- Teen OK after riding in wheel well of Hawaii jet
- Kraft recalls 96K pounds of Oscar Mayer hot dogs over cheese error
- Boy Scouts boots church as host after gay leadership dispute
- Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s new book raises 2016 presidential speculation
- America is an oligarchy, not a democracy or republic, university study finds
- Rep. Marsha Blackburn: Hillary Clinton won’t be first female president
- French president accuses Syria’s Assad of gassing his own citizens
- Jimmy Carter’s grandson makes gains in governor’s race in Georgia
- Yemen: Airstrike targets al Qaeda training camps
- Easter worshippers shocked as car rams church, injuring 21
Southwest says computer glitch caused ticket woes
DALLAS (AP) — Southwest Airlines’ attempt to thank its Facebook friends with a half-price ticket sale backfired when customers were inadvertently billed multiple times for a single flight — they’re not feeling the “luv.”
“No, it wasn’t a hack, it was just a technology glitch in our system that caused that,” duplicate bookings and billings to customers’ debit and credit cards, Ashley Dillon, a Southwest spokeswoman said Saturday.
The company became aware of the problem around 5 p.m. Friday, she said, when they experienced website slowdowns and saw that customers were having to repeatedly refresh pages to take advantage of the airlines’ one-day “luv2like” promotion.
The special sale designed to celebrate Southwest’s reaching the three million mark in Facebook fans was supposed to give customers who booked flights on Friday a 50 percent discount on certain fares.
Instead, hundreds of frustrated would-be fliers wound up posting stories on Facebook about how their credit and debit cards were being repeatedly charged, in some cases 20 or more times for a single flight. They tweeted and blogged about the related financial hassles, which ranged from drained checking accounts and bounced checks to overdrawn credit limits and canceled bank cards.
Several complained of having to wait hours on the telephone when they called to speak to customer service representatives Friday and Saturday.
Suzanne Worrrell, 37, of Virginia Beach said she was just trying to fly down to Georgia to see her dad on a $69.60 ticket but was charged 20 times.
She clicked “purchase the ticket” and Southwest’s website froze so she wasn’t sure if it went through. Since she didn’t get a verifying email, Worrell said she went to her credit card’s website and that’s when she noticed repeated charges piling up.
The airline’s 800-number was busy and she said its website made no mention of the mix-up or suggestions about what to do late Friday, but when she got on Facebook she learned she was not alone.
“They’ve charged over $1,400 now for a $69 ticket,” Worrell said. “Initially I was sympathetic. I get it. Stuff happens. Make it better.”
Her attitude changed after finally speaking to a Southwest representative on Saturday. She said she was told it will take 8 to 10 days before she can get her money back.
“Now I’m just mad,” Worrell said, worrying about the penalties and interest fees she’ll be hit with because the charges knocked her over her spending limit.
On the upside, she said, if it’s not resolved, her 20-month-old son is less likely to annoy fellow passengers because mother and child will have a large section on the plane to themselves.
“Essentially I have 20 seats on one flight,” she said. “It’s just crazy.”
Dillon said Southwest did not yet know how many people were affected and doubted they would release that information when they do get it but stressed they are working to fix the problem and refund the erroneous charges as soon as possible.
TWT Video Picks
Women losing coverage under Obamacare, too
- Tactical advantage: Russian military shows off impressive new gear
- Former Ranger breaks silence on Pat Tillman death: I may have killed him
- Scalia to students on high taxes: At a certain point, 'perhaps you should revolt'
- USAID documents cite Hillary Clinton in chaos of Afghan aid
- Special Forces' suicide rates hit record levels casualties of 'hard combat'
- CURL: Shelly O first lady Michelle Obama comes in last
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- Building a D.C. memorial for an endless war bumps into regulations
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- No rush: Bob Goodlatte waits for heads to cool on heated legislation
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.