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Southwest Fined For Mishandling Complaints

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DALLAS (AP) – Southwest Airlines Co. will pay $35,000 to settle government accusations that it responded slowly to complaints by passengers, including some with disabilities.

The Transportation Department says the case involved “a large number” of complaints between June 2011 and January 2012.

Dallas-based Southwest says a problem with its website caused the complaints to be sent to the wrong place. Federal rules give airlines 30 days to answer disabilities-related complaints.

Southwest was fined $150,000 — but $115,000 of the civil penalty will be credited to Southwest for refunds that it gave the affected passengers.

The Transportation Department discovered the violations during an April 2012 inspection at Southwest headquarters.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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