MSE News: BA passenger wins battle for cash refund after successfully taking the airline to court

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A MoneySaver has successfully taken British Airways to the small claims court and been awarded £300 after disputing the airline's decision to issue vouchers instead of a cash refund for flights cancelled due to the pandemic... 

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'British Airways passenger wins battle for cash refund after successfully taking the airline to court for flights cancelled during Covid'

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  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 31,034 Forumite
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    A MoneySaver has successfully taken British Airways to the small claims court and been awarded £300 after disputing the airline's decision to issue vouchers instead of a cash refund for flights cancelled due to the pandemic.
    Seems a misleading description when, by his own admission, the customer selected a voucher, i.e. it wasn't the airline's decision as such:
    In "desperation", David selected the voucher online but immediately submitted an official complaint asking for a cash refund saying he'd taken the voucher "under protest".
    Granted, my recollection is that in the early Covid days a number of airlines made it easier to obtain a voucher rather than a cash refund, but the story as written doesn't support the narrative that BA refused a cash refund, it's just that this wasn't easily obtainable online.
  • bagand96
    bagand96 Posts: 6,102 Forumite
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    edited 27 November 2021 at 10:02AM
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    eskbanker said:
    A MoneySaver has successfully taken British Airways to the small claims court and been awarded £300 after disputing the airline's decision to issue vouchers instead of a cash refund for flights cancelled due to the pandemic.
    Seems a misleading description when, by his own admission, the customer selected a voucher, i.e. it wasn't the airline's decision as such:
    In "desperation", David selected the voucher online but immediately submitted an official complaint asking for a cash refund saying he'd taken the voucher "under protest".
    Granted, my recollection is that in the early Covid days a number of airlines made it easier to obtain a voucher rather than a cash refund, but the story as written doesn't support the narrative that BA refused a cash refund, it's just that this wasn't easily obtainable online.
    At the start of the pandemic British Airways actively obstructed cash refunds by modifying their website to remove the cash refund option for cancelled flights, steering people to vouchers. This was well documented and many blogs documented “hacks” to get round it 

    https://travelingformiles.com/how-to-force-the-british-airways-website-to-offer-a-refund/


    It’s not clear if this is the situation the guy in the story faced or not though. 
  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 31,034 Forumite
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    bagand96 said:
    eskbanker said:
    A MoneySaver has successfully taken British Airways to the small claims court and been awarded £300 after disputing the airline's decision to issue vouchers instead of a cash refund for flights cancelled due to the pandemic.
    Seems a misleading description when, by his own admission, the customer selected a voucher, i.e. it wasn't the airline's decision as such:
    In "desperation", David selected the voucher online but immediately submitted an official complaint asking for a cash refund saying he'd taken the voucher "under protest".
    Granted, my recollection is that in the early Covid days a number of airlines made it easier to obtain a voucher rather than a cash refund, but the story as written doesn't support the narrative that BA refused a cash refund, it's just that this wasn't easily obtainable online.
    At the start of the pandemic British Airways actively obstructing cash refunds by modifying their website to remove the cash refund option for cancelled flights, steering people to vouchers. This was well documented and many blogs documented “hacks” to get round it 

    https://travelingformiles.com/how-to-force-the-british-airways-website-to-offer-a-refund/


    It’s not clear if this is the situation the guy in the story faced or not though. 
    Yes, so the airline didn't make any "decision to issue vouchers instead of cash refunds" as such, but just put obstacles in the way of claiming the latter, such as making people phone in for them, and using questionable wording on their site.  Dodgy tactics undoubtedly, and I'm certainly not condoning them, but just challenging the representation in the precis of the MSE article!
  • LaHostessAvecLaMostess
    LaHostessAvecLaMostess Posts: 214 Forumite
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    edited 27 November 2021 at 2:13AM
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    So did they win by default or did BA have legal representation and fail to convince the judge?

    As usual, you've gone for a headline to potentially mislead people and have failed to report any of the specifics of the case.

    I suspect this guy won by default.  It gives false hope to anyone else that they'll receive the same outcome if they do the same.

    The decision on David's complaint isn't legally binding for others but it could be used as an example of case law when bringing similar complaints to court
    No, it can't. Case law and precedent are interchangeable.  You can't use case law unless it was set as precedent, and the lower courts cannot set precedent  Good lord, please stop misleading people like this.

    I know you'll eventually ban this account but that's winning the battle, not the war.
  • rigolith
    rigolith Posts: 2,615 Forumite
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    TFA is right, others can cite this as an example and use the same arguments. It's not binding but will certainly help them make their case.

    This is very good news.
  • richardw
    richardw Posts: 19,458 Forumite
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    All BA have to do is comply with Art 8(c) of reg UK261 when a flight is cancelled. It really is that simple.

    BA obfusticates and fobs off passengers to save money. I won at CEDR against BA. Do not be afraid to stand up for your rights.
    Posts are not advice and must not be relied upon.
  • I have also been trying to obtain a cash refund from BA as far back as early 2020 in respect of two return flights to Cyprus which BA cancelled. I can confirm that the company used extremely dubious practises throughout ito make it virtually impossible for travellers to successfuly claim a refund. It would have been very simple for BA to reverse credit card payments but they did not do so.

    The normal refund procedures on their website disappeared overnight and were replaced with misleading instructions which continuously pressurised me to accept a voucher which had no financial value.After a long time online rebuffing each and every attempt a page finally appeared asking me to fill in my details (which they already had on file) in order to obtain a full refund. Success!

    I managed to fill in almost all of the form before I sensed that something was wrong. Foolishly I immediately closed down the website without first removing the completed sections.

    I subsequently received an email thanking me for accepting a VOUCHER! Possibly some helpful employee had filled in the rest of the form on my behalf? I immediately contacted them by email in order to get this revoked without success. I also tried phoning their Customer Relations several times without getting through needless to say and followed this up with several letters, all to no avail.

    I also tried to obtain a refund by requesting my credit card company to make a charge-back but after months of fobbing me off declined to do so (for fear of upsetting BA I wonder). A letter to the BA Chairman also failed to get their arbitrary decision reversed.

    At every stage BA has sought to avoid its legal obligations whatever the damage to their reputation and I shall certainly resist using BA ("The National Airline" supposedly) for any future flights, not that I expect to be flying anywhere with the current travel restrictions and my advancing years. 

  • Davidc1951
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    I was misled by BA early on in the pandemic.  I pressed a button that said apply for a refund or voucher but only got a voucher.  The refund option disappeared.  BA said I filled in a form for a voucher but I didn't.  In correspondence they refused a refund.  Hope others make a small claims court application.  It would be useful to know if BA win any of these cases.  If they do it could be costly or not - any views?
  • jimi_man
    jimi_man Posts: 1,101 Forumite
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    And yet despite all this BA are without doubt the best airline for flight changes/ cancellations and flexibility right up to the last minute. You can opt to cancel your flight two hours before and then rebook at a later date or rebook to somewhere else. 

    Personally I'll use them exclusively and have been, just because of that flexibility. (I know it's not a permanent thing but until it goes it's been very useful knowing that you can book a flight and then cancel at any time). 
  • eskbanker
    eskbanker Posts: 31,034 Forumite
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    I was misled by BA early on in the pandemic.  I pressed a button that said apply for a refund or voucher but only got a voucher.  The refund option disappeared.  BA said I filled in a form for a voucher but I didn't.  In correspondence they refused a refund.  Hope others make a small claims court application.
    Have you taken them to small claims?  If so, what was the outcome?  If not, why not?

    It would be useful to know if BA win any of these cases.  If they do it could be costly or not - any views?
    Not following you - why would it be costly if BA win cases brought against them?
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