Hyderabad: Have you ever wondered about the legitimacy of the cancellation charges imposed on airline tickets booked through third-party websites? Travel aggregators usually apply additional deductions while awarding refunds for cancelled flight tickets and hotel bookings.
When Mr Nirmal Kumar Pandey was charged Rs 70,000 for the cancellation of a ticket booked through Yatra.com, he decided to write to the airline and find out the actual charges. He was informed that the cancellation fare was Rs15,000. He then dragged the travel company to the consumer court.
In May 2015, Nirmal Kumar Pandey, 53, booked a trip to China, the flight tickets for which cost Rs 1 lakh. However, he was forced to cancel his plans due to unforeseen circumstances. After cancellation, Yatra Online told him that he would be refunded only Rs 30,000. Mr Pandey then asked for a breakdown of the deductions and the travel group refused to do that.
“They did not give me a clear picture when I asked for details of cancellation charges. Instead, they tried to increase the refund amount after my enquiries. At no time did I get an answer,” he said.
The refund was eventually increased from Rs 30,000 to Rs 47,000, but Mr Pandey was not satisfied. He decided to serve them a legal notice, after which the refund was increased to Rs 70,000. He was told by Yatra.com that hotel cancellation charges had been waived and only flight cancellation charges had been imposed.
After this the West Marredpally resident decided to send an email to Indigo Airlines asking about cancellation charges. “I received two sets of emails which explained that the cancellation charges were only Rs 15,000. Why is it that the travel group was charging me Rs 30,000? It was not fair,” Mr Pandey said.
The case was filed at the district consumer forum and the court observed that “the opposite party had failed to substantiate its contention and also failed to provide documentary evidence to suggest that they had suffered any loss due to the reservations made in China.”
The travel aggregator was asked to pay Rs 15,000 for employing unfair trade practices and for deficiency of service and what remained of the total refund of Rs 85,000 along with interest at 9 per cent per annum. Mr Pandey was also awarded a sum of Rs 20,000 as compensation.