Covid-19: Possible remedies for consumers upon the cancellation of a flight or trip
PLEASE NOTE THAT THESE REMEDIES ARE AIMED AT QUEBEC CONSUMERS BECAUSE RULES CHANGE FROM PROVINCE TO PROVINCE. IF YOU ARE A CANADIAN CONSUMER OUTSIDE OF QUEBEC, A LIST OF ORGANIZATIONS CAPABLE OF HELPING YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT REMEDY IS PROVIDED BELOW FOR YOU TO MAKE CONTACT. THANK YOU.
Here is some legal information that you may find useful regarding the remedies to be taken following the cancellation of your flight or trip due to the pandemic.
Online purchases using a credit card:
If a consumer used a credit card to purchase a flight online or by phone and the airline refuses to reimburse the money, a chargeback request can be made to the credit card issuer.
If consumers have purchased a trip cancellation insurance, whether through an insurance company, the credit card issuer or a travel agency, they can then apply to their insurer for compensation.
Compensation Fund for Customers of Travel Agents (CFCTA):
If travellers did business with a travel agency, they must first contact the travel agency to find out about reimbursement options.
If the travel agency refuses to reimburse the money and a warning issued by the Canadian government is still in effect 72 hours or less prior to departure, the Compensation Fund for Customers of Travel Agents (CFCTA) can provide assistance.
It should be noted that the Compensation Fund for Customers of Travel Agents is a financial protection plan that is offered automatically and free of charge to everyone doing business with a travel agency licenced by the Office of Consumer Protection.
Air carrier refund
If none of the situations listed above applies to the consumer’s situation and the air carrier offers a travel credit following a flight that it has cancelled flight, it is possible, in certain cases, to demand a refund.
First, nothing shall preclude clients from accepting a travel credit if they so desire. However, before accepting such credit, it is essential to verify the associated terms and conditions. For example, what is the period of validity? Is the credit transferable to another person? Should it be used exclusively for the same destination? Etc.
If the client prefers to be reimbursed and the air carrier refuses, a complaint can be filed with the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA). The CTA will determine whether the airline complied with the conditions under the Air passenger protection regulations (commonly known as the Travellers’ Charter).
In addition, if an individual believes that the airline has breached its legal or contractual obligations, it is also possible to institute legal proceedings before the courts in civil matters. In principle, a formal notice must first be sent to the airline. In this regard, the Small Claims Division of the Court of Quebec has jurisdiction to hear civil claims of $15,000 or less, not including applicable interest.
Class action applications
It is important to note that three (3) class action applications are currently pending authorization against five (5) air carriers and four (4) travel agencies in which consumers can participate. You may consult the website of the law firms in charge: Perrier Avocats and Donati Maisonneuve for the class action filed with the Superior Court of Quebec; Evolink Law Group and Champlain Avocats concerning the class action filed with the Federal Court and BGA Avocats for the class action that has also been filed with the Superior Court of Quebec.
In conclusion, we would like to reiterate that Option consommateurs is very concerned about the current situation faced by consumers and is actively advocating for a refund for all consumers who so desire. A petition has also been filed with the House of Commons.
If this document does not answer your questions, don’t hesitate to contact us at 514-798-7288 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
We wish you best of luck in your endeavours.
Please note that Option consommateurs does not provide legal advice or counsel and consequently, it may be advisable to consult a lawyer in connection with your particular situation.
For consumers outside of Quebec, here is a list of organizations that could help you:
Consumer Association of Canada
Air Passenger Rights