Have a look at where they are supposed to be based on Streetview: it is a corner shop and the call centre is in India. Never book a flight with anyone who is not ABTA and always use a credit card so you are covered by the Consumer Credit Act. In haste, I did neither of these things and am now repenting at leisure. I booked a flight to Miami with British Airways through TravelUp in March. I booked World Traveller plus which is BA's version of Premium Economy. BA have a standard policy of overselling any premium seats, the plane was full and I was downgraded. As my contract is with TravelUp and BA's contract is with TravelUp, BA owe TravelUp a refund and TravelUp owe me a refund. This is correct and I have confirmed this with Citizens Advice and sought independent legal advice.
When I first contacted TravelUp they told me to send them a copy of the ticket from Ba which shows I was downgraded and they will arrange a refund. They advised me that I could send this via e-mail. I emailed them on April 2nd and received an automated response saying they respond to 97% of enquiries within 48 hours. After a week I telephoned them to chase the enquiry and asked to be put through to a manager. I was put through to someone called Ken who said it was my fault for accepting the downgrade and that I need to contact BA. Ken would not let me speak, shouted at me and left me feeling very upset. I contacted BA again and Citizens advice who confirmed it is TravelUp who owe me the fee. I called them again several times and each time I was lied to, had the phone put down on me or was shouted at. I sent several emails but never got a response.
I decided that I would not just let this go and that I would write to them in the post threatening legal action. Before I did this I telephoned them pretending that I wanted to buy first class tickets to Miami and recorded the call using the voice memo function on my phone. I asked what would happen if I was downgraded. "George" who I spoke with said that "it is impossible" to be downgraded. I explained I had been downgraded in the past and asked if it happened and my contract was with TravelUp and not the airline, who would be responsible for getting me the refund. George confirmed that TravelUp would get me the refund. He then said again that I haven't got to worry because if they supply me a seat then that class of seat is gauranteed. I explained that on British Airway's website it states that no premium seats are guaranteed and that I could be downgraded. George then again confirmed that TravelUp would process the refund and that this would take 6-7 days before I receive a refund. I asked if this was stated anywhere on TravelUp's website. George said that the call is recorded and he guarantees that what he is saying is correct.
I explained that I had purchased a ticket and been downgraded and was due a refund. I also explained that I was recording the call. After putting me on hold for a few minutes George came back on the phone and again try to assure me that whatever class of ticket i booked through them was guaranteed. As he clearly hadn't grasped what I was saying, I gave him my previous booking reference and asked if the class was guaranteed why had I been downgraded and why weren't they processing my refund? Again I was put on hold. Another chap came on the phone, also saying he was called George. I had been on the phone for 20 minutes now! This George tried to tell me what Ken had said on day one and that they had done nothing wrong and that I had to speak to BA. After me explaining for 5 minutes that my contract was with them and that I had not received what I had paid for and that I was recording the call and would start legal action he finally said that they would start to process the refund and would get back to me today.
The whole experience has been really disappointing. ATOL only protect against the airline going bust. Trading Standards aren’t interested as they treat it as a civil dispute. Citizens Advice can only tell you to write to the company threaten legal action and then go to the court. After that they will not give any legal advice. If TravelUp don’t get back to me, I have to go to the courts to start a civil action. The judge can decide that they are in breach of contract but he can’t necessarily make them pay me anything. I would then probably have to start a petition to wind them up. Most people do not have the inclination or determination to go as far as I have and the web is full of damning reports on this company. Stay well clear.
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