The National Consumer Secretariat (Senacon), of the Ministry of Justice and Public Security (MJSP), decided to fine Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos R$ 3 million due to the suspension of flights and the lack of assistance to consumers. The measure should be published in the Official Gazette this Wednesday (4).
At the end of last year, Itapemirim suspended operations in Brazil and, according to Senacon, at least 514 flights were cancelled, harming thousands of people. The agency also said that Itapemirim did not comply with the Consumer Protection Code by failing to inform the company’s situation to its customers.
The company now has 30 days to make the payment, but can still appeal the fine. The decision to apply financial punishment, however, does not mean reimbursement to affected consumers, who will have to seek individual agreements or resort to justice.
According to the MJSP, the fine will be deposited in the Fund for the Defense of Diffuse Rights (FDD), “which is intended for projects that prevent or repair damage to the environment, historical and artistic heritage, the consumer and other diffuse and collective interests” .
In a note, the Minister of Justice, Anderson Torres, said that the conviction shows that the ministry “monitors the consumer market carefully and adopts the necessary measures to protect and defend the rights of Brazilians”.
“The measure is also an example to prevent cases like this from happening again,” he said.
Senacon also considered that Itapemirim disrespected the cancellation rules stipulated by the National Aviation Agency (Anac). “In situations like these, it would be up to the company to re-accommodate passengers, grant a full refund or provide the execution of the service by another modality of the consumer’s choice”, says the ministry.
To calculate the amount of the fine, the agency considered the seriousness of the damage to the consumer, the size of the company and the gross monthly revenue.
According to the Ministry of Justice, since the suspension of operations, Itapemirim has also failed to respond to complaints presented on the Consumidor.gov.br platform and has been excluded from the government-run portal.
Before the exclusion from the system, 5,033 complaints had been registered in 2022 against Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos. In 2021, there were 1,624 complaints. “With the deactivation, the company can no longer receive complaints on Consumidor.gov.br, but it remains visible in the system so that the history of dissatisfaction remains public and accessible”, says the folder.
Interested suspended purchase
As shown by the UOLthis Tuesday (3), businessman Galeb Baufaker Júnior gave up suspending the purchase of Itapemirim Transportes Aéreos.
Baufaker said the decision is temporary, pending the holding of the group’s general meeting of creditors, which should take place in May, and that negotiations will resume after that.