This week, TraveLaw Online tackles the thorny issue of refunds and the IATA rules that apply to them.
Launched last week, TraveLaw Online features the legal expertise of cover Doug Crozier and Tim Law of Heifetz, Crozier, Law.
At a time when the Canadian travel industry probably has more questions than answers, Press Today is giving its readers an opportunity to ask their legal questions and get some answers from the experts.
Q: I’ve seen the Open Letter to Travel Agents that IATA sent earlier this month — https://www.iata.org/contentassets/d894bd2588bf46e6875cbae05a3e5c66/open-letter-travel-agent-community.pdf — and it refers with appreciation to the CTA’s decision to allow vouchers instead of cash refunds for ‘unflown’ tickets arising out of the pandemic. That’s all well and good, but what do IATA’s Resolutions say when it comes to refunds?
A: The IATA Resolution entitled “Refunds” is 824r — https://apps.iata.org/sites/fmc/Files/reso_824r.pdf . It is found in Section 2 of the Travel Agent’s Handbook, and so is “part of the contract between Travel Agents and IATA Members.”
As recently as last year, it was amended in order (according to IATA) to “… capture specific requirements related to Refunds in general and widen the scope of this Resolution.” It says in Section 2 that: “In all cases, Members shall expedite refunds on unused or partly used Traffic Documents …” and recommends that its Members authorize the use of a GDS to effect refunds for totally-unused tickets.
As for timing, section:
- 2.2.1 says that Carriers should “ensure that valid refunds on totally unused Traffic Documents are made or authorized not later than the following remittance schedule after the refund application is received from the Agent by the Carrier.”
- 2.2.2 says that Carriers “will ensure that refunds on partly used Traffic Documents are made or authorized by not later than two months after the refund application is received from the Agent by the Carrier.”
Heifetz, Crozier, Law is a Toronto law firm that has for years represented all aspects of the Canadian travel industry. The lawyers at HCL also maintain a non-travel practice, covering litigation, real estate, Wills, corporate/commercial matters, etc. To contact HCL, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.