The Mango hit the fan on Wednesday, when hundreds of disgruntled passengers were stranded at airports because their airline flights did not take off.
A bit of good news for these passengers is that they can use the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) to get their money back.
While Mango head office staff had to be evacuated to protect them from angry passengers who tried to get in to speak to them, the airline could have more to worry about if consumers complain to the National Consumer Commission.
Mango hits the fan in sections 47
Section 47 of the CPA prohibits overselling and overbooking. Although the tickets were not oversold or overbooked, this section clearly states that a supplier must not accept payment for any goods or services if the supplier has no intention of supplying it.
If the supplier, in this case Mango, is unable to supply the service on the specified date and time and unable to get another company to help out, the supplier must refund the consumer with interest calculated from the date of payment to the date when the money is paid back.
Although Mango was prevented from flying on short notice, it still accepted payment for a service it could not deliver. Consumers must therefore get their money back because no service was delivered.
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Mango hits the fan in section 54 too
Section 54 of the CPA also gives consumers the right to expect that services, such as flights, be performed and completed in time and that they will be notified in good time of any delays. If the supplier fails to do so, it must refund the consumer a reasonable portion of the price paid, keeping the extent of the failure in mind.
Mango’s website promises
What made it worse for passengers was they were not notified of the fact their flights had been cancelled, although Mango says on its website: “Sometimes, for operational reasons, changes may be needed to be made to your reservations. That’s why we offer a message service via SMS, so you can be informed immediately.”
Mango goes on to say that passengers would receive an SMS when there is a seat change, any delays longer than 30 minutes, cancellations or a move to an alternative flight.
The airline also says on its website: “In the unlikely event that we can’t provide a seat for a confirmed booking, we will either refund all payments received for that ticket or place you on the next available Mango flight. However, we will not provide meal or accommodation vouchers or accept any further liability for denied boarding, delayed flights, or changes in flight schedules.”
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