Vueling is not refunding canceled flights. The complaint comes from a passenger, who turned to the association for the rights of users and consumers bring. The story begins on April 3, when the traveler buys a flight for June 12, 2021. May 11 – reports Aduc – Vueling announces that he has changed the date and route: leave on June 17, making a stopover. On May 14, Vueling announces that it has changed the date again: we leave on June 19. At this point the customer decides to give up the flight and asks for a refund. According to the commitments made by Vueling with the Antitrust, the reimbursement it should arrive on May 21st.
The delaying tactic
However, this is not the case and Vueling is apparently adopting a delaying tactic. On May 18 – continues Aduc – Vueling takes time and writes to the user that within 10 days he will receive an email with the “instructions”. On May 26th, he sends a further change of flight change (in this way the customer thinks he has something wrong with his refund request): it would leave on June 22nd. On May 27th the e-mail with the instructions for the refund arrives: if you really want to refuse the voucher, click here. -On 2 June send another email, if you really want a refund, ask for it by phone at the number we have already indicated. The poor user has never been given any number and by going to the Vueling website he can find – in fact – only the paid one.
The low-cost in the sights of the Antitrust
In a pandemic era – writes the association – many airlines have ended up in the Antitrust’s crosshairs for having transformed their customers into ATMs: they sell flights that then do not depart and, instead of returning the amount paid, they hold it in exchange for a voucher . An illegitimate method of obtaining zero-interest loans. They have been sanctioned by Antitrust Ryanair, Volotea e Easyjet. Vueling no, it was smarter: it undertook with the Authority to follow a series of prescriptions, endorsed by the Antitrust, in exchange for closing the proceeding. It undertakes – among other things – in the event of flight cancellation, to provide customers with a toll-free number to request a refund and to return the amount paid within 7 days of the request.
Vueling’s 11 commitments
The Antitrust decision on Vueling dates back to 18 May and mentions in particular the eleven commitments of the airline. In September 2020, the Antitrust Authority had opened an investigation against the airline which, since June 3, when we had already exited the first lockdown, had canceled some flights, citing the health emergency as a reason. The commitments undertaken aimed at remedying the possible illegitimacy profiles of the commercial practice contested in the communication of the opening of the investigation in September 2020.
The complaint all’Agcm
According to the Aduc Vueling, it is violating the commitments made with the Antitrust that it should have respected to avoid economic sanctions. And has reported the unfair commercial practice to the Antitrust Authority for Competition and the Market (Agcm), asking that the proceeding be reopened, order the immediate suspension of the unfair commercial practice and Vueling sanctions. On the Vueling website, according to Aduc, there is no trace of the free number. Those who have to ask for a refund by telephone – continues Aduc – are forced to call a paid number, and the company places infinite obstacles to reimbursement, to dissuade the consumer from asking for it (and thus settle for the voucher “the simplest and fastest way” they suggest) and, if the customer insists, let the seven days run as late as possible.