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Refunds for holidays information and where to go for help.

Refunds for holidays and where to go for help.

In these difficult times it is important to understand how customers are able to cancel and obtain an acceptable refund for their pre-booked travel arrangements.

Depending on where and how a holiday, flight, accommodation or any other travel arrangements were booked will depend on how a refund can be sought. Your insurance policy may not be the first place to look for this.

 

The Package holiday


Definition of a package holiday is any combination of at least two types of travel services whether that be transport (flights, ferries), accommodation (hotel, caravan), car rental or other services, for example guided tours) it also includes:

  • packages, such as  ready-made holidays from a tour operator as well as customised selection of components by the traveller bought from a single online or offline point of sale;
  • linked travel arrangements, for instance, when  the traveller purchases travel services at one point of sale, but through separate booking processes, or, after having booked one travel service on one website, is invited to book another service on a different website, provided that the second booking is made within 24 hours.

These package holidays are covered under EU package law legislation. A fact sheet is available here with some basic scenarios explaining how the consumer is protected:

https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/consumers/travel-and-timeshare-law/package-travel-directive_en

If before the start of the package the trader responsible for the package cancels the package, travellers are entitled to a refund and compensation where appropriate.

Travellers may terminate the contract without paying any termination fee before the start of the package in the event of exceptional circumstances, for instance if there are serious security problems at the destination which are likely to affect the package.

Additionally, travellers may at any time before the start of the package terminate the contract in return for an appropriate and justifiable termination fee.

If, after the start of the package, significant elements of the package cannot be provided as agreed, suitable alternative arrangements will have to be offered to the traveller at no extra cost. Travellers may terminate the contract without paying any termination fee, where services are not performed in accordance with the contract and this substantially affects the performance of the package and the organiser fails to remedy the problem.

The organiser has to provide assistance if the traveller is in difficulty.

If the retailer becomes insolvent, payments will be refunded. If the organiser or, where applicable, the retailer becomes insolvent after the start of the package and if transport is included in the package, repatriation of the travellers is secured.

 

If you have a flight booked; EU Air passenger rights

The below link gives information about the consumers rights:

https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/travel/passenger-rights/air/index_en.htm

If your flight is cancelled under EU LAW for passengers, you can seek from airlines the right to reimbursement, re-routing or return, as well as the right to assistance.

Some other useful places to seek assistance or information to help with gaining a refund from your travel company:

 

ABTA:

https://www.abta.com/tips-and-advice/is-my-holiday-protected/new-package-travel-regulations

 

Protection under credit cards purchase:

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/how-youre-protected-when-you-pay-by-card#paying-for-holidays-on-a-credit-card

 

ATOL protected holidays:

https://www.caa.co.uk/ATOL-protection/Consumers/About-ATOL/

UK and European law says your holiday must be protected if you book a package. ATOL is a UK financial protection scheme and protection applies to most air package holidays sold by UK travel businesses. The law says your holiday must be protected if you book a holiday with a single travel firm that includes:

  • flights and accommodation (including a cruise), or
  • flights and car hire, or
  • flights, accommodation and car hire.

The scheme also applies to some flight only bookings - usually those where you book flights (including UK domestic flights) but do not receive your tickets immediately. This is most common with charter flights, but can also apply to discounted scheduled flights or where you pay for flights in installments. Please note that ATOL does not apply to flights booked directly with scheduled airlines or to flights booked with airline ticket agents.

 

Coronavirus – Covid 19 Update:

https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak

Concerns have been raised regarding the issuing of vouchers and that should the issuing company fall into insolvency the customer would lose all monies paid out. ABTA are trying to enforce a system where these vouchers are financially guaranteed by the Government and therefore giving greater protection for the consumer.

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