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Feds fine United Airlines over refund delays

August 30, 2013|By Hugo Martin

The U.S. Department of Transportation has fined United Airlines $350,000 for delaying more than 9,000 refund requests from passengers.

The agency also cited the carrier for filing inaccurate data for lost or damaged luggage,  overbooking planes in 2011 and failing to file timely reports on the losses or deaths of animals.

Under federal rules, commercial carriers must refund tickets paid with cash or check within 20 days and within seven days for fares paid with credit cards.

The Department of Transportation found that between March and May of 2012 United had more than 9,000 refund requests that had not been processed in "a timely manner."

In meetings with the federal agency, United Airlines blamed the delay in processing refunds on a backlog created when United and Continental airlines merged.

The reservation systems for the carriers were merged, "resulting in some unforeseeable anomalies that caused a temporary inability to process refunds in a timely manner," the Department of Transportation said in a report.

The agency said it did not levy a fine against the airline for the inaccurate data on lost luggage or overbooked flights because United voluntarily disclosed the errors.

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