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CCPA directs ‘Yatra’ to refund the booking amount

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New Delhi, July 9: The Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), in response to numerous complaints received through the National Consumer Helpline, has directed Yatra, an online travel platform, to refund consumers for bookings cancelled due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Consumers had reported that travel agencies informed them refunds were pending from airlines. Over ₹2.5 Crore are still pending for refund from Yatra; approximately ₹23 Crore refunded to consumers.

The Apex Court’s in decision to Pravasi Legal Cell vs Union of India (W.P.(C)D.No.10966 of 2020) on October 1, 2020, mandated full refunds for tickets booked through travel agents during the lockdown for travel within the same period. The travel agents were required to pass these refunds on to passengers immediately upon receipt from the airlines.

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In line with this directive, the CCPA took suo-moto action against Yatra. A Show Cause Notice was issued on March 9, 2021, regarding the pending refunds. Several hearings were conducted, and the progress of refunds was closely monitored.

From July 8, 2021, to June 25, 2024, Yatra made substantial progress in reducing pending refunds. Initially, 36,276 bookings worth ₹26,25,82,484 were pending. By June 21, 2024, this was reduced to 4,837 bookings worth ₹2,52,87,098. Approximately 87% of the refunds have been processed, with efforts ongoing to refund the remaining 13%.

As of 2021, there were 5,771 pending airline bookings worth ₹9,60,14,463. This was reduced to 98 bookings with an outstanding amount of ₹31,79,069 by 2024. The CCPA, on June 27, 2024, directed the remaining 22 airlines associated with Yatra to expedite these refunds.

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Other travel platforms, including MakeMyTrip, EaseMyTrip, ClearTrip, Ixigo, and Thomas Cook, have already refunded the full amounts to consumers affected by the lockdown.

To ensure the timely processing of refunds, the CCPA has ordered Yatra to set up dedicated arrangements at the National Consumer Helpline (NCH). Yatra must allocate five exclusive seats at NCH to contact the remaining passengers about their pending refunds. The costs for these dedicated personnel will be borne by Yatra and paid directly to the agency managed by NCH.

The CCPA’s directive emphasizes the importance of timely refunds and requires Yatra to ensure the complete resolution of all pending bookings.

Also Read: Geo-mega tube technology started to restore breached embankment in Assam’s Tengakhat

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