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As a follow-up to Can I simply apply for a chargeback on my credit card if my flight was cancelled and I'm unable to reach the airline?, I was contacted by Condor today with the following email:

We have unfortunately had to ascertain that as of today your account for flight booking / extra service xxxxxxx still shows an outstanding balance of USD xxx. Please transfer the due amount due to the following bank, stating the references specified below, by no later than xx.01.2021:

If you do not pay the claim amount by the deadline mentioned above, we will ask our service provider TESCH Inkasso Forderungsmanagement GmbH to take over the processing of the case, without a further reminder from us, and to pursue our claims plus any charges incurred.

The story is that I had a flight from Seattle to Prague in March that had the Frankfurt->Prague leg cancelled. I've called Condor a couple of times, but they've refused to do anything about it as they were claiming that the Frankfurt->Prague leg is run by Lufthansa and thus I should contact them for a refund. This was of course complete nonsense (my contract is with Condor, not with Lufthansa), so I asked my US bank for a chargeback which was successful.

Now, I'm 100% sure I'm in the right here as the flight did not happen on time, nor was I offered a rerouted ticket and there's no way Condor could possibly dispute this. But what should I do about it in the meantime?

  1. Ignore? I live in the US so Condor would have a hard time coming after me, but I'd rather not hire a US lawyer to fight it in case they do somehow.
  2. Pay up? Its a relatively small amount (~300 USD), but for me its a matter of principle not to pay for a service that wasn't provided.
  3. Try talking to them? Sounds futile based on my previous interactions back in March.
  4. Hire a German lawyer and fight it? Possible, but sounds like I'd waste more than the $300.
  5. Complain to a consumer agency in Germany or the FAA or some other government authority? If so, which one?

I've found a similar thread on a German forum so it looks like Condor is now actively pursuing these chargebacks. A good answer would thus be useful to hundreds if not thousands of travelers in the same boat.

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  • Be aware that if they achieve a recovery order in the EU, they can apply for that recovery order to be enforced in a US court. You are best to sort this out rather than assume it will go away... – Moo Jan 15 at 7:28
  • @Moo yes and most likely a US lawyer would cost me thousands of dollars. But I also want to do everything possible to avoid paying these crooks. BA gave me a refund no questions asked for a similar flight. – JonathanReez Jan 15 at 7:43
  • Then its probably going to be a fight - Id suggest starting with the regulators, and also start documenting everything you did originally, specifically how long you gave the airline between the cancelled flight and when you issued the chargeback, and whatever actions you took inbetween (how many times did you attempt to contact them, by what means, what were the outcomes etc etc etc). – Moo Jan 15 at 7:47
  • @Moo who is the regulator in this case though? Who should I contact? – JonathanReez Jan 15 at 7:49
  • Both the FAA or the German regulator has jurisdiction here - your journey started in the US, so the FAA can take action. – Moo Jan 15 at 7:59
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EDIT: The answer below may not be entirely correct. It's probably still a good approach and is not going to do any harm, but I just took a look at the actual law https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32004R0261 and it seems like the "operating carrier" is on the hook, not the "marketing carrier". So Condor may have been correct in stating that you talk to Lufthansa. This makes not a lot of sense from the passenger's perspective, since the "marketing carrier" took your money, but that appears to be the way the law is written.

ORIGINAL ANSWER

You may have to prepare for a fight here. Document everything with date and time, screen shots, receipts, etc.

Write them a certified letter, where you state.

  1. You booked a flight with Condor on date XX for US$ YY
  2. The flight was cancelled on date ZZ
  3. Per regulation EC261 you are entitled to a full refund.
  4. Condor has wrongfully refused the refund on date AA and BB
  5. You had no other choice but to reverse the credit card transaction on date CC. The credit card issuer fully accepted the reasoning and the documentation for the reversal
  6. Hence you don't own them anything, and there is no outstanding balance. Condor has violated EC261 by refusing a refund.
  7. You ask them to immediately delete any outstanding balances and clear your account.
  8. You will consider any further attempt to collet any balance from you and specifically the involvement of a collection agency as harassment and will consider follow up legal action should it occur.

It would help to have a lawyer write this, but it's also perfectly fine if you write it yourself. If you have a friend with some basic legal experience they can perhaps look it over.

Chances are they are just trying to scare you into paying and the more forceful you come back, the more likely they are to back off.

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  • Ok if your linked question concludes that Lufthansa is indeed at fault, I'll pay up Condor. Thanks for diving deeper into this. – JonathanReez Jan 15 at 20:05

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