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Have a cancelled Lynx Air flight? Here's what to know about getting a refund

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Many passengers booked to fly on Lynx Air have been left scrambling after the discount air carrier announced it was ceasing operations on Feb. 26.

The company said those who were planning to board flights on Monday and onward must contact their credit card company to obtain a refund.

"Please note: Lynx Air’s contact centre will not be available to assist with refunds," it said on its website.

Seeking a full refund through your credit card provider can be a seamless process, however "that really depends on what credit card you purchased your flight with," said Natasha Macmillan, director of everyday banking for Ratehub.ca.

"The big thing is whether the card that you purchased the flight on is eligible for travel insurance."

For those who don't have travel insurance, Macmillan said she recommends reaching out to your credit card provider's customer service department to inquire about cancelling the payment.

"Sometimes in certain situations like that, the credit card provider might follow through," she said.

"In the past, we have seen with other fees, if there does seem to be kind of a business's negligence to fulfil their end of the bargain, you can retroactively get that payment, that refund, back on your card."

But another way to take the power out of the hands of the credit card company is to pursue a statutory chargeback, said Gabor Lukacs, president of the Air Passenger Rights advocacy group.

The rules for statutory chargebacks are set out by provinces, rather than individual companies.

"This means that if you have previously been unsuccessful navigating Visa, MasterCard or American Express internal chargeback processes, it does not matter," states the Air Passenger Rights website.

"Your legal rights under provincial statute remain unchanged, regardless of any previous discussion you may have had with your card issuer, and regardless of any card holder agreement."

With statutory chargebacks, Lukacs said there's "no debate."

"The steps are, broadly speaking, that you first give a notice of cancellation of the contract," he said.

"Then in step two, you give a notice of dispute to the credit card issuer. And then in step three, you claw back the money if they refuse to give you the money back."

Macmillan said the type of documentation needed when going through refund processes with a credit card company are fairly straightforward. That usually includes a receipt from the airline for proof of payment, along with the passenger's date of birth, name, phone number and address.

"'I've seen the process run pretty quickly," she said.

"When I've filed a claim, it's within 48 (hours) to seven business days. I suspect with something like the Lynx situation in this circumstance, it will be quick as well, because it's kind of widely known. There's probably not that much due diligence that's required."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2024.

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