I booked tickets with Viva Air from Medellin to Miami (I was in Colombia at the time). The flight was in August and I booked it May 4th. I found different (better) flight so I cancelled it within 24 hours and requested a refund online.

I still haven't got my money and any conversation with customer service ends the same: they keep saying it's being processed and there's nothing else they can do.

It's been almost 8 months, what can I do? Is there anything I can do?

  • 3
    Didn’t you use a credit card? – Augustine of Hippo Dec 24 '18 at 22:33
  • Was the fare actually (fully) refundable? Do you have a confirmation of the cancellation and the amount you are owed? – jcaron Dec 25 '18 at 0:09
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    @jcaron Many airlines offer free cancellation within 24 hours of online booking, regardless of fare rules, although this is less common than it used to be. – choster Dec 25 '18 at 3:15
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    @jcaron US law requires free cancellation within 24 hours for US flights – JonathanReez Dec 25 '18 at 3:32
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    Small claims. Also don't forget to add interest - 8 months is a long enough period in which it becomes relevant. – orlp Dec 25 '18 at 12:09

If you used a card, dispute it with your card provider, attaching the order and cancellation confirmations as evidence.

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    I've a feeling that disputes need to be raised within six months. Even if that's officially the case, it's still worth talking to your bank -- they might extend the deadline because of the airline's slowness. – David Richerby Dec 24 '18 at 23:57
  • Thank you, I waited that long because I did reach out to my bank and they opened a dispute with Mastercard who made the airline react within certain amount of time. Just got my money back today! Thanks, I would never have thought that a bank could help in this case but they did – Moseleyi Jan 17 '19 at 5:09

If disputing the charge with your card issuer doesn't work (or maybe even if it does,) you might want to consider filing a consumer complaint against the airline with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

All carriers operating flights to, from, or within the United States are required to have a customer service plan that meets at least the minimum standard of 14 CFR 259.5(b)(4), which says:

Allowing reservations to be held at the quoted fare without payment, or cancelled without penalty, for at least twenty-four hours after the reservation is made if the reservation is made one week or more prior to a flight's departure;

The Department of Transportation also provides guidance for how airline's may comply with this requirement. It's also worth noting that the air carrier must have their policy for complying with this requirement on their website if they sell tickets on their website. Failure to provide such notification is also a violation of this regulation.


In addition to the above, I'd suggest taking the complaint above Customer Service level. Try to engage the airline's owners and directors. Their time is far more valuable than your refund and a persistent attempt to turn your issue into a conversation is likely to result in someone saying "let's just sort this" so they can get back to the business of running an airline.

Some useful contacts;

VIVA Air CEO William Shaw - https://twitter.com/wnashaw?lang=en

Irelandia Aviation CEO Declan Shaw - https://twitter.com/decfryan/status/1010272106062471168

You might also want to engage them via their twitter account. Complain vocally and link people to it. You'll typically find that you get a more rapid response because companies are afraid of poor publicity.


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