For Crying Out Loud

**updated – 19/12/2007 @ 19.22**
**updated – 20/12/2007 @ 05.27**
**updated – 20/12/2007 @ 09.29**
**updated – 20/12/2007 @ 19.20**
**updated – 21/12/2007 @ 23.35**
**updated – 22/12/2007 @ 08.00**
**updated – 23/12/2007 @ 08.35**

Easyjet!

I have booked return flights for 2 people from Bristol Airport to Malaga; outward on 27th December, returning on 31st December.

Total cost: £517.03p

I’ve just checked my bank statement and it shows that yesterday Easjet took two amounts of £517.03p. That’s two amounts, folks.

This means that my current account is over £1,000 lower than it was two days ago.

Action 1:
I rang my bank – bear in mind it’s not their fault, but I know I can speak to my bank, whereas trying to get past Easyjet’s website to speak to a human is next to impossible – and discussed it with them.

The nice man on the other end said they’d categorise it as a Visa dispute. What I need to do is pop in to a local branch, fill in a form and they’ll try to get the money back in 5-7 working days.

Today’s date is?

Yep, 19th December.

Number of working days (i.e. spending days) left between now and Christmas?

Three.

So no chance of getting my money back before Christmas then.

Action 2:
I found a telephone number for Easyjet – oh yes, they do exist!

I dialled and listened to a long, long menu (being charged 10p per minute while I listned) and eventually got through to a person.

She (Paulina) checked her systems and told me that the money had been taken just once.

I told her that her systems were wrong.

I told her that I was looking at an on-line bank statement and it clearly showed two payments of £517.03p were removed by Easyjet from my account yesterday.

Paulina went away, spoke with someone and came back to me.

This time she said that it wasn’t a double payment. Apparently now it’s a shadow payment which was caused by the difficulty I had with the on-line booking/payments system on the Easyjet website.

I told her that was not the case. I had no difficulty, everything processed smoothly. I reiterated that there was nothing “shadow” about this transaction – £517.03p too much had been taken from my account.

She went away, conversed with someone then returned.

What I have to do, she said, is wait five working days during which time Easyjet would look in to the problem, see if they could resolve it and action a refund back to my account.

I said something like: Five working days? Are you mad?

Paulina went away, spoke to someone else then came back again.

She was going to escalate my problem to her manager who would try to get things resolved today.

Easyjet would contact me this afternoon by phone or email to tell me how things were going.

So why is it that I feel so unconvinced?

Could my feeling that Easyjet are far less interested in giving money back than they are in taking it be related to the way Paulina tried to fob me off with a couple of completely made up excuses right at the start?

Yep, I guess so.

So here I sit, £517.03p taken – in an unauthorised manner – by Easyjet, waiting for a phone call and/or email to tell me the money is back in my account as of right now.

Except I don’t believe that phone call or email is going to happen.

___________________________________________

**updated – 19/12/2007 @ 19.22**
Well it’s almost half past seven and do you know how many emails and/or phone calls I’ve received from Easyjet – as per Paulina’s promise that someone would get back to me today?

Yep, that’s right.

None.

But I’m not counting chickens before they’re hatchlings.

There’s still just over four and a half hours to go, right?

___________________________________________

**updated – 20/12/2007 @ 05.27**
Well, the day that Paulina from Easyjet promised someone would contact me in, to let me know how their unauthorised extraction of money from my account (isn’t that theft?) is going to be reimbursed has passed.

And the tally is:

Emails from Easyjet: Nil
Phone calls from Easyjet: Nil

So that’s great customer service then, isn’t it?

I’ve had to transfer money from our joint savings account to cover the unauthorised transaction. If I hadn’t already moved money from my individual savings account to pay for Beech’s cremation, Easyjet’s unauthorised transaction would have bounced – and I would probably have had to pay bank charges!

Great.

We shall see what the day brings (but why do I suspect it will bring very little satisfaction and no money from Easyjet?).

Oh… And a huge amount of thanks to the good wishes from all my friends on this issue. I appreciate it.

___________________________________________

**updated – 20/12/2007 @ 09.29**
Still no response from Easyjet – and no reimbursement to my bank account.

So I’ve emailed the Easyjet press office with this message:

Good Morning,

Please see this link (http://brennigjones.com/blog/?p=330) for important information about Easyjet.

Please note that this press release is being circulated – with an appropriate Christmas theme – to the major broad coverage news outlets.

Easyjet have the usual right of reply.

___________________________________________

***updated – 20/12/2007 @ 19.20**
Development 1:
I sent an email to the Daily Mirror. It said:

My Christmas savings have been taken by Easyjet.

Last week I booked and paid for a return flight to Spain so I could go and visit my daughter for the holiday.

The total cost was £517.

Yesterday I checked my bank account and noticed that Easyjet have taken two lots of £517 – £1,034 from my bank account!!

If I hadn’t moved my savings to my current account I would have gone deep in to the red and would have ended up having to pay bank charges.

I spoke to Easyjet yesterday and they lied to me a couple of times.

First of all they said they’d only taken one payment. Then they said that there were two transactions but one was ‘a shadow payment’ because my bank hadn’t been sure how much it should pay. Then they said that the money did seem to have been taken twice but that was because I had experienced a problem while I was paying. Except I had no problem paying!

Then they said they’d process a refund but that would taken five working days. Obviously this gives me my money back – but allowing for hitches, probably not until January 2008!

I told them this was not good enough.

Then they said they’d sort it out immediately and someone would ring or email me back by the end of the day – yesterday.

I’m still waiting.

So now I’m down £517 in my current account and I don’t know when I’m going to get the money back. I also don’t know if I can afford to make the trip to Spain because effectively over £500 of my savings has vanished!

Can you help please?

Soon after that this blog was read by Easyjet.

At 11.15 I received an email from them that said:

Dear Mr Jones,

I am sorry to read that you had problems to make a booking on our website and that you have not heard from our customer service.

Can you send me your booking reference, so I can have a look for you?

Thanks,

A result!

I responded with the information required.

At 11.35 they came back to me with:

I have received your email, I will investigate it and I get back to you as soon as I can.

Thanks,

At 11.45 Easyjet very kindly came back again with:

Basically, as my colleague explained to you over the phone, there is shadow payment in this case.

In order to resolve the problem, I will need to send a fax to your bank to confirm that only one payment has been through.

Can you confirm your bank contact details with its fax number, the name to the person I can address it to, and your credit card details used for the booking and the amount debited twice?

Regards,

Hmmm… Have you noticed a couple of things missing? Still no admission of guilt or culpability, still no apology? I replied with the details they asked for and added a couple of thoughts:

“I’ll pass over the distinction that what you choose to call a shadow payment is still £517 out of my current account at an expensive time of the year.

I’ll also resist the temptation to ask the valid question whether you carry sufficient funds in your current account to cover every payment you make twice.”

Easyjet’s response at 12.50 was:

Thanks for your reply.

easyJet has charged you only once £517.03 pounds. There is only one record for one payment. Your bank has put your money on hold.

We could send a fax to your bank to confirm that only one payment has been taken from easyJet.

I thought you mentioned that you contact your bank before contacting customer service.

Regards,

OK, now I’m starting to get really annoyed.

* Why would my bank deduct one amount and put my money on hold?
* Why would my bank describe – on my bank statement – the ‘on hold’ (i.e. deducted) amount as a payment to Easyjet?
* Why would Easyjet think that my bank might put ‘on hold’ (i.e. deduct) the same amount as their payment?

At 13.15 Easyjet came back to me:

Hello,

Our revenue accountancy just had a look at your booking and confirmed that they have contacted your bank and they cannot see that any payment has been taken from this card i.e. £517.03 as per booking reference. Can you please send us a copy of your bank statement?

Regards,

At 13.30 different things happened…

The Daily Mirror emailed me and asked for a phone number so they could chat about my situation with Easyjet.

I obliged.

Meanwhile, at 13.49 Easyjet asked to see a copy of my bank statement – the one that contained the lines describing Easyjet taking the same payment twice.

Again, I obliged. I added a little more information that I’d gleaned from a subsequent phone call with my bank:

As requested – file attached as a spreadsheet.

I have just spoken to my bank again and they are saying what the statement says – that the money has been taken twice.

I told them that you said that Nationwide have put the money on hold and they almost laughed down the phone at me, then said that wasn’t possible.

At 14.45 Easyjet confirmed:

Hi, I have passed on your email to our revenue accountancy department. I will get back to you when I get a reply. Regards,

So here I am.

Still out of pocket.

And as you can see by the bank statement – still owed £517 of my own money by Easyjet.

And no closer to a resolution.

Except there’s a glimmer of light on the horizon in the shape of the Financial Services Authority.

Included in my Easyjet purchase is an insurance product – travel insurance – and the law regulating the sale and fraudulent sale of financial products is governed by the Financial Services Authority.

And guess what…?

Easyjet have committed a Financial Services fraud and are now open to prosecution under the Financial Services Act.

I wonder if Easyjet will be able to resolve this tomorrow and have the missing money back in my account before the close of business (which is when the Financial watchdogs get involved) and have the good graced to apologise for stealing my money, attempting to perpetrate a fraud under the Financial Services Act and for using up too much of my precious work-time – time that I’m going to have to make up tomorrow by getting in ridiculously early?

Stay tuned…

___________________________________________

**updated – 21/12/2007 @ 23.35**
Now here’s a peculiar thing.

The number of people who have googled ‘shadow payment’ in the last 24 hours = 9.

The number of people who have googled ‘shadow payment easyjet’ in the last 24 hours = 48.

These instances are surely beyond mere coincidence?

There must be something going on here.

My bank – once again – say that there’s no such thing as a shadow payment where the bank isolates the money from the current account but shows the money as being transacted to any other party.

I believe my bank – but I have written to the banking ombudsman for confirmation.

If – stress the word – the banking ombudsman confirms this then logic means one of two things have occurred:

1. Easyjet press office have lied to me (and perhaps other departments in Easyjet may have lied to other members of the public) about this (potentially) mythical ‘shadow payment’, or

2. Easyjet’s press office (and perhaps other departments in Easyjet) were passing on the ‘shadow payment’ story in good faith but only because Easyjet’s finance department have cocked things up, and have concocted the whole ‘shadow payment’ story to cover up their mistake.

Hmmm…

What I would like to happen is for every person who has been a victim of ‘shadow payments’ to Easyjet (or any other organisation for that matter) to get in touch with me.

You can do that either by leaving a comment here – as one other person already has done – or if you follow the ‘Contact’ link at the top of the page you’ll find my email address.

Please, if you area a ‘shadow payment’ victim, drop me a line.

Thanks.

___________________________________________

**updated – 22/12/2007 @ 08.00**
Yesterday – Friday 21/12/2007 at 15.27 – I was sent an email by Easjet (who I am only just resisting the temptation to call Sleasyjet):

Dear Brenning (sic),

I have received an email from our revenue accountancy confirming that they have spoken to your bank and they will be refunding you for the duplicated charge.

We would like to apologise for inconvenience caused and please allow 5 working days for this transaction to be processed.

Thrilled to bits that money was coming back but annoyed it would take so long I responded:

Hi (name),

Thank you for your efforts.

I’m grateful that my money will eventually be coming back – but as I’m sure you’ve calculated, five working days puts my money back in to my account next year.

I know for a fact that – if Easyjet really wanted to, they could credit the money back to my account on a same day payment.

Admittedly, this would cost Easyjet a relatively small fee – but I feel sure that any compassionate organisation would not begrudge such a small outlay to put right a problem that removed money from my account three days ago!

My contact at Easyjet swiftly replied:

Hi Brennig,

I am very sorry for the inconvenience caused – as explained before easyJet does not hold your money. Your money is on hold.

I had asked you before a fax number in order to send a fax to your bank to confirm that we have charged you only once.

Your bank will refund you.

Regards,

So that’s a fairly consistent set of responses from Easyjet – they didn’t take the money twice, my bank had taken it.

Except my bank says they didn’t take the money – and that Easyjet had.

___________________________________________

**updated – 23/12/2007 @ 08.35**
I checked my bank account this morning and was overjoyed to see the following entry:

Date

Transaction

Credit

21 December

WWW.Easyjet.89789366 EASYJET.COM.

£517.03

So there we are!

I have my money back.

Yay!

But what’s that description against the credit – and how does that description tie up to my bank supposedly having my money?

Hmmm…

We shall see what the Banking Ombudsman says about Easyjet’s story.

B.

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28 Responses to For Crying Out Loud

  1. Soph says:

    Twatfaced wank-heads. Who do they think they are?

    And a Merry Christmas to them too!

    Arse.

    Sxxx

  2. froggywoogie says:

    Such problems are becoming more and more common now as a result of increasing cheap services with increasing amount of incompetent customer service.
    The system are designed to suck the money off your account faster than the light speed while nothing is planned to reimburse any inappropriate transaction since, of course, no mistake from them can happen.
    Good luck and please keep us informed. Not that we can do anything unfortunately but I think our support is important.
    Froggy

  3. Harry says:

    It’ll be worth it in the end Brennig.

    You’ll get your money back even if it takes longer than is ideal and you’ll get to those snowy, southern slopes of the Sierra (apologies for amount of alliteration).

    There your daughter will be waiting for you with outstretched arms to greet you and you’ll surprise her with a stonking Xmas presie. Then you’ll head off for some local plonk and some hearty Andalucian victuals.

    Blimey, I think I’ve just morphed into some weird fusion between Budha and Dickens.

    What I meant to say is – forget those annoying orange runts and have a spiffing Crimble!

  4. Stratford Girl says:

    What a nightmare! Hope you get it sorted … reminds me of my whole TalkTalk nightmare. (Another company to avoid…)

  5. Gumpher says:

    Tossers.

    It always amazes me that you can press the confirm button and money whizzes out of your account and into the account of(insert name of any large faceless corporation here) in a matter of seconds, but if they cock up, to make the opposite happen at the same speed is impossible.

    I really hope you get them on the end of a tantrum of seismic proportions, and that you get the cash back pronto.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, and best wishes for a great break in Spain.

  6. froggywoogie says:

    If you need us to spread this letter around the world please do tell!
    Good luck Brennig, we’re with you there!
    Froggy

  7. JezzaBelle says:

    OOOO! I often live in Lanjaron, Southern face of Sierra Nevada, and not very much nieve going on there!
    As I travel in & out of Malaga so frequently, I often end up with last minute cancellation tickets, and although not entitled to get a refund on the actual ticket, QueezyJet are oblidged to refund the airport tax. But you have to wade through a mountain of e-paperwork to get them to even admit it. Then guess what? They don’t bother to answer anything at all, much less give you back YOUR money, which was never destined for them anyway.
    I’ll be really interested to find out how this goes for you, although I can almost guarantee it’ll be your bank which gets you a refund, not QueezyJet!!
    Good Luck & Merry Christmas!

  8. Mya says:

    Gits.

    Hope you get some Christmas cheer soon. I’ve never flown with Easyjet – don’t think I ever will now. It’s an awful lot of money to just whisk out of your account. Best of luck with getting a quick resolution.

    And Merry Christmas to you and Soph!

    Mya x

  9. froggywoogie says:

    Thanks for the update mate, we do stay tuned!
    Fingers crossed here
    Froggy

  10. Ginny says:

    Bastards.

    That is all x

  11. Caroline says:

    Rotten sods. Nice touch going through the press office, that’s one I’ve picked up from my journalist friends too!

    Despite Easyjet’s problems, I’d still far rather fly with them than RyanAir, who I will never, ever travel with again unless it’s a dire emergency.

  12. David Parish says:

    On the 13th Dec 2007 exactly the same thing
    happened to me.They took the money twice.
    Today 21/12/2007 I have had just the same
    response from EasyJet.
    My bank is also the Nationwide.
    EasyJet steals money would you say ?

  13. Harry says:

    Shadow payments – that’s bonkers!

    I wonder if you can get ‘shadow tickets’ aswell? In other words you pay for two and they mysteriously give you another two without taking the extra money out of your account. What d’ya reckon?

    I went into Waitrose today and piled up the trolley with festive goodies, got to the check out and was told it would come to £150.00. Yet strangely they weren’t prepared to take my offer of a shadow payment despite all my shadow cash that I didn’t have and my shadow loyalty card.

    It’s a funny old world

  14. SG says:

    What’s the latest?

  15. froggywoogie says:

    So glad for you they reimbursed you, and not with a shadow payment lol.
    I don’t think you expect any explanation nor any excuse from easy jerks do you?

  16. sooz says:

    *applauds* Bravo!

    Weird things lurk about in shadows hmm?

  17. Jeff says:

    Hello,
    I red your post with interest. I used to work in a big tourism company in France (with mickey, minnie, etc). And we got a lot of case like this with our British customers who had their money took twice. And actually, it was not us who done that but the british bank which were holding the amount (or we can say blocked it) and sending the fault to us… The Bank had a lot of power and to hide those problem, they send the fault to the sellers (easyjet in your case). So just be careful with the bank, they are not all telling the true.

    Sincerly,

    Jeff

  18. Adrian Donnelly says:

    Hi There

    I booked a flight to Krakow on the 4th and have been charged £127 twice. Emailed Easyjet. Still waiting for the 24 hr response!
    Do you have a phone number to try and get somewhere with on this! I am also left short of funds.

  19. Abi says:

    HELP!!! stupid me was confused by the easy jet website and PAID £800.00 TWICE! have got automated response from phone – any suggestions?

  20. Antonio says:

    I booked a flight from Bucharest to Madrid (~500 pounds) and the same thing happened to me, only my bank is a romanian bank, so I guess the fault must be with easyjet.

  21. Kay says:

    Here’s a good one: I just found a payment taken from my bank account to easyjet, and I have never even been on their website, nor even heard of the company until I googled it to see what the heck it was!

  22. Mike says:

    This is only one of a multitude of SCAMS that EasyJet has designed to increased revenue. Other scams include:

    1. People are reporting that the date they enter in their computer for their reservation is off by a day or so when the confirmation comes back. This cannot be corrected on line, so you have to go through the onerous process of contacting their customer service (which carries a per minute charge). The fare when you call the call center may be triple what they charge you for an on line booking, and the call center will not sell you the internet price over the phone.

    2. Another SCAM is their so called FRAUD scam. It appears to mostly target people from out of the country. It works like this. YOu make an on line booking. Your credit card pays. THe charge appears correctly on your credit card statement. You get a confirmation number from Easy Jet. Everything looks totally fine until you go to check in for the flight. WHen you go to check in for the flight they will LIE TO YOU and tell you that your ticket has been cancelled because your bank denied payment for fraud. The truth is that EasyJet totally fabricates the FRAUD in an attempt to extort a cash payment from you at walk up prices. When they cancel a ticket for fraud, they do not notify you by email, nor do they refund your original payment back to your credit card.

    While I have flown EasyJet without incident on multiple occasions, I have personally been a victim of both of this “revenue protection team” scams and now no longer fly them. I have reported them to the US State Department for FRAUD.

    I believe that a criminal prosection of EASYJET and its CEO’s is in the future for this airline

  23. Miri says:

    Hi Jones,
    we had similiar problem, could you please send me the email-contact and Telephone-number to Easyjet you had?
    Thanks in advance
    Have a nice day

  24. lucy hale says:

    Easyjet have charged over £1000 to my credit card for a booking which I made online.

    The internet crashed and the money has been taken but Easyjet say that they havent taken it and I have no booking.
    What do I do? Everyone at Easyjet is ignoring my calls and e-mails!!! No-one will help me.
    Thanks

  25. Brennig says:

    Complain and raise hell. Go to the media. Make sure you TV station gets involved. Get the ‘Fleet Street’ press involved. Then fax all of this to EasyJet’s press office inviting them to comment. Scare the living daylights out of them.

  26. Jessica says:

    Hi, I came across your blog whilst trying to find a phone number for easyjet because the same thing has just happened to me. I live in Australia and have booked three flights through easyjet for my upcoming trip around Europe and they have charged me twice for all three flights!! I am leaving Australia on Friday (3 days away) and don’t know how I am supposed to get this resolved within that time, and this is not something I want to have to deal with while I’m travelling overseas. However, I do want the ~$900 of mine that they’ve wrongly taken. Understandably, I may be needing this money for my trip. Any suggestions?

    Thank you.

  27. Faisal says:

    Dear Sir i have easy jet air line ticket swiss to barcelona but

    i buy this ticket buy net for my father. my father have swiss visa but he was thniking its shangen visa but when i was fly geneva to spain
    i cannnot fly becouz its shangen requierd for shangen but my father have not visa so i have now ticket easy jet how i back my money please guide me
    its my email addres
    faysee123@hotmail.com
    i hope every body response me postive
    thanks all

  28. Brennig says:

    Lo Siento Faisal, no sé la respuesta.