Prior to the pandemic, New Hartford Resident Renee English booked a vacation for her and her family through Flyus.com. The airline tickets were purchased using Emirates Airlines. Before she was able to take her vacation the pandemic hit. The flights were cancelled by the airlines, and the vacation got scrapped, but that was just the beginning of her troubles.
"I immediately attempted to contact Flyus.com the travel agent by phone, but was disconnected after waiting 90 minutes on hold several times."
After multiple emails and attempted phone calls without a response, English notified her credit card company and then filed a complaint with the West Florida Better Business Bureau. Within a couple hours she received this voicemail message from Flyus:
“Once a customer opens a dispute, you have to contact your bank and the airlines directly, as we cannot send you or we can’t unsuspend the tickets and further delay any refund process.” So Flyus is saying the only way to get a refund is to cancel the credit card dispute. English was apprehensive, but felt she had no choice.
"Because that was the only thing they said to do if I wanted to proceed with a refund. They said they couldn’t do anything unless that suspension was lifted. So I did what they advised. I cancelled the dispute. I withdrew it, and I still have no refund or contact from Flyus."
WKTV tried to contact a representative from Flyus Marketing, LLC at their Administrative offices. This is the message received: “Please leave a message, and we will be sure to call you back. Thank you for your understanding. Please leave your message now. Sorry, but the users mailbox can’t accept more messages. I’m sorry. An error has occurred…..”
While it looks like Ms. English is losing the battle, it doesn’t mean she’s lost the war. She’s spent over four months of trying to get her money back.
"Flyus.com is telling me that the airline needs to call them to have that suspension lifted, and Emirates is telling me that Flyus needs to call them. They’re both telling me the exact opposite, and no one will reach out to the other one."
So what can you do when a company refuses to act on a pending dispute? For answers we turned to David Longeretta Esq. of the Longeretta Law Firm. He says in this case, a legal battle probably isn’t the way to go.
"In this particular case instead of $4000. she may be looking at $5-$6000. to recover nothing, and the contract is so strongly drafted to favor Flyus that it’s really unfair. It truly is unfair."
English did file a complaint with the West Florida Better Business Bureau, but her complaint went nowhere.
"I thought the Better Business Bureau was there to actually help the consumer, and stand up for them, and fight for them, and nothing. They just closed the case within 2 weeks."
David Longeretta says consumers really need to read the fine print when dealing with third party companies like Flyus.com.
"This is just wrong, and you know I did…I read the contract, I read their terms. I couldn’t believe what I was reading, but when you read a contract, and your very first paragraph says if you don’t agree to all of our terms leave now, that’s kind of a warning."
Another woman, also from New Hartford, is in a similar situation, but is declining an on-camera interview because she feels it would compromise her chances of ever getting a refund, but Renee English plans to continue her fight to the bitter end.
"I’m going to keep filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau against Emirates Airlines and Flyus.com, and hopefully someday they realize this woman’s not going away, and that other people will also stand up for themselves when they are being treated like this from companies who are supposedly reputable."
It should be noted that the contract is between English and Flyus.com. Emirates Airlines has a contract with Flyus.com, but not directly with the end user. Longeretta stresses the importance of reading a contract, because the devil is in the details.
"Just from reading the terms of the contract, I don’t think she’ll ever get all of her money. She may get some satisfaction, but she’ll never be made whole. Not unless she brings a class action lawsuit."
Now Longeretta says class action lawsuits are expensive and consumers may be better off writing letters, blogging, and continuing with the phone calls, but the bottom line is read the contract and consumer beware.