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The new HFP chat thread – Wednesday 10th June

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We have decided to run this new daily chat thread on Head for Points.

Historically, the daily ‘Bits’ articles were the defacto repository for random comments and questions.  It is unlikely that the news flow will be so big over the next few weeks that we will need many ‘Bits’ articles, however.

The comments under this article are where you should post questions about travel and, indeed, anything else on your mind.  At this tricky time, and given that many of you are stuck at home self-isolating, we want the HFP community to have a place to chat.

Please only comment under the main articles on the site if your comment is directly related to the topic of the article.  This has long-term benefits as its keeps the commentary relevant for people who read those articles in the future.

By default, HFP shows the last page of comments under the article.  If you want to see the first page of comments and read them all from beginning to end in order, click here: https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/06/10/the-new-hfp-chat-thread-wednesday-10th-june/comment-page-1.  The page will refresh with this article but the comments will now show the first page and not the last page.

We will continue to monitor how this is working.  Let’s see how it goes.  Take care!

Comments (175)

  • John 2 says:

    I am due a partial insurance refund after cancelling mid-way through a policy. After contacting the insurer 10 times over a period of 4 months to no avail (always “call us back in 2 weeks”), I initiated a dispute with Amex.

    On the first call with an Amex agent, we worked out the amount I was owed back, based on the policy and an email from the insurer stating refunds would be pro-rata. The premium was paid over 4 transactions and the Amex agent said he did not touch the first transaction, disputed the second transaction in part, and the last two transactions in full. I was sent a Section 75 claim form where I wrote the same thing.

    Amex said they credited me all 4 transactions in full as an interim measure. They have not emailed with their final decision on this dispute.

    The insurer has initiated a claim against me in the small claims court. They say I owe them the full amount of the policy and they want me to reimburse them for the chargeback fees that Amex charged them plus some other random fees.

    The insurer pointed to a small link on their website, which I was never made aware of and is not referred to in my policy documents, that says the policy holder will be liable for any chargeback fees.

    The insurer said they told Amex the chargeback was raised incorrectly, but Amex ignored them.

    What to do? Amex seems to have messed up the dispute but they are going to wash their hands of it now since they refunded me everything.

    I feel that I have acted reasonably by giving the insurer 4 months to process the refund before approaching Amex. None of the insurance agents were any help in escalating the matter, and the insurer has not been reasonable by immediately proceeding to court instead of setting out their position first.

    Thoughts and opinions please?

    • AJA says:

      I’d go to court and present your evidence as you’ve done above. The dispute ‘re the chargeback is between the insurer and Amex. You’ve raised a s75 claim which is not a chargeback. You’ve got plenty of evidence of insurer being unreasonable in refunding, if they’d just done so after your first request they would not have had the mistake charge from Amex. I would request a copy from Amex of the recording of the telephone call with all 3 parties on the line where it seems clear chargeback was not discussed. I also doubt a court will appreciate the insurer relying on a hidden clause and wasting good time on what seems a frivolous action on their part. I think you’d win. Good luck.

      • John says:

        Thanks for reply.

        After looking into this a bit more I think part of the issue is, rightly or wrongly Amex refunded me the full amount of all the transactions.

        Which means the insurer now wants to be paid for the portion of the premium I did use – they have never told me how much they think the refund should have been – and now they say they will issue the court claim for the full year’s worth not just the part I used.

        This makes it a bit more complicated as even if the extra demands are frivolous I still need to pay the premium back to them (and I don’t think they will accept Amex this time….)

        So what now?

        • AJA says:

          Hi John You stated above “The premium was paid over 4 transactions and the Amex agent said he did not touch the first transaction, disputed the second transaction in part, and the last two transactions in full. I was sent a Section 75 claim form where I wrote the same thing.”

          That suggests to me that you should pay the first instalment and part of the second. I’d send a cheque for this amount together with a letter saying this is in full and final settlement of amounts due and also stating that the charge-back issue is not your problem given you did not raise a chargeback but a s75 claim.

          It’s ironic really that you also stated that “The insurer said they told Amex the chargeback was raised incorrectly, but Amex ignored them.” It sounds like Amex has given the insurer a taste of their own medicine.

        • Charlieface says:

          Did Amex actually chargeback all transactions or did they just put them on hold pending investigation (that’s what they normally do)?
          Certainly I would call the insurer’s bluff: your case is strong and you should not be liable for chargeback fees 1. because it wasn’t made clear to you 2. it’s an unfair contract term as they make you cover debt collector’s fees (if they were to claim off you) 3. it’s an arbitrary amount that isn’t even in the T&Cs how much exactly it would be

  • KBuffett says:

    PayPal (not travel advice required)
    I purchased some garden plants at the beginning of April, paid using PayPal. Nothing arrived, no response from seller. I opened a dispute for non receipt in the resolution centre. The seller had not responded until yesterday which was the deadline and did so with four tracking numbers that show delivery on 6th June with no signature.
    PayPal are now reviewing the case.
    Does anyone have any advice as to whether PayPal will side with the seller due to them providing tracking numbers,

    • Yawn says:

      Not sure. But I’d add in any response that even if their version were correct, it isn’t reasonable for them to wait two months to fulfill your order or to wait until after you have asked your money back.

    • John says:

      There haven’t been any signatures since 14 March. Many tracked services don’t require a signature anyway, such as RM Tracked 48

      • Freddy says:

        If they have confirmed delivery tracking numbers then PayPal will side with the seller

      • John says:

        That may be so but it doesn’t excuse the lack of communication or only responding on the last possible day (paypal gives sellers 21 days to respond). The OP also didn’t say whether the items actually arrived or if the tracking numbers are valid

        I have also been burned recently, bought something on ebay in March and the seller said they were self-isolating, I believed them. Still isolating in April and in May, so I asked for refund and was ignored after that. I discovered that ebay won’t help if you don’t open a case within 30 days after estimated delivery. Paypal making me wait another 21 days. I suppose it’s possible that they were taken to hospital immediately after responding to my message in May so they ignored all further messages but it seems unlikely.

        • meta says:

          I have a similar problem. I have a subscription service. April goods arrived normally. Got the tracking number and all. For May and June, I got it’s shipped email, but no tracking number. I queried with the seller and they said that tracking service is no longer available, but they happily continued to charge me extra for it. After seller went silent for 10 days to my reply, I raised a dispute with PayPal. They sided yesterday with the seller who in their response provided April tracking number. I got on the message centre and asked PayPal to review the case properly as I have supplied them with all the evidence. I also told them that I will be holding Paypal liable for the amounts if they don’t review it. They reopened the case, so someone will hopefully review it now.

        • meta says:

          @Lady London Yes as mentioned above. They said tracking is not available and never replied to 2-3 emails I sent after that to say it hasn’t arrived. I paid extra for tracking service.

    • Jonathan says:

      PayPal initial “investigations” Into parcels and tracking numbers are done by a robot so don’t accept and of their findings.
      See if you can find out if the tracking numbers provided are for your specific address.

      • meta says:

        I tried. There is nothing. It is clear that the seller has not sent anything hence why silence to my replies. Also tried calling them today and no one answers.

    • Pat the Postie says:

      Well you never know with paypal, I usually got my money refunded but it sounds like your seller is using tracking from a different order that is showing delivered, I would look at confirming the delivery area if possible. Last resort would be to threaten court action and hope they resolve quickly.

      • meta says:

        Exactly that. Paypal reopened the case so hopefully it will now be resolved by a person rather than a bot.

        • meta says:

          And thanks everyone for your thoughts! Fingers crossed this is resolved soon.

  • Yawn says:

    Trying to find if there is any more info as to how/whether the quarantine entry requirements have been extended to Wales (as long-term Cardiff resident, now temporarily based abroad). Anyone any news? Presumably there must be Welsh and Scottish forms? All I can find is a note on the Money Saving Expert, which says that the fine in Wales and NI will also be £1,000 and £400-something for Scotland, so action must have been taken?

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Not sure if the link will post, but govDOTwales has some information:

      https://gov.wales/coronovirus-travel

      • Brian says:

        Love the way there’s a spelling mistake in the link. Ah, the Welsh…

        • Yawn says:

          Thanks. I love the fact that one can get tested if one shows Corona like symptoms. Why not yet people as they arrive as the Austrians do? Also, I guess the implication is that even if the test comes back negative one is still required to complete the 14 days. Ludicrous.

    • Andrew says:

      Can’t find it now, but I’m sure that I’ve read that as there are no current International routes into Wales and people will be landing in England, they are following the same quarantine rules as England.

      It might have been in “The Scotsman”.

      • AJA says:

        That sounds like the beginning of a joke.The only nation missed in your comment is Northern Ireland. Are you it wasn’t also published in the Belfast Telegraph?

  • Mark says:

    I submitted a Virgin miles to Hilton transfer request which was confirmed by text on 16 May. I know it takes up to 30 days for these to arrive but still no sign of them, any recent experience of how long these transfers have taken for others? Thanks

    • anttelli says:

      I’ve been waiting for my transfer since 19th May. Last time it took two weeks but the Virgin Flying Club website was down for over a week since so this could be the reason why the points are taking longer to arrive in my Hilton account

    • The Urbanite says:

      Mine left my VS account on the 15th May and haven’t arrived at Hilton yet.

    • Paul74 says:

      Mine took ten days from my first texting Virgin them to the points appearing in my Hilton Honors account. That was late April/early May though.

  • Roberto says:

    Someone mentioned getting a bonus for adding a free gold sup onto a Amex Plat last week so I thought I would test it.

    Ordered a gold sup ( already have the plat sup ) and it arrived along with 5000 MR in a couple of days.

    Thanks.

    • meta says:

      Try adding up to 3 extra (free ones), you might be in for an extra surprise.

    • Andrew says:

      What’s the special link for that?

      • meta says:

        No link. Just apply for one supp gold. Then if you get 5k try with 3 other free ones.

        • Michel29 says:

          Do you also get the points for the supp platinum or just for the gold?

          Incidentally, does this Offer also apply to the platinum business card or just the personal one?

          • meta says:

            You get 5k for first Plat as a given if you don’t do it at the time of application. Don’t know about Plat Business.

          • xcalx says:

            Yes 5k per supp card

    • James says:

      I applied for one for myself and the relationship was ‘other’ but not sure if it’s been approved

    • Jonathan44t says:

      It doesn’t say anything about a 5k bonus when I go to the website though. Is this a targeted offer or just an error / hidden feature?

      Before I experiment with this, does adding 1 (or several) supplementary cards to my Amex Plat do anything to my credit score?

      • Jonathan44t says:

        And as a follow-up, how long does it take for the points to post to my account? I’m assuming this happens in the main Amex Plat account.

        Thanks!

      • Genghis says:

        No impact on any supposed “credit scoring” since not a new product.

        • Jonathan44t says:

          Thanks for prompt reply. Always amazing useful nuggets in these comments.

          Given how often people find useful info, I’m wondering if HFP should consider something like a Telegram group (unlike whatsapp you can anonymise your contact details and just use a username instead of mob number).

          I wonder whether people would sign up to something like that and share info/engage in conv through there. Guess the volumes of people would render it unwieldy.

  • Alastair says:

    Amex chargeback datapoint:
    We booked to stay at the Meliá White House in June for our wedding. Booking made in February, non refundable pre-pay. Inevitably, we get an email in May saying it will be closed, but they will only offer a credit to use on future stay. Any rate differences payable by us of course. This isn’t convenient for us, but they still refused to refund. We don’t know when we will re-organize or even if the wedding will be in London now but more importantly I have no interest in loaning a hotel ~£1000.
    Opened a dispute on Amex online, within an hour they have closed their investigation and will credit my account! 😀
    Holding off on celebrating because I wonder if I’ll get a charge-back-back from Meliá when they find out.
    Either way, I’ve had great service from Amex consistently for this whole sorry affair. Honestly if Meliá had refunded the money we’d have booked there when and if we have new dates confirmed without hesitation, but this left a sour taste…

    • John Caribbean says:

      I had Melia booked in Spain. The hotel itself was and is closed, but they wouldn’t refund. I’ve moved it to next year (plus the extra expense), but I found them restrictive and infuriating. Kept referring to my mom refundable booking that I couldn’t change, even though it wasn’t me had cancelled it.
      Didn’t go for chargeback, but platinum insurance stated that if a voucher was offered they wouldn’t step in

      • Alastair says:

        Yeah I’m not impressed with them. The way I see it is that insurance should cover me should I be unable to travel. As it turns out I was, flights were still operating (albeit limited) and as a British Citizen there’s no way I could be denied entrance to the country.
        It was they who determined that it would not be profitable for them to open the hotel in the current climate (and reading the law, I think hotels providing accommodation for foreign residents _could_ still operate). Whether I’d actually want to is irrelevant. But they decided not to or were unable to supply the service and I want to be in the position I was in before entering the contract – nothing more or less. I bought a stay in the hotel for those dates, not a voucher!

        I do think that the amex chargeback decision was completely automated given a risk model they have – possibly based on my history (that’s the only thing I’ve disputed in years, so their exposure is limited) – so I wonder how ‘final’ the decision is though. But if it all works out I’ll be happy. I’ve moved countries in the middle of all this and Amex were so good at getting me a local card as soon as I had a local bank account here, and I had to cancel some bookings through Amex travel and I got through on the first ring and they took everything up with the airline, so I have high hopes…

      • Pat the Postie says:

        If its non refundable and they can’t provide the service for that date then there is no contract and a refund is due.

    • pablo says:

      My Amex chargeback claim for a £50 non-refundable hotel room booked through ebookers was also successful. Ebookers were only offering a voucher. As case evidence, I uploaded written confirmation from the hotel that they were closed and not accepting guests.

    • Diydegsy says:

      I had booked Melia hotels in uk for 2 occasions ( non refundable) and both times I was able to change to preferable dates that I chose with no extra to pay.even though those dates cost more. I spoke to the hotel directly and they were very helpful.

    • Sarah says:

      I finally got Melia Innside Berlin to move my booking to next year without any price increase after I said I would do a charge back, given that the hotel was closed and they couldn’t provide the service I had paid for. Customer service has not been good and I wouldn’t book with them again – they were trying to charge a higher price than a new booking would have been, and moved a friend’s reservation who had booked through booking.com with no price increase, so they were penalising those who had booked direct.

    • Sukes says:

      Alastair I hope it works out for you albeit I would moderate expectation. A week ago I initiated Amex Plat chargeback for a mid-June Melia booking in Spain. I had the same experience of Melia refusing a refund despite confirming in writing that the hotel is closed until July. This was my first chargeback to Amex & the decision was instant in my favour and the dispute was closed. 2 days later the full booking amount was credited to my account. However that evening I checked my account online (you can’t seem to do this on the app but online go to Transactions and there is a tab ‘Disputes’ which when clicked will reveal open and closed disputes). I discovered that the dispute was no longer marked as ‘Closed’ but had been moved to ‘Open’ with status ‘In Progress’ and a message saying that the amount would now be charged again to my card. I received no notification from Amex that this happened. I assume Melia fought back against the chargeback, possibly by arguing I was a no-show? I noticed that there was now an option within the dispute for me to upload documents. This option wasn’t available when I raised the dispute. Straight away I uploaded a short note with a full summary of the dispute grounds (given you don’t get room to write much when raising the dispute) and email correspondence with the hotel confirming its closure. If you do this you will get an onscreen message stating ‘Success of upload’ – screenshot this because there is no record otherwise noted on my online account that I have uploaded documents. That was six days ago – to date there has been no change, the dispute status remains ‘open – in progress’ but the chargeback credit does remain in my account. Yesterday I received a postal letter from Amex, dated the day I raised the dispute, stating that the credit had been authorised for chargeback. This letter had been superseded by the events noted above; however I think a line in the letter is telling and states ‘Please keep in mind that if the Merchant does send us documentation to support the charge at a later date, we may reverse the credit applied on your account.’ I think this is poor form in not setting out a deadline by which the Merchant must appeal. I hope this note on my experience proves informative & good luck with your chargeback. BTW I’m booked for the autumn for Melia White House & am looking forward to trying it – I hope you do too at some point albeit I would agree that I haven’t been impressed by Melia’s handling of this customer service debacle so far.

  • Roberto says:

    I can confirm that I had two lots of £100 credited to my Amex account following saving & using the recent £100 plat promo offer. I bought two M&S £100 gift cards one on my card and one on the sup – two lots of refunds hit today.

    I saved the offers to both cards in the morning on the first day.

    • Stu N says:

      Thanks Roberto

    • Craig says:

      A bit more sporadic for mine, two shops at Waitrose on Sunday, one has it and one hasn’t. I’ll update again when I have more info.

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