The 3 On Your Side team went to bat for a Cave Creek man trying to get a refund from United Airlines, but airline officials said "no."

CAVE CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Mark Scaggs says he's not mincing words when he claims United Airlines duped him. "So, it's a real, it's a real trick," Mark told 3 On Your Side.

In a previous 3 On Your Side report, Mark and his wife explained how they booked a once-in-a-lifetime vacation to a little island off of Bali. They paid United Airlines almost $10,000 to get them to Bali and back.

But when COVID-19 hit last year, they say United Airlines offered to reschedule their trip and persuaded the couple to convert their airline tickets to something called an Electric Travel Ticket, which is also known as a voucher for future use.

Well, the couple now wants to use that $10,000 voucher, but can't, because United recently stopped flying to Bali altogether. "And their email just said that your trip has been cancelled. We have an email that basically says we have no other way to get you there and you flight is cancelled," Mark said.

Mark says since United cancelled, and he didn't, then United needs to return his $10,000.

But United said no, because remember, the airline switched Mark and his wife's airline tickets into vouchers and United doesn't give refunds for vouchers.

So, 3 On Your Side asked United Airlines to review the matter again and to reconsider refunding the couple their money since the airline cancelled.

Well, here's the update. United told us no, claiming Mark and his wife, "...can use the ($10,000) credit to travel to any destination United serves... "just not Bali."

"At the end of the day Gary, we didn't buy $10,000 worth of tickets for nothing. We paid them to take us to Bali. But now they're saying you can go to Des Moines like 12 times," Mark said rolling his eyes.

Mark maintains that converting his tickets into vouchers was a clever way for United to keep consumers' money and that the airline never disclosed the consequences. "It's like selling a gift card and people want to use the whole thing. But it's really bait and switch in my opinion."

Mark and his wife say they're disappointed in the outcome and claim it will be extremely difficult to use up almost $10,000 worth of airline credit.

However, they're still glad they had 3 On Your Side in their corner. "I do want to thank you and your team. You guys are the real deal. I appreciate all your effort."

United’s official statement is below:

Hi Gary –

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have continually looked for ways to better support our customers. As part of that effort, we extended ticket validity to 24 months from the date the ticket was issued. The Scaggs’ tickets fall within our refund policy and were refunded to the original form of payment for the trip which was an electronic travel certificate. The full trip value is valid for booking through July of 2023. They can use the credit to travel to any destination United serves.

Copyright 2021 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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