The Israel Consumer Council has asked the court to recognize a class action suit against foreign airlines operating in Israel, which are refusing to refund fares paid for canceled flights. The airlines are only offering coupons to be redeemed against future flights, which the Israel Consumer Council claims contravenes Israel's Aviation Law (Compensation and assistance for flight cancelations or changing of terms 2012).
The class action suit is against United Airlines, Ukraine Airlines, Aegean Airlines and Vueling Airlines. The Israel Consumer Council charges that from February 1, 2020 the airlines began canceling flights due to the coronavirus outbreak but in contravention of the law the carriers did not refund passengers who had purchased tickets for flights nor did they inform them that they could have their money back. The suit has been filed by Adv. Baruch Adler of the Adler, Shachar, Adler law firm and Adv. Roni Avissar-Sade.
Israel Consumer Council CEO Ofer Merom described the airlines' policy as 'shameless.' He said, "The law states that when a flight is canceled at the initiative of the airline then the customer is entitled to get their money back or an alternative ticket according to their choice, and the airline is obligated to inform passengers regarding the option of getting their money back. Since the flight cancellations began, these companies have harmed their customers and have ridiculed the law."
The Israel Consumer Council said that other foreign airlines including KLM, Air France, Iberia and TAPAir Portugal also refused to refund passengers for canceled flights but have changed their conduct after the threat of a lawsuit.
The airlines have lost billions of dollars due to the coronavirus and the virtual halt of all international flights and many major carriers may not survive the crisis. However, the Israel Consumer Council points out that many of the passengers who are owed refunds are as desperate for the money to make ends meet as the airlines.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 13, 2020
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