would be travelling again. He said he can process that but it would also take 14 days. I thought changing my flight would be a better option. He could just move the amount paid to another flight.

I asked to change my flight instead. It got confusing here as a change fee was mentioned but he didn’t specify that the new fee of $327 would include a change fee and money for the new Hobart ticket. I was under the impression that he would refund my $440 ticket to Brisbane and the new ticket to Hobart would be $327. I asked him if the total would be $440 plus $327 and he told me that it wasn’t. I asked if the Hobart flight would cost me $327 in total and he told me it would be. So I authorised the payment and I thought that was that.

I checked the updated itinerary and it said my total payment was $767.

I called again to check that the $440 refund had been processed and the woman said I had authorised the flight change and $170 change fee. I told her there was a miscommunication and she can listen back to the recording of the previous call, and see that I had misunderstood. She told me that she can only offer me a refund of the change fee if it was found to be a mistake of the call centre worker’s. If so, it would then be processed after 14 days.

I asked if they could refund the whole Hobart ticket including the change fee and she said they couldn’t because the flight wasn’t affected by COVID. It could only be refunded if Jetstar delayed my flight at all, something to do with 3 hours, she didn’t explain it well.

I explained that if I had known I was being charged $170 for a change fee I wouldn’t have gone ahead with the payment. I would’ve cancelled the flight, received a refund and rebooked on the website myself. I had given Jetstar $170 for no reason. I told her I would be purchasing checked baggage anyway (an extra $74 for 20kg return) because the new ticket didn’t include any. She seemed to understand and told me that she would process a refund for the change fee.

At the end of the phone call I asked her, “Just so I am understanding this correctly, you’ll be processing a refund of the $170 flight change fee?” She answered, “Yes, that is correct.”

I received a new itinerary with an adjustment note totalling $841. I couldn’t believe this. I read through it and I was charged $70 for call centre channel fees. And still, there was the $170 change fee. It could be possible that they are still processing a refund but I’m too scared to phone the call centre again to check in case they charge me the call centre fees again. I don’t know who I can talk to about the refund. I haven’t received an email confirmation about it.

A horrible and expensive experience. Won’t be flying with Jetstar again.