Ron Brown hadn’t taken a vacation in eight years, so when he got the chance to attend a wedding in the Philippines, the Wheeling man decided it was time for an adventure.
"My daughter said, ‘Dad you have the money socked away. Enjoy your life for a change.’ So I was like ok, here we go!" Brown said.
Brown said he booked a flight and trip insurance last year through discount travel site CheapOair for about $6,200. Not long after, though, complications from a prior back surgery flared up and his doctor forced him to cancel his travel plans.
"I'm grounded. I can't go anywhere or do anything,” Brown said.
When Brown called CheapOair to cancel his trip for medical reasons, the travel site pointed him to its trip insurance partner, Seven Corners.
"They informed me that we don't have your insurance, that we no longer do business with CheapOair," Brown recalled.
Seven Corners – hired by CheapOair for a three-month period -- bounced Brown to CheapOair’s newest insurance partner, Trip Mate, which first told him to get a doctor’s letter. Brown complied, then heard this:
"Due to a pre-existing condition, they were denying my claim,” he said. “Previously existing meaning that I knew I was going to have problems from surgery. If I knew that, why would I make the reservations?"
With plenty of finger-pointing but few answers, Brown reached out to NBC 5 Responds. After our inquiry, CheapOair changed that denial, saying that after a thorough investigation, the airline involved had agreed to refund the airfare and CheapOair would refund the insurance fee – for a total of $6,178.37.
"What took me two and a half months to try and accomplish , you guys were able to do it in less than a week," Brown said.
CheapOair also said: “The receipt of the Seven Corners insurance document was a human error on our end and we apologize for the inconvenience we have caused Mr. Brown. We have since updated our travel insurance documents in the system to reflect our current insurance partner, Trip Mate.”
Trip Mate would not comment for our report.