Mo Shahin made one mistake when booking a non-refundable, multi-city ticket with Expedia, an online travel agency. That mistake was a letter in his brother in laws last name and almost cost him $1,560. The entire ordeal led to over a two-week battle to solve the problem.
The mistake was minor when he was missing the letter h in his brother's name. He wrote "Abdelgaffar" instead of "Abdelghaffar." Assuming that this would be a very simple solution, he contacted the company after booking the tickets.
Expedia did have an option to fix the issue under what's known as a formal name-correction request. However, that ended up being denied about a week later, after Shahin continually called Expedia for updates, according to CBC. The reason it got denied was that the airlines involved, Air Canada, Lufthansa, and British Airways, had apparently rejected the correction.
Not only did he have to deal with the fact that the name correction was denied, but he was even told that the best option at this point in time would be to simply absorb the cost of the tickets and rebook. Possibly the best news for Shahin at that time was the fact that he could get a "partial tax refund". This isn't much and really only came out to a mere $50.
He didn't give up though, he also contacted Air Canada and Expedia once again to properly solve the issue. Since he booked the tickets through Expedia's service, he would need to deal with them instead of Air Canada directly. According to an airline spokesperson the ticket was refundable, but there's a catch, the ticket needed to be canceled and rebooked.
Last Friday, Shahin finally got some good news. His ticket was reissued under the correct name at no charge. However, it took the involvement of CBC to get it done, you see, they actually contacted the company. What this means is that the issue probably would still be going on if it wasn't for them trying to get more information.
At this time, no one knows why the tickets were non-refundable on Expedia but were refundable with Air Canada.
One thing is for sure. People need to be extremely careful when booking tickets as issues like this seem to happen all the time and it costs people hundreds of dollars in the end.