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Iberia travel voucher scam

My wife and I had to cancel a flight from Chicago to Madrid due to my Covid diagnosis right before the flight. This was in early February 2023.

Iberia issued us a travel voucher once we provided them with a doctor's note.

A couple weeks later on Feb 25, we received an email that 2 individuals from Columbia had obtained our voucher number and had booked a ONE WAY flight from Havana Cuba to madrid for that same day!!

Even though we spent hours with Iberia customer service trying to stop this theft of our voucher...and Iberia customer service confirmed with us that these people would not be able to fly, they did indeed fly and hence our nightmare began.

Complaints to Iberia have been to no avail. Does anyone have any other suggestions of how we can work with Iberia to get the refund of our voucher which was stolen from us by people from Columbia.

Much obliged!!

Ken and Karen Novak

Posted by
14285 posts

Hmmm, I'd probably go ahead and contact www.Elliott.org a consumer advocacy website and see if they will take your case. Sounds like something they would enjoy getting in to.

Posted by
107 posts

Thank you for taking the time to respond we shall check this out.....

Posted by
7655 posts

Wow, what a confounding situation! It’s not as if someone flying from Chicago to Spain would interchangeably make their way to Cuba somehow, and then decide to go (one way?!?) to Spain. It’s apples vs. roast beef, not even apples vs. oranges. Was your voucher not for a future round trip? And for just you, not transferable to Others?

Are they alleging that you gave your voucher number to your Colombian “friends,” letting them go in your place? None of that adds up, if that’s the argument from Iberia. We had a different problem involving their partner, British Airways. It took call after call, being on Hold for long stretches before the next person took the call, and no satisfaction, time after time. We eventually got someone who was able/willing to fix the problem, but it took many many attempts to get to that person.

How many complaints to Iberia have you made? Did you ask/demand to speak to a Supervisor? Are you able/willing to try some more?

And how did these other people get your voucher, and how is it that Iberia accepted it? And why did they bother to e-mail you that your voucher number was being used by somebody else, not you, and not for the same Chicago to Madrid route that you’d originally planned?

Hope you at least are recovered from the virus.

Posted by
107 posts

All just perfect questions.

Iberia is actually a partner of british airways. When you ask for a supervisor he is never in. Or she. Throw in a spanish accent trying to speak english and you can understand even more of our frustration.

We're not giving up. Thanks for your encouragement.

We have probably put in twenty working hours on this already. Twenty five hundred dollars is involved so we're not giving up. I even have the CEOs email address now.

But I love your apples to roast beef comparison probably will have to use that. Best regards, Ken and Karen

Posted by
4689 posts

Depending on your credit card, you could also try going the route of contesting the charge (to me it is justified that you were denied service for that payment). It may be slightly less annoying than calling the airline over and over.
This is one of the crazier things I have heard happening with a voucher--good luck and keep us posted!

Posted by
107 posts

Thanks.

Another excellent reply.

Sure is making us feel better and more confident thanks everyone

Posted by
107 posts

All, We tried going via American Express and they would not help us. I see their point of view.

But Cyn, we love your wording THAT THIS ALL DOES NOT ADD UP, And we will be writing the Iberia contacts that Elliott has provided us with.

Right now I do not have the strength and stamina to make another phone call to Iberia. But I am not ruling that out down the road I am not giving up on this.

Posted by
1 posts

Kenbkb,
Wow, the same thing just happened to us today .
Have you resolved your case?
We had 2 vouchers issued for health reasons on 3/28 for a flight to Spain that we were scheduled to take yesterday 04/04.
Shortly after 12:00am, on 04/05 madrid time we received at our email address an email combining our 2 vouchers into one. Within minutes after we received a series of emails for a booking ticket confirmation, using the new combined voucher # for a Spanish guy from Bogota Columbia to Madrid.
I went on Iberia and could not access our vouchers. I called Iberia and they stated that a ticket was fraudulently purchased with our vouchers, but there was nothing they could do. The agent told me to file a police report, and then file a complaint at iberia.com
We think it might be inside fraud by a rogue Iberia employee.
Was your case resolved, do you have any advice for us?
Thanks, S&T

Posted by
8651 posts

Oh my goodness! I would definitely contact Elliott (both of you). This has the makings of an important story and I think he might be able to get to the bottom of this and get some action that "mere consumers" can't.

I am so sorry for this frustration and theft that has happened to you.

Posted by
10363 posts

CNN travel, too. Could be a gang rather than one rogue employee. You would think that knowing the day, time, flight and even the seat number of the illegal passenger, the local authorities in Spain could intercept the person with the illegal ticket upon landing and start investigating.

Here is the general EU passenger rights page.
https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/passenger-rights/air/index_en.htm

The address for the Spanish enforcement body is at the bottom of this page. Agecoa Estata; de Segiodad Aérea. in English and Spanish with an online complaint form. National enforcement bodies are usually reactive. Be sure you keep all your written records to share.
https://transport.ec.europa.eu/system/files/2022-10/2004_261_national_enforcement_bodies-2022-10.pdf

Posted by
20474 posts

Definitely sounds like an inside job. Iberia employee with access to the voucher numbers is selling them in Colombia.

Posted by
295 posts

I agree that this sound like an inside job, and not some random voucher stolen. Either the system is somehow mixing up voucher numbers, or someone in Iberia is selling them.

Posted by
107 posts

S & T,

OK, first let me apologize but I was going to come back here and respond to the fine members who assisted us with valuable insights. We finally did get our vouchers reinstated.

Secondly, here is what we did (with the help of people here) and here is what you will need to do.

The Elliott Group posts on their website the name of the CEO of Iberia and two Customer Service Contacts. Elliiott provides an email address for all of them (In fact, the CEO has three email addresses provided). The Customer Service email addresses both kicked out. But we did get a response from someone in the CEO's office within a day or two. She requested our phone logs for the time we spent with (worthless) iberia Customer Service. We provided this information and within another day or two the Iberia CEO's office promised us a response in 9 days. They responded exactly on the 9th day and provided us with two new voucher numbers. (We also sent them a (worthless) police report.)

It's obvious Iberia Customer Service either has their hands tied or they are in on it.

The person(s) who stole our voucher were also from Columbia and for this theft they flew out of Havana on a one way ticket to Madrid. Remember, we had two RTs from Chicago to Madrid.

Yes, we believe there must some sort of internal theft ring. Hope this all helps. Let us know if you desire anything else.

We are in the process of contacting the Elliott Group to inform them the two Customer Service names they have provided for Iberia are no longer valid. We are pulling for you. Ken and Karen Novak

Posted by
107 posts

Note, a good suggestion was made to contact the Credit Card company about the lost vouchers, I mean, stolen vouchers. But they would not touch it with a ten foot pole.

Posted by
107 posts

MR, I commend your faith in mankind but this is very obviously an inside job. It will be up to Iberia management to get to the bottom of this. After paying out X number of refunded vouchers they may eventually start to see a massive hit to the bottom line and dredge out who the offenders are.

PS. I would like to add the offenders who stole our voucher brought along some extra baggage charges to make their fees come within $1.28 of our original total of our two ticket prices. LOL

Posted by
7655 posts

Glad you got your vouchers reinstated. I wonder what crimes the crooks pulled once they reached Madrid using the pilfered voucher codes?

It would be great if the authorities (Interpol?) were waiting at the off-ramp in Madrid for each of the Iberia passengers using the stolen vouchers. The one-way flights could turn out to be one-way trips to jail.

Posted by
107 posts

Cyn, good point about what happens on the other end. I would surmise this could be a longer tentacled fraud system in the works, perhaps even one extending to the end point in Madrid. Remember, ours were stolen as a ONE WAY TICKET to Madrid. At least they had he language in common, but working on a job and lodging would be obstacles to overcome.

Posted by
14285 posts

Thank you so much for circling back and letting us know the outcome. I'm shocked that the same thing apparently happened to others! Wow.

Posted by
107 posts

You're welcome, Pam. They responded to us as they told us they would, in 9 days precisely. My wife and I got the sense this is happening a lot when they asked for our phone records which are easy to obtain these days right from your cell phone bill. We sense they are trying to nail down the individuals involved this way...

Posted by
1 posts

Hey guys,

I am in same boat. I had roundtrip with Iberia from Los Angeles to Barcelona and on cancellation, they provided voucher which is already used by someone. It is definitely voucher fraud. Can someone please help with step by step process to get full refund?
I already sent email to emails listed in above thread CEO and all other, but no response. What is the best course of action?

Posted by
107 posts

Piyush,

Please follow the instructions in this string. If you email the CEO you will get a response. The other two emails provided by the Elliot Report are not valid.

Let me know. If necessary, email the CEO of Iberia again.

There is definitely systemic fraud occurring and they need to be made aware. A second person posted the same scenario as we had, but they have not bothered to respond here.

kenbkb
Ken and Karen

Posted by
1 posts

Hi everyone, I am on the same boat also.
I have a travel voucher from Iberia Airlines for $1006.
This past Friday I received an email confirming a reservation made using that voucher and MY email! The passengers are Erika Suarez and Elias Casseres. Traveling June 16 from Madrid, Spain to Bogota, Colombia. The interesting thing is that her home address on the ticket is the address for Iberia
I contacted Iberia, by phone and was given a case number. I also contacted them through Twitter and Facebook. I received an email today (June 13) stating that their investigation has finished and they are not responsible so I will not get my money back.
I am so upset!

Posted by
559 posts

Are we allowed to wonder about three first time posters with the same issue? And who never responded to answers given.

OTOH, congrats to the original poster on getting your vouchers back. 🙂

Posted by
107 posts

Linram, I explained in an earlier post about how we got our money back.

I suggest you refer to that and try that yourselves.

Posted by
107 posts

Thanks, wishin.

It's obvious there is a corrupt cell within Iberia working for South American individuals. And I am really surprised that after we got a response from the CEOs office that this nonsense would stop. Obviously not.

Posted by
10363 posts

The first-time posters are searching the internet for help. There’s nothing suspicious, and I hope they have been able to benefit from what the OP has written l

Posted by
1 posts

Hi Ken,

We are in the same boat and got scammed. Thank you for sharing the all the information.

Would you please share Iberia's CEO's email address so we can also reach out.

Thanks!

Posted by
2 posts

Hello all,

Thanks very much to everyone that contributed and thanks Ken and Karen to kick this off.
I am on the same boat, and unfortunately I decided to check online if someone else was in my same situation too late, meaning that I had already spent multiple hours dealing with (hopeless) Iberia customer service.
The value of my 2 tickets from Milan to Buenos Aires was 2,948 EUR - since we weren't able to travel we received the voucher for the full amount. On the 20th of January I receive an email with 2 electronic tickets for 2 passengers flying from Bogota to Madrid and back; the flight was scheduled for the day after, the 21st of January.
I immediately called Iberia, told them the situation, and they confirmed they would act on it and stop the passengers from flying and start the process to reissue my vouchers.
From that moment onwards the nightmare started. Multiple calls with the customer service and a final email few days ago from their office saying they will not reimburse the vouchers.
That is when I thought I might not be the only one and found this forum.
I will proceed with the instructions above and keep you posted.
Thanks very much
Dodu

Posted by
2 posts

Quick update. The email address of the CEO now seems to be deactivated... Happened to someone else that the email bounced? Thanks

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you for sharing your sad experience with Iberia. The same happened to us in June. Someone used our vouchers to book a flight on 4th June from Quito (Equador) to Madrid. The day before we received an email with the electronic ticket on the name of M.V. The passenger and the booking are unknown to us and the vouchers were only recently on our account.
The response of Iberia is highly unsatisfactory.
I filed a already a criminal complaint and civil proceedings will follow.
Eric Dirix
Belgium

Posted by
107 posts

Eric,

Good you filed that criminal complaint. Apparently the theft of vouchers is a mini pandemic at Iberia.

If you can see from my posting, we did get our money back, or I should say, our voucher back. It was $2500. You have to email the CEO and his office will respond. I should say they were pretty prompt about it also. Why Iberia cannot stop this rampant fraud is a mystery. It appears to be an inside job though.

Here is the link with the CEO's email addresses. We used the middle one but try all three to be safe:

https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/iberia-airlines/

Posted by
12 posts

I am going through this same exact situation now! It is so frustrating. Is emailing the CEO still the best course of action? Any updates?

Posted by
107 posts

Cesare, you must be the third or fourth one now since we had our issue. Emailing the CEO worked for us and we got our full voucher back. I provided three email addresses for the CEO since apparently one of them was no longer working.

Unfortunately, the other people who came here for help have not continued to share the success or failure of their attempt to get their vouchers back. Ken and Karen

Posted by
2 posts

This is unbelievable and unacceptable, the same thing just happened to us!! We were issued 3 vouchers after not having been able to travel from Miami to Madrid and they were STOLEN in less than a week. They’ve bought 4 tickets with our vouchers, also to/from Havana and Bogota. We’ve submitted 4 claims online, 1 claim in the Madrid airport, and have spent HOURS trying to get this resolved. Iberia does not offer any solutions. Just emailed their CEO as suggested by the original poster. Has anyone else on this forum gotten their case resolved?

Posted by
107 posts

c.gonz,

It would appear there is a massive inside scam going on with Iberia. You must email and stay on top of that CEO email to get your money back. It is the only way. It worked for us for $2500 so it will work for you.

Let me know how it goes and if you need additional help. This is a massive scam. You are probably the fifth person reporting a stolen voucher since we first posted. Ken and Karen Novak

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for your response! I’ll let you guys know how this ends up. I also did some digging in Spanish, and there are other forums where people are going through this same scam with Iberia. What worked for one person was submitting an official claim in la Guardia Civil Española. Not sure if you have to be a Spanish Citizen to be able to submit a claim. I’ll find out.

Posted by
107 posts

c. gonz,

We found that the CEO's office responded rather quickly.

Here is the original response from the CEO's office we received. It was from the Centro de Atencion al Cliente, or Customer Care Center. Once we responded to their questions, they responded in 9 days.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Mr Kenneth Novak
[email protected]

Reference: P20230xxxxxxxx.......

Madrid, 17th March 2023
Dear Mr Novak,

I acknowledge reception of your email sent to our President’s office in relation to your voucher FB2-M9**********.
In order to investigate your case further, we would need you to provide us with the following details of the call(s) you made to our Call Centre:

Iberia telephone number you called.
Telephone number from which you made the call
Approximate day / time of the call and the place you called from, so that we can know the time zone.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Pilar Agudo
Iberia Customer Relations
B2B Customer Center & Claims
Customer Engagement

Posted by
12 posts

Wow. This is infuriating but, at least I know that I am not crazy. I emailed the CEO addresses and have not heard back for over a week. I’ve been calling customer service every few days. Sometimes I get a supervisor. One was named Miguel. He promised to call me back in three days and never did. Most recently Caroline did call me back. She asked for more information and promised to call back in another two days. She did not. I called again today and finally received an email response to my claim from a month ago saying that the benefit of vouchers is how easy they are to transfer. Their ‘Digital Security area’ reviewed my case and found no liability on Iberia’s end!

Posted by
350 posts

What an interesting story, and certainly frustrating and exhausting for the victims!

It was suggested that it's possible there's insider scam in Iberia. That's possible. Another possibility is there's hacking by outsiders who are able to get to Iberia's computer system and whenever a voucher number generated, they are able to see it and they just take those numbers and use it. I suppose another possibility is if someone has hacked the algorithm for generating the vouchers and they are able to, without further hacking of Iberia's internal systems, generate valid voucher codes.

I really wonder though what is the root cause and if we'll ever find out!

Posted by
12 posts

I am desperately tagging on twitter to try and gain attention to this issue. I am also talking to a lawyer. Maybe this is a class action? I’m tagging: @iberia_en @iberia and #iberiafraud

Posted by
107 posts

Cesare,

Sorry to hear about your frustration. And really surprised that the CEO's office has not responded.

Here is what I would do. I would send out emails to each of those addresses again. Then, I would also MAIL a letter to the CEO himself in Madrid. I know if I had enough money at stake, this is what I would do. Give it a shot. ken and karen novak

Posted by
107 posts

Muriel,

This is beyond the voucher number. They also hacked our email address and used that to steal the voucher. ken and karen novak

Posted by
107 posts

Cesare,

You do what you need to do.

The only comment we will make is that it took the CEO's office to return our voucher. This is critical.

Posted by
2 posts

Dear All,
Just to inform you that I received a message from Iberia that my vouchers will be restored.
(vouchers were stolen in june by third person to book flight from Quito to Madrid).
Kind regards,
Eric.

Posted by
107 posts

So Eric, please let the others know. Was it the CEO's office that responded?? ken and karen novak

Posted by
1 posts

Hola!

MY VOUCHERS WERE STOLEN ALSO!!!! Oh dear. Not making me feel optimistic reading everything above....

I had a medical emergency and came close to dying when I had a flight to Mexico City from Barcelona two weeks later. (I am American but have lived in Barcelona for 22 years). They denied me the vouchers for a good couple months when I was really really sick and I had to get several documents together to finally be authorized for a reimbursement. They FINALLY said okay, but then never sent me the voucher code. This required another 10? 12? hours on the phone. And finally got the voucher number!!!

I am in Barcelona and speak in Spanish to customer service. It is outsourced to Colombia.

So, about 3 weeks ago, I likewise started receiving email after email. Felicidades Angela Hurtado! Tienes tu vuelo! Your flight leaves today from Madrid to Bogota!! It just made me feel SICK, after everything I had already been through. I called 3 times and told them Angela Hurtado has seat 10C and the flight leaves at 12.30 pm!!!! (it was about 8am when I started calling). Worse than useless the customer service girls. I have filed an online claim ensuring me they would respond in 20 days, and it is 20 days tomorrow and not holding out much hope of getting a response. Meanwhile, flight prices are increasing every day...

Did anybody get back MORE of a monetary total for the pain and suffering? I WANT MORE MONEY than my original voucher (1600 euros).

By the European data protection law, companies have the LEGAL DUTY AND OBLIGATION to have adequate data protection mechanisms in place. And they have not apologized, have not given me the money. I am filing today a second claim with Iberia, I filed a police report, and we have other services here like the "Defensor del Pueblo" (ombudsman sort of) and the Spanish Data Protection Agency... I will NOT be defeated. But what an enormous pain in the butt.

Any further recommendations much appreciated... Mary

Posted by
107 posts

Mary, my wife and I were the original complainants to this string. We had our voucher stolen as well after a same day notification that someone was taking our flight from us. You can read all about us in the original posting.

We fought and fought like you did but eventually we got our voucher back after emailing the CEO's office. It was the secretary or administrative assistant to the CEO that did the work for us. But, no, we did not get above what our voucher was worth.

I can also strongly recommend the elliott.org organization. This is what they do for a living, help airline passengers who have been ripped off.

https://www.elliott.org/

Of the several other people who have been ripped off by Iberia and have posted here, none have really come back to say what has happened with their vouchers, so our experience is the only one you would have history on. Let me correct that, a couple others have said they were having problems with the CEO's office. They indicated they did not get the cooperation we did.

Ken and Karen Novak

Posted by
12 posts

Wow. More people with the same problem. I am still fighting to get my vouchers refunded after they were stolen. I emailed the ceo office two times but, never heard back. My first claim through Iberia’s website was denied because they said their data team determined they were not liable. Now they have be going through an appeal. I have been waiting for over 20 days to received an answer.

I started a twitter thread and two people messaged me to say that they had success getting refunds through messaging Iberia on twitter. No luck for me yet.

Posted by
12 posts

I just received another denial of liability in response to my appeal. They provide no evidence or documentation saying how they came to this conclusion. The evidence is clearly on my side. I alerted Iberia every time I received notices that my voucher was being used by an unauthorized person. I told them to cancel the reservations. They allowed continued access to my voucher until the balance went to zero. They never canceled the voucher or issued a new one. Now they say that their Digital Services department determined no liability on Iberia’s end.

Posted by
12 posts

The CEO office never responded to me. The response was a boiler plate letter sent from the customer service center and referencing the Digital Service center. I emailed the CEO addresses several times but never received a response. I have reached out to Elliott.com I will send the paper trail their way.

Iberia twitter seems helpless to provide more information.

Posted by
27435 posts

I'd try sending a physical letter to the CEO's office. Email is a lot easier to ignore. A letter will get stamped in and likely put into an internal tracking system.

Posted by
107 posts

Cesare,

Agree with Acraven's advice also.

You are doing the right thing, ie., everything we did to get our refund.

Let me say if we can get you the NAME of the person in the CEO's office that responded, and what email address they responded from. We were out of town and unable to respond here quicker. Give me some time to dredge up that email from the CEO's office. ken and karen Novak

Posted by
107 posts

This is the response we received:

I am writing to you in relation to the above referenced case, regarding the problem you had with the use of your voucher and I reiterate my apologies for the inconvenience.

Yesterday you should have received a communication with two new vouchers for USD XXXXXX each. Please do not hesitate to contact us again in case you have not received them yet.

I sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding throughout this process. Please be assured that we remain committed to providing the best service and care to our customers and we look forward to continuing your confidence in the future.

Yours faithfully,

Pilar Agudo

Iberia Customer Relations

B2B Customer Center & Claims

Customer Engagement

Posted by
12 posts

I just sent an email to the recommended email address. I received an automatic reply:

Dear customer,
In order to attend your query we would appreciate you to contact our web-page, https://www.iberia.com, where you will find the different channels through which you may deal with any matters concerning your journey with Iberia.
Best regards,
Iberia Customer Support
www.iberia.com

Posted by
107 posts

Cesare,

Then write a regular letter to the CEO's office. Don't let it go. Send it Certified so you get a copy ensuring they received it and signed for it.

Right. Don't give up.

Did you ask the Elliott Group if they could help further?

Posted by
12 posts

Elliott Group recommended filing an FBI report for cyber fraud. I have just completed the process. Not sure what happens next. I won't give up!

Posted by
27435 posts

I suspect a class-action lawsuit might get Iberia's attention, but there probably aren't enough American victims to make the potential payout large enough to attract lawyers willing to work on a contingency basis.

Posted by
107 posts

Cesare, good work. My daughter is an FBI agent. I suspect she does not see much in the way of this type of fraud, but I know if you can only get their attention, they will be like pit bulls on it. Push them till you get a response.

Posted by
107 posts

Cesare,

Good luck with Elliott. Be a pit bull on this. A lot of cash is at stake. And you did nothing wrong. I think I told you I mentioned this to our daughter who is in the FBI and then will not get involved in this cause it is a foreign affair.

Did you write a handwritten letter to the CEO's office?

Posted by
107 posts

Do the written letter now. Don't wait for Elliott. Double team them. Do everything you can.