Colorado Legal professional Common Phil Weiser has requested the U.S. Division of Transportation to launch an investigation into Denver-based Frontier Airways after receiving greater than 100 complaints about what he known as misleading and unfair practices throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The complaints middle on Frontier’s unwillingness to supply refunds, its failure to promptly redeem flight credit or vouchers given in lieu of a refund, and never serving to prospects once they name to resolve issues.
“We urge you to fastidiously overview Frontier’s practices and, for those who discover such practices to be unfair or misleading, to make use of your authority to guard shoppers. Our workplace is ready to work with you to assist a radical examination of Frontier’s practices and guarantee shoppers are protected throughout this precarious time,” Weiser wrote in a letter to DOT Secretary Elaine Chao on Tuesday.
Federal laws require airways to supply refunds once they cancel or considerably change or delay flights, even when the explanations are exterior the airways’ management. Weiser stated shoppers from Colorado and 29 different states have contacted his workplace about Frontier’s failure in that regard.
As a substitute of refunds, Frontier has provided credit for future flights for use inside 90 days of the cancellation of the unique flight. However when shoppers tried to redeem their credit, they couldn’t due to an error-prone web site and unresponsive name middle, which positioned prospects on maintain for hours or often disconnected them mid-call.
Others have been reassured that in the event that they wanted to increase the 90-day interval, they might name again nearer to the expiration date. Once they truly did that, Frontier refused to increase the credit score interval, in keeping with Weiser.
Customers who did handle to redeem credit weren’t allowed to hold over any remaining worth after reserving a flight, forcing them to forfeit important quantities of cash.
“The regulation requires airways like Frontier to deal with shoppers pretty and actually. In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, we obtained extra complaints about Frontier’s conduct — failing to honor its dedication to supply refunds — than another firm,” Weiser stated in a information launch Tuesday.
Though a federal investigation might hurt a major Colorado employer, Weiser stated “corporations can’t be allowed to reap the benefits of shoppers throughout this time and have to be held accountable for misleading and unfair conduct.” He urged the DOT to make use of its authority, together with civil penalties of as much as $2,500 per violation, the place acceptable.
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Frontier Airways “strongly disputed” the allegations Weiser made in his letter.
“All through the pandemic, Frontier Airways has acted in good religion to take care of our passengers compassionately and pretty,” stated spokeswoman Jennifer de la Cruz. “Always we have now remained in full compliance with DOT guidelines and laws governing flight adjustments, cancellations and refunds.”
The federal authorities put aside $25 billion in loans to passenger carriers, together with Frontier Airways, to assist them cowl income losses due to the pandemic, which in idea ought to have cushioned the blow that comes with offering refunds.
However the cash isn’t sufficient to cowl the losses the business is going through. Quite a few airways have introduced important layoffs beginning Oct. 1, when restrictions on giant job reductions are lifted. Frontier Airways has stated it plans to furlough about 1,500 employees, together with practically 400 in Denver.