CCPA directs ‘Yatra’ to refund booking amount to consumers affected due to Covid-19 lockdown

From the Net

Taking cognizance of unattended grievances made to National Consumer Helpline (1915-toll free number) pertaining to non-refund of amount of cancelled air tickets on account of COVID-19 lock down, the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has directed the online travel platform ‘Yatra’ to refund the booking amount to consumers whose flights were canceled owing to Covid 19 lockdown.
The travel agencies had informed the consumers that refunds had not been received from the airlines etc.

The Apex Court in its decision in Pravasi Legal Cell vs Union of India (W.P.(C)D.No.10966 of 2020) dated 01.10.2020 had directed that “If the tickets have been booked during the lockdown period through a travel agent for a travel within the lockdown period, in all such cases full refund shall be given by the airlines immediately. On such refund, the amount shall be passed on immediately by the agent to the passengers”.

In light of the above, the CCPA initiated suo-moto action against Yatra regarding non refund of airline tickets cancelled due to Covid-19 lockdown.

Show Cause Notice vide dated March 09, 2021 was sent to the travel company regarding pendency of refunds of bookings which got affected in Covid-19. In pursuant to that CCPA conducted several hearings of the Company and closely monitor the progress of refunds made to the consumers.

From July 8, 2021, to June 25, 2024, the CCPA conducted several hearings to address these issues. As a result of these efforts, Yatra Online Limited had made significant progress in reducing the total number of pending refund bookings.

In 2021, there were 36,276 pending bookings amounting to Rs 26,25,82,484. As of June 21, 2024, this number has been significantly reduced to 4,837 bookings, amounting to Rs 2,52,87,098. Yatra had refunded approx 87% amount to consumers and further has to refund remaining approx 13% amount to consumers in order to ensure that all pending refunds were processed promptly and efficiently by airlines.

In 2021, there were total 5,771 bookings pertaining to airlines pending for refunds amounting to Rs 9,60,14,463. By 2024, Yatra has reduced the pendency of airlines to 98 bookings with an outstanding amount of Rs 31,79,069. CCPA vide order dated June 27, 2024 directed 22 remaining airlines of Yatra to expeditiously refund Rs 31,79,069 to consumers.

During the proceedings held before CCPA, several other travel platforms like MakeMyTrip, EaseMyTrip, ClearTrip, Ixigo and Thomas Cook have refunded the entire amount to consumers whose travel got cancelled due to Covid-19 lockdown.

To further facilitate timely processing of refunds to consumers, CCPA issued an order on June 27, 2024 wherein it directed Yatra to set up dedicated arrangements at the National Consumer Helpline (NCH). Specifically, Yatra is required to allocate five exclusive seats at NCH for making calls to the remaining 4,837 passengers informing them that their pending refunds due to COVID-19 lockdown-related flight cancellations would be processed. The costs incurred for engaging these five dedicated personnel will be fully covered by Yatra with payments made directly to the agency managed by NCH.


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