While airlines have managed to conserve some liquidity by offering loans to their customers since the start of the pandemic, at Desjardins Insurance, reimbursements are rather random.
This is illustrated by the story of Yves Pronovost, 62, and his wife, Collette Dumais Pronovost, “young” retirees from Châteauguay, near Montreal.
In the fall of 2019, they plan to travel to Cuba for two weeks with a couple of friends.
Mr. Pronovost is responsible for organizing everything for the quartet. Departure is scheduled for March 18, 2020.
Five days before taking off, they must resign themselves: Quebec is put on hiatus and the planes are grounded. The trip is canceled.
“We want to be reimbursed. We no longer make ourselves young-young. Who knows if we will still be able to travel in the future? We are still talking about $ 4000 per couple, ”says Pronovost.
On the phone, on March 13, a representative of Desjardins Insurance assured him that the reimbursement was only a formality.
Only here, they have never been reimbursed, while the other couple has been.
“The money was paid into their account 52 days later without any problem,” said Yves Pronovost, who made the reimbursement request on behalf of the two couples, covered by the same policy.
As for him, his complaint was refused after 91 days.
“It’s the same bill! It’s as if they had drawn a line right in the middle, ”he wonders. Desjardins Insurance invokes the travel credits granted by the carrier, Air Transat in this case, to justify its refusal.
“A travel credit offered by a carrier is considered a reimbursement,” says Desjardins Assurances spokesperson Jean-Benoît Turcotti. Hotel nights, car rentals, or other non-refundable things at destination, however, are eligible for a full refund, he adds.
Reimbursed “by mistake”
But Yves Pronovost and Collette Dumais Pronovost do not want to know anything about travel credits, valid for 24 months.
“There is no guarantee that our financial conditions, our physical and health conditions will be as good within two years”, pleads the 62-year-old man.
He then begins a long process to recover his $ 3,876. Among other things, he asks for the help of an advisor from his Caisse populaire.
“She replied that if the second couple’s complaint was accepted, it was because there was an error and they did not want to repeat it”, explains Mr. Pronovost.
A mistake ? The retiree wonders how many, among the thousands of Quebecers in his situation, were entitled to this “error”.
And that, impossible to know.
“We do not disclose the number of reimbursement requests received since March or the acceptance rate versus the refusal rate,” replied Mr. Turcotti, who qualifies these data as “competitive” and “confidential”.
Yves Pronovost’s complaint made its way to the Desjardins Insurance Dispute Resolution Officer. The authority validates the refusal to reimburse on November 23, 2020.
Obviously, the retiree has some against the insurer, who reimbursed his friends and not him. But he also has some against the federal government, which refuses to come to the aid of the airlines, which would allow customers like him to recover their money.
“If Bombardier, Aldo, Cirque du Soleil and many others are eligible, why not Air Transat? ” he asks.