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EasyJet cancelling replacement flight booked with a voucher

DebbaxterDebbaxter Forumite
3 Posts
First Post
MoneySaving Newbie
I know this is similar to other posts but I haven't seen one with exactly the same circumstances so I will ask. 
I booked a flight for Sicily in July 2020. In June 2020 I was sent an email saying the flight had not yet been cancelled but I could chose a voucher to change to another flight - I chose that option as I knew I wanted to rebook for July 2021. The flight in July 2020 was subsequently cancelled (you live and learn - as of course after I had accepted a voucher they went on to offer refunds to other people booked on the flight who had not accepted a voucher)
So - I rebooked for July 2021 as the event I am attending was rescheduled for this year. However, EasyJet have cancelled the flight I am booked on in July 2021 (over 6 months before the flight). They refuse to refund my flight as it was booked with a voucher - even though it is them who have cancelled the flight - which I would be more than happy to go on. 
I have spoken to customer service who just stick to the line - we will refund the flight in the same way it was originally paid for - totally disregarding the fact that it is they who have cancelled the flight and I used the voucher in good faith that the flight would go in July 21. 
A big warning to anyone else - never accept a voucher!!!
Does anyone have any advice if there is any other route I can take on this? 
Thankyou in advance

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Replies

  • bagand96bagand96 Forumite
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    easyJet are correct. They owe you a refund by the method paid. That method was a voucher so that's what you're entitled to as a refund. 
  • As you say “you live and learn”.  This pandemic has been a steep learning curve for many of us when booking future holidays but hey try to stop stressing, you haven’t lost your money, you can rebook when you can and if that is cancelled you can book something else.   Nothing is guaranteed at the moment for anyone or anything.   
  • DebbaxterDebbaxter Forumite
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    Thankyou both  - I suspected as much but it's such a frustration - I'll just have to book something else later :-)
  • eskbankereskbanker Forumite
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    bagand96 said:
    easyJet are correct. They owe you a refund by the method paid. That method was a voucher so that's what you're entitled to as a refund. 
    Is this definitely true?  The UK has retained the EC 261/2004 regulations with minor changes and the way I read Articles 5, 7 and 8 is that between them they state that refunds for cancellations:

    shall be paid in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services

    which clearly suggests that the passenger can demand a cash refund.

    Reimbursement to the method paid seems fairly standard when obtaining refunds from most retailers, but what rules or regulations would override the above provisions?
  • bagand96bagand96 Forumite
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    eskbanker said:
    bagand96 said:
    easyJet are correct. They owe you a refund by the method paid. That method was a voucher so that's what you're entitled to as a refund. 
    Is this definitely true?  The UK has retained the EC 261/2004 regulations with minor changes and the way I read Articles 5, 7 and 8 is that between them they state that refunds for cancellations:

    shall be paid in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services

    which clearly suggests that the passenger can demand a cash refund.

    Reimbursement to the method paid seems fairly standard when obtaining refunds from most retailers, but what rules or regulations would override the above provisions?
    Interesting point.

    The quote you've shared is from Article 7(3):
    3. The compensation referred to in paragraph 1 shall be paid in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services.
    Article 7 relates to compensation, as per the full sentence.

    However, in Article 8 "Right to Reimbursement or re-routing"  8 (1 (a)) does state:
    Seems a bit strange though, that when stating the right to reimbusement, it refers back to a section that is referring to compensation, even the sentence says compensation.

    Reimbursement via the original payment method is, as you say standard.  I don't know if anyone has ever challenged an airline on this point.  As with all these things it only takes one person willing to be the test case in court.
  • edited 6 February at 6:43PM
    eskbankereskbanker Forumite
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    edited 6 February at 6:43PM
    Yes, the wording is undoubtedly cumbersome and indirect but when you follow the cross-references through, the conclusion is clear, but what isn't clear to me is the basis on which anything else would override this, in order to support the view that refunds must be to the original payment method - I had a quick look at EasyJet's Ts & Cs and didn't see anything there about constraining refunding in that way, although they wouldn't take precedence over statutory rights anyway....
  • edited 6 February at 9:30PM
    CKhalvashiCKhalvashi Forumite
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    edited 6 February at 9:30PM
    I would say that any compensation needs to be made in cash unless otherwise agreed (there are currently ongoing extraordinary circumstances, however if someone wishes to try this route with an airline on a delayed/cancelled flight on an operating route, I'd say they'd likely have a reasonable chance of success). Wizz (who it's known are one of my 3 favoured airlines) offer the amount of compensation plus 20% in the event of a cancellation for Wizz Credit, which I'll personally work through in months rather than years anyway. If it's at 100% I wouldn't take it with any airline.

    If it's in relation to a refund, then the law states (Article 8):

    Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall be offered the choice between:

    (a)- reimbursement within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made, and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger's original travel plan, together with, when relevant,


    I'd argue with this quite clearly that if the booking is paid in cash, then a refund should be given in cash. If made by a voucher then a replacement voucher will be acceptable as a reimbursement, given that there would be no gain/loss to anyone in this case. I would personally say that this is in the wording of 'reimbursement' and not 'refund'.

    I'm not a lawyer however, and my interpretation of this may be wrong. Until it's tested in court, we don't have case law to go on. As has been seen with the Package Travel Directive (I'm sure we've cross-posted somewhere in relation to it), I have taken a reasonably consumer-friendly view in relation to how the legislation should be read, so that I can't see a right to a cash refund here in these circumstances may mean that there isn't one there.

    Any business interests that I may have in travel involve accommodation and day trips, these are sold to an airline partner in this state and it's them that sells this with their own flights (to countries that have some tourism and potential, but not developed infrastructure for tourism), so flights are not my specialist area. I have no interest in getting involved again in aviation directly.

    "I kada sanjamo san, nek bude hiljadu raznih boja" (L. Stamenkovic)

    Please note: All posts on Coronavirus legislation refer to England unless specified otherwise.

    I can spell, my iPad can't.
  • eskbankereskbanker Forumite
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    If it's in relation to a refund, then the law states (Article 8):

    Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall be offered the choice between:

    (a)- reimbursement within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made, and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger's original travel plan, together with, when relevant,

    I'd argue with this quite clearly that if the booking is paid in cash, then a refund should be given in cash. If made by a voucher then a replacement voucher will be acceptable as a reimbursement, given that there would be no gain/loss to anyone in this case. I would personally say that this is in the wording of 'reimbursement' and not 'refund'.

    But bringing in the wording of 7(3) as intended, the refund obligation effectively becomes:
    reimbursement within seven days, in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services, of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought....

    I take your point that there's an argument that the word 'reimbursement' (of the full cost) may not be exactly synonymous with 'refund' but would dispute that that interpretation (of refunding to original payment method) is 'quite clear' from the published wording, and if there was intended to be some sort of correlation with original payment method then it wouldn't have been difficult to specify it, especially if this was to be applied differentially between refunds and compensation - it would have been very straightforward to phrase Article 8(1)(a) as:
    reimbursement within seven days, via the original payment method, of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought....

    However, I'm not a lawyer either and, as you rightly say, the acid test would be in a court....
  • edited 7 February at 12:03PM
    CKhalvashiCKhalvashi Forumite
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    edited 7 February at 12:03PM
    eskbanker said:
    If it's in relation to a refund, then the law states (Article 8):

    Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall be offered the choice between:

    (a)- reimbursement within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought, for the part or parts of the journey not made, and for the part or parts already made if the flight is no longer serving any purpose in relation to the passenger's original travel plan, together with, when relevant,

    I'd argue with this quite clearly that if the booking is paid in cash, then a refund should be given in cash. If made by a voucher then a replacement voucher will be acceptable as a reimbursement, given that there would be no gain/loss to anyone in this case. I would personally say that this is in the wording of 'reimbursement' and not 'refund'.

    But bringing in the wording of 7(3) as intended, the refund obligation effectively becomes:
    reimbursement within seven days, in cash, by electronic bank transfer, bank orders or bank cheques or, with the signed agreement of the passenger, in travel vouchers and/or other services, of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought....

    I take your point that there's an argument that the word 'reimbursement' (of the full cost) may not be exactly synonymous with 'refund' but would dispute that that interpretation (of refunding to original payment method) is 'quite clear' from the published wording, and if there was intended to be some sort of correlation with original payment method then it wouldn't have been difficult to specify it, especially if this was to be applied differentially between refunds and compensation - it would have been very straightforward to phrase Article 8(1)(a) as:
    reimbursement within seven days, via the original payment method, of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought....

    However, I'm not a lawyer either and, as you rightly say, the acid test would be in a court....
    Article 7 focuses on compensation, not on refunds. In this case I'd argue that it rightly should be paid in cash, rather than in vouchers, but cite my example above of when it's beneficial for the consumer to be paid with what's effectively a voucher rather than cash, but with an added percentage. Of course, if a family of 4 are going on a trip and they all receive compensation for a delay that they won't use within 2 years (The Larnaca or Tel Aviv route would be a prime example of this, neither route interests me at all), this may be different, and each customer will need to work through their own circumstances before agreeing to this method.

    For a refund under Article 8 where no compensation is due, I personally consider a refund to the original payment method to be satisfactory, which may result in a part and part voucher/cash refund being given. Whilst not explicitly stated in the regulation, if no cash refund were to be offered for a fare paid in cash (or part of a fare paid in cash), there would be a decent likelihood of success in a court, but given a strict reading of the word 'reimbursement', I'd consider it to only be this part if relevant, as there is no loss to the consumer in this case.

    Again, as far as I'm aware, this particular angle of attack (or the right to convert a voucher to a cash refund in the event of a second cancellation) has not yet been tested in court.
    "I kada sanjamo san, nek bude hiljadu raznih boja" (L. Stamenkovic)

    Please note: All posts on Coronavirus legislation refer to England unless specified otherwise.

    I can spell, my iPad can't.
  • eskbankereskbanker Forumite
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    CKhalvashi said:
    Article 7 focuses on compensation, not on refunds.
    Absolutely, and is therefore irrelevant to this discussion!  Article 8 inherits its definition of means of payment from 7(3), in order to apply these to refunds, but there is otherwise no significance of Article 7 to the matter at hand.

    For a refund under Article 8 where no compensation is due, I personally consider a refund to the original payment method to be satisfactory, which may result in a part and part voucher/cash refund being given. Whilst not explicitly stated in the regulation, if no cash refund were to be offered for a fare paid in cash (or part of a fare paid in cash), there would be a decent likelihood of success in a court, but given a strict reading of the word 'reimbursement', I'd consider it to only be this part if relevant, as there is no loss to the consumer in this case.
    So, to summarise the differing interpretations, in the context of a ticket purchased using a voucher where the flight is cancelled by the airline.

    My interpretation is that "reimbursement within seven days, by the means provided for in Article 7(3), of the full cost of the ticket at the price at which it was bought" commits the airline to pay the customer the full cost of the ticket (regardless of original method of payment) via non-voucher means unless the customer agrees to accept those.  If the customer paid with a voucher valued at, say, £200, the full cost of the ticket is priced at £200 and so that's the value of the refund, to be paid via the means in Article 7(3).

    As I understand your interpretation, the use of the word 'reimbursement' brings implicit connotations of loss recovery and/or reapplying the original method of payment, so if the customer paid with a voucher valued at, say, £200, the full cost of the ticket is specifically a £200 voucher and so that's what needs to be refunded/reimbursed, regardless of the provisions of Article 7(3)?
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