Greyhound Has A Strange Understanding Of The Word 'Refundable'

Noa bought Greyhound tickets that were sold as refundable. Unfortunately, the bus line was using some other, little-known sense of the word “refundable” that actually means “we will charge you extra for a refund, but not actually grant a refund if this route is discontinued.” It didn’t make a whole lot more sense to Noa, either.

He e-mailed us back in July:

If you buy a ticket on greyhound.com and pay extra for the refundable option – the ticket should be refundable, no?

Well, its not.

Not even if greyhound stops running that bus route. What happened is that I bought 2 tickets (one refundable for my friend and a cheaper non-refundable for myself) for Vancouver to Seattle at 7pm few months in advance. Turns out, greyhound cancelled any evening service on that route (the latest bus leaving is now 2pm).

First – no emails or anything sent telling us about the cancellation. Fine, I was diligent and found out by re-checking the website of the cancellation few weeks before travel. Several days before the date of travel, I went to the greyhound counter and nicely asked if I can get a credit or anything since the bus route has cancelled.

No.

Okay, what about the fact that one of the tickets was refundable (and I paid extra for making it refundable). Can at least that one ticket be refunded, if not both.

No.

Called their customer service, went to the office again at a different time to talk to a different agent. Same answer. No refunds even on the refundable ticket.

What. The. Fuck.

Is greyhound.com just lying when it says the ticket is refundable? All my attempts point to yes.

We wrote back, rather confused, and asked whether the non-refundage had anything to do with the international nature of the trip. Nope, he said. But Greyhound did have an explanation.

No, nothing about it being an international issue (the tickets were bought from greyhound.com, the US site). The reason the agent gave was “tickets bought from the website are heavily discounted so it doesn’t matter what it said, no refunds”.

I’m not giving up though – there’s apparently a mail address for refunds – will send them a letter with tickets. Lets see if that works.

We’re always happy when a reader is able to resolve their own complaints. Not because it saves us work, but because the goal of this site is empowering consumers to resolve your own issues, not posting customer service nightmares and hoping that someone at the offending company notices. (Though sometimes that’s the only way.) So we waited patiently to hear back from Noa about what was sure to be a swift refund from Greyhound, along with an apology. Well, no. He updated us a few weeks later:

It has been 2 weeks since I sent greyhound a email well as snail mail on their refund contact: http://www.greyhound.com/en/contactus.aspx#refunds

I have heard nothing, nor a response on email.

To recap:
– Greyhound cancelled my route, we had refundable ticket
– Inquiry on the phone, they didn’t agree to a refund.
– Inquiry in person at the nearest station, they didn’t agree to a refund.
– Inquiry sent by email, no reply
– Inquiry sent by snail mail, no reply.

How exactly does one get a refund from Greyhound, if they have bought a refundable ticket? What other recourse do I have?

Perhaps from Greyhound’s point of view, this route isn’t canceled: travelers just have to leave five hours earlier. Or the next day. Why does that mean there’s no refund available for the refundable ticket, though?

Here is some Greyhound contact information that we published in 2008. Perhaps someone is still at the phone at one of these numbers, and can help Noa out.