Consumer group sues KLM over unpaid compensation claims

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KLM continues to move travelers who wish to be reimbursed “from the pillar to the post office”. And hundreds of customers of the bankrupt travel agency D-Reizen are still waiting for reimbursement for canceled KLM flights. The consumer association Consumentenbond has lodged a complaint with the Transport Inspectorate (ILT) and is helping a victim of KLM to claim a refund in court.

According to the consumer advocate, passengers whose flights have been canceled should have the choice between a replacement flight or a refund. But when travelers purchase a ticket through a travel agency or ticketing site, airlines often mistakenly refer them to that party for a refund.

The latter happened to a group of customers who bought their tickets – which were later canceled – through the now bankrupt D-Reizen. KLM previously said it had refunded the ticket money to D-Reizen and thus fulfilled its obligations, but D-Reizen went bankrupt before transferring those refunds to the victims.

Last month, the Human Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT) fined KLM more than 40,000 euros for failing to refund canceled tickets. KLM has appealed the fine and the victims are still awaiting reimbursement.

The Consumentenbond believes that the victims have waited more than long enough, therefore acting itself. By assisting one of the customers in a test trial, the organization hopes that KLM will decide to reimburse everyone involved.

Last month, the ILT also ordered KLM to improve its communication with passengers. The Dutch airline then adapted its website within two weeks, so that the ILT did not impose a fine on it.

But according to Sandra Molenaar, director of Consumentenbond, communication with customers is still not in order. The association asked the ILT to impose a fine on KLM. “Because if KLM provides the correct information on its website, anyone who asks a question by phone, chat, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp gets the bypass.”

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