What are your rights when it comes to travel refunds during the pandemic?

Watch: Your rights when it comes to travel refunds during the pandemic

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If you were one of the millions of people who had travel plans before the global pandemic was proclaimed, you’re likely already familiar with what’s proving to be a major headache for many: refunds. Navigating ever-changing cancellation policies and your rights for getting cash back versus a credit is difficult, to say the least.

That was certainly the case for local mom Oriana Holmes. She told FOX13 she had the perfect trip planned for her family: her son’s senior spring break was going to be spent at Disney World, just like her senior spring break was years ago.

But, we all know what happened next: COVID-19 struck, and plans were canceled.

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Holmes said while some companies were dreams to work with as far as getting her money back, others were major headaches, and she said it’s important to know your rights.

“We bought the tickets and then the day after the tickets were processed, Disney closed,” Holmes said.

For some people, recouping money for canceled trips has been a walk in the park.

“We called Delta and Delta was great. They gave us a full refund for the tickets. We were able, from that credit card, to get that refund sent to us by check,” Holmes said.

Holmes told FOX13 that at first, Delta wanted to give her a credit to fly in the future. Holmes said she had to speak with a supervisor, but ultimately, the company was understanding. She said the same went for Disney World.

“Initially, they were just going to extend the time we were going to be able to use the tickets by a year. But we told them, ‘no, we really need our money back because we don’t know what’s going on. We need that liquid asset,” Holmes said.

Holmes said Disney ended up refunding the credit card the “nearly $1,200” she spent, and she was happy.

But there was just one issue.

Holmes had a balance on that credit card – so the Disney refund cash never actually made it into her hands.

“I’m thinking, okay, I know I owe them this money for the Disney tickets, I get that. But if they’re willing to work with people, maybe they’ll understand we need the liquid asset,” Holmes said.

She said she understands that the money technically belongs to the credit card company, but amid a global pandemic, she hoped for more empathy.

“We’re talking about Disney tickets, Leah. I’m fully aware that this is a total luxury But what came to my mind is if this were a situation where we had to live off of this credit card…there are plenty of people right now that have to use credit cards for things that they need,” Holmes said.

She urges people who are using credit cards to live off of currently to research thoroughly and make sure the company will be willing to work with them during a crisis. And in this case, if you have a balance on your credit card, Holmes says the takeaway is knowing you may not get immediate, liquid relief.

For other travelers working on getting their own refunds, FOX13 investigates spent hours digging into policies.

FOX13’s Leah Jordan found when an airline cancels a flight, the U.S. Department of Transportation says consumers are entitled to their money back – even on those nonrefundable tickets. But, experts advise if the consumer cancels their booking, there’s no guarantee they’ll get money back as opposed to a credit.

Holmes added, despite policies and procedures, sometimes being candid and honest will get you even further.

“Sometimes, you know, no is not good enough. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of explaining ‘why,’ and people are able to make a different decision or go a different way,” Holmes said. “You don’t necessarily have to take that first no. There is such a thing as negotiating or seeing what other options there may be. Maybe what you’re asking for isn’t possible, but ask what is possible?”

FOX13 Investigates looked into policies viewers/readers may find useful. Links to them are here:

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