The recent Comair shutdown has sent the South African travel fraternity into disarray, leaving Comair employees in the lurch and customers wondering if they will ever get their money back.
In an effort to assist their Vitality clients affected by this, Discovery Bank has announced that it will be refunding the amount spent on Comair flights to people who bank with it.
“We are saddened by the news advising that Comair, one of our longest-standing Vitality partners, has stopped operations. To assist our clients, for any Vitality member who is a Discovery Bank client and booked a discounted flight departing from 1 June 2022 onwards that has been cancelled due to this issue, Discovery Bank will automatically refund the amount spent on that flight into the Vitality member’s Discovery Bank account by close of business on Friday, 10 June 2022. This refund process is automatic, so no action is required from members,” announced the bank.
They also issued a note that international flight, car hire and accommodation bookings made on the kulula.com website remain unaffected.
This does not apply to the cancellations due to the safety-related grounding in March. Those are being handled by Comair and are, therefore, following a different process.
“We will do our best to find a solution if possible.”
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“To make alternative travel arrangements and new discounted travel bookings with any of our travel partners; including local flights with FlySafair, Airlink and Lift, international flights, accommodation and car hire; Discovery Bank clients can access the Vitality Travel platform through the Discovery Bank website on their desktop,” added the bank.
What about Vitality members who are not Discovery Bank clients?
The bank stated that they are “working on alternative solutions” for people who fall in this category but advised opening a Discovery Bank account before 30 June 2022 in order to facilitate an immediate refund and make bookings on the Vitality Travel platform.
“We apologise to all those affected and hope these efforts will help alleviate their situation. Comair has been one of Vitality’s longest-standing partners, and we are saddened by the news. It is devastating for Comair’s passengers, staff and partners, as well as for the travel sector,” said Discovery Vitality CEO Dinesh Govender.
“We understand how traumatic it can be when flight plans are disrupted, and we are doing our utmost to assist those affected. For any affected Vitality member who booked a discounted flight that has been cancelled, Discovery Bank will automatically refund them into their Discovery Bank account by close of business tomorrow.”
Are other banks offering refunds?
According to a report by City Press, Kulula customers who booked using their Visa, American Express or Mastercard could qualify for a refund under the chargeback rules.
Chargeback is a service offered to customers who use their cards to pay for goods and services that merchants don’t deliver on.
Those who bank with Standard Bank can expect the chargeback to automatically go into effect once the airline goes into liquidation.
The publication reports that Nedbank has confirmed that “impacted clients who were not able to fly and purchased tickets using a payment card, branded with a Visa, Mastercard or an American Express logo, may contact their bank to log a dispute. Clients have the right to an immediate chargeback following the granting of the liquidation order”.
Nedbank customers can call 010 217 3001 or email [email protected] for information.
Absa customers who booked Comair tickets via their cards can email [email protected] to assist with the chargeback process.
FNB clients can rely on to the bank’s dedicated refund process if they purchased British Airways and Kulula tickets using the FNB and RMB Private Bank apps, eBucks or the eBucks Travel desk.
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Compiled by Kaunda Selisho