DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is urging the U.S. Department Transportation to investigate Frontier Airlines after receiving dozens of consumer complaints. Since March, the Attorney General’s Office has received more complaints about Frontier than any other company during that time.
Colorado and 29 other states contacted Weiser’s office with reports claiming the airline engaged in deceptive practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If companies proceed to not honor their policies and not keep their promises, that’s something we see as deceptive and unfair conduct that warrants action,” said Weiser. “By raising our concerns with USDOT and asking it to investigate and enforce the law, we are requesting a collaboration to protect consumers during this globally precarious time.”
Most Frontier customers who cancelled their reservations during COVID-19 were offered flight credits that expired within 90 days of the cancellation. Several customer complaints are about Frontier’s failure to provide refunds and preventing travelers to promptly redeem flight vouchers. Customers said the frequent disconnections with customer service cost them dozens of hours and thousands of dollars in credits.
“We were planning our first family vacation with the grandkids to Disney World in June. Disney World got shut down, so we decided to cancel the trip,” said Brenda Crawford, who booked her flight with Frontier Airlines.
The coronavirus pandemic took more than Crawford’s family vacation. Her mother died from COVID-19-related complications.
Frontier Airlines refused to refund the $1,800 Crawford spent on airfare, but they offered a flight credit.
Crawford didn’t realize she only had three months to use it.
“I don’t remember receiving an email. I went to book a new flight, and it said my credit had expired two days before. I was hung up on. They wouldn’t connect me to a manager. I emailed the complaint department several times. Eventually I got an email back, and they said they’d give me a partial credit. I had two days to make the reservation. Two days,” said Crawford.
Crawford booked another trip, with a flight voucher worth less than before, unsure if she’ll be able to visit her destination in the future.
“We have no idea when COVID will be over, when we’ll be able to travel again, if Disney will still be open then,” said Crawford. “Other airlines were giving refunds. A 90-day limit is just ridiculous.”
According to the Attorney General’s Office, many Frontier customers say they weren’t even able to redeem their credits within 90 days because of Frontier’s error-prone website and poor customer service. Customers reported being disconnected or put on hold for hours. Some were told to call back closer to the expiration date if they wanted an extension on their credits. When they did so, they say Frontier declined to extend the credit expiration date.
“The Department of Transportation requires companies to honor their policies and if companies say they’re going to make refunds available under these circumstances, companies can’t later pull the rug from under consumers,” said Weiser. “Please consumers, remember how companies act during this time.”
Frontier provided Weiser with a statement in response to his request that the Department of Transportation investigate their practices. He says the airline didn’t show an interest in working together to solve the issue.
Crawford says Frontier’s poor customer service is the last thing people need during these difficult times.
“In this day and age, when people don’t have much money and are struggling to pay bills, this is really hurtful,” she said.
Weiser encourages people to file complaints and concerns at stopfraudcolorado.gov.
Frontier airlines has not responded to CBS4’s request for comment.