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Clear as Mud: Britain’s New Claims System

Passengers seeking claims against their carriers will now have to navigate a system of Byzantine compensation rules or face possible fees should their suit be rejected.

It has been revealed that passengers in Britain who attempt to claim over delays, lost luggage or cancellation could themselves be out-of-pocket should their suit prove to be unsuccessful.

In the past, passengers unhappy with the resolution offered by their chosen carrier could rely upon Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to resolve any claims. The CAA, the body responsible for regulating the country’s aviation industry, formerly operated a free mediation service that was intended to smooth over any niggling suits.

But under new and confusing rules, some carriers have voluntarily agreed to register with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Scheme (ADR). This is a program that sees operators register with any number of alternative resolution bodies, some of which charge a fee for their services.

Airlines can opt to use the ADR’s retail ombudsman as their resolution body of choice. The ADR does not charge a fee for any claim, failed or otherwise.

However, some carriers have opted to register with the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR), which charges a £25 ($32) fee for failed cases.

While Ryanair and FlyBe have opted in to use the ADR’s retail ombudsman as their mediation service, British Airways (BA), easyJet, Thomson and Thomas Cook have registered with the CEDR.

It is believed that these changes will make rules regarding rightful compensation claims even more convoluted. These new rules were announced just as it was revealed that easyJet in particular has been slow to compensate passengers for refunds.

Speaking to the Guardian, a spokesperson for CEDR said, “The £25 ($32) fee is payable if there is no merit in the claim. But if the passenger’s claim is found to have any merit at all, then they are entitled to 100 percent of the compensation due.”

Confusingly, those who are seeking to make a claim don’t necessarily have to file it via any known ADR; rather, many choose to present their case through Britain’s small claims court system.

Which?, the country’s consumer research body, called this new claims system “hopelessly muddled” and called for a single resolution ombudsman.

[Photo: Reuters]

Comments are Closed.
Calchas August 24, 2016

You can also sue the carrier directly and bypass all these intermediaries.

Sydneyberlin August 23, 2016

Good old British law making results in so much clearer rules than what those awful politicians in Brussels do! Lol...