The Federal Court of Appeals in Administrative matters confirmed a fine imposed to an airline for not complying with a passenger’s request to electronically revoke his consent
Recently, Division IV of the Federal Court of Appeals in Administrative matters confirmed a fine imposed to LAN Airlines S.A. for ignoring a passenger’s electronic request to revoke the sale of an e-ticket (Court of Appeals in Administrative Matters, Division IV, “LAN Airlines SA v. DNCI”, Consumer Protection Law No. 24,240”, Docket No 49030/2015, decision dated December 22, 2015).
The facts of the case are as follows. A consumer bought an e-ticket and later, through an email sent to the airline, requested that the purchase be revoked. Regardless of whether the email was sent to a valid address and if the actual intent of the consumer was to revoke the contract or to modify the payment method, the controlling authority considered that the airline did not comply with the request in breach of Section 34 of the Consumer Protection Law No. 24.240 (“Consumer Protection Law”). Consequently, it issued a fine to LAN Airlines in the amount of thirty thousand pesos ($30.000), ordered it to pay direct damages to the consumer, and mandated the publication of its decision.
LAN Airlines appealed, arguing (i) that there was no request to revoke the contract, but rather to change the credit card used in the transaction and (ii) that the recipient of such petition should have been the credit card company.
The Court of Appels confirmed the administrative decision. In doing so, it held that the Consumer Protection Law grant consumers the ability to revoke acceptance during a ten (10) day period, and that this it is the provider’s burden to inform the consumer of his right to revoke in a clear and noticeable way.
On this basis, the Federal Court reasoned that LAN Airlines did not inform the consumer accordingly, thereby committing a formal infringement that prevented the consumer from exercising his rights.
Setting aside the fact that the Court made no reference to the Aeronautical Code or to sections of the Argentine Civil and Commercial Code that might result applicable, nor analyzes the particular type of service in question, all of which could potentially render the right to revoke inadequate or impossible, the Federal Court of Appeals authorizes the electronic revoking of contracts conducted in that manner.