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B.C. woman loses bid to get reimbursed for Hawaii flight

The woman claimed $874 in airfare from RBC. However, B.C.'s Civil Resolution Tribunal did not rule in her favour.
Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C.

The B.C. Civil Resolution Tribunal ruled Dec. 6 that a bank’s credit card awards program isn’t responsible for airline flight changes or a woman’s inability to check on flights before going to the airport.

Sheba Seow originally bought the return Vancouver-Hawaii tickets Jan. 4 through an RBC Rewards credit card program. However, WestJet rescheduled the Feb. 16, 2022 flight to the next day.

Seow told tribunal vice-chair Shelley Lopez she was not told this before she arrived at the airport. She then bought two replacement tickets for a different return flight through Alaska Airlines, at a cost of $874.10.

Seow claimed that amount from RBC.

Lopez said RBC has credited Sow’s RBC Rewards account with points that have a $317.36 value, which is equivalent to the reward points she used to purchase the original tickets.

RBC further said under the parties’ agreement, it cannot be held responsible for WestJet’s flight change or Seow’s inability to confirm her flight on WestJet’s website.

RBC also said it emailed Seow in January about the rescheduled flight. Seow denied RBC ever emailing her about the cancellation.

Lopez found the effect of the rewards program’s contractual terms is that Seow cannot hold RBC liable for the Alaska Airlines bill that followed WestJet’s cancellation.

“I accept Ms. Seow did not see those emails, since I find it unlikely she would show up at the airport on Feb. 16 for a flight if she knew it had been rescheduled for 24 hours later. However, the fact she did not see those emails does not mean RBC did not send them,” the tribunal ruled.

Lopez said it was Seow’s choice to buy the Alaska Airlines tickets.

“There is no evidence before me that her having already arrived at the airport necessitated her leaving that night,” Lopez said.

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