CCPA directs Yatra to expedite COVID-19 flight cancellation refunds

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New Delhi, Jul 9 (PTI) The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has ordered online travel agency Yatra to speed up pending refunds for flight cancellations during the COVID-19 lockdown, the consumer affairs ministry said on Tuesday.

In its June 27 order, the CCPA directed Yatra to establish five dedicated seats at the National Consumer Helpline to contact remaining passengers about their pending refunds. The company will bear the costs of this arrangement.

This action follows a 2020 Supreme Court ruling mandating immediate refunds for tickets booked during the lockdown period.

The CCPA initiated suo-moto action against Yatra following numerous grievances lodged through the National Consumer Helpline regarding non-refund of cancelled air tickets.

From July 2021 to June 2024, CCPA conducted several hearings to address these issues.

"As a result of these efforts, Yatra has made significant progress in reducing the total number of pending refund bookings," the ministry said in a statement.

Yatra has reduced pending refund bookings from 36,276 (Rs 26.26 crore) in 2021 to 4,837 (Rs 2.53 crore) as of June 21, 2024.

The company has refunded approximately 87 per cent of the total amount owed to consumers and will "further endeavour to refund balance 13 per cent," it said.

The CCPA ordered 22 airlines to refund Rs 31.79 lakh for 98 pending bookings through Yatra.

Other major travel platforms, including MakeMyTrip and ClearTrip, have completed all COVID-19-related refunds, the ministry added. PTI LUX LUX MR

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