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Victory over BA at CEDR on ticket validity issue!

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  • The Savage Squirrel

    What a superb post. Bravo StillintheSun, not asleep at all – it was very interesting (particularly as your experience within the field is clear. Also +1 for Secret Barrister!)

    I’m remembering the anti-forum-pro-daily-chat complainers and thinking that without a proper structured forum this post seequence would never have existed as it was not possible to create this level of detail previously; and there was no point when it would vanish after 24 hours. You can also see from the script that the ability to comment and build on a subject over a period of time and revisit that subject later was very useful to StillintheSun. Thanks to Rhys and all at HfP for the time and effort to set the forum up – it is showing its value!

    I’ll also draw everyone’s attention to the “Favourite” button, (top right on desktop) as a nice way of saving particularly useful threads – which is exactly what I’ve done with this one.

    SteveCroydon

    A well deserved victory for @StillintheSun
    A well deserved loss for BA.
    After their appalling behaviour over the past two years, and Alex Cruz’s appearances before Parliament, I hope many more people will pursue proceedings.
    Good luck to all!
    Of course, if the pox-ridden IT systems worked and BA spent some money on them, many of these functions could be handled online without call centre intervention. How about that for a radical idea Sean Doyle?!?!

    Peter K

    You have to hand it to those who drafted this legislation. It’s almost like they saw BA coming, isn’t it?

    It’s certainly not just BA that has been trying to avoid paying what they should according to multiple reports on here!

    PeteM

    On a related note – I’ve taken BA to CEDR twice and won – how many times do we think they’ll allow this to happen before they close my BAEC account?

    And also thanks for this detailed guide, @StillintheSun – most useful for the future, although hope not to need it. My wins were much more straightforward!

    points_worrier

    On a related note – I’ve taken BA to CEDR twice and won – how many times do we think they’ll allow this to happen before they close my BAEC account?!

    They really shouldn’t be closing your account – the fact you have won shows the complaints are not vexatious. If they close your account, make sure you complain and claim full avios costs too!

    StillintheSun

    Thanks everyone for the cheery comments, glad you think the above is of use! As an aside I had a return trip to Cape Town on KLM booked with Virgin points this February which was cancelled. At first Virgin said there was nothing they could do. I was able to inform Virgin over What’s App that I fully understood my EC Flight Rights, drop in a reference to currently suing BA and hey presto I was magically put onto an Air France flight! All dealt with very amicably. Hopefully, therefore just knowing what you should be asking for will be enough for some of us to get that which we are entitled to without all effort of a formal pursuit! Of course the airlines are being naughty in not performing their obligations but there we are.

    Lady London

    Thank you very much @stillinthesun for taking the trouble to share in such detail.

    AJA

    Excellent news @stillinthesun A very comprehensive but succinctly laid out justification of your case.

    Derpdev

    Brilliant news @Stillinthesun and a well deserved win as others have echoed! The information here is so useful for those of us new to this game and I am currently at the beginnings of a similar case and undoubtedly this will give me the structure I need to help frame my case!

    Jenniekg

    Well done – this is such a helpful thread. I am currently in email exchange with ‘Rachel’ following an escalation of 3 complaints to Sean Doyles email. The most critical from my viewpoint is the cancellation and refund of 2 x CW to CPT booked with Avios. Action not requested by me – I wanted re-arranged seats at same time of year – just under a year later. Would it be appropriate to cite the key points above as my final position on the matter pre commencing CEDR – acknowledging that CEDR is not legally binding but gives a clear message as to what both parties need to respect? @meta – Article 15 would also need to be cited. Rachels stance is we have refunded you which is what our customers are telling us they want – so end of story – you now have your 241 and can rebook – but as we all know CW to CPT are hard to obtain and now cost more in terms of Avios and taxes. Just hoping that sense will prevail and not to have 3 CEDR cases on the go.

    NorthernLass

    How many cases will have to go to CEDR/MCOL/court before the CAA acknowledges that there might just be something slightly amiss about the way BA operates?!

    It infuriates me when BA not only spout this garbage about their Ts and Cs being final and binding but persist with the same lines when confronted with customers who clearly know their legal rights. It’s deliberately misleading customers at the very least.

    StillintheSun

    &Jenniekg

    It is my understanding that in order to take a case to CEDR you need either a deadlock letter or the complaint must be at least 8 weeks old or both. Getting a deadlock letter from BA is easy, simply keep asking for a re-route and after about 3 times they will send the deadlock email to you. If not just ask them for a deadlock letter as you are minded to go to CEDR.

    However, as CEDR is a real possibility down the line now is a time to pause and make sure your evidence is in place. Importantly, do you have evidence that alternative seats are available to purchase on the dates that you have requested? The best evidence will be screen shots from the BA website demonstrating that the exact flights that you want are available from BA with the price of the flexible and non-flexible tickets also taken as a screen shot or printed as a pdf document. If the flights are not yet available my personal approach would be to wait until they are so that in my next response to BA I could specifically cite the fact that the flights are available and note the cost of the same.

    Once you have your deadlock letter you then have a choice; take screen shots of the current price of the flights that are available on British Airways and purchase them or purchase flights that cost about the same or cheaper on an alternative carrier. Whilst I think it very arguable that an Avios ticket is akin to a flexible ticket they are not exactly the same so there may be some wiggle room for BA here, not much but enough that a finding of parity is not guaranteed. In an ideal world your purchased flights will be cheaper than even BA’s cheapest non-flexible business fare removing any argument that you have unreasonably purchased more expensive flights (known as failing to mitigate your loss).

    Alternatively, if you are not in a position to take the risk of ultimately paying for the alternative flights you have two options; ask CEDR to direct BA to put you on the requested BA flight (a power CEDR has but not a court), or alternatively provide screenshots of the cost of the alternative flights acceptable to you on say BA and two alternative carriers and seek the cost of those. The problem with the latter approach is that flight prices are dynamic. Also it is generally stronger to “crystallise your loss”, know definitely what you are claiming for having already paid out the same.


    @Meta
    ’s citing of the 2nd half of Article 15 is very helpful in that BA must offer you all three Article 8 choices (next flight, reroute, refund) for their provision of a refund to be valid and curtail your EC Flight Regs rights. I used twitter to contact them so I could have a concise log of the conversation and leave no scope for doubt as to what was and was not said. Recordings of phone calls are easily obtainable under DGPR legislation and BA’s website address below details:
    https://www.britishairways.com/travel/prvdet-vsg/public/en_gb
    In your case BA don’t actually seem to be asserting that you, specifically asked for a refund and so unless they can demonstrate that you, specifically did ask for a refund then there does not seem to be an issue here.

    CEDR is binding on British Airways if you the passenger accept the arbitrator’s decision but it is not binding on either British Airways or yourself if you reject the decision. Frankly, no need to reference this but I think getting the deadlock letter is helpful in which BA describe CEDR as binding.

    Frankly, I really do think that BA non-payment is inadvertence. CEDR will inevitably be cheaper for BA then navigating all these cases through a courts system. Court fees alone would have added an approximately additional 12.5% loss to the cost of my claim, plus interest at 8%, plus the cost of legally trained staff drafting formal documents. The readers of this blog are in industry terms “sophisticated”, most people will take one look at the CEDR website and take no further steps. Thus BA achieve its commercial objective of reducing claims in any event. I have sent a copy of my adjudicators decision plus bank details to BA’s legal department asking for compliance and expect payment or Sean’s Office will be getting a message!

    The thing is most multinational corporates based in the UK and/indeed departments of the British state do tend to comply with “final decisions.” Most are grateful for the rule of law that we have. In any event, the senior judiciary are very keen on Alternative Dispute Resolution and thus messing about when there has been a final, binding, decision would not be viewed sympathetically. However whether expecting the average man in the street to cough up and potentially lose £500 in Court fees to obtain £4,000 rightly owed to them is giving the rule of law the respect it deserves is another matter.

    • This reply was modified 53 years, 1 month ago by .
    JDB

    Well done – this is such a helpful thread. I am currently in email exchange with ‘Rachel’ following an escalation of 3 complaints to Sean Doyles email. The most critical from my viewpoint is the cancellation and refund of 2 x CW to CPT booked with Avios. Action not requested by me – I wanted re-arranged seats at same time of year – just under a year later. Would it be appropriate to cite the key points above as my final position on the matter pre commencing CEDR – acknowledging that CEDR is not legally binding but gives a clear message as to what both parties need to respect? @meta – Article 15 would also need to be cited. Rachels stance is we have refunded you which is what our customers are telling us they want – so end of story – you now have your 241 and can rebook – but as we all know CW to CPT are hard to obtain and now cost more in terms of Avios and taxes. Just hoping that sense will prevail and not to have 3 CEDR cases on the go.

    Sorry to hear about your fight to establish your rights. Have you obtained a recording of any conversation(s) you had with BA about the cancellation? Or did they simply refund without any form of online or telephone interaction? These cases at CEDR/MCOL are very fact/evidence specific, so if it ends up being escalated you need to provide precise detail of the sequence of events and need to move to x date to maximise your prospects.

    StillintheSun

    @NorthernLass
    I’ll take the bait and give you a friendly counter view 🙂
    The scope of the duty to re-route “subject to the passenger’s convenience” has not yet determined by a senior Court such as the Court of Appeal. Most of us agree that there is probably not an unlimited, open-ended right to re-route many years after the event. BA asserts that the scope of the EC Right is the same as their conditions of carriage. Where does the line fall? In my opinion BA are probably wrong in law on this but no senior Court has determined and issued a precedent as to the correct answer. Thus the law is not yet settled. Thus on individual cases BA are not morally obliged to pay out money on an issue that has yet to become settled law.

    BA commercially probably don’t want to test the issue by taking the issue to a senior court because they don’t want the publicity and also they benefit from the uncertainty in that most people won’t pursue their “probable” right.

    On the micro level they should have paid me off early and avoided me sending out a detailed plan of action against them but such is the delight of the law of unintended consequences 🙂

    Revenge is always a dish best served cold.

    • This reply was modified 53 years, 1 month ago by .
    thom

    Thanks for such a detailed summary – a shame you had too go down this route but a good outcome and very usefully summary to all those who have to follow your example!

    memesweeper

    @NorthernLass
    Most of us agree that there is probably not an unlimited, open-ended right to re-route many years after the event.

    True enough, however, BA and other airlines have suspended routes for over a year in some cases during the pandemic. Most people who want a reroute and get it rejected by BA are looking for (roughly) same time next year. An update to BA’S T&Cs to permit a reroute within 18 months (or within a year of a route restarting) would cover 99% of consumers’ interests and never need to be challenged at a higher court. BA make it hard for themselves with these policies, the administrative cost to them of a challenge, even at CEDR, is high.

    meta

    A court in Germany ruled on Lufthansa regarding the re-booking right in 2020. I remember reading about on one of the blogs. It does not set a precedent, but if anyone wants to take BA to court over the rebooking right, they could at least reference it in passing.

    For those who read German, I have this link
    saved:
    https://www.drboese.de/blog/lufthansa-darf-keine-zuzahlung-verlangen/

    My German is rusty, but from what I understand Lufthansa asked more money from passengers who wanted to rebook at popular times and well beyond ticket validity. The ruling also stated that within EU261 there is no time limit to rebook as long as there are seats available.

    meta

    @memesweeper Totally, plus they could also make it easier for themselves by just issuing a new ticket each time rather than having all the reschedules under one booking.

    NorthernLass

    @StillintheSun – quoi?!!

    StillintheSun

    @memesweeper
    Your compromise seems eminently sensible maybe you should contact BA and suggest that adopting the same could avoid a lot of agro?

    memesweeper

    @memesweeper
    Your compromise seems eminently sensible maybe you should contact BA and suggest that adopting the same could avoid a lot of agro?

    They probably don’t want to hear from me. I’ve actually taken the mick quite considerably with re-routing rights.

    Rob, on the other hand, would be an eminently sensible person for customer service/legal/PR teams to consult about how to handle complaints and service recovery in a way that’s consumer friendly, legally compliant and hard for ‘gamers’ to exploit.

    bafan

    I feel like this should be pinned to the top at this point…

    Aston100

    Great thread. If only the search function worked properly, people could find this in the future.

    Actually yes, pin it to the forum.

    NorthernLass

    @NorthernLass
    I’ll take the bait and give you a friendly counter view 🙂
    The scope of the duty to re-route “subject to the passenger’s convenience” has not yet determined by a senior Court such as the Court of Appeal. Most of us agree that there is probably not an unlimited, open-ended right to re-route many years after the event. BA asserts that the scope of the EC Right is the same as their conditions of carriage. Where does the line fall? In my opinion BA are probably wrong in law on this but no senior Court has determined and issued a precedent as to the correct answer. Thus the law is not yet settled. Thus on individual cases BA are not morally obliged to pay out money on an issue that has yet to become settled law.

    BA commercially probably don’t want to test the issue by taking the issue to a senior court because they don’t want the publicity and also they benefit from the uncertainty in that most people won’t pursue their “probable” right.

    On the micro level they should have paid me off early and avoided me sending out a detailed plan of action against them but such is the delight of the law of unintended consequences 🙂

    Revenge is always a dish best served cold.

    I’ve found what you’re referring to now. My gripe with BA is that they persistently tell people that they are ONLY entitled to a refund for a cancelled flight (as per their Ts and Cs). I think there’s a pretty clear line between this and EU/UK261 re-routing rights! I was responding to @Jenniekg whose post is above mine, btw.

    • This reply was modified 53 years, 1 month ago by .
    StillintheSun

    @Northernlass
    Then you are absolutely right to be hacked off. It is very naughty for a large company to actively mislead people as to what they are entitled to. Good thing we have the hive mind of HFP to keep us all on the right track. I know one of us didn’t get the result he/she wanted at CEDR but if he/she is willing to throw the dice at MCOL hopefully he/she will beat BA in the end!
    Its a good job I’m off with Covid this week, my friends laugh at me for rarely using social media but I can see the addictive nature of all this t’internet. Luckily its back to work on Monday!

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