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Travel sites told to refund air tickets booked during lockdown

The Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCa) has directed online travel platforms such as EaseMyTrip, Yatra, MakeMyTrip, HappyEasyGo and Cleartrip to refund booking amounts of airline tickets to consumers whose travel was disrupted by the pandemic.

In 2020, the Supreme Court had also ordered airlines to refund passengers who were forced to cancel flight tickets due to the nationwide lockdown imposed by the government to arrest the spread of the coronavirus.

The DoCA told the companies to process the pending refunds by the third week of November, failing which the Central Consumer Protection Authority(CCPA) will initiate legal proceedings in the apex court, including filing of a contempt petition against the defaulting platforms, it said in a statement.

During a meeting on Wednesday, the department also discussed the possibility of integrating the National Consumer Helpline with the, a traveller support portal. The meeting was chaired by Rohit Kumar Singh, secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs.

While Yatra has 5,695 refunds pending this year, EaseMyTrip has one refund pending, the statement added. MakeMyTrip has 63 pending refunds this year.

DoCA highlighted commonly prevalent “dark patterns” on online travel platforms such as confirm shaming, showing pre-ticked checkboxes, triggering alarm and told them to find ways to counter these deceptive online practices and protect consumers’ interests in the travel sector.

Nov 08,2023

Source: Economic Times