PhotoEver tempted to upgrade your airline seat? After hearing of one consumer's experience with Delta, we suggest you be very careful how you go about doing it.

“In January, 2011, I purchased two round-trip tickets from the USA to Europe,” Lori, of Edenton, N.C., told In June, three days before our flight, as I called to confirm our tickets and seat assignments, I learned of the 'new Economy Comfort' seats from the automated voice recording on the 1-800 phone number.”

Lori says she then called a Delta agent to upgrade her seats. The cost of the coach fare was $3,073. The cost of the Economy Comfort fare was $5,231, a difference of nearly $2,200 – or so Lori thought.

“To my horror, when I returned two weeks later, I find that I was charged full fare for the upgrade and would not receive reimbursement for the original coach seats purchased in January.”

That means Lori's trip to Europe didn't cost $3,073, as she originally planned, or the $5,231 she was willing to pay, but $8,305.

“It was never clearly explained that I would have to pay such an extreme increase to do this upgrade,” Lori said. “I was under the impression that I would be reimbursed for the $3,073.60 originally paid. I would have never agreed to that cost if I had a clear understanding of what the June agent was doing to our tickets.”

Normally, an upgrade implies that you will pay the difference between the standard level of service and a higher level. We're not sure what happened here but it's possible that Lori's ticket agent did not understand that it was an upgrade, but entered it as two additional ticket purchases. If so, Lori had paid for four tickets to Europe but only used two. Lori said she is fighting it, but she will need to get to someone very high up at Delta to correct a mistake of this magnitude. The lesson for the rest of us is to ask a lot of questions and make sure everyone is on the same page when you “upgrade” anything.

Make sure you're cancelled

Consumers repeatedly complain about services that auto-renew your subscription or membership and charge your credit card. Adam, of Baldwinsville, N.Y., has a different problem. He says he cancelled his membership, only to find out later he didn't.

“I called and spoke with a supervisor and she refused to refund my money,” Adam said. “I was told that I did not unsubscribe the correct way, but the website did inform me that my subscription would not be renewed. If it wasn't the correct way then it shouldn't even be an option.”

True, but almost all services give you a confirmation number when you order something or cancel something. Always a good idea to write it down.

Absent airbags?

When is an airbag supposed to deploy? Many drivers assume it's anytime they get into an accident.

“In June of 2010 I was rear ended on the highway,” Jaimie, of Asheville, N.C., told “My 2007 Toyota Yaris was totaled. No airbags deployed even though my car was smashed and windows had been shattered. I am driving a Toyota again and after reading all these complaints, I'm rather scared.”

Actually, Jaimie shouldn't be overly concerned. Despite popular belief, airbags are only supposed to deploy after contact with certain impact points.  They wouldn't normally deploy in a rear-end crash.


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