Many Russians who reserved their post-New Year travel through the website Eviterra.com woke up to an unpleasant surprise this weekend: Their tickets have been canceled and no refunds have been issued.
The site which offers discount prices on airline tickets, said in a website statement on Sunday that more than 6,000 tickets had been voided because of a "financial conflict" with a travel agency through which it booked the flights, Avia Center. It blamed Avia Center for the cancellations.
Eviterra founder Nikolai Zayarny told the Roem.ru website that his company had failed to settle its bills to Avia Center for 10 days' worth of services, prompting Avia Center to begin voiding the tickets.
In a group set up on the VKontakte social network for complaints about Eviterra, titled "Crooks in Eviterra and the annulled tickets," one commenter said that he had seen nearly $7,000 worth of tickets to Thailand voided, and expected more losses on non-refundable hotel reservations.
By Monday, however, Eviterra had posted a new announcement on its website, saying that it was working out its dispute with Avia Center, and that all tickets for flights scheduled to depart on Monday through Saturday were valid once again.
"As for the departures that are scheduled to take place after Jan. 12, the negotiations are still going on, and we will without fail inform all our passengers," the statement said.
The company also said that the return tickets of travelers who had already left would remain valid, regardless of their return date.
Russia's Federal Tourism Agency has also opened a telephone hotline (8-800-250-68-60) for Eviterra customers who are at risk of losing the tickets they had bought, the Russian News Service reported.