(COLUMBUS, OH) -- Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann has offered advice for consumers affected by the recent shutdown of the Columbus-based airline, Skybus, Inc.
"We will do all we can to assist consumers left stranded by the collapse of Skybus," Attorney General Dann said. "We will look at all the facts and cooperate with local and federal prosecutors to determine if any civil or criminal action should be pursued. In the meantime, consumers should immediately contact their banks and credit card providers to try to get their money back."
Consumers who paid for undelivered airline tickets by credit card are protected by the federal Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA). The law allows consumers to refuse to pay for credit card "billing errors", which include undelivered goods or services.
To dispute credit card charges, call the toll free number on your account statement. If your credit provider has a dispute form, complete it and submit it. Otherwise, send a letter to the address given for "billing inquiries"-not the address for sending payments. Under the FCBA, you must submit your dispute in writing within 60 days after the bill was mailed. Use the attached sample dispute letter as a guide, and include copies of your receipts and other documents that support your complaint.
Send your letter by certified mail, and request a return receipt. Ask your credit card company if it accepts the letter by fax, and keep the fax confirmation page. While the charges are in dispute, you may withhold payment on the disputed amount.
Purchases made by debit card, cash or check do not offer the same protections as credit card transactions. If you paid with debit card, cash or check, contact your bank. It may offer you a partial or full refund as a courtesy, but it is not required by law to do so.
Because Skybus filed bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court will gather all the company's assets and distribute them according to the judge's orders. Consumers' claims are unsecured debt and will be paid only after the payment of taxes and secured debt, which is money owed to creditors, such as oil and credit card companies.
Consumers can file complaints about airline services and about the costs of arranging alternative transportation with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) online at http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov, by phone at 202-366-2220 (TTY 202-366-0511), or by mail to: Aviation Consumer Protection Division, C-75, U.S. DOT, Washington, D.C. 20590.
Consumers also can file complaints with the Ohio Attorney General's Office for help disputing credit card charges and filing a proof of claim in bankruptcy court. To file a complaint, visit www.ag4ohio.gov or call 1-877-AG4OHIO (1-877-244-6446).