Flight cancellations: reimbursement or voucher?

By Paula Martins, in Consumer Rights, News, Travel · 12-02-2021 01:00:00 · 0 Comments

DECO has been receiving many complaints from consumers who, due to the cancellation of their flights, are receiving vouchers rather than reimbursement for their flights, here is their advice.

European legislation is very clear: consumers can demand a full refund if their trip or flight is cancelled due to extraordinary circumstances, such as the current pandemic. The decision to accept a voucher or reschedule the trip instead of a refund is always up to the consumer.

Despite this, thousands of airlines and travel agencies appear to be forcing their customers to accept vouchers instead of refunds, in some cases, in circumstances that are detrimental for consumers. These vouchers have been issued without the guarantee that they will ever be able to use them. Actually, several member states have adopted emergency measures that not only differ from country to country, but also contradict European legislation on passenger rights.

In order to avoid practices that affect consumers’ rights, the European Commission has published a set of guidelines for the interpretation of European Union regulations on passenger rights in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, reiterating that if the company proposes a voucher, this offer can’t affect the passenger’s right of receiving a refund.

If the adoption of these measures in the tourism and transport sector overcame a set of difficulties in an unprecedented time, the solution can’t be the reduction of safeguarding consumer rights, which are also experiencing difficulties.

Even though we can admit that vouchers can be a solution for consumers who accept it, such an option can only be considered if these vouchers have flexibility on the dates of use and safeguard consumer rights if the company is declared insolvent. We repeat that adherence to this solution is voluntary and not imposed. Consumers who want to have a full refund have this right.

How can we complain?
Whenever consumers see their rights violated, they must act immediately or, at least, as soon as possible. The longer they take to complain, the lower the probability of solving the conflict with the seller or service provider.

Complaints can be made by direct contact with the company, by sending a registered letter with receipt of acknowledgment, or through a complaint in the Complaints Book - all stores with costumer service are obligated to have this.

The Complaints Book must be given whenever requested by the consumer. If it is denied, costumers must request the presence of a police authority to verified the occurrence. The police will register the situation and it will later be handed over to the regulatory authority of the sector.

Currently, consumers can also make a complaint online in the Electronic Complaints Book, available at https://www.livroreclamacoes.pt/inicio. In the case of the complaint recorded in the complaints book in the electronic form, all economic operators must answer by email in 15 working days, at risk of being fined, and they have also the obligation to inform the regulatory authority or market control of the response given to the consumer, attaching the pdf file of the email sent to the consumer on the platform.

Count on our support: telephone contacts: 289 863 103 or email: deco.algarve@deco.pt
It is also possible to schedule Skype appointments.
Follow us on social media Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin and youtube.

Count on our support
Tel: 289 863 103
Email: deco.algarve@deco.pt
It is also possible to schedule Skype appointments


Follow DECO Algarve on social media:
www.facebook.com/AssociacaoDECO
https://twitter.com/DECOAssociacao
https://www.instagram.com/decoassociacao/
https://www.linkedin.com/company/decoassociacao/



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