Air travel cancellation – triumph for the consumer

Your hero’s name is Ronald Huzar. Yes, huzzah for Mr Huzar!

He sued Jet2 last year for a 27-hour flight delay caused by mechanical problems. Until now, mechanical faults have been used as a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card by the airlines, who are allowed to cancel or delay and not compensate in “extraordinary circumstances”.  This was usually taken to mean political unrest or dangerous weather, but airlines were categorising mechanical breakdowns as extraordinary and therefore they didn’t have to pay up or apologise or help their customers deal with the ensuing chaos.

The Guardian summarises it nicely. “Rules state that passengers who reach their destination more than three hours late can claim up to €600 (£494) plus expenses, per person, if the delay is within the airline’s control. However thousands of passengers have struggled to get the cash they are entitled to, with airlines often refusing to pay out even when the regulator rules against them.”

The Independent from 26 October 2013 (the great Mr Simon Calder, himself) continues: “[A]fter a hearing… at Manchester County Court, His Honour Judge Platts ruled that the issue did not turn on whether the technical problem was expected or unexpected. Rather, the judge said, airlines have a duty to resolve technical issues. He said that the resolution of those issues is firmly in the control of the airline – and that technical faults cannot count as “extraordinary circumstances”.”

Well, not any more. Now the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled in Mr Huzar’s favour, and Jet2 lost. So now anyone delayed in the past six years because of “mechanical problems” can claim.  

Mr Calder is concerned that this will place a huge financial burden on the airlines, (, which in the short term may be so, as many people seize the opportunity to recover what they are rightfully owed. But in the long term, it may just persuade the airlines to DO MORE AND/OR BETTER MAINTENANCE to avoid the future expense of compensating consumers who now know their rights. We shall see. 

For a full legal opinion from 4 Kings Bench Walk, specialist travel law barristers, and a link to the actual judgment itself, click here.



Sky finally admits its mistake

Sky finally admits its mistake

This is the culmination of The Sunday Telegraph’s campaign against Sky TV, primarily to do with how hard it is to cancel your contract.

I played my own tiny part in this, and my pic is even shown (again). Fame at last. The previous post can be found here.

It turns out they were misleading their customers as to the cancellation process and everyone was getting very cross (myself included).

Having admitted their mistake, I then sent them a bill for the cost of my phone calls to their cancellation line. As it was an 0844 number, they owed me over £17 quid!

They paid. How’s THAT for a success story?

Carry the one…

Carry the one…

Today’s Queen’s speech.

Right at the bottom of the list are the things being carried forward from last year’s list of promised legislation that we never quite got round to. Oops.

Top of that pile? Consumer rights legislation.  

There was supposed to be a bill in the 2013-14 parliament about new laws to cover digital purchases, such as downloads, and new powers for Trading Standards officers.

Nowt so far… And so we wait. Some more. 

Well, it’s the thought that counts. 

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