I sent copies of my Air Canada complaint to the CEO/President, Chairman, and Senior VP of Customer Relations (with suitable wrapper text to explain why they were getting this). Yesterday I got email from an assistant for Mr. Rovinescu, the CEO/President. She hasn't given me permission to publish the letter, so I will summarize:
She is disheartened to hear of my experience. Given my description, she can understand how frustrating that was. She regrets that their call center let me down and is sorry for the poor impression their discourteous employees left me with. As a gesture of goodwill, she would like to offer me 40% off the base fare for my next Air Canada trip, provided I complete it within a bit less than a year. They do not cover consequential expenses, but nonetheless require my original receipts for same for auditing purposes.
That does not help at all, and since it's not a voucher for a fixed amount I don't think I could sell it usefully. (I haven't read the fine print and don't know if it's even transferable.) This is the reply I sent:
Thank you for your reply. Unfortunately, I'm an infrequent traveler; I've only flown three times in the last decade and would not be able to use a discount in the next year. (Even if I could, I'm sure you can understand my reluctance to book my next trip with your airline.) A discount on future travel also doesn't help me with expenses incurred now. Is there anything better you can do to remedy this terrible episode?
(Belately I see that there is one error in that. I now realize I've flown four times, not three. This does not change the substance.)
VISA is prepared to dispute the charge if I can't settle the problem with the airline, but of course we would both like to try the direct approach first. I'm not yet sure of the process should VISA get involved; do we go to some sort of arbitration or what? Air Canada already has my money, but I guess VISA can take it back.