I purchased three round-trip Megabus tickets for $366 for my nephew and his two children to come from Philadelphia to Knoxville, Tenn. My nephew was coming here to see his dying mother – my sister.

However, when they got ready to board the bus in Philly they learned it had broken down, and the next bus would not be able to make their connection in Washington, D.C.

My nephew ended up having to rent a car so they could get to his dying mother. I contacted Megabus for a refund. They said for this one time, they would refund the tickets from Philly to D.C. to Knoxville, but they would not refund the return tickets nor issue a credit for a future trip.

This made no sense, because having rented a car, they had no need for return bus tickets. I received a refund of $213 for the outbound trip, but Megabus kept $153 of my money. I want all my refund. My sister did die on June 10. Please help.

- Freda Johnson, Knoxville, Tenn.

Got a consumer problem? The ABC News Fixer may be able to help. Click here to submit your problem online. Letters are edited for length and clarity.


First, please accept our sincere condolences on the death of your sister.

Your problem is one of those frustrating situations in which we think common sense and compassion, rather than a by-the-book attitude, can go a long way to spread some good will. We had a little better luck getting to the higher-ups at Megabus and explaining that your loved ones had no need for a return bus ticket after the broken bus couldn’t get them there in the first place.

That seemed to do the trick. You soon heard back from a customer service supervisor who apologized for everything and processed a refund for the remaining $153. She also offered to reimburse your family for the rental car expenses.

We wish your family all the best.

As for other summer travelers, the ABC News Fixer occasionally hears from people who didn’t realize that airlines typically will cancel the entire itinerary if a passenger fails to make the outbound flight. Don’t assume that a return ticket will still exist if you didn’t use the first part of the trip. If you can’t make a flight, notify the airline ASAP and ask if you can get a credit for future travel (expect to pay a fee for this).

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Stephanie Zimmermann

Most people groan at the thought of spending hours on the phone with a customer service call center, but Stephanie Zimmermann relishes the chance to slice through red tape.

Before joining ABC News, Stephanie untangled consumer problems at the Chicago Sun-Times, where her popular column recovered more than $1.4 million in refunds, credits, and merchandise for consumers in the Windy City.

Stephanie, who lives in Chicago, has also worked at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, and has bachelor's and master's degrees from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. But most of all, Stephanie is a consumer who hates to see anyone else get ripped off.