United trying to get around the DOT’s 24-cancellation requirement?

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I published some time ago how United’s 24-hr cancellation policy terms and conditions aren’t really in line with the DOT’s requirement, hence the ‘Careful’ in that post’s title.  Now, via FlyerTalk, a customer claims that United is refusing to refund her reservation.

Here’s what a FlyerTalk member wrote:

I made my reservation on Mar 19 at 4:07pm, then cancelled it at 8:45pm on the same day. That is well within their 24hr policy for a refund to my original form of payment. They are now telling me that no, my cancellation did not process until 8:45pm of the next day (Mar 20) and is therefore outside the 24hr window. I have emails with the correct time it was cancelled but they are unwilling to honor this.

What are my options?

After receiving several responses confirming that this shouldn’t be the airline’s MO, She further posted:

Yes, I have an email confirmation of the cancellation. The charge has already posted to my credit card and they are telling me I will receive a travel certificate but not a refund. I will call again.

What’s United trying to pull here?  At this point I’m guessing this is a misunderstanding and a training opportunity.  If the customer has e-mail confirmation of the cancellation this definitely should be a non-issue.  Otherwise, United potentially could face fines by the DOT for trying to get around the requirement.  I’ll be following this closely, but by all means this is no time for United to be pulling games like these.

Give me your thoughts