NAIS attended the meeting of the international organization Travel-Net in Prague

For the first time since 2019, the long-planned meeting of the international organization Travel-Net of the ADR bodies from the European Union and the United Kingdom for alternative resolution of consumer disputes related to transport services took place live.

Mrs. Svilena Nasalevska took part in the event organized in Prague as an Executive Director of the NAIS Association.

The forum took place in 3 sessions. The first discussed common themes, one of which was discrimination in public transport for vulnerable consumers. The topic contains 2 aspects - the protection of their rights purely as consumers, and the second with their inability to take full advantage of transport services as other users can, lack of facilities or organization to assist them, in some cases even neglecting their needs. The number of complaints from vulnerable consumers cannot be statistically critical, but in no case should they be underestimated, because not only can their fundamental rights be seriously violated, but their very safety in the use of services can to be endangered. SOP, Germany, has specially invited a disadvantaged journalist to tell first-hand what such a user experiences when the requirements for assistance and provision of the necessary facilities are not met. All members of the forum agreed on the idea that more efforts should be made by the ADR bodies in this direction.

The extent to which the pandemic has affected the resolution of consumer disputes, their number and types, and the gradual return to pre-Covid-19 levels was also discussed.

A representative of the Czech company made a presentation with explanations of the processes that underlie the service of the famous platform for combining flights. The participants in the meeting made suggestions for better informing the users in the interface of the platform about the fact that for each flight with a different airline a separate contract is concluded and if a problem arises separate disputes with these companies are raised and sometimes they fall under different jurisdictions.

In the second session, the participants were divided into groups discussing topics from 3 main types of transport services - rail, airway, package travel. In the aviation group in which Ms. Nasalevska participated, cases were discussed concerning the reasons for the cancellation of flights related to Covid-19 illness of crew members and whether these cases should be treated differently from all other cases of illness. The issue of missing flights by consumers or refusal of boarding due to insufficient time for transit and cases in which this may be a reason for a court ruling in favor of the consumer was also discussed.

An interesting and real case was shared from the practice of an ADR body, in which a family failed to return from vacation and stayed on a Caribbean island due to Covid restrictions. The airline had offered an alternative airport for the departure of its customers, but quite far away, refusing to pay the cost of transport to it. The family refused to look for ways to move on their own because they had no fault for the situation and also possibility to do it by themselves. So, they spent 9 months in the Caribbean and demanded the company to pay for their stay. After much controversy, the end result was that in order to avoid higher fines and reputational damage, the airline agreed to cover the family's expenses.

In the third session, future plans of Travel-Net, next actions, frequency and ways to hold follow-up meetings were discussed.

If you are a Bulgarian consumer and want to file a complaint against a Bulgarian trader, you can do it completely free of charge in the online platform of the ADC Center and negotiate with the trader there via chat. The rest of the EU citizens can do it in the ODR platform of the EU.

If you are a Bulgarian trader and you want to resolve disputes with your users fast easy and completely online, you can register as a trader in the online platform of NAIS on - here.

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Thе visit of NAIS representatives at this conference, as well as the current publication was co-funded by the European Union’s Consumer Programme (2014-2020).
The content the publication represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (CHAFEA) or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.


Published on 01.06.2022 Back to news