Holidaymakers who didn’t select Covid refund face new battle | Cash

T.Homes of travelers who have agreed to rebook canceled vacations – or accept replacement vouchers – are facing a second wave of heartbreak as they find they can no longer take the planned trip but the travel company does not reimburse it.

In the spring and summer, airlines and travel agents begged customers to accept vouchers or rebooking rather than the full refund that most were entitled to. In many cases, travel agents either declined a refund in the hopes that customers would accept a voucher or a rebooking instead, or made it much easier to rebook than get money back.

While Guardian Money has advised readers to forego the refund they were entitled to, understandably many have not and find that they have returned to pursue them.

Victoria Williams recently discovered she was pregnant and struggling to get a £ 1,600 refund from Tui for last summer’s vacation. She and her partner were scheduled to travel in July, but Tui canceled. Knowing that the print travel companies were under pressure at the time, they agreed to a rebooking for July 2021.

However, as things have changed, she has now requested the refund. “We don’t want to travel with a six week old baby, but we were told they would just postpone our vacation and if we canceled we would lose our 400 pound deposit,” she says. “When I asked if we could at least have our money back, minus a standard deposit, I was told it wasn’t an option. You said I can book another vacation for 2022, but how do I know if I’ll even be able to go then? It is absurd. What started when we showed goodwill to Tui was not answered and we feel very badly treated. “

The company said its terms and conditions allowed Williams to refuse a refund because it has a “new booking” and contract. If she had accepted a “refund credit” issued by the tour operators, she could have requested a full refund, Abta has confirmed.

This could become the next big battlefield as people who have accepted replacement cruises, ski vacations, and a host of other trips find themselves in the same situation.

Andrew Saunders has been battling easyJet to get £ 900 back after canceling flights to and from Spain in May. A booking is currently not possible because easyJet has canceled the flights from Menorca to Gatwick, which normally run all winter.

“When people accepted vouchers when flights were first canceled at the start of the pandemic, no one expected the magnitude and length of the problems. If, as in our case, we were unable to fly due to the Covid restrictions or because there are no actual flights, I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect a refund, ”he says. The airline has refused, arguing that he can redeem his voucher until September 30, 2021.

Rory Boland, the editor of Which? According to Travel, consumer rights vary depending on what they have accepted from the travel agent.

“In most cases, those with canceled package tours have been issued a refund credit instead of a voucher that is financially protected and can eventually be exchanged for a cash refund when it expires,” he says. “However, this does not apply to other vouchers, including airline vouchers, which do not offer such protection. Most airlines have also ignored EU directives and suggested exchanging vouchers for cash when they are not in use.

“Confidence in the travel industry has suffered significantly, not least because of the way operators and airlines have treated their customers this year. These actions won’t help. “

Meanwhile, Ryanair customers have violated the company policy of only allowing one flight change. Matthew Alexander was due to travel from Edinburgh to Mallorca in September. Ryanair had not canceled the flight, which meant they had to opt for the “free” rebooking offer. At that time, the flights could only be switched to other flights in 2020, which meant that in December he had to choose one that he cannot use, as holidays abroad are all but prohibited. Ryanair has since allowed passengers to rebook until May 2021 but would not allow them a second change, which means that to his great frustration, he has lost 360 pounds.

For the record: a reader’s experience

Forcing you to call an airline to change a booking? According to a retired attorney who just forced easyJet to reimburse him £ 385 after the airline tried to deny it agreed to change its flights, you’d better tape record the call.

Ian Bellinger, of Kingston upon Thames, said it was only after sending the airline a copy of the phone call in which staff agreed to switch his family’s October flights to Cyprus to 2021 that it finally agreed to step down.

“We decided against traveling. I called easyJet in early September and they agreed to change our flights to dates in March next year for free, according to their policy on changing bookings, ”he says.

The change was not made, however, and he received an email from easyJet in early October notifying him of the upcoming flight.

“I explained the position, but it was alleged that I had not previously requested changes and refused to make them unless I paid an additional £ 385 in protest, which I was forced to.”

Fortunately, he has a trueCall box that records all of his calls.

“I went back to the airline and invited them to listen to the recording of their own conversation … but they refused again,” he says.

Even after filing a lawsuit with Money Claim Online – which replaced the Small Claims Court – and mailing a copy of the interview to the airline, he was unable to get his money back. It was only when he said he would get a verdict that they agreed to the payment.

“Without the admission it would have been my word against her,” he says.

An easyJet spokesman says The airline enables customers to change their flights free of charge up to 14 days before departure.

“Mr. Bellinger called to make a change to his flight within 14 days, which means a change fee has been charged. We understand that one of our customer service representatives agreed to these changes over the phone without specifying the fee. With this in mind, we agreed to settle his case. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause. “

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