Consumer Affairs opens disciplinary proceedings against a number of airlines for not having free contact numbers available

Aug 8, 2023 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has opened the first disciplinary proceedings against several airlines for not having a free telephone helpline or, if they do exist, for the difficulty of accessing it. This is a breach of legal obligations regarding customer services.

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Consumer Affairs

The regulation states that this telephone number must be accessible to all consumers and that it must be free of charge (geographic or premium rate numbers, for example, are not valid). Toll-free numbers are those beginning with the prefixes 800 or 900, known as “automatic collect services”.

As air transport is considered a basic service of general interest, it is mandatory for providers to have a free consumer helpline. This regulation came into force after the modification of the General Law for the Defence of Consumers and Users during this legislature, with the aim of protecting vulnerable consumers.

The penalties foreseen for these infringements can be considered minor or serious infringements and can be sanctioned with fines of between 150 and 10,000 euros, in the case of minor infringements, and between 10,001 and 100,000 euros, in the case of serious infringements.

In the event that the illicit benefit obtained by the infringing practices exceeded these amounts, the penalties could be between two and four times the illicit benefit obtained for minor infringements and between four and six times the illicit benefit obtained for serious infringements.