March 17, 2021 – After Refund, Lawsuit Dismissed as Moot
The proposed class action detailed on this page has been dismissed with prejudice, meaning the plaintiff cannot bring her claims again.
In an 11-page opinion submitted March 5, United States District Judge Renée Marie Bumb, in granting the defendant’s motion to dismiss, highlighted the fact that the plaintiff was refunded the amount at issue by Capital One. As a result of being credited “the exact amount of funds and reward points” she used to buy the canceled British Airways flight tickets, the plaintiff’s claims are moot, the judge wrote.
“Plaintiff does not attempt to rebut either the existence of this refund or that it was issued in the correct amount,” the opinion reads. “Indeed, Plaintiff brought this action because she was unable to receive an immediate refund for her airline ticket purchase from her credit card company…”
Now that a refund has been issued, the plaintiff “no longer has a concrete interest in the outcome in this case,” the judge wrote.
A proposed class action out of New Jersey claims Capital One, N.A. owes refunds to those who purchased travel services through Capital One Venture cards and had their flights canceled due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions.
According to the suit, Capital One has refused to issue cash refunds for customers’ purchases and has instead offered only vouchers for future travel that are subject to “limitations and arbitrary deadlines.”
The lawsuit explains that customers who make purchases through Capital One Venture credit cards earn rewards points that can be used toward the purchase of airline tickets and hotel stays. In March 2020, however, the spread of the novel coronavirus triggered a “near total shut down” of the airline and travel industry, with air carriers canceling a vast number of flights due to government restrictions, the case says.
In the wake of the mass cancellations, the defendant’s customers were allegedly instructed to call “a special phone number” instead of being issued refunds for canceled travel services that were purchased using Capital One Venture cards. Upon calling the number, however, customers were met with “hours-long phone delays, misinformation, delayed action and inadequate solutions” due to understaffing, the case claims. If card members were able to successfully reach a representative, they were told they’d only receive airline-specific travel vouchers subject to restrictions and regardless of their desire for a refund, the suit argues.
The plaintiff says she purchased in January 2020 three airline tickets on British Airways for travel to Athens, Greece that was scheduled for April 3-13, 2020. According to the case, the plaintiff used a combination of Capital One Venture points and nearly $5,000 cash to buy the tickets, which the suit claims retailed for approximately $18,000.
On March 11, President Trump issued a 30-day travel ban for flights from Europe. The plaintiff says that upon calling the Capital One Venture Travel customer service number the next day, she was told to wait two more weeks to see if her flights were canceled and that if they were, she would automatically receive a refund from British Airways.
On March 25, the suit says, the plaintiff called Capital One Venture Travel again and spent the next 13 hours waiting to be connected with a representative, only to be told that British Airways was offering travel vouchers that were set to expire in January 2021. The plaintiff claims she followed up with British Airways directly and was then told that the airline could not assist her since her tickets were purchased through Capital One Venture Travel. According to the suit, the plaintiff found out during this call that refunds were being issued for tickets purchased from the airline directly.
Upon contacting Capital One again, the plaintiff was allegedly told that neither her Venture points nor the credit card charges for her canceled travel would be refunded. The plaintiff stresses that since the purpose of her trip was to visit her daughter who was studying abroad, she and her family have neither the desire nor need for a future travel voucher.
The lawsuit claims Capital One has “handled flight cancellation services poorly” and owes refunds to proposed class members—Capital One Venture card holders in New Jersey who purchased airline travel with their cards that was later canceled as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
ClassAction.org’s coverage of COVID-19 litigation can be found here and over on our Newswire.