Monday, March 23, 2020

Cancelled Holidays?

Under the Package Travel Regulations 2018 package holidaymakers whose trips are cancelled are entitled to all their money back within two weeks of the trip being called off.

An estimated two million overseas package holidays were due to depart in the first 30 days of the government’s warning against non-essential travel, running from 17 March to 16 April 2020. They have all been cancelled – representing around £1bn that the law insists should be paid back to consumers. Many hard-pressed holidaymakers, facing uncertainty about their own incomes, are understandably anxious to get the cash that is due to them.

But The Independent understands that the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, will agree to protect Britain’s beleaguered travel industry.

For travel firms earning no revenue, having to hand back payments for cancelled holidays immediately could force them out of business. Shapps is expected to agree to companies issuing credit notes enabling the holidaymaker to book a new trip within two years. Any customer who does not redeem the voucher can then claim the sum in cash. If the travel firm goes bust in the interim, financial protection will be provided by the government-backed Atol scheme.
The move will anger many travellers who entered into contracts that guaranteed a full refund if the operator called off the holiday. They will instead become unwilling creditors of the company. Until the rules change, a strict entitlement to a cash refund remains despite dozens of travel firms rejecting requests for refunds.

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