CBC News reports that WestJet admits to making a mistake by placing thousands of customers back on other flights and offering credit (rather than a refund) to those who wanted to cancel their trip.
"We gave incorrect or inconsistent information," said Richard Bartrem, WestJet's vice-president of communications, quoted by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
"It's extremely frustrating for customers... and we are sorry," he added.
The WestJet spokesperson said the Company is now ensuring that affected passengers can get a refund if they wish.
WestJet is now making amends
CBC News reported that WestJet's admission of error occurred as a result of one of its investigations into customer complaints.
A CBC report presented the case of five WestJet passengers who booked a departure in July, and who regretted having been replaced on a longer flight, with a stopover, sometimes leaving on another day.
By email, WestJet then advised passengers that if they refused the change, they could receive a credit – but not a refund.
Following the CBC report, WestJet changed its mind and announced that the five passengers in the report could get refunds.
The company did not admit to having contravened the Air Passenger Protection Regulations, but acknowledged that its "tariff" (the contract with passengers) requires it to offer refunds for significant schedule changes.
Agreeing that thousands of other customers were in the same situation as those in the CBC News report, WestJet updated its website on July 6 to clarify that all of its customers can get a refund for a flight whose itinerary has been extended by more than 90 minutes or to which a stopover has been added.
WestJet also announced that it is in the process of simplifying online procedures for affected passengers.
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