- Commercial disputes increased by 74% in 2020 compared to 2019, especially between airlines and their customers.
- Dissatisfied with their order not delivered or their trip canceled by service providers, customers face immense difficulties in obtaining reimbursement.
- The coronavirus crisis has indeed caused historic losses for airlines.
The Federal Union of Consumers (UFC) Que Choisir des Hauts-de-France recorded in 2020 an increase in consumer disputes of 73% compared to 2019. Travel agencies, air transport and tourism are , in particular, those most affected by these disputes.
Unable to make the journeys already paid for, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, carriers have great difficulty in reimbursing customers. And those who have had the misfortune to bet on the year 2020 for their complete stays abroad, transport and hotels included, bite their fingers.
A decree puts refunds in difficulty
In fact, from March 1 to September 15, 2020, a decree prevented the reimbursement of contracts, provided that service providers offer consumers, within three months of the termination of the contract, a credit equal to the amount paid. This credit was valid for eighteen months, after which time customers could, in theory, finally get a full refund if they had not used this voucher. Regulations have since changed, and consumers can immediately claim what they owe.
“In general, providers still offer a credit, that the customer is free to accept or not, then they turn a deaf ear, explains one to the UFC What to choose. We understand the difficult financial situation in which tour operators find themselves, but consumption is governed by commercial laws ”. Indeed, carriers, for example, no longer have the cash flow to reimburse and consumers have to wait months before getting even a response.
Note that airline companies have largely suffered from the consequences of the coronavirus epidemic. According to the International Air Transport Association (ATA), cited by our colleagues from World, global losses are estimated at 100 billion euros.