A shuttle disaster


Question: I recently made a reservation for a van ride from New York to Newark airport through SuperShuttle. I called hours in advance of my scheduled pickup and was given a confirmation number by phone.

My van was supposed to arrive by 11 p.m. I waited 45 minutes and no one showed up. I called the dispatcher and was told that someone had tried to call my cell phone to tell me about the delay. But I hadn’t received a call.

A SuperShuttle dispatcher said the earliest they could send someone over was three hours later. I reluctantly agreed to wait. But at 3 a.m., there was still no van.

I called the company and spoke with the same dispatcher. He said there was no van available to pick me up. Then he told me to take a cab and to contact SuperShuttle’s customer service department to receive compensation for the $70 fare.

I filed a claim more than a month ago, but so far — you guessed it — I haven’t heard a thing from SuperShuttle. Can you help me?

— Lana Carlson, Minneapolis

Answer: SuperShuttle should have picked you up when it promised it would. And when it didn’t, it should have immediately advised you to take a cab, for which you should have been promptly reimbursed. Instead, you waited four hours for a van that never showed up. Then you waited weeks for a refund.

That doesn’t seem so “super.”

What’s the company’s policy on no-shows? Who knows? Although SuperShuttle has a no-show rule for customers (according to its Web site, if you cancel a reservation four hours before a scheduled pickup, you get a full refund), it doesn’t seem to have one for itself — or if it does, it’s not clearly disclosed on its site.

You were much too accommodating when you agreed to wait four hours for a shuttle. I would have called SuperShuttle and asked to speak with a manager. You wouldn’t have been out of line to politely request either an earlier pickup or for the company to cover your transportation expenses to the airport.

I contacted SuperShuttle on your behalf and asked about your delayed reimbursement. Although a company representative promised to look into the matter right away, you didn’t hear back from anyone until two weeks later, when I checked with SuperShuttle about the status of your case.

A representative then contacted you directly, apologized for the delays and processed your refund for $70.