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EasyJet diverted my flight and then refused to pay my taxi bill

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My easyJet flight back from Tenerife last month wasn’t able to land at Gatwick due to air traffic control problems. Passengers were told we were diverting to Luton and would be taken back to Gatwick by coach. When we arrived at Luton at 3.30am, we were told by easyJet staff that no coaches were available and we would have to make our own way home. I’d already spent all my available money on holiday, so the additional £241.79 I had to spend on an Uber to get me back to Gatwick has put me in a difficult financial situation.

I duly filed a claim for the taxi fare, along with the receipt. EasyJet rejected it, claiming nonsensically that the journey needed to be from the East Midlands. After several calls to customer services I raised another expense claim, which was rejected because the journey occurred after the flight. I was reduced to tears by easyJet’s appalling customer service and am currently unable to pay bills because of its refusal to refund me. I’ve raised two complaints with no response, and I’m worried I’m never going to get my money back as promised.
AB Chertsey, Surrey

I read easyJet’s three rejection letters with incredulity. The first declared your receipt invalid and required you to send proof of a fare from East Midlands Airport to Gatwick, despite the same missive confirming that the flight was diverted to Luton. The second claimed your flight was delayed rather than rerouted and that your taxi ride was “a private arrangement which were [sic] booked after the flight disruption took place”. The third repeated that your claim was rejected because your flight was delayed and you were not entitled to reimbursement for an “alternate carrier”.

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You feel that easyJet was fobbing you off until you gave up. Initially it was unable to account for the three conflicting rejection letters.

EasyJet said: “Due to lack of availability, we were unable to source transport from Luton to Gatwick so advised passengers who sourced their own that we would reimburse them. This remains the case for any passengers on the flight, so we would like to apologise for the incorrect response this passenger received. We are very sorry for the error and are now in touch with him to apologise and quickly process his expenses.”

Two days later the company told me it had discovered that the flight had been incorrectly listed as diverted to East Midlands on its system, and that the claims of 31 other passengers had also been rejected because of this. To me, this explanation makes no sense as two of the rejection letters cited a delay to the flight with no mention of a diversion. But the company didn’t respond when I pressed it on this.

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The other 31 affected passengers have now been contacted, according to easyJet, and the system amended so that future claims should make it through. This was an error which may well not have come to light if you hadn’t gone to the media. Your next step, if you hadn’t contacted me, would have been to complain to the alternative dispute resolution service, CEDR.

… and some customer service stories to give you hope

Now and then there lands in my inbox a tale of how things ought to be. They are usually crowded out by the horror stories, but this week, to restore some faith, let’s pause for applause for firms who know what customer service means.

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I bought a beautiful coat from a charity shop, perfect but for a small moth hole in the front. I looked up the makers, Harris Wharf London. Its website mentioned a commitment to sustainability and, rather cheekily, I emailed it about my find, to ask if it had any mending advice. Someone emailed me back straight away, ascertained make and colour, and sent me a small piece of the right material, for free, so that I could patch the hole. All this despite knowing that the coat was secondhand.
PF Bristol

My husband recently treated himself to an expensive pair of Leica binoculars from Ace Optics of Bath. When they arrived, they were a size smaller than the order, although the correct size was on the box. Ace Optics was very apologetic and found the other pair it had in stock was the same. It immediately ordered another pair from Germany. The courier collected the original pair when the pre-arranged delivery was made. Not only were we very impressed by the efficient and pleasant service, but it made an unrequested refund of part of the cost for the inconvenience.
RG Llangollen

I bought one of Bose UK’s Wave CD/radios about 30 years ago. More recently, the CD player started behaving eccentrically, so I returned it for inspection. It could not be repaired, so I was offered a new model, valued at close to £600, for £150. It was quickly delivered by courier at Bose’s expense. Other manufacturers please take note.
GB Ventnor, Isle of Wight

The subheading of this article was amended on 8 June 2022. An earlier version said the reader’s easyJet flight had been diverted to East Midlands airport; as the article made clear, it was diverted to Luton.

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