An Iberia flight in Granada and José Moreno. IDEAL
Granada man wages seven-year legal battle against Iberia for allegedly overcharging him
Consumer affairs

Granada man wages seven-year legal battle against Iberia for allegedly overcharging him

José Moreno will go to the Supreme Court to claim a refund of 55 euros that the airline had charged him following an electronic fault when purchasing an Iberia ticket online in 2016

Ángel Mengíbar

Friday, 17 May 2024, 11:26

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José had everything ready to fly to Melilla from Granada. Plane ticket, luggage? Check. In fact, he had pretty much everything to spend a weekend visiting this Spanish city in North Africa where his wife was stationed for work. Everything except the boarding pass, which he had hoped to obtain and print out a few days before take-off. He never got it. Not even at the Iberia desk in the airport. It is this airline that he has been fighting with in court for the past seven years over an alleged overcharge of 55 euros. The airline had been condemned in court for this oversight and yet it has never faced any punishment for failing to pay out.

This resident of Granada city bought an advance plane ticket online to Melilla for 115 euros. He was to fly in August 2016 from Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén airport. He tried to obtain his boarding pass through the Iberia app, but his ticket did not appear in his account. Neither could airline staff at the airport find it on the day of departure. A computer error during the purchase process had prevented him from checking in and being charged. Yet José had received confirmation of a successful purchase.

The only solution to solve the problem and still be able to fly to Melilla was to buy a new ticket and report the error. This is what the customer from Granada did, who then had to pay 170 euros to board. A difference of 55 euros compared to the first ticket that he thought he had purchased, leaving this customer outraged and hence he chose to complain. "Iberia ignored me. I contacted them again in November, but in January they refused my refund request. In the end I decided to appeal to Consumer Affairs and the Spanish Aviation Safety Agency, but they ignored the matter. I decided to go to court to defend my rights," José Moreno himself explains to Granada newspaper IDEAL.

"I'm not doing it for money, I'm doing it to defend my rights as a consumer"

José filed a formal complaint in February 2017 against the airline for alleged overcharging with the court at Santa Fe in Granada and another in 2018 with the Juzgado de Paz (Justice of the Peace) in Chauchina, the town where the airport and Iberia's Granada office are located. The airline made no response. It did not even attend a conciliation meeting organised by the Chauchina court in March 2019. Its non-appearance led to a trial in 2020, which ruled in favour of the plaintiff. Four years later, José still has no news about his compensation.

"Iberia has ignored the ruling against the airline. I call the company and they refer me to an incident resolution section. Neither do the courts have the power to seize the amount stated as owing to me in their own judgement. Neither the one in Chauchina nor the one in Santa Fe can do anything," he explains. Far from throwing in the towel, José has reported the case to Facua (a consumer organisation) and has filed a complaint with the General Council of the Judiciary. "The indifference of the judiciary leaves me completely unprotected. I don't think I will get my money back, but my case has to be known. The big companies do not care about the small problems of the consumer. Maybe they don't even get the court orders," he adds.

A fight worth more than 300 euros

José is fighting hard for his 55 euros. In the process, he himself claims to have spent more than 300 euros. His cause goes beyond money. "The 55 euros are the least of it. I am doing this to assert my rights as a consumer. I am sure that many other people have similar problems when travelling. We have to stand up for ourselves. I intend to go all the way," he concludes, saying that his next move will be to go to the Supreme Court.

This newspaper has contacted the airline for its version of what happened. So far no response has been received.

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