LATAM will have to reimburse boarding fees to all those consumers who purchased air tickets and for different reasons were unable to travel. The decision is a Collective Voluntary Procedure from the Chilean National Consumer Service, Sernac and is estimated to benefit some 400,000 consumers involving some 600 million dollars.
Sernac head Lucas del Villar praised the decision saying is was a first unheard event which not only involves returning money, but also underlines the rights of consumers. In effect although the boarding fees restitution right is included in the norms, until now airlines were not complying and in most cases consumers were not informed or aware of this claim
Apparently is all started back in 2019 when Sernac notified eight airlines demanding the reimbursement of boarding fees for those air tickets in which the contract was not made effective, no matter the cause, be it because of the airline, the traveller, safety reasons or force majeure. The ruling benefits all those who purchased air tickets directly since May 2015 and for any of the above reasons were unable to fly.
Money will be returned under three different groupings, Group 1, all those who purchased tickets and boarding fees were to be returned between 14 September 2018 and 18 March 2020. The amounts retained by the company includes some 4.400 million Chilean pesos and US$ 565,000 for international boarding fees. Group 2, refers to those who purchased tickets and did not fly between first May 2015 and 13 September 2018. Finally Group 3 covers fees of tickets since the agreement was reached and the beginning of the money return implementation.
LATAM must inform its clients by email of the restitution (some 379,193 from Group 1). Money will be reimbursed to clients' bank accounts, in no more than 15 days since all forms are completed.
For the other groups and potential claimers, LATAM must post, during two years, what travelers are entitled to. Those who feel they have not been reimbursed or left out can appeal direction to Sernac which will consider the cases.
Finally Sernac also informed that similar situations are in process involving six other airlines, Sky, JetSmart, Aerolineas Argenitnas, COPA, Avianca and Iberia.