US fines British Airways for denying refunds due to pandemic

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United States sanctioned to the airline British Airways by do not deliver refunds to his clients for canceled flights in 2020 and for having engaged in deceptive practices.

In a legal document released today, the Department of Transportation announced the fine of $1.1 million for “unfair and deceptive practices” against consumers.

The document explains that March and November 2020the British airline reported on its website that people whose flights had been canceled or significantly delayed could "discuss refund options" by calling a customer service number.

Photo: Reuters

However, customers who called the number to ask for their money back were unable to speak to an airline representative and the problem persisted "for months".

British Airways could not maintain the proper functioning of the telephone lines," stressed the Department of Transportationwhich received more than 1,000 complaints of airline customers.

Also, there was no option on the website to file a request refund and there was also “misleading” information that led consumers to ask for a voucher instead of a return.

“The practices of British Airways they were unfair”, concluded the text that justifies the fine, because consumers experienced “extreme delays” in obtaining their refunds or did not receive them at all.

Photo: Reuters

The document also includes, however, the airline argumentswhich tried to defend itself by stressing that customer complaints must be seen in the "context of a global pandemic that caused an unprecedented number of flights to be cancelled."

British Airways further assured that in 2020 delivered more than 2.8 million refundswhich in his opinion shows that "obtaining a refund was not excessively difficult."

The airline also pointed out that refunded 69% of canceled flightss to and from the US between March 2020 and February 2021, for a value of 763 million dollars.

With everything, British Airways It has 60 days to comply with the US sanction, which forces it to deliver $550,000 to the Government and allocate the other half of the money for the refunds claimed.

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