View Full Version : Jetsgo must refund taxes and service charges in "non-refundable" ticket

12th Jul 2004, 18:27

Jetsgo told to refund surcharges, taxes on non-refundable tickets

Canadian Transportation Agency ruling could have far-reaching implications


UPDATED AT 2:21 PM EDT Monday, Jul 12, 2004

Airline tickets are not as "non-refundable" as they used to be, thanks to a ruling by the Canadian Transportation Agency.

In a recent decision, the federal tribunal ordered Montreal-based Jetsgo Corp. to refund all the taxes and extra service charges the airline included in a non-refundable ticket it sold to an Ottawa customer. The ruling could have far-reaching implications because most other airlines, including Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd., offer non-refundable tickets.

The case involved Graeme Doré, who bought a ticket between Ottawa and Toronto last August from Jetsgo. The ticket cost $167.02, of which $38 was the base fare, with the remainder allotted to the airport improvement fee, the air travellers security charge, a NavCanada charge, a fuel surcharge and sales tax.

Mr. Doré cancelled the ticket and asked for a refund. Jetsgo refused but said he could apply the cancelled ticket as a credit on future travel for up to one year.

Mr. Doré complained to the CTA, arguing that Jetsgo had the right to withhold only the base fare, not the taxes and surcharges. Jetsgo argued that its rules and policies clearly state all tickets are non-refundable.

The airline added that "the air transportation industry is no different than any other commercial sector in respect of a non-refundable policy, and that, in many cases, a customer does not have the option of a credit," according to documents filed with the tribunal.

The agency sided with Mr. Doré and said Jetsgo's refund policies related only to the base fare. It noted that Jetsgo's "own domestic tariff does not consider a 'fare' to be inclusive of the total amount paid for the purchase of a ticket." The agency also pointed out that the airline's regulations state that it adds surcharges to "each fare-paying passenger."

The agency ordered Jetsgo to refund all taxes and surcharges. Since Mr. Doré received a refund of $13.16 from the federal government for the security charge, the agency ruled Jetsgo owed him $115.86.

Brad Cicero, a Jetsgo spokesman, said the airline has refunded that amount to Mr. Doré. "As far as policy going forward, for anybody who finds themselves in that situation, we will, on request, issue cheques in the amount of the taxes," he said.

Mr. Cicero added that passengers will still be able to credit any unused tickets toward future travel on Jetsgo for up to a year. "If they find they get to the stage a year down the road and they haven't had an opportunity to book another flight, then they will have that option of getting the taxes refunded," he said.

Scottie Dog
12th Jul 2004, 19:38
As a travel agent in the UK, I have worked on the basis that the low-cost carriers are robbing passengers by refusing to refund taxes and charges for services that will not be used.

The IATA carriers - for want of a better description - have always, to the best of my knowledge, refunded unused taxes and that proceedure has always been followed by the companies for which I have worked.

The LoCos have always insisted that they will not refund these fees, and yet these are charges that will not be paid by the airline for THAT passenger. Of course by making their fares non-refundable, these airlines have discouraged anybody from cancelling a booking - in fact, do easyJet and Ryanair etc have a facility to actually cancel a booking? The end result must be a number of 'noshows'. :confused:

Whilst not being too hopeful, I would like to believe that the Canadian ruling may start to have an effect in the European Market. At least if I book on British Airways at a low price and then cancel, there is a good chance that I will get about 50pc or more of my cost back.

trainer too 2
12th Jul 2004, 20:05
Do I hear MOL crying unfair already.... there goes his airport underpaying scheme out of the window!! Imaging everybody who would buy a ticket for 1 P who decides not to go! That will hurt :ok:

12th Jul 2004, 21:02
I think there may be grounds for a class action here. By retaining taxes and surcharges as they apparently have in the past, Jetsgo and company have been unjustly enriched. Any lawyers out there?

Global Pilot
13th Jul 2004, 08:05
Scottie Dog,

I recall a ruling in an Irish court which instructed Ryanair to refund any taxes/fees they were withholding on unsed/canx tickets. I believe this is still the case. Not sure if this ruling was carried to the European courts. The onus still lies with the pax to request a refund and of course there is a fee for doing so imposed by RYR.

Ignorance of your right to have unused taxes/fees refunded together with a penalty for applying means the carrier still retains monies not rightfully theirs.

I recall the first time I booked online with RYR only to be charged an additional fee for using my credit card. This from the company slating airports for increasing airport fees and thus driving the cost of air travel upwards. For a company to penalise you for using the very service they set up to avoid paying commissions to agents is remarkable. How else do you use their service (Ok debit cards are not charged but not every card is a charge/debit card). Fees for using credit cards are a normal part of life when paying for services but usually only attracting an additional 5%. Ryanair charge £/Euro5 thus making their average fare £/Euro100. This additional fee is hard to swallow when you are buying a fare of £/Euro return. Low fares-yes but high charges to use the only service you can book on to get these low fares.

Not in anyway RYR bashing. I have travelled with them extensively and find their contribution to low cost travel in Europe superb.

13th Jul 2004, 18:04
Interesting thread.

Some budget airlines offer tickets at less than £1/$1 tax if you book in advance but several $100 if you book at the last min. If you could get back the tax it would be tempting to buy tickets on the off chance you might need them. Perhaps even one for every day of the year!

and in reply to...

Low fares-yes but high charges to use the only service you can book on to get these low fares.

They have to make the money somehow. They could make all the tickets £/Euro5 more expensive and not charge for credit cards but people with debit cards would cry foul.

Ryanair seems to have policy of trying to keep fares low but charge for just about everything else. Didn\'t they recently get into trouble with a wheelchair pax?... I\'m surprised they haven\'t done away with the free baggage allowance.

13th Jul 2004, 18:34
cwatters - RYR Are thinking of doing just that! See this thread :- You want to take bags? On Ryanair? Think again (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?threadid=136967)

14th Jul 2004, 12:18
BA refused my request for a refund of all all taxes and surcharges, last month.

The reason quoted was that the "fare" paid is inclusive.

If so why when you pay on the web, is the fare quoted, shown seperatly. IF these were all included then why show two figures.

I am only out 60 ish sterling, but feel that BA should lead by quality and not stealth.

Include me in any class action.

PM as required.


14th Jul 2004, 17:26
I think you were wrongly refused that refund by BA.

If you go to AskBA (http://www.britishairways.com/travel/askbainter/public/en_gb) and search for "1647", you will get Answer ID 1647 which says:-...
4) If you have a BA ticket which you no longer wish to travel on, for your own personal reasons. In this situation, please be aware that your ticket might not be fully refundable and you may only receive a partial refund or a refund of just the taxes/fees/charges that were applied to your ticket.
Please note. Each fare type has conditions attached which may include it being restricted, non-upgradeable or non-refundable (taxes paid are refundable). Generally the lower the fare the more restrictions there will be, however as we sell numerous different fare types and combinations, we are unable to advise on this web site just how much it might cost to change, upgrade or cancel your specific travel plans.If this was a published fare that you were travelling on, bought from BA, I would get back to them and escalate the call to a supervisor if necessary.

If this was an unpublished/nett/consolidator type fare, you probably need to get back to the travel agent who sold you the ticket.

Boss Raptor
14th Jul 2004, 17:50
'Fair paid is inclusive' - uh yes it is, total fare charged is 'inclusive' of tax but that doesn't mean taxes are integral part of fare and/or has not been charged and/or is non refundable - if u get my meaning

well well...BA appear to be confirming what I/we have been advocating for last 2 threads on the subject - that taxes are fully refundable regardless of fare tariff or circumstance (and as I have stated this should be without admin. charge as you cannot in the UK charge to administer a tax)

Think we need an appropriate case/ruling in the UK as with the recent Jetsgo case in Canada

The airlines are definately pulling a fast one and using bureaucracy and making it as difficult as possible to get yr money back - and rightly assuming most people will give up eventually :*

14th Jul 2004, 20:24
I agree.

The tax levied is dependent on an event happening.

What needs to be clarified is what exactly that "event" is, ie is it ticket puchase or actually travelling? there must be someone out there that has the answer...

When this has been established this issue can be dealt with.

14th Jul 2004, 22:06
I am in the states at present, and did put a holding request in to the agent....I also did the same to BA.
I will follow these up, as soon as possible, but an E mail to keep the pot hot will have to do for a few days.....

16th Jul 2004, 07:42

All the airport-related charges, Air Passenger Duty etc, are based on the number of passengers who actually travel (makes sense if you think about it).

The only third-party charge which is incurred at time of ticket purchase rather that at flight time is the credit card fee, and I suspect (though am not 100% certain) that this is refunded if the transaction is later cancelled.


17th Jul 2004, 20:24
I cancelled a BA cheap ticket to Paris the other day and BA refunded the taxes less a service charge of £25.

Out of a £64 total cost, 39.50 was tax and after the refund I got £14.50

I can understand that it costs them to refund money and I would happily have forgone £10 for the hassle I caused them, but I think £25 is taking the p*** a bit.

20th Jul 2004, 19:56
Taxes on goods and services (GST) are held in trust for the Minister of Finance in Canada. Therefore, if a customer cancels a ticket for a service, a company would be under an absolute obligation to refund the tax to the customer. If the company (Jetsgo and presumably other airlines) have retained the GST, as they apparently have in the past, they would have committed a serious breach. I wonder how they account for this in their financial statements?