23 June 2022

Online travel agent eDreams leaves customers in the lurch

Nightmares over eDreams refunds.

Alejandra Hernandez told us she’s been waiting nine months for her travel agent, eDreams, to refund a cancelled flight.

Alejandra was in New Zealand on an interim visa when her return flight to the United States was cancelled due to the 2020 lockdown.

The travel agency initially offered Alejandra a credit, but then said it would refund the flight. When weeks passed without the refund turning up, Alejandra contacted eDreams.

“They pretended to do things, but they didn’t do anything … they wasted my time and stole my money,” she said.

In November 2021, Alejandra contacted us to see if we could help. We got in touch with Air New Zealand, which confirmed it had refunded the flight to eDreams in September 2021.

While eDreams told Air NZ it had refunded the fare to Alejandra, she says she still hasn’t received it nine months later.

“Because of them, I had to buy another flight which was really expensive, and I had to struggle abroad because I used my savings for that … I got into debt because of that.”

She’s not the only one we’ve heard of getting the runaround with eDreams.

John Tew also had problems getting a refund for an Air NZ flight booked through eDreams. His November 2021 flight from Sydney to Rarotonga was cancelled due to Covid.

After months of waiting for a refund from eDreams, he was eventually given a credit. But when he tried to use it, he was told by eDreams he could only book for the same route.

We questioned this with Air NZ, which told us it had offered travel agents the flexibility to use travel credits for other destinations, but eDreams had opted out. Yet, according to the airline, it still had the option of getting a refund for the original booking and making a new one.

After we contacted Air NZ, the airline tried contacting eDreams but had no luck so Air NZ just rebooked John’s flights for him.

Qatar Airlines stepped in to help fix another eDreams nightmare.

Alesha Canham had booked flights with eDreams to Ireland. Her partner is terminally ill, so the couple, along with their toddler, planned to fly to Ireland to spend precious time with family.

Before they left, Alesha noticed her son’s name was written incorrectly on the ticket. She spent several weeks trying to get this fixed, but eDreams did nothing to help solve the problem.

Eventually Qatar Airlines came to the party and corrected the ticket.

We tried several times to contact eDreams for comment on this story but got no response.

Your rights

Based in Barcelona, eDreams is an online travel agency operating in 40 countries.

Because it operates in New Zealand, eDreams has obligations under the Consumer Guarantees Act to provide services with reasonable care and skill.

From the complaints we’ve received, we believe it fell short of its obligations.

And we’re not alone – there are plenty of posts online from people who claim they’ve been scammed by the travel agency.

We recommend you book with a New Zealand-based travel agent with a good reputation for customer service, or book with the airline directly. That way, any problems will be easier to resolve if things turn pear-shaped.

If your flight is cancelled for reasons out of the airline’s control, such as the weather, the airline doesn’t usually have to offer you a refund but should give you a credit or put you on another flight.

If the cancellation is due to an event within the airline’s control, you can get a refund or catch another flight. You may also be entitled to compensation for food and accommodation costs you incur because of the cancellation.

If a travel agency or airline is too slow to process a refund for a cancelled flight, and you paid with a credit or debit card, you can request a chargeback through your bank.

Alternatively if the travel agency has a New Zealand address, you could also take them to the Disputes Tribunal to get a refund.

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Jacqueline K.
18 Jul 2022
All travel agents should be avoided

I had similar problems when making a booking through Flight Centre, who made a very costly mistake that they refused to rectify until Consumer NZ got involved, which indicates that being locally based and a member of TAANZ is no guarantee of good service. In my experience of booking 100s of flights, all airlines will give you excellent service (including if things go wrong), but only if you book direct with them.

Stephen e.
25 Jun 2022
Use a local travel agent

It’s always better to use a locally based travel agent. Make sure they are a member of the official travel agency organisation. In New Zealand this is known as TAANZ