Some companies block claims by transferring responsibility to others. Several airlines, responsible for issuing refunds under European denied boarding regulations, insist that passengers submit a request through the agent who handled the booking. Package tour operators have asked customers to recover the cost of their canceled vacation from travel insurers, although they are responsible under package tour regulations. Some travel insurers have told customers with valid claims to recover the money through their bank or credit card issuer.“Each company makes a difference,” said Annette Pendrey, who has struggled since March to get reimbursed for her canceled flight to San Francisco. “The travel agency phone number is no longer in use and they did not respond to my emails. Virgin Atlantic stated that it could not reimburse me directly as this would violate its contract with the agent and risk “prosecution”. My bank says it is not responsible for the cost under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. And my travel insurance only covers me if the business goes bankrupt. ”
A Virgin spokesperson told the Observer that his email incorrectly referred to the risk of prosecution, but that passengers had to request a refund through the agent with whom they had booked. “We work in partnership with travel agents, who are in the best position to process bookings made directly with them, as they have access to the conditions of the booking conditions and to the final price paid, including all the extras that may have been bought, “he said.
Virgin’s policy contravenes denied boarding regulations, says Botty Co. consumer law firm Coby Benson “Airlines cannot delegate legal responsibility for providing refunds, and lawsuits may be engaged if they try, “he said. “But this tactic is widespread, and I currently represent several thousand passengers trying to request reimbursements. “
Activists say the travel industry is trying to protect its finances at the expense of customers. The consumer group Which one? says he was contacted by dozens of vacationers left out of their pockets after being illegally shunted between companies. “These attempts to pass the buck for repayments further erode confidence in an industry that has let people down repeatedly during this difficult time,” said Rory Boland, editor of Which? Trip. “Meanwhile, some insurers and card providers have barely covered themselves in glory by appearing to shift targets to the protection they provide to customers. Airlines and vacation providers who do not comply with the law face stiff enforcement from the regulator. ”
The government regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority, has stated that the majority of complaints to its Covid-19 task force have concerned unjustified reimbursement policies for vacations that have been canceled. He is considering legal action against companies that do not obey the law. The Civil Aviation Authority also launched an investigation after finding that only a “minority” of carriers had issued refunds in a timely manner. A spokesperson said, “We do not expect airlines to routinely deny consumers their right to a refund, and our review examines whether further steps need to be taken to protect consumers’ rights. “
Is it wise to book a vacation abroad for this summer?
It is certainly risky. The pandemic is on the increase worldwide and countries – or even cities, like Leicester – can declare a sudden blockage, which would be doomed to your reservation or, worse, to trap you abroad. Then there is the government’s tracking and tracing system which could force you to isolate yourself and sabotage your plans. If you can’t resist the many bargains, start by finding travel insurance that covers Covid-19 risks, then opt for a package vacation rather than a DIY compilation. Your trip is a package if you book at least two elements of the stay simultaneously with the same company. The 2018 Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations require travel agencies to return your money within 14 days if they cancel your vacation and all flights are protected by the Atol program, preventing you from losing money money or be blocked abroad if the company with which you have booked goes bankrupt. . However, many travel agencies have ignored their legal obligation to reimburse passengers during the pandemic, so even with these legal protections you can fight and those who reimburse take weeks to pay.
What are my rights in the event of a new lock at home or abroad?
If you have booked a package trip, the tour operator would be obliged to cancel it and reimburse you. If, however, you organize the trip yourself, you would only be entitled to a refund for items from the country that imposed the ban. So if the UK returns to solitary confinement before a planned vacation to Spain, your flight should be canceled and refunded, but your Spanish accommodation provider would have no obligation to reimburse as long as Spain remains open to tourism. . If Spain closed its borders, the hotel and the airline would have to cancel and reimburse you.
What are my rights if I just don’t think it’s safe to travel?
None, provided that your flight and accommodation are still available and that the country you are going to is open to tourists and on the UK government’s list of “safe” places to fly. No insurance policy would cover you either for a change of mind.
What should I do if the holiday provider does not reimburse me?
Many airlines travel with vouchers or credit notes for canceled trips instead of the refunds legally due to them. You don’t have to accept them, but you may need to get your money back from your bank or Small Claims Court. Under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, a credit card issuer is jointly responsible for purchases of £ 100 or more if the goods or services fail to materialize. A voluntary scheme for debit card transactions allows you to request a chargeback from your bank which, if successful, cancels payment to the merchant. If you accept a voucher, it can become useless if the travel company goes bankrupt. Most travel insurers will not pay for a canceled trip when the travel company has a legal obligation to reimburse.
Will insurance cover me if I cannot travel or catch Covid-19 abroad?
Policies purchased before March may cover you, depending on the terms and conditions. Very few new policies will pay if your vacation is reduced by the travel restrictions associated with Covid. A few allow you to claim if you catch the virus or need to quarantine yourself before traveling and a slightly higher number will pay for medical costs and repatriation if you are infected on vacation.