Abu Dhabi: The Consumer Protection Department (CPD) at the Ministry of Economy started receiving complaints yesterday about clients’ disputes with national and international airlines, the ministry said.
The CPD’s intervention came as result of some disputes between passengers and airline companies, Dr Hashem Al Nuaimi told Gulf News over the phone, asking customers to complain to the CPD if they experience any fraud, deception or unjustified hikes in ticket prices by airline companies and travel agents.
“This is in line with Consumer Protection Law No 24 of 2006 which was issued on August 28, 2006, and was issued by President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The law calls for the setting up of the Higher Committee for Consumer Protection under the chairmanship of the UAE Minister of Economy. Law No 24 of 2006 reaffirms Federal Law No 18 of 1981 and its amendments which deal with guarantees given by commercial agents, distributors, and producers on their products,” said Al Nuaimi.
“The ministry tries to solve the conflict in an amicable manner as a first step before reporting it to a special committee to solve the problem with airline companies. If the issue remains unsolved, then it is reported to the court,” he explained.
“We have received dozens of complaints from citizens and residents against some airlines in less than a month and have found solutions for these complaints,” added Al Nuaimi.
“These complaints are about ticket prices as the airlines have increased their prices to a great extent. The other issues are loss of luggage, cancellation or postponement of flights without informing passengers in advance, change in ticket prices and poor service on the aircraft, among others,” Al Nuaimi explained.
“The CPD has recently received complaints from clients who booked and partially paid for their flights on a certain airline to the USA. The ticket price was Dh6,500 and it was agreed to by both parties on this price. However, when the clients went to the airline to pay the remaining amount, they found the company was asking them to pay Dh16,000 instead of Dh6,500 under the pretext that there was a new price list from the USA,” said Al Nuaimi.
“We have forced the company to respect its deal with the clients and to abide by the agreement based on the older price of the ticket,” said Al Nuaimi.
The CPD has forced an airline company to pay financial compensation to a passenger who lost his bag on a trip on a local airline heading to an Asian country, he pointed out.
A travel agent, who declined to be named, told Gulf News ticket prices hike in summer due to the holiday season.
“Why not look at it from another point of view. When tickets are very low, no one complains. This is the peak season for us as agents and airlines. We do good business during this season and the demand pushes ticket prices up,” he explained.