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Call Kurtis: Expired Debit Card Poses Refund Problem For Widow

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) —  When Antoinette Houston’s husband suddenly died last year, United Airlines agreed to refund her for a flight he couldn’t take. She says she requested a check or a travel voucher, but she says United insisted it could only refund the money on his original form of payment, a debit card that’s since been closed. She said United eventually agreed to send out the refund, but five months after her initial request, she still hadn’t received the refund.

“I have to explain each time what i went through.  It’s disheartening.  It’s stressful,” she said.

The Better Business Bureau’s Gary Almond says many companies require refunding money to the original form of payment. He says the policy is meant to keep you from getting double refunded by also challenging the charge with your credit or debit card.

“It appears to the merchant’s card processing company they haven’t provided you a refund,” Almond said.

Some receive pre-paid debit cards as gifts, and throw out the card when the money is spent. The Dean of the Business College at Sacramento State, Sanjay Varshney says, “whether you use a credit card, a debit card, that really should not be as relevant as long as you have a receipt.”

Once we reached out to United Airlines, it apologized for the confusion and refunded Antionette saying in an email, “We reached out to Ms. Houston to explain our refund policy. After receiving the proper documentation, we refunded the cost of the ticket to Ms. Houston’s form of payment.”

Antoinette says she sent United a death certificate and doctor’s note months before calling us. Once we got involved, she says they required her to send in proof she had power of attorney. Only then they sent her the money. She thinks the airline should handle grieving relatives with more compassion.

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