Schedule Change Experience

Chief Executive Officer
Jetstar Australia and New Zealand
PO Box 635
Dear Sir
I recently had a problem with your company’s service and I am writing to you out of frustration to outline just how appalling my experience has been and to escalate directly to you the request for a refund that I have been promised, that Jetstar is obligated to provide under the Competition and Consumer Act and that has not yet been paid within a reasonable time.
On Monday 9th July your organisation made a decision to change your schedule for flight JQ973 on 10th September 2012 (upon which my family and I were booked ref K8EGTM). Unhappy with the schedule change I rang your customer service line to investigate the other alternatives available. To my disappointment your contact centre staff were very rude and unhelpful. In fact the consultant I initially spoke to hung up on me (twice) after telling me that both supervisors were too busy to speak with me, in spite of my willingness to wait until they were available, suggesting that I lodge my complaint via your online form and realising that I was the same customer that promptly called back.

I was eventually able to get through to a supervisor and after exhausting other available options which did not suit my family’s needs I requested a refund. Initially I was informed that a refund would take between 10 – 15 days. I consider this to be extremely unreasonable given that your organisation charged by account within 5 minutes of making the booking and there is no mention of the length of time a refund will take in your terms and conditions. I also wonder whether this could be considered a breach under the Competition and Consumer Act, in particular “Schedule 2, Part 2-2 Unconscionable Conduct”

I strenuously (not rudely) protested the unreasonable delay for processing a refund (given that it was your company’s decision to alter the schedule) and as a result your Supervisor promised a refund of the fare in full within 5-7 days. I specifically made it clear during the call that my expectation was for the funds to be paid into my bank account by close of business on Monday 16th July. It is now 19th July, 10 days (or 8 business days if there was any misunderstanding) and my fare has still not been refunded.

During the evening of Monday 16th July, I again rang your contact centre again and spoke with another consultant who informed me that the refund had in fact been paid and that I needed to check with my bank as to where the funds were. On making a reasonable request for provision of evidence that the funds had in fact been processed to my account and had been presented by my bank (ie cleared Jetstar’s account), I was told that your company was unable to prove that you had in fact paid me and that I should check with my bank (surely the onus sits with Jetstar to provide this information). On requesting contact details for your accounts area, I was told that there was no number available.

Again I strenuously (not rudely) protested Jetstar’s inability to either prove they had in fact paid me or provide me with contact details for someone who could find the answers. At this point she promptly hung up on me. Given my outrage, I am wondering if this is a deliberate tactic that Jetstar are using to leverage it’s “relative strength” and “bargaining position” to its own advantage. You can imagine my frustration.

In desperation I decided to seek information from fellow consumers via the internet and found and interesting website, which suggested I take certain steps to ensure that I was put through to an Australian contact centre. I decided to give it a go and I did get through to a contact centre in Australia and spoke to another consultant.

Again I was told that the funds had been paid and to check with my bank and again, on requesting that Jetstar provide some evidence that the funds had been paid was refused.

Again I asked to speak with a supervisor and was told that there was not one available and that in fact I had rung the wrong area and that she was told by her manager (that she had apparently telephoned) that she shouldn’t be providing any service to me.

Again I strenuously (not rudely) protested and was put through to an “acting” supervisor. I finally believed that I had gotten through to someone who had the intelligence to treat me with a little common decency and eventually he admitted to me that the refund had not in fact been paid rather it had only been requested. You can imagine how I felt at this point after being lied to and hung up on by two different consultants. I asked him why I had not been told this previously and e admitted that he did not know.

He apologised on behalf of Jetstar and committed to escalating the issue with your finance department manager and his own manager and promised that I would receive a telephone call the following day to explain the status of the refund and to speed up the process. To date (3 days later) I have not received a call or my refund which Jetstar promised and is obligated to provide.

Given that I am an average Australian with a family, I am sure you can understand that $1,500 is a significant outlay and as a result of your unacceptable changes to the service I paid for, I have had to purchase extra tickets from your competitor Virgin. This has placed some degree of financial stress on my family, while we wait for Jetstar to honour its obligations under the law and the commitments made by its employees. It is little surprise that Virgin appears to be gaining market share in the domestic market.

To be quite frank, I doubt that I would ever book a flight with Jetstar again because I am at the point where I am considering sending this letter repeatedly to as many press outlets and government members as I can find contact details for in relation to some of the practices I have encountered. Perhaps if I did this someone might stand up and hold Jetstar to account for their appalling service.
However, I am sure that you will not be keen to receive any bad publicity, or perhaps you are the ultimate driver of such conduct. In that case maybe I should make a complaint directly to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.


Australia-Melbourne - Tullamarine


Excellent letter Andrew. Now

Excellent letter Andrew. Now you have to wait a "reasonable" time for an acknowledgement of letter and then maybe, just maybe - a response. If that doesn't happen (maybe even if it does) please do take this further. Too many of us in Australia, New Zealand and even further have been ripped off by Jetstar's silence, hanging up on calls, language difficulty in customer service calls taken in Asia, lies, and more. Most just give up. I was fortunate that my insurance paid out - they didn't have to in my case - after I'd exhausted every avenue with Jetstar and even been out to Auckland Airport 3 times to try to get someone there to listen to my problem and act to remedy it.

Thanks Di I personally doubt

Thanks Di
I personally doubt I will get a response. The refund will eventually come though. They would be crazy not to pay it in my case as they actually are required to do so under the law. I will be complaining to the ACCC anyway. I actually think there are deliberate tactics being used by Jetstar against their customers that would be in breach of the act. I will post the outcome.

Sadly for the unsuspecting

Sadly for the unsuspecting traveller ringing 131538 gets you onto india ,THEY ARE NOT A COMPLAINT DEPARTMENT BUT A RESEVERATION CENTRE, but they string you long until you give up.I rang over 25 times ,average 17minutes ,I waited from 25th September and finally got a refund on the 28th June after getting to the stage of taking them to VCAT their head office is a secret location in Melbourne..why bother when there is others like Virgin etc.

Well what an interesting day

Well what an interesting day I have had. Less than 24 hours and I got a response. Jetstar called me and to my absolute amazement they advised that the payment had been processed. The lady I spoke to was very apologetic and they offered email confirmation plus $100 voucher for each passenger. I received the email within 10 mins and I guess I will have to wait the weekend for the funds to hit the bank.

I guess the lessons from this are
1: Know your rights. In this case Jetstar were obligated under the law to provide a refund as they changed the service I paid for.
2. Research. I spent my time reading through their terms and conditions in relation to refunds in particular. They are silent in regards to timeframes where it is their fault. I also spent some time reading through the competition and consumer act. I wanted to be confident with my letter.
3. Never give up and keep going up the management tree to the top. If you can't get a response at one level you probably won't.
4. Be polite. They can't use bad behaviour or language against you if you don't use it.
5. Appeal to their sense of justice and reasonableness.

I will post again when the refund comes through.