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Watchdog may take action if airlines fail to refund passengers for cancelled flights

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The aviation regulator has stepped in to warn airlines they must refund passengers for flights cancelled as a result of coronavirus.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has reminded airlines they’re legally required to refund customers for cancelled flights and warned them it could take action if they fail to do so.

By law, customers must be refunded within seven days if their flight is cancelled.

A statement from the CAA, read: “We are reviewing how airlines are handling refunds during the coronavirus pandemic, and will consider if any action should be taken to ensure that consumer rights are protected.

“Under the law, consumers are entitled to receive a refund for their cancelled flights, despite the challenges the industry is currently facing.

“We support airlines offering consumers vouchers and rebooking alternatives where it makes sense for the consumer.

“But it is important that consumers are given a clear option to request a cash refund without unnecessary barriers.”

It added it expects airlines to provide refunds for cancelled flights “as soon as practically possible”, after Ryanair said it may take six months to process these requests.

The CAA warning comes after an investigation by campaign group Which? revealed some airlines and package travel providers are refusing to give refunds, in a breach of their legal obligations to their customers.

In some cases, they’re providing vouchers or credit notes which may prove to be worthless if holiday firms run into financial trouble.

Passengers who believe they’re entitled to a refund from the airline but are being refused one can open a complaint with the airline.

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