(NEW YORK) — Southwest Airlines apologized Saturday to hundreds of customers who reported being charged multiple times for the same ticket.
Celebrating the milestone of reaching three million Facebook fans, the airline Friday announced the “LUV2LIKE” promotion, which was supposed to save participating customers 50 percent off select tickets. Instead, many of the customers found their debit and credit cards had been charged multiple times with totals amounting up to thousands of dollars.
Adria Shipp of Greensboro, N.C. was trying to buy a ticket to go to Colorado for $200. The ticket purchase wouldn’t go through, and then the website declined her debit card. Shipp says when she checked her bank balance, she was horrified to discover she had a balance of 16 cents.
“It was just panic that I have no money in my account,” Shipp said of the erroneous charges. “Then I started thinking that maybe it wasn’t Southwest at all — like maybe this is a scam. Was it really from Southwest? Did I give my information to some random person?”
Other Southwest customers took to Facebook with their complaints after discovering the duplicate charges.
“This is awful … I really need to know if I will get some kind of email confirmation that my duplicate charges (5 times for ONE flight) have been REFUNDED to my credit card immediately. They blew my credit limit. Beeen [sic] on hold almost 2 hours,” wrote one customer.
Another customer wrote that she had received 13 confirmations, but waited three hours to speak with a customer service representative. ” … I don’t need $3,900 on my credit card for a $290 trip!!” she wrote on the airline’s Facebook page.
Though Southwest says on its Facebook page it “will not address specific Customer Service issues” via the social networking site, the airline responded online to the growing complaints with an apology:
“Due to the overwhelming response, we experienced some site performance issues at various times throughout the day. We apologize to our Customers for any inconvenience and are proactively [canceling] any duplicate itineraries that may have occurred.”
But for all the backlash, some have acknowledged the error but indicated they might remain loyal Southwest customers. Shipp said the airline charged her 10 separate times for her ticket, but she’s not so unforgiving.
“I think I’ll just be really careful and double check things. Usually when I fly, I try to only fly Southwest. I love them, so I don’t want this to change how I feel about them, so I’m hoping that this is just a one time thing.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
David Goldman, CNN
Ahiza Garcia, CNN
Jethro Mullen Ivana Kottasova and Patrick Gillespie, CNN