TAMPA BAY — The trip of a lifetime ended in an emergency room for Charles Pisieczko. The retired attorney from Pinellas County took the Amtrak train to Virginia in May to watch his daughter receive her master’s degree.
But shortly after the ceremony, this proud papa started experiencing the telltale signs of heart trouble. “It was chest pains and shortness of breath.” Said Pisieczko.
He wound up in an emergency room where he says doctors told him something was wrong, and he needed medical attention. Pisieczko a veteran says he caught the next flight home to Tampa where his son drove him straight to the Bay Pines VA hospital.
After arriving home Pisieczko looked up Amtrak's refund policy. He found it applies to medical emergencies.
On the company’s website, it states. "....upon presentation of a doctor’s note, Amtrak will modify or waive fare change and refund policies that would have normally applied...."
Pisieczko sent his first letter to Amtrak in May with a note from his heart doctor asking for an 800-dollar refund on return tickets that were never used. “I never heard from them.” Said Pisieczko.
So, he fired off three more letters to Amtrak’s home office. “I wrote letters in May, June, July, and August it was like they were going into a black hole I was getting no response at all.”
Frustrated and not sure where to turn, he made a call for action to Jackie Callaway. Jackie contacted Amtrak’s home office via email. Pisieczko says Amtrak called and emailed him to apologize. Days later Amtrak credited the $800 back to his American Express card.
Amtrak never explained what caused the delay but did tell ABC Action News in an email. “We appreciate Mr. Pisieczko’ s patience as we worked to resolve this issue and process refund.”