B.C.’s Civil Resolution Tribunal has ordered Philippine Airlines (PAL) to pay a Vancouver man $3,907 in compensation for flights cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tribunal member Kristin Gardner heard that Agbayani Bulosan in December 2019 bought three airline tickets through Pinoy Travel Services Inc. (PTSI) on PAL flights for himself and other family members.
The flights were scheduled to leave Vancouver on March 17, 2020 and return 10 days later.
In January 2020, Bulosan also purchased a one-way ticket through PTSI for another family member to travel from the Philippines to Vancouver on March 31, 2020.
The decision said he declined cancellation insurance and that the travel agency had no responsibility for errors or cancellations.
Bulosan said PAL charged his credit card for all four tickets.
However, on March 15, 2020, Bulosan called to cancel all four tickets due to the developing COVID-19 pandemic.
Bulosan provided an April 6, 2020 statement posted on PAL’s website, which said customers booked on any PAL flight with a travel date between March 15 and April 30, 2020, had the option to apply for a refund.
Then, Bulosan asked PTSI to provide him with a full refund for the cancelled flights. PTSI responded saying it would charge a $75 fee per ticket to process the refunds.
Bulosan disagreed with the fee, and so PTSI did not process the refunds.
Gardner found PTSI was acting as an agent between the parties and not liable.
She also found it probable the airline had been served with papers in the case, had not responded and was in default.
“Generally, when a party is in default, its liability is assumed,” Gardner said. “I find it is reasonable to assume PAL’s liability here, given that Mr. Bulosan has established he had a contract with PAL for flights he and his family undisputedly did not take and that PAL advertised refunds were available and none have been provided.”