Many Go to Gate customers have criticised the travel booking firm for leaving them without refunds for nearly a year and not giving credit vouchers to the value of cancelled flights.
With thousands of flights scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic, travellers are relying on airlines and booking sites to return money promptly.
However, many have been called out for poor customer service and leaving holidaymakers waiting months on end for their money.
One customer, Sarah James, told This is Money she has been waiting 11 months for a refund after her flights to Nepal with Go to Gate were cancelled last March.
Many people have had their flights cancelled over the past year due to the coronavirus
She said months were spent going back and forth with company about whether she was entitled to a refund despite regulation stating was.
The company finally confirmed in August that she was eligible and said it would request it from Air India, the airline she was due to travel with.
However, the process was ‘stressful’ with Go to Gate even accusing her of being a no show, despite phone records showing two hours of calls to them on the day of the flight when she was trying to work out what to do, alongside numerous subsequent emails.
Since August, she heard nothing except receiving some automated emails saying it is processing the request.
One of the main obstacles is there appears to be no way to get in touch with Go to Gate.
Their website states it has diverted all staff on to processing refunds as, presumably, there are thousands to organise, but customers are still not receiving theirs.
Air India have also proved difficult, Sarah said, even stating it doesn’t have passenger records from as far back as March anymore.
In trying to sort this out, Sarah estimates she has spent over 50 hours on the phone and on email.
This is Money contacted Go to Gate about Sarah’s case and whilst it was difficult to get hold of with seemingly no press office, a customer service representative did reply.
Customers have been left frustrated after not having sufficient contact with Go to Gate
A spokesperson said: ‘Your reservation is in a refund queue and we have raised a request again so we request you wait and you will be updated as soon as possible.’
The email was written in broken English and was edited for clarity.
This is Money contacted Air India but is yet to receive a response.
Another Go to Gate customer, Mihoko Thornton, had her flights to Japan cancelled and accepted a credit voucher, assuming it would be to the same value as the flights, £2,360.
She had booked three tickets in July 2020 to Japan for her and her two teenage children but the flights were cancelled a week before due to Covid-19.
Mihoko exchanged the tickets for e-vouchers with Aeroflot, the airline, but when she tried to rebook, she found out the credit given was just 15 per cent of this value at a paltry £354.
She contacted Go to Gate to ask whether she can get a refund but claims it has never replied.
Unfortunately, neither Go to Gate or Aeroflot are members of ATOL or ABTA.
On its website, Go to Gate says it is owned by the Etraveli Group, which is based in Sweden.
Mihoko also asked her bank whether it could deal with her case but it said she would have had to contact it within 20 days of finding out about the cancellation.
This is Money again contacted Go to Gate.
A spokesperson said: ‘We must inform you the airline is not offering a refund waiver for the flight and in order to get a voucher the customers needs to contact the airline directly and they will issue the voucher.’
In Mihoko’s case, she must now contact Aeroflot to get a voucher for the full amount as it is now their responsibility.
This is Money has also contacted Aeroflot but has yet to receive a comment in response.
Many airlines and booking sites have pushed for customers to take vouchers instead of refunds but holidaymakers have a choice and can opt for what they prefer.
However, this can get more tricky if selecting a voucher and then trying to change for a refund.
Mihoko and Sarah are not the only two customers who have been affected by Go to Gate.
Many angry customers have taken to Trustpilot to complain about the service with many saying it has taken nearly a year for them to receive a refund.
Another Go To Gate customer has said they are still waiting for a refund from May 2020
This user said they were charged after their flights were cancelled with administrative fees
Others have taken to social media to voice their frustration.
This Twitter user said they are finding it difficult to get hold of Go To Gate
Another user said they have been waiting 8 months for a refund for their cancelled flights
This customer said they had been waiting for a refund since July 2020
What are your rights?
Usually, customers should receive a refund for cancelled flights within seven days but the Civil Aviation Authority has said it is likely to take longer now due to the ongoing pandemic and the large number of people waiting for money back.
If you feel it is taking far too long, you can try chargeback where your bank will try to get money back from the bank of the firm you bought from.
Alternatively, it is possible to try Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, where, if you pay for something costing between £100 and £30,000 on a credit card, you may be able to claim as the card firm is equally liable if something goes wrong.
It is always good practice to buy travel insurance as soon as you book your flights and holiday in case they get cancelled.
Whilst many insurers are not offering cover for coronavirus related cancellations, it is still worth speaking to them to see if they can help.
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