Right to Refund: refund customers on coronavirus cancelled holidays #RightToRefund
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Customers with urgent need for the return of their own money from travel companies are being treated with disrespect by companies not following the law.
Watch Fiona's heartbreaking account with Bill Turnbull above.
Coronavirus has led to travel companies having to cancel thousands of holidays. Customers who booked package holidays are now due their money back under the relevant law: Package Travel Regulations, Regulation 14 ("Refund Law"). There is no question or debate about that but many companies are refusing to pay and offering only postponement or pressing their customers to take Credit Refund Notes (as set out by ABTA) instead. Some customers are literally in tears with anxiety.
We understand it is a tough time for travel companies. Nightmare time. Travel agents are trapped between customers and tour operators and our quarrel is not with them. There are also many tour operators now providing cash refunds as highlighted by Which, the consumer watchdog. This shows it can be done. But there are also many tour operators choosing not to comply with the Refund Law.
We think ABTA and their Credit Refund Note proposal is wrong and favour instead a Grace Period through to 17th September 2020, similar to the 6 months grace period on car MOT tests. The starting date for the refunds grace period should be 17th March 2020, when the FCO advice, for good reasons, effectively shut overseas travel down.
We believe that would allow customers to be repaid and all good travel companies to survive. No-one can make you accept a credit refund (which might see you wait for up to 12 months from the date of issue to redeem to cash) and you should make sure you understand the legal implications before you do, it is your choice.
The Refund Law as it stands does not permit companies to only offer a Credit Refund Note and not reimbursement.
Please note: The situation is very fluid and there is a lot of misinformation. It is essential that anyone impacted takes their own professional legal advice before reaching any decisions as to what to do. We are not offering any advice ourselves.
We are also calling for customers already in financial distress to be kept outside of the grace period i.e. they should still be refunded as per the Refund Law and within 14 days of cancellation.
Join our call on Boris Johnson:
Ensure travel companies follow the law, updated if necessary with a short grace period (but only for customers not in financial distress themselves) such that all refunds are paid no later than 17th September 2020.
Further, Government must guarantee customers they will receive their due cash refunds on coronavirus cancelled holidays. 100% and in all circumstances, whatever it takes!
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