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THOMAS COOK refund nightmare....

16 replies 1.9K views
DALLENDALLEN Forumite
3 posts
Like many others, my Thomas cook PKG holiday was cancelled as they collapsed, but the woes continue and getting a refund is becoming a total nightmare. Our holiday to Greece was booked on the Thomas Cook website in May 2019, and was paid in full using a debit card the day it was booked. We had ATOL protection for the whole holiday, including the flights, which Thomas Cook allocated EasyJet as the flight operator. The ATOL certificate issuer being Thomas Cook retail, ATOL number 1179.

7/10/19
Our holiday was due to start on the 26th September, the Thursday after the weekend collapse. We were notified we had to claim on the CAA website webform on the 7th October 2019, which I duly did. A reference number was provided and I was advised a 60 day wait for refunds to be processed.

28/11/19
On the 28th November I received an email from a company called ‘PROTECT CLAIMS’ asking for a simple form to be completed that required just my booking ref, signature, and date. The form was a declaration that I would not be using, or had used the flight services. I called the CAA helpline to check on this company prior to completion, and they advised that PROTECT CLAIMS were given the contract of paying out the refunds on the CAA behalf. I then signed and returned the form the same day. I was then advised another 60 day wait for payment, so I sent an email back complaining about the delay on 29/11/19…

20/12/19
On 20th December I received an email from PROTECT CLAIMS asking for feedback on their ‘outstanding service’ as they had dealt with a claim on my behalf…. This was very strange as I hadn’t yet been refunded. I checked my bank statements and confirmed no money had been refunded. I went onto the PROTECT CLAIM website and noticed there is a ‘follow up claim’ tab. I entered the details into the tab to check my claim, and was surprised to see that my claim was marked as paid on 3/12/19, yet NO payments have been made into my account. As there is no way of contacting PROTECT CLAIMS (the contact number they provide is the CAA helpline), and no complaints process, I used the comments box on their follow up claim page to complain NO refund has been paid. I also added my account details for them to check the payment had been made to my account. I also contacted the CAA over the phone to complain to them. They sent an email to the CAA head office of the complaint to raise the issue. And I also used the CAA complaint form to complain formally.

23/12/19
I receive an email from PROTECT CLAIMS stating that payment had been made. I again checked my bank statements online and called the bank direct, and was confirmed no payments had been made or were pending. So I again fill out the box on the PROTECT CLAIMS webpage to state NO payments have been paid, along with my account details again, and another to the CAA. I then call the Financial Ombudsman for advice, and they tell me to ask for physical evidence in the form of a payment transaction screenshot, to include the account numbers payment amount, date paid, reference numbers etc, and to ask for an escalation of complaint. They also note that the company PROTECT CLAIMS do not form part of their remit should a complaint need to be pushed further as they do not regulate them. So I send out another message on the PROTECT CLAIMS box to that effect, and another to the CAA. The CAA respond the same day with a screen shot of a spreadsheet stating the claim was closed on 6/12/19, but NO proof of transaction details as requested. I again call the CAA who tell me they can’t help as PROTECT CLAIMS are the ones I need to contact, but they don’t have a contact number for them and can’t deal with my complaint. I send another complaint to the CAA stating the information provided was not proof any transactions have been made.

26/12/19
So, now I’m in complete limbo with no refunds paid, despite PROTECT CLAIMS stating it has been paid some 20-23 days ago. My bank told me that my bank statement constitutes a legal verifiable document of transactions made, and as such is my proof of no refunds paid. The CAA who have passed the buck to PROTECT CLAIMS are no use whatsoever, and PROTECT CLAIMS are uncontactable on the phone. I now await another response from PROTECT CLAIMS, who I think have not verified any transaction details alleged to have been made, as clearly this information would show no payments have been made, or perhaps they paid an account in error instead of mine…

Depending on what happens now, I’m considering suing PROTECT CLAIMS for the refund due via the small claims process, plus costs, as it seems they only way I will get a resolution to this problem, and my money back, is for an outside source to look into the details of alleged transactions PROTECT CLAIMS claim to have made, of which they have failed, or are unwilling, to check themselves in order to sort this out. If they recognise their error and sort the payment out then I will not need to do this, however Im not confident they will….
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Replies

  • I’m in a similar position, and also stuck in limbo.

    The detail of my claim was that the deposit was paid by credit card, yet my claim has been declined because they say I have received a refund on my Direct Debit!

    Like you, I’ve been passed between CAA and Protect Claims and have got nowhere.

    I raised a disputed transaction claim with my credit card, but they say as the holiday was ATOL protected, that the chargeback will be rejected.

    So, I have 2 lots of consumer protection S75 and ATOL and I’m getting nowhere.

    Anyone got any advice on what I do next?
    :j No longer lurking :j
  • soolinsoolin Forumite, Board Guide
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    I can't assist with the actual question but MSE did an article on this which is here:
    https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2019/11/thomas-cook-customers-left-confused-by-emails-from-claims-firms-/

    The Trust pilot reviews also suggest that somehting is seriously amiss:

    https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/protectclaims.com
    I'm the Board Guide for the Ebay Board , Charities Board , Dosh & Disability , Up Your Income and the Local MoneySaving-England board which means I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly. However, do remember, board guides don't read every post. If you spot an illegal or inappropriate post then please report it to [email protected] (it's not part of my role to deal with this). Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com
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  • I feel your pain and frustration. I paid by DD directly booked with TC and am still waiting. Got an email asking for my signature and bank details, which I’m not prepared to just hand over. The email looks ropey and as you point out, it’s CAA farming out their responsibility on the cheap. It’s shocking that they physically have my cash and won’t give it back or theft if you like. The energy it’s zapped from me!
  • mattyprice4004mattyprice4004 Forumite
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    They don’t have your cash and never did - the refund isn’t being paid by Thomas Cook.
    To suggest it is theft is just ridiculous - sorry!

    They need your bank details to refund to; these are also printed on a lot of debit cards and on every cheque you write so that’s no huge security issue. :)
  • GangaGanga Forumite
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    Anthony_J wrote: »
    I feel your pain and frustration. I paid by DD directly booked with TC and am still waiting. Got an email asking for my signature and bank details, which I’m not prepared to just hand over. The email looks ropey and as you point out, it’s CAA farming out their responsibility on the cheap. It’s shocking that they physically have my cash and won’t give it back or theft if you like. The energy it’s zapped from me!

    As has been pointed out it is not theft,give them the information they require and they will pay you.
    ITS NOT EASY TO GET EVERYTHING WRONG ,I HAVE TO WORK HARD TO DO IT!
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  • DALLENDALLEN Forumite
    3 posts
    Update.

    I have given all information required of me, and still no refund. Protect Claims claim they paid it on 3/12/19, yet nothing has been paid into my account...

    Protect claims now ignore all my emails and just log the claim as paid. Today I sent a LETTER BEFORE COURT ACTION letting them know what needs to be done, within 14 days, or I shall be suing in court. The CAA just pass the buck, and my numerous formal complaints have been left unanswered. Both the CAA and Protect Claims have my bank statement evidence of no payment....

    I’m now thinking the CAA is using Protect Claims as a smoke screen. Has the CAA run out of money? Why are they operating like a scam outfit? Why aren’t people being paid their entitled ATOL refunds when ALL information has been given, and why are they claiming I’ve been paid, despite my statements clearly showing otherwise, and why do they fail to provide ANY evidence of payment I have requested numerous times in accordance with advice given by the financial ombudsman..... There is something seriously wrong here, and I feel it’s going to take a judge in court to get to the bottom of it. They can hide from me, but they can’t hide in court.
  • stephb34stephb34 Forumite
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    Anthony_J wrote: »
    I feel your pain and frustration. I paid by DD directly booked with TC and am still waiting. Got an email asking for my signature and bank details, which I’m not prepared to just hand over. The email looks ropey and as you point out, it’s CAA farming out their responsibility on the cheap. It’s shocking that they physically have my cash and won’t give it back or theft if you like. The energy it’s zapped from me!

    If you paid by Direct Debit your bank should have refunded you.
    If you paid a deposit not by DD then thats what the CAA should pay you back.
  • WestinWestin Forumite
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    “I’m now thinking the CAA is using Protect Claims as a smoke screen. Has the CAA run out of money? ”

    I don’t think the conspiracy theories you throw around are helpful.

    Clearly something is a miss, perhaps the wrong bank details given or keyed in incorrectly their side. I know you are frustrated but I do think that you have to keep in mind that it is the Christmas and New Year holiday period and any investigation has probably just been held up by office closures or many staff taking holiday leave. Consider the time between 23/12 and today as dead time. In fact every chance that the office won’t get back up to speed until w/c 6 January.
  • bagand96bagand96 Forumite
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    I don’t think the conspiracy theories you throw around are helpful.

    I would agree.

    There was around 350,000 ATOL claims relating to Thomas Cook. With that volume of claims the CAA would clearly not have the capacity to process them - so outsourcing was always going to happen.

    With the number of claims and the many different variables involved and data flying around - it is unfortunately inevitable that there would/will be a small number of issues and errors. I know it doesn't make it any easier for those people that are affected - and I'm not making excuses for the CAA or their outsourced partners - but there's no conspiracy here.
  • joolsleedsjoolsleeds Forumite
    47 posts
    I share the OP's frustration and as someone in a similar situation, and having dealt with the CAA's and Protect Claims incompetence I can see his point!

    They appear to be doing everything to frustrate the successful refund of the monies paid.

    When you speak to either party, I can understand why OP says what he says - it truly feels like no-one wants to help.
    :j No longer lurking :j
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