On Friday, Aug. 3, Southwest offered a limited-time promotion to celebrate the company's 3 million fans on Facebook. The airline was offering flights of up to 50 percent off (with several restrictions) and many reportedly responded to this offer.
According to Marketwatch
, this promotion, called “Wanna Get Away Fare” allowed customers to purchase tickets with the discount for up to eight customers on a single reservation.
The Los Angeles Times
reported customers that took advantage of this special offer found after they made the purchase they'd received multiple bookings and overcharges. CNET
noted some individuals on social media were saying they were charged 20 times the number of fares booked.
Southwest claims this was caused by a computer glitch and that the company plans on issuing refunds to those that were overcharged.
The company explained on its Facebook page
The overwhelming response from Customers who took advantage of our August 3 limited time offer launched to celebrate three million Fans on Facebook, created website performance issues at various times during the day. We realize that some Customers were charged more than once for the same reservation and we want to ensure you that we have all hands on deck, actively working to process refunds for any duplicate charges incurred.
Southwest also said they are actively processing refunds with additional staff scheduled to help fix the problems caused by the glitch.
Several customers were angry over this error, not just for being overdrawn and overbooked, but also for causing an impact on other finances.
One customer posted on Facebook, "You wiped out my checking account!" Another wrote on Southwest's Facebook page, "Are you going to pay my bills? Put gas in my car while I wait?"
The airline said customers that may have been overdrawn on their accounts due to the erroneous charges will be reimbursed for any overdraft bank fees. The company does request documentation of any fees incurred via fax at 877-506-0154.
Customers can also call (800) 435-9792 to speak with an airline representative to discuss any problems that resulted from the misfired Facebook promotion.
“It is our goal to resolve this issue as quickly as possible and minimize any inconvenience,” Southwest said.