Got a Kulula or British Airways credit? End of November, use it or lose it

Got a Kulula or British Airways credit? End of November, use it or lose it

Wendy Knowler has been receiving countless emails from people trying to meet the deadline. She shares some advice.

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Those holding Kulula or BA domestic flight credits for flights they couldn’t take during last year’s hard lockdown have to use them for flights departing before the end of November - in other words, before the festive season peak. Which is when most of them want to redeem their credit for flights, of course.

Time to book- and fly - is running out fast, and there’s no chance that Comair will extend the validity, because its Business Rescue Plan doesn’t allow for that.

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But I’m currently getting a LOT of emails from those with Kulula and BA credits saying they can’t meet the deadline because they simply can’t get through to Comair’s call centre and there doesn’t appear to be any other way to make the bookings.

In mid-October, Desmond O’Connor, Kulula.com’s chief commercial officer, told me that passenger demand had exceeded expectations with exceptionally high call volumes via the Contact Centre. 

“We do encourage customers to book online and those who are able to change their tickets online to do so, however, some tickets unfortunately require manual intervention in order to be changed. We prioritise customers who are travelling within 72-hours, and recommend those who are not traveling within this window, to only contact the Contact Centre closer to their departure date.”

He said Comair’s service provider had employed more people at the Contact Centre to accommodate for the higher call volumes. New technology, too.

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Sadly, as I told Comair’s spokesman yesterday, if the emails I’m getting are anything to go by, those attempts to keep up with demand have been unsuccessful.

For example, Lynda Sjoberg told me this week: "The problem is that Kulula no longer has flights to PE and despite the original ticket being operated by BA, you cannot use the credit to book a BA flight yourself. The only way it can be done is through the Kulula call centre but it is impossible to get through to them telephonically. I have emailed,  contacted them on the Facebook chat, been to the BA counter at the airport and tried to call with no success.”

This is the response I got: "Comair’s contact centre volumes increased by 210% above forecast with the sudden relaxation in COVID-19 travel restrictions, but the increased headcount and new technology has already proven improved Contact Centre response times.”

So here is the advice: "Customers who are still struggling to get hold of us via the contact centre can email [email protected] or DM our customer relations team via our Facebook platform.”  

READ MORE: How Mango airlines' lack of prompt communication left a family stranded

Comair's Travel Bank account was set up to help customers who purchased a kulula.com or British Airways (operated by Comair) flight ticket for departure between 14 March 2020 and 30 November 2020 and who either chose to retain the value of their bookings, or failed to indicate what their choice was.
 
They can book kulula.com tickets online by logging on to the Travel Bank section. 

Only those who would like to book with British Airways need to contact the contact centre, but here’s the thing - according to Comair, many people holding Kulula ticket credit have "misplaced their usernames and/or passwords “ and they can only get help by phoning the contact centre. 

 Wendy Knowler joined Darren, Keri, and Sky this morning to further explain this matter:

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What that stain on your mattress can’t do…

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve received an email from someone who’s newish mattress has sagged or collapsed, and when they tried to get recourse from the retailer, they were told, sorry, there’s a stain on the mattress, so your warranty is invalidated.

I’ve always said that’s nonsense, in terms of the Consumer Protection Act - given that a stain has no bearing on the structural integrity of a product - but the industry carries on regardless.

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Remember, the CPA warranty is only for six months - after that the manufacturer’s warranty takes over, and they get to come up with whatever Ts and Cs they like.

I was very grateful to see a case study in the Ombudsman for Consumer Goods & Services’s latest newsletter about this tricky stain issue this week.

Within two months of buying a new bed, the complainant noted the mattress was sagging in the middle, but when she reported it, the retailer told her that because there was a stain on the mattress, the manufacturer’s warranty was voided.

This despite the fact that the CPA’s S56 states that if goods fail in some way within six months of purchase, the consumer can return it for their choice of refund, replacement or repair.

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The Ombud’s office told the retailer that the stain wasn’t material  - in other words it had nothing do to with the mattress sagging - so they relented and replaced the mattress.

But I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they continue to try the mattress stain line to deprive others of their right to recourse should their mattress fail in some way within six months of purchase.

Knowledge is power  - stand your ground and tell them that legally,  a stain is not material.

The same applies to a scratch on a cellphone’s screen, should the phone develop a fault - unless, of course, it’s “material”.

 Contact Wendy

Get in touch with Wendy via her website or her Facebook page. Please note that Wendy is not able to personally respond to every email she receives. If she is able to take up your case, she will contact you directly. Here are other avenues for you to consider.

Listen to more podcasts from Wendy Knowler in the Consumerwatch channel below: 

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