Nobody wants to wait months for a refund cheque.
Especially if that cheque was a loan from a friend in the first place.
Dan Ervin lives in Trail and has been waiting for a kidney transplant for six years, and luck was in Ervin’s favour when a call came in eight weeks ago that a donor was available.
But the clock was ticking, because in order to receive a new kidney, Ervin had to get to Vancouver from Trail within 12 hours.
And as fate would have it, the call came in on a Saturday when a free medical flight via Hope Air, which partners with Pacific Coastal Airlines out of the Trail airport, was not available.
(Ervin says Hope Air is run Monday to Friday 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.,Eastern time)
To get to the coast in time for surgery, Ervin had to get out to Castlegar to catch the next plane out.
He lives on a small disability pension, money is tight and the plane ticket cost hundreds of dollars that Ervin didn’t have.
The first available flight out of the West Kootenay Regional Airport was Saturday Sept. 2 via Air Canada at the price of $323.53, one-way.
So Ervin’s good friend, a senior on a fixed income, saved the day. The man drove Ervin to the airport and paid $323.53 by debit for the Vancouver-bound flight.
Unfortunately, before Ervin could board, he received a call from Vancouver informing him the kidney was no longer available and the transplant was cancelled.
Understandably upset, the men returned to the Air Canada desk and asked for a refund as the medical flight was no longer needed.
Ervin says they were told a refund could not be issued right away. Instead, they would have to wait for it to be processed at the corporate office, and a cheque would be mailed out.
Now the end of October, he is still waiting for the $323.53 refund.
Being out the money is a real hardship, because by the time Ervin pays rent and food for a special renal diet, there’s nothing left to start paying back his friend.
“I’ve been calling them (Air Canada) every week for the last two months,” says Ervin, clearly frustrated. “All I’m getting is the run around, a wooden voice comes on the line and says, ‘your request is being processed and the cheque will be coming in the mail’.
“That’s exactly what it (phone recording) says,” Ervin added.
“And it’s hard because the people who loaned me the money did it as a favour to me, they are seniors and on a fixed income too.”
The Trail Times contacted Air Canada media relations Thursday, the company responded by email that afternoon, citing concern. The email stated the Air Canada Customer Relations team would be in touch with Ervin.
By Monday afternoon, Ervin says he has not yet been contacted by Air Canada.
“I’ve done some legwork on my own,” he said. “If they call me again, I’m going Pacific Coastal and not bothering with Air Canada. I’m still getting the run around.”