Travelocity's Not-So Courteous Courtesy Call

Tracy Stewart, December 21, 2009
Fares from Washington DC:

    Q: Is it common for travel agencies like Travelocity to call in the middle of the night to confirm payment?  

     I purchased three tickets from New Jersey to New Orleans on Continental, through Yahoo Travel, which is powered by Travelocity, using a credit card belonging to my father, who lives in Brazil.  The credit card went through, but I was still waiting for confirmation, which is normal when you use international credit cards. 

     At 11:14 p.m. ET on the day I made the purchase, a lady, who never identified herself, called me to speak to my father-in-law.  I told her that it was late at night, it would be hard to get a hold of him at that time.  Little did I know they had called him in Brazil already, where the local time was 2:10 a.m. Thinking it was a prank call, my mother-in-law answered but hanged up on the caller.

     The lady, who was very rude, said that unless she spoke to my father-in-law at that exact moment, she would cancel my flight reservations.   I told her that I'd have to call her back at a more convenient time.  She then said my reservation was being cancelled and hung up on me!  About 5 minutes later, I received an email confirming this.

     I called Yahoo Travel, and they wouldn't confirm they called me.  They did say that they had notations in their system saying someone tried calling me and that I would not provide the required credit card information and that I was rude to the caller.   I told them what time I was called, and they just said, "Sorry.  We apologize for calling you so late, but we really needed the information."   This lady obviously only looked at her local time, which happened to be in India.  It was about 10 a.m. in India at the time of the call, and apparently she didn't bother to check the local time in Rio de Janeiro or my local time in New Jersey.  Besides that, they just told me, "Maybe we can help you book another flight?"

     Obviously, I did not book another flight with them.

    I have written to both Yahoo and Travelocity.  What else should I have done?  I can't believe a company would call someone in the middle of the night!  I don't even know what to do next.  I obviously lost the rate I had locked and a lot of sleep.

    A: This is what happens when companies outsource. Delta Airlines is no longer outsourcing calls to India after years of complaints. United Airlines has also cut back. With so many people out of work in the U.S., I think it’s a crime that we are sending these jobs overseas. Bad policy, bad service. You did the right thing by complaining to Yahoo Travel and Travelocity. Maybe they’ll wise up and stop outsourcing. Meanwhile, many airlines offer decent fares from the New York/New Jersey area to New Orleans. In fact, US Air last I checked has a $168 round-trip, year-round fare and there are frequent sales on that route, so I think you’ll be able to find a deal.

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