WOW: Chargebacks by the Thousands

WOW: Chargebacks by the Thousands

The recent sudden demise of Iceland’s budget airline WOW air has not only left thousands of travelers stranded, but also left them holding onto useless unused tickets. Already, news and consumer organizations are awash with advice about how stranded passengers can get their money back. Here’s what one news source had to say:

JPMorgan Chase proactively sent a notice to its customer service representatives working in its call centers to alert them that WOW customers would probably be calling to dispute charges or make refund claims because of canceled flights.

“Credit card calls will go to the credit card dispute team, and debit card calls will go the debit card dispute team,” said Tom Kelly, a spokesman for Chase. “We will process the claims as services not received and submit them to the bank or company that processed the purchases for WOW.”

Actually, this is welcome news for all charge card holders, not just those of them who were unfortunate enough to be left holding cancelled tickets on WOW. Why? Ask anyone who’s ever applied for a chargeback. Raising a dispute at your bank coded as a “service not received” is a notoriously arduous, bureaucratic procedure. Moreover, because the chargeback process is undertaken manually by the bank, the decision whether or not to raise a dispute it is often arbitrary. Any action by any bank, therefore, to streamline the dispute process and ensure that cardholders with the same exact claim will receive the exact same result is certainly a major step in the right direction.