BA flies in the face of consumer law and decency

Customers who bought tickets for the economy cabin on short-haul and domestic flights from Heathrow and Gatwick flying from January 11, 2017, and from London City and London Stansted by summer 2017 are being stung and will find that food and drinks are no longer free! Has it become a no frills airline? On the 29th September this year BA announced to great fanfare that it had partnered with Marks and Spencer. The new British Airways menu, which will replace the airline’s current complimentary snacks, includes items from the M&S Food on the Move selection. Well that’s nice isn’t it? Well maybe spending a few quid might be better than the free alcoholic drink and a few free nibbles in the future but what about those people who bought their tickets before the 29th September? They lose out, that’s what.

You may think that customers only lost the cost of a drink and a few nuts. But stop, don’t flee yet. How many tickets do you think were purchased before the 29th September this year for flights after the 11th January 2017? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Ok, so just how much have they actually saved? That’s the principle after all. Couple of pounds on every flight, you do the math, it’s thousands and thousands of pounds right?

“Oh” I hear you cry “But BA will refund the cost of the “free” drink and nibbles so they won’t make that money”. Really? It wouldn’t appear so. Those people who have already booked flights received an email starting with “Thank you for booking your flight with British Airways. We’re writing to let you know about some key changes that are taking place to our on-board catering.” The press release followed. There is no mention at all of compensation, partial refund or how to make a complaint. They may not refuse any calls of this nature but why the lack of transparency or assistance for customers. There’s nothing on their website either!

I asked the BA Press Office for a response and so far have not received one. I tweeted BA and they said all flights after 11th Jan will have new catering menu. “Breach of contract” says I and here is their stance on that:

@Airways 

@ComplainingCow Hi Helen, sorry for the delay in replying. We’ve given our customers a four month notice period of the changes… most short-haul customers do not book this far in advance, but any customers who hold bookings from January 11th 2/3… and are unhappy are welcome to contact us to discuss their booking.

So, there you go. BA will discuss your bookings but will not actively point out that they have broken the terms and conditions of contracts.

Right, well that’s it. It’s the principle of the thing. It doesn’t matter if you think it is only a few quid or you are just a bit miffed or even if you don’t care. BA appears to be making money from this. Instead of doing it properly and offering vouchers/AVIOS points or partial refunds to affected customers it would appear that it has simply informed them that the terms and conditions have changed and hoped that the majority of people won’t bother complaining. They would not be out of pocket and the PR would have been much better showing them to be doing the “right thing”.

So, we can’t catch all the customers affected and of those we catch we can’t get them all to complain. But we can have a damn good try at knocking the BA profits and making sure customers actually get what is legally due. How? Like this:

  • Email the CEO. You can find his address at ceoemail.com
  • Provide details of when you bought the tickets and the booking reference numbers
  • Tell him that BA is in breach of contract for breaking the terms and conditions of the contract you have.
  • Say that you are aware that the breach falls under The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, Regulation EC 1008/2008 – Article 23 Transparent pricing, Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and Consumer Rights Act 2015 (including Part 2 Unfair Terms).
  • State that you are entitled to a full refund on the ticket or you will accept a partial refund for the value of the “free” drink and food that formed part of the contract. (Both ways!)
  • Inform him that should you not receive a satisfactory response you will not hesitate in taking the matter further such as the Alternative Dispute Resolution Scheme.
  • Optional – say that you are disgusted with the way BA has handled this matter and will be spreading awareness of people’s legal rights via social media. (And then of course do so, the more people we empower to fight for their rights the better so do your bit!)

Don’t be fobbed off by any  requests to call an 0844 number either as these are no longer permitted for after-sales enquiries and issues, Regulation 41 of  aforementioned Consumer Contracts (Information Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. Refuse to ‘phone anyway because you want your answer in writing should you need the evidence! A call won’t give you that. Why you should write not ‘phone to complain effectively.

If you bought your ticket(s) through a travel agent you will need to contact them as if you paid the travel agent directly the contract is with them.

Beat BA at their own game and don’t let these big businesses get away with it. Call them out on it and ensure you get your legal redress whilst you are about it.

If you want to do more about asserting your legal rights and need some help. See the Top 20 Tips for complaining effectively and the book How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results packed full of information, guidance, advice, consumer law and template letters.

Found me from Jeremy Vine Show?

Here are some useful links related to the story:

All you need to know about booking/complaining about holidays/flights – various links to various laws, stories, legal rights etc.

Civil Aviation Authority Consumer Law

Why you should write not phone to complain effectively 

Top 20 Tips on complaining effectively

ceomemail.com for contact details for CEOS

For more advice, tips, information and template letters: GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

But the most common complaints? Here you go:

Everything you need to know about complaining to telecom providers

Everything you need to know about complaining to energy providers

Consumer Rights Act (Sale of Goods Act and Supply of Goods and Services Acts replaced) including digital cover.
Sign up for the Complaining Cow Moos – only send a few newsletters a year but keeps you up to date with what is happening for consumers etc.

 

Quick guide to lost luggage – your rights

If your luggage is lost or damaged you should be able to claim from the airline. Different airlines have different rules, but as a general rule of thumb, the CAA says airlines often don’t automatically consider themselves liable for consequential losses and so the only way you could enforce a request if the airline initially refuses to do so, is in court. A consequential loss may be missing a connecting flight because you were waiting for your luggage. Airlines will usually deal with these issues on a case by case basis. They should pay out for essentials and you will have to follow the airline’s specific procedures for complaints, noting the time within which you need to complain. You may get more on your travel insurance but this will depend on the cover taken out and of course the excess.

Your rights lost luggageLuggage is considered lost after 21 days. You must report the fact that your luggage has been lost, delayed or damaged at the airport and keep a copy of the Property Irregularity Report (PIR) which staff of the airline will complete. It is not a legal requirement to have this and some airports may not have them. To make a claim you must then contact the airline in writing:

Lost/stolen/damaged luggage – within 7 days

Delayed bags from receiving the delayed bag –within 21 days

If the airline accept your claim, they may pay for your baggage to be repaired, or may provide replacement baggage. If your luggage turns up a day or two later the airline has to make arrangements for getting it to you as efficiently as possible. Where luggage doesn’t show up, you should be able to monitor it through the tracing procedure, either by contacting baggage services at the airport, the airline’s central department or by logging into an online baggage-tracing page with a reference number.

For information about your rights on holidays see All you need to know about booking/complaining about holidays/flights.

For more information. advice tips, guidance, laws and templates for complaining effectively see the bestselling book.

The Complaining Cow and Rip Off Britain

I was on Rip Off Britain. Luckily not live but unluckily not with the hair and make up lady working miracles like she did when I was on BBC Breakfast! 🙁 (If it is now after the programme and you’ve found your way to this site after seeing me, thanks!) Welcome to my blog full of (occasional rants), redress, refunds and results.

I’ll say now of course that they edited out all the best bits of me where I was very witty, charming, pleasant and gave loads of splendid advice.

So for those of you new here, I thought it might be useful just to give you some links to various posts you may find helpful and may have been hoping to find when you got here rather than the drivel you’ve just read.

You can see the clips from the episode

Various pages and posts you might find of interest
I think, if they keep it in there was much coverage of using social media to complain. Here is my post about my full thoughts on that.
Top Tips for complaining effectively
7 common fobs offs companies use to not give refunds!
Your rights mail order, online and delivery
Up to date information on changes made to consumer law earlier this year giving you more rights.
How to take charge of your energy bills
The ultimate guide to complaining when eating out

CEOemail for contact details for all CEOs

As well as posts aimed at informing people about their consumer rights, the blog is full of stories of effective complaining, just take a look around. But for now I just give you Tesco. Now! There are a lot of Tesco posts on here and if you put Tesco into the search thingy on the right lots of posts will come up. In fact, my very first post was about Tesco and that gives you links to all the other posts. (I particularly like all the comments which I do believe has helped the blog’s Google ranking for when you put in “Tesco complaints”. Contact details, MSE site, then my post. Well I think it is funny!) But for now you might like the fact that I took them to court and won. And no I am not the reason they have the financial problems that they do, although I did predict they would have problems because Clarke didn’t listen to customers. All the Tesco posts are listed here.

Social media
Youtube channel – links to various radio and tv appearances, videos of me providing info on tips on effective complaining. (Also a few clips on a surgery with Iain Duncan Smith where I took him to task a bit, to no avail but I do believe in effective complaining rather than just moaning, I tried). You can subscribe to my channel there too.
Twitter – follow me here for top tip tweets, rants and general chit chat
Facebook – please like my page for various updates and join in the rants, questions, funny pictures or links of the day from me. 🙂

To keep up to date with consumer news and The Complaining Cow sign up for the newsletter. I only send emails a few times a year when I remember. I certainly won’t be spamming you, but the next one will be out shortly with news on survey results and my NEW BOOK  out now!

Thank you for visiting and hope to see you again soon.

 

The Complaining Cow V Tesco Update #Tescofail (again)

Continue reading “The Complaining Cow V Tesco Update #Tescofail (again)”