DfT to consult on boosting consumers’ rights

The Department for Transport (DfT) plans to consult on enhancing travel consumers’ rights before the end of the year.

Sofia Stayte, DfT head of aviation consumer policy, told an Abta Travel Law Seminar the consultation could include new rules as well new powers of enforcement for the CAA, Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Trading Standards.

She said: “We plan to publish a consultation on consumer rights later in the year to ensure these are affective.

“It might include civil sanctions, not just for the CAA [as the government has already announced] but for other authorities such as the CMA. We’ll probably consider both enforcement and new rights.”

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Stayte was responsible for the government’s Covid-19 Passenger Charter published last week. She explained: “We wanted to provide clarity and objective information [as] we’re not able to introduce new legislation.

“We emphasise people may not have a right to a refund but providers should be offering flexibility. There is need for both the provider and consumer to keep an open mind about changes.”

She added: “The charter is intended to be shared with customers.”

Abta senior solicitor Paula Macfarlane noted: “The Charter doesn’t bring in any new rights, but says to customers: ‘You have responsibilities too’.”

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