A Virginia woman who planned on taking the trip of a lifetime with the love of her life wound up instead planning her husband’s funeral and waiting for months for a refund for a hotel room in which she never stayed.
Donna Parfitt and her husband of 47 years, Charlie, toured the country in their RV, but they always wanted to go to Australia.
They found a deal on cheapOair.com, an online travel agency where customers can book hotels, airfare and vacation packages.
But Charlie got sick before the trip and became hospitalized. Four days before the couple was supposed to depart, he died.
“He died on my birthday,” Donna said.
She had to cancel the trip, but fortunately, Charlie insured their trip, so she was refunded for the airfare and the cruise, but she ran into problems with cheapOair getting an $802.96 refund for their hotel reservation, she said. For months she got the run-around, she said.
“The stories kept changing, so this one now was, Well, we have to make it to the person who made the reservations,” she said. “And I said, ‘Well, he’s deceased.’”
The credit card Charlie used to pay for the hotel had been canceled after he died, Donna said.
After three months, the online travel agency wanted proof of his death, Donna said.
“I said, ‘Well, now you're telling me this?’” she said. “’All this time later?’”
Donna sent his death certificate along with other documents, but continued to wait.
NBC4 Responds reached out to the company and asked for an explanation.
In a statement, the company that owns cheapOair said in part Donna's cancellation "should have been quickly approved under its compassion exception policy." It went on to say, "This unfortunate event is in no way reflective of the company's normally stellar customer service and values."
The same day NBC4 Responds contacted cheapOair, they called Donna to apologize.
“He said, ’We’ll be sending a wire transfer to your checking account,’” she said.
Donna was fully refunded and the company said it is "providing her with a round-trip ticket anywhere in the U.S."
“I was just happy I got the check back,” she said. “I had no idea or expected that they would offer anything further.”
Nebraska is the only state Donna and Charlie didn’t visit together. She said she’s going to get in the RV and make that trip on her own.