The claim agency is preparing to take legal actions for a total amount of £8.4 million in refunds
Amsterdam, 15th June 2020 - In recent months more than 90% of all flights in Europe have been cancelled. At least 147 million passengers have been affected by this and have the choice between accepting a voucher from the airline or requesting a refund of their ticket costs. Flight-delayed.co.uk represents the rights of 17,000 of those passengers whose requests for a refund were denied by the airlines. Legally, these passengers should have received their money within 7 days after the cancellation of their flights, according to the EU passenger rights regulation 261/2004. However, various airlines are currently breaking EU law and have been trying for months to put off their customers with vouchers instead of refunding them for their unused tickets.
17,000 passengers waiting for refunds
"The behaviour of airlines is a clear violation of the law. Passengers' rights are well-defined in the European Union, but airlines refuse to recognise them," says Tom van Bokhoven, founder of Flight-delayed.co.uk. The air passenger rights specialist's database currently already contains cases of more than 17,000 consumers who have legally mandated the service in order to request their refunds - and the number of people seeking help is growing rapidly every day. In order to help these passengers receive their refunds as quickly and as easily as possible, Flight-delayed.co.uk has been in contact with the airlines and aims to resolve the conflict between consumers and airlines with the best possible outcome for both parties involved through out-of-court negotiations. This is beneficial as without judicial proceedings, passengers can receive their money a lot faster, should the airline comply. Airlines on the other hand can avoid having to pay court fees in addition to the refunds. However, the majority of airlines do not act in accordance with the applicable law. Therefore, the passenger rights specialist will be forced to take legal action. As the European Commission confirmed the validity of the EU passenger rights regulation multiple times this year already, it is clear that these legal proceedings should not be necessary.
Sympathy for affected businesses
The current situation is not only difficult for consumers. Most industries were severely affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus, with the aviation industry being no exception. Flight-delayed.co.uk has therefore decided to give the airlines the opportunity to officially comment on the current situation and explain how they intend to handle their customers’ claims for reimbursement. Unfortunately, a large number of the airlines concerned either did not respond to the letters from the Passenger Rights Specialist at all, or rejected the claims for reimbursement immediately.
This ignorance on the part of the airlines is met with a lack of understanding by Flight-delayed.co.uk. "The current situation makes it clear to us once again that the airlines only care about their profit. Individual passengers are simply ignored by most airlines. With our expert knowledge we are therefore trying to support consumers in the best possible way and are now enforcing passengers' rights for them," says van Bokhoven.
Breach of law by airlines
In total, Flight-delayed.co.uk processes claims for refunds against 86 airlines. None of these airlines have agreed to a payout within the legal period of 7 days. A large number of airlines have directly rejected claims for passenger refunds, thus breaking applicable law. These airlines therefore systematically refuse to pay their passengers a refund of ticket costs.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg. The strong communication of airlines that try to pressure their customers into accepting vouchers, has led most of them to believe that they are not entitled to a refund. Flight-delayed.co.uk represents 17,000 of all 147 million passengers who have been affected by a flight cancellation since March and therefore have a right to reimbursement. Based on the fact that individual passengers often have no chance of successfully taking action against airlines, it can be assumed that more than 99% of all passengers are still waiting for the refund to which they are entitled. And this despite the fact that various EU Member States provide strong financial support to airlines in their own countries and should therefore have the money to pay out their customers. This once again proves that the priorities of airlines are clearly not their passengers.
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