Despite my sending several emails chasing for a response from Adina Vălean, the Commissioner for Transport at the European Commission, neither she nor her department has seen fit to respond.
My return flight from Greece should have been on June 26 so, on that date, I completed a Disputed Credit Card Transactions Form for my UK credit card company, Nationwide.
This should trigger a chargeback to Aegean Airlines and I should receive a credit to my card for the full amount. This procedure is covered under the provisions of Directive 2014/17/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, enshrined in UK law in section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
Aegean Airlines has a period when it can contest the chargeback. This process is commonly called a clawback, which is an appropriately named procedure for an organisation which has exhibited such sub-human behaviour over this whole episode. From accounts posted by passengers on Aegean’s own Facebook page and on the Legal Action Against Aegean Airlines Facebook page, Aegean IS contesting chargebacks, extending their greedy, grasping claws to keep their avaricious grip on money which is not theirs. It really is the MOST DESPICABLE organisation I’ve ever had the misfortune to deal with.
If Aegean succeeds in its clawback, my card company will reverse the amount it had previously credited to my card. In my submission on the form (see below), I have tried to pre-empt this scenario by explaining, within the limit of the number of characters allowed on the form, the dubious legality of the Greek law in a European context and the applicable law when I entered into the transaction.
Should Aegean succeed in its clawback, my next recourse will be to make a claim against my UK card company in the County Court Money Claims Centre, often referred to as the Small Claims Court. I have confidence that my card company will see the illegality of Aegean’s actions, I really don’t want to go through the process of changing my card company and bank should it uphold Aegean’s clawback.
I didn’t receive an acknowledgement of the submission of the form above. A week later I telephoned my bank and was told that the case could not even be looked at for 6-8 weeks. I informed them that this was not good enought and that I would statrt a Small Claims Court action after 4 weeks. After 4 weeks, passed I called again to lodge a formal complaint and to re-iterate my intention to start action. I was told that my complaint would be escalated and I should hold off until I heard from the complaints team.
On August 3, I received a letter from Nationwide, of which the relevant points are set out below. Essentially, they are so inundated it might take even longer than their original estimate. They say they are giving priority to claims which are reaching their time limit first. I think that’s fair. They credited me with £25 as compensation which, as I decided would happen with the full refund when I receive it, has been paid to my Cancer Research UK fundraising page. See The Cancer Challenge I made to Aegean.
I shall hold off on further action for a while. If I did proceed now, who knows how long the delay will be in processing claims through the court in this current climate?
Dear Mr King
I’m sorry you’ve had to raise concerns regarding your Credit Card account and thank you for giving me the opportunity to investigate these for you.
The length of time your dispute is taking to be resolved. You believe 4 weeks is sufficient.
Having reviewed our records, we’ve entered £XXX.XX into dispute on your account on 25 July 2020. I note that you completed our online form on 26 June 2020. This amount is frozen and won’t be charged whilst we’re completing our investigation. I apologise that this wasn’t frozen on your account for over 1 month.
I appreciate your comments that you’ve given us 4 weeks but regrettably, this isn’t a realistic timescale for us to review your documentation.
Due to the recent events, we’ve been inundated with disputes and as a result, this will mean disputes are taking that little bit longer to view.
We’d originally advise we aim to review documentation in 6-8 weeks, but this is taking longer, and I hope you can appreciate that we’re trying our best to progress disputes in a timely manner. We’ve also closed our phone lines to our VISA Dispute Team to prevent interruptions and that our team can focus on the task in hand.
We must review disputes received before yours, which are likely to exceed VISA Disputes timescales first. We must treat all customers fairly.
I want to reassure you that we’re looking into your dispute and once this has been assigned with a handler, they’ll contact you with any updates directly.
I haven’t been able to identify any errors made by Nationwide. But I do acknowledge there was over 1 month, before we entered your disputed amount on your account, therefore, I’d like to offer you £25.00 compensation.
As we believe this payment is fair and reasonable, I’ve arranged to credit your Nationwide Credit Card account. It could take up to the end of the next working day for this payment to show and it may be referenced as a sundries credit. Retaining this payment won’t affect your right to refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). However, we would ask FOS to take the payment into account in its assessment of your complaint.
Member Relations Consultant