A consumer rights body is prepared to co-ordinate legal claims against UKM airlines that have not refunded Air Passenger Duty to passengers who have booked tickets but not flown.
The Air Travel Advisory Bureau claims some airlines have withheld tens of millions of pounds from their customers since the tax was first imposed in 1994.
ATAB has joined forces with London law firm Barker Gillette in preparing for action.
Partner Steven Barker said: “Our primary aim will be to ensure that all claims are valid and properly made out. We hope and expect that airlines will co-operate with us in agreeing and refunding valid claims and that claimants need only seek the assistance of the Courts in respect of legal issues that might not be agreed.”
ATAB chairman Tony White said: “It is a scandal that some airlines hang on to this money. It never belonged to them. It’s a tax collected on the behalf of the Government.
"With a couple of exceptions, most of the UK airlines make it as difficult as possible to get your money back. If you don’t actually fly, for whatever reason, you are entitled to get the APD refunded.
"The airlines already have your credit card details, they should refund your card immediately. They make it difficult or expensive in the hope that you’ll go away – and most people do just that”.
He added: "We’ve found some airlines that will charge an 'administration fee' greater than the value of the refund.
"This is a complete rip-off and it’s our intention to put an end to it. If you have booked an airline ticket out of the UK anytime since 1994, and not flown, then we want to hear from you."
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