Increasing frustration that SAA is still not processing refunds it owes its clients (around R3bn of unflown tickets), is motivating some agents to look for alternative ways to get their clients’ money back from the airline. But Asata warns that there is a high risk involved in these “loopholes”.
Credit card chargebacks
In a case study published by Travel News’s sister publication, Tourism Update, on February 12, inbound tour operator – Rhino Africa – went on record about its success in concluding a series of multimillion-rand chargebacks against SAA.
“The right thing for the government and SAA to have done, both at the time and now, was to refund all tickets they had received payment for, especially where they knew they were unable to deliver the service then or in the future,” said Rhino Africa ceo and founder, David Ryan.
When investigating options to recover SAA funds purchased on the operator’s lodge card, David uncovered that the bank mandate on chargebacks states that cardholders have 540 days from the date the tickets were issued to file a chargeback. This was used as the basis of Rhino Africa’s chargeback submission, together with extracts from the Consumer Protection Act, which state that where services have not been rendered, and will not be rendered in the future, the client is due a refund.
Commenting on the case study, ceo of Asata, Otto de Vries, said while he agreed that agents had legal grounds to enact chargebacks against SAA, the airline had specifically notified the trade that there would be penalties issued against them should they use the chargeback option.
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