Consumer protectors call for new flight ticket refund system.

Laura Bauckmann
November 11, 2020

Customers often have to wait months in the Corona crisis for their flight ticket refunds.

Consumer protectionists are outraged. They demand: The current practice of advance payment must be abolished and new rules must be introduced.

The "Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband" (vzbv) is calling for an abolition of the current prepayment rules in view of the delays in reimbursement for flights cancelled during the Corona crisis. In future, tickets should only have to be paid a few days before departure, demanded vzbv boss Klaus Müller in the "Rheinische Post". This would require new legislation.

Since January, there had been more than 80,000 complaints on this issue. According to Müller, the consumer centres have already counted twenty times as many complaints about airlines and travel companies this year compared to normal years. "This is largely due to the annoyance about refunds of advance payments not being made or being made too late after the outbreak of the Corona pandemic". It could not be the case that airline customers have had to wait for months for sometimes several hundred euros and it was completely unclear "when they will ever see the money again", Müller criticised.

This approach by the companies was embarrassing and scandalous, especially as they were supported by billions of euros in taxpayers' money. A number of travel agencies, tour operators and airlines had been asked to refrain, Müller said. "Among the companies we even had to sue in the end are well-known providers, including TUI or even Easyjet and the airline Condor.

According to Mr. Müller, the usual practice of companies to get paid at the time of booking and thus sometimes well in advance should be abolished. "New legislation is finally needed to put an end to the prepayment practice in the travel sector", said the consumer protection campaigner. "We demand that in future, an airline ticket must be paid for only a few days before the flight is due to start".

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