The Department of Transportation (DOT) on Friday announces that it had issued a fine of $350,000 for United Airlines failure to issue prompt refunds to passengers. Per the DOT regulation, the airlines are request to process refunds within 7 days for payments made by credit card and in 20 days if paid by cash or check.
The DOT also found that United had filed misleading reports about mishandled bookings and and passengers that were involuntarily bumped off their flights. The under reporting of these incidents made United’s ranking to look better on DOT’s monthly Consumer Air Reports than it otherwise would have. United had also failed to timely report incidents involving animals. United was not fined for these, however.
United has been pretty much dead last on various categories on these DOT reports since the merger with Continental. You can read more about these problems that United has with DOT on Chicago Tribune’s website here and on Businessweek’s website here.
There is a lore more going at the airports when it comes to these IDB’s (Involuntarily Denied Boarding) than what is reported to DOT. Many airlines make these IDB’s to look VDB’s (Voluntarily Denied Boarding) by not informing passengers about their rights and making then to accept the bump as voluntarily even though it really is involuntarily one.