I am experiencing an unusual problem. I would love input from a finance person who knows how international transfer works. Here is the summary.
I visited Australia from India last year. While in Australia, I paid for hotel bookings for a holiday in New Zealand. This was done through a travel agent in Australia. One particular hotel in New Zealand asked me to pay up the hotel stay charges because they had not received the money from the travel agent, even though I had a confirmed itinerary from the travel agent. I had no idea of what goes on between the hotel and the travel agent. Anyway, I paid up. From my perspective it was a double charge. I had already paid the travel agent for the hotel. After paying the hotel, I sent an email to travel agent about the issue (while still in New Zealand). The following working day, the travel agent admitted the lapse and attributed it to a ‘system error’ and the money was sent to the hotel. I asked the hotel to refund the doubled up charges. The hotel processed the refund transaction and gave me a receipt.
Here is when it gets interesting. I waited for the refund to show in my account - 1 week, 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 4 months, 5 months... Still no sign of refund.
Some more details - The refund was for a Visa Debit card (not credit card). The Visa Debit card is issued by an Indian bank. I sent numerous emails to the hotel and to my bank. I called my bank after coming back to Australia (from New Zealand) but no hint of where the money was. Upon coming back to India, I met with a bank manager. I was told that the money had not been received by the bank. The bank manager sent me a document that shows a transaction with the Merchant Reference No that matches the RRN on the refund receipt from the hotel. Strangely, however, the transaction amount is only half of what it should be, plus the Beneficiary Name is someone else’s name.
I passed the document to the hotel. The hotel is however, adamant that they have processed the refund. My bank claims that they have not received the money. After endless emailing and calling, I am no closer to finding out where my money is. The money seems to have gone into a black hole.
What can I possibly do to track the money in case of an international transaction ?
Thank you !!