THE United States Department of Transportation (DOT) has ordered a financial penalty, and issued stern warnings against Dynamic International Airways, LLC (Dynamic), to cease and desist from what they say are violations against passengers in their failure to inform them of flight cancellations and refunding them in a timely manner, among other issues.
Dynamic is an American air carrier that provides charter services between the U.S. and many destinations, Guyana included. Local passengers have had their share of bad experiences with the flight, but it would appear that not only Guyanese were having a hard time with the service.
In a DOT consent order issued and served on April 13, 2017, it was related that based on a significant increase of consumer complaints filed with DOT’s Aviation Consumer Protection Division against Dynamic in 2016, the department’s Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings (Enforcement Office) conducted an investigation of these complaints.
It was found that, “…Dynamic failed to provide refunds in a timely manner to passengers affected by cancelled flights,” as required by sections of DOT’s regulations on public charter operations (14 CFR Part 380). DOT found that in several cases, Dynamic also failed to follow the appropriate procedure for notifying passengers of cancellations. Violation of those two regulations constituted other violations prohibiting unfair and deceptive practices and unfair methods of competition, DOT said. The company was also said to be in violation of an earlier, “cease and desist provision of Order 2016-3-23.”
DOT said their investigation found that in numerous cases consumers had to wait for months to receive a refund from Dynamic. “The Enforcement Office also found that in several cases, Dynamic failed to provide written notices to passengers after cancellations more than 10 days out of their return flights. As a result, some passengers arrived at airports and were forced to purchase separate tickets from other airlines at the last minute.”
Dynamic was also charged with not complying with DOT’s reporting requirements since the company, “consistently failed to file in a timely manner applicable monthly and quarterly financial reports with the Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics…”
According to the DOT order seen by the Guyana Chronicle, Dynamic has responded that it consolidated its flight operations in the summer of 2016 to focus on a few key markets to improve service. They said such consolidation resulted in numerous flight cancellations in a relatively short period of time, which in turn resulted in an unusually large number of refunds that needed to be processed.
Dynamic stated that a corporate consolidation that embarked at the same time also affected several offices around the United States and resulted in the overtaxing of their customer service staff. Dynamic said it brought on additional personnel to address the refunds issue, but asserted that the refund issue was exacerbated by some passengers who made double-refund requests. They claimed that this practice caused lengthy reconciliations of passenger funds, while certain passengers’ own actions, necessarily hindered Dynamic’s ability to make timely refunds.
The company went on to state that passengers book through travel agents, and Dynamic believes many of its cancellation notices are not sent to travel agents in a timely manner or, are not forwarded by travel agents to passengers in a timely manner or at all. The company highlighted two measures to address the issue.
DOT has decided however that enforcement action is warranted against Dynamic. They said that to avoid litigation, “the Enforcement Office and Dynamic have reached a settlement of this matter.” Without admitting or denying the violations alleged in the order, Dynamic consented to the issuance of an order to cease and desist from future violations of DOT’s specific regulations, the earlier issued “Order 2016-3-23,” and to the assessment of $120,000 in compromise of potential penalties.
The DOT has promised further action, should Dynamic further violate its regulations and orders.