UK Regulator Launches Probe Into Airline Refunds


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Britain’s competition regulator announced on Wednesday, December 16, it would investigate whether airlines had breached consumers’ legal rights by failing to offer cash refunds for flights they could not legally take during a COVID-19 lockdown, reported The Financial Times.

The regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority, announced the new inquiry was part of its ongoing work in relation to holiday refunds during the pandemic.

COVID-19 has forced the cancellation of thousands of flights. Consumer groups have accused the airlines of being slow to issue refunds and misleading passengers into accepting flight vouchers instead of cash, flouting rules.

Airline finances have been choked by COVID-19, with restrictions suppressing travel since March. EasyJet and British Airways-owner IAG have had to ask shareholders for new funds and take on new debt to survive.

But the CMA stated that despite the strain airlines were under, they had a responsibility to treat consumers fairly and abide by their legal obligations.

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