The U.S. Department of Transportation stated that it has received thousands of consumer complaints claiming that Air Canada cancelled or changed flights and then took 5 to 13 months to refund.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) said on Tuesday that it is seeking a fine of approximately $25.5 million on Air Canada due to its extreme refunds for thousands of passengers whose flights across the U.S.-Canada border were cancelled or rescheduled. Delay.
The Ministry of Transportation stated that since March 2020, it has received complaints from more than 6,000 consumers who claimed that Air Canada cancelled or changed flights and then it took 5 to 13 months to provide refunds.
Air Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The potential fines-which Air Canada can object to-are the latest consequence of the airlines’ cancellation of thousands of flights in the first few months of the coronavirus pandemic as air travel has plummeted. DOT said it is investigating the refund processing of other airlines, including American Airlines.
If the airline cancels or significantly changes the flight schedule, federal regulations require the airline to provide a refund when the passenger requests it. For cross-border flights, airlines should process credit card refunds within 7 days, and tickets purchased in cash can be extended to 20 days.
DOT said that as airlines are working hard to refund money, the number of cancelled flights will increase sharply, so last year there will be more time for refunds. However, the department stated that Air Canada failed to make sincere efforts to process refunds faster.
The agency stated that it determined the scale of civil fines by considering factors such as harm to consumers, and also to prevent future delays in refunds.
In many cases, passengers who cancel a North American airline reservation will receive vouchers instead of cash. As a result, airlines have billions of dollars worth of tickets, some of which may never be used. Air Canada’s refund does not seem to be the case.
DOT’s complaint will be submitted to the administrative judge.