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Travel platform Yatra asked by Authority to refund bookings to consumers affected by Covid lockdown

9 Jul 2024

New Delhi [India], July 9 (ANI): The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) has directed 'Yatra', an online travel platform, to refund booking amounts to consumers affected by to Covid-19 lockdown. It came to the notice of the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) through the National Consumer Helpline (1915-toll free number) that many grievances were lodged relating to non-refund of canceled air tickets on account of COVID-19 lockdown wherein the consumers had alleged that the travel agencies informed them that refunds had not been received from the airlines. In light of these grievances, the CCPA initiated suo-moto action against Yatra regarding the non-refund of airline tickets canceled. As per a Ministry of Consumer Affairs statement on Tuesday, a show cause notice was sent to this travel company in March 2021 regarding the pendency of refunds of bookings. CCPA conducted several hearings of the Company and closely monitored the progress of refunds made to the consumers. From July 8, 2021, to June 25, 2024, the CCPA conducted several hearings to address these issues. As a result of these efforts, Yatra Online Limited has made significant progress in reducing the total number of pending refund bookings. In 2021, there were 36,276 pending bookings amounting to over Rs 26 crore. As of June 21, 2024, this number has been significantly reduced to 4,837 bookings, amounting to over Rs 2.5. "Yatra has refunded approx 87 per cent amount to consumers and further endeavor to refund approx 13 per cent amount to consumers in order to ensure that all pending refunds are processed promptly and efficiently by airlines," the ministry release said. "CCPA vide order dated 27.06.2024 directed 22 remaining airlines of Yatra to expeditiously refund Rs 31,79,069 to consumers." During the proceedings held before CCPA, several other travel platforms like MakeMyTrip, EaseMyTrip, ClearTrip, Ixigo and Thomas Cook have refunded the entire amount to consumers whose tickets got affected due to Covid-19 lockdown, the ministry said. "To further facilitate timely processing of refunds to consumers, CCPA issued an order on 27.06.2024 wherein it directed Yatra to set up dedicated arrangements at the National Consumer Helpline (NCH). Specifically, Yatra is required to allocate five exclusive seats at NCH for making calls to the remaining 4,837 passengers informing them that their pending refunds due to COVID-19 lockdown-related flight cancellations will be processed. The costs incurred for engaging these five dedicated personnel will be fully covered by Yatra with payments made directly to the agency managed by NCH." (ANI)

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