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British Airways fined $1.1m by US government

A BA plane

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British Airways has been fined $1.1m (£878,000) by the US government over claims it did not pay refunds for cancelled flights in the course of the pandemic.

The US Department of Transportation stated the airline had not offered “timely refunds to passengers” for deserted or rescheduled flights to and from the nation.

It stated it had obtained greater than 1,200 complaints concerning the airline.

BA rejected the claims, saying it had “acted lawfully at all times”.

According to the transport division, from March to November 2020, BA’s web site instructed customers to contact the provider by telephone to debate refund choices, together with for flights the provider had cancelled or considerably modified.

However, customers had been unable to get by to customer support brokers when calling the provider for a number of months throughout this era as a result of BA failed to take care of sufficient performance of its customer support telephone strains , it stated.

“There was also no way to submit a refund request through the carrier’s website during this period,” the division stated.

It added that from March to November 2020, deceptive info on BA’s web site had led customers to inadvertently request journey vouchers as a substitute of refunds.

It stated that together with the 1,200 complaints obtained by the division, BA had obtained hundreds extra complaints and refund requests straight from customers.

The division stated the failures had “caused significant challenges and delays in thousands of consumers receiving required refunds”.

It added that the fantastic established a “strong deterrent to future similar unlawful practices”.

BA might be credited $550,000 in direction of the penalty as a result of it paid greater than $40m in refunds to prospects with non-refundable tickets in 2020 and 2021.

The airline stated: “We’re very sorry that on the height of the unprecedented pandemic – after we had been sadly compelled to cancel hundreds of flights and shut some name centres attributable to government restrictions – our prospects skilled barely longer wait occasions to succeed in customer support groups.

“During this era, we acted lawfully always and provided prospects the flexibleness of rebooking journey on totally different dates, or claiming a refund if their flights had been cancelled.

“To date, we have issued more than five million refunds since the start of the pandemic.”

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