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Lobbying against ABTA campaign to relax Package Travel Regulations and right to cash refund

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I am due a refund from a package holiday - over 5K and I do not want a refund credit.  I have been doing lots of research into this and have sought legal advice.  Currently we are entitled to a full cash refund within 14 days which has now passed for many people and Companies are mainly stalling.
 ABTA are trying to get the gov't to issue guidance to enable travel operators to offer refund credit notes in place of full cash refunds.  Initially and publicly facing they have sought to ask for this until July 2020 when then a cash refund is payable, however they are lobbying for the refund credit to be in place till March 2021.  We all know that come July, tour operators will unlikely be in a better position to pay us our due refunds to it is likely the consumer will face an uphill battle to get their refund.
The CAA haven't come forward publicly to say they will back the credit notes, ABTA have issued their own guidance which Companies are now quoting as a legal change.  It isn't.  They can't force a refund credit on you at this point.  Do not accept it unless you really are happy to do so.
I am trying as best I can to lobby against this, but it is a bit difficult amongst just a handful of voices.  I have written to my MP, and become a twitter warrior, tweeting @BEIS who are the Government in charge of overseeing Package Travel Regulations, I have written to Alok Sharma as Secretary of State for the department.  I urge you to do the same if you are against the notion of refund credit.

Comments

  • Thrugelmir
    Thrugelmir Posts: 89,546 Forumite
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    bagand96 said:
    With all due respect, your MP and the workings of Government have far bigger priorities right now.


    Says it all. 
  • Fairypop
    Fairypop Posts: 13 Forumite
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    edited 8 April 2020 at 4:18PM
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    I am completely aware that the gov't has far bigger priorities - not sure about my MP but that's another story!  If they don't resolve this then the Companies are just going to have to put up with many consumers taking them to the small claims court - especially where larger sums of money are involved.  I was talking to someone the other day who had paid on behalf of a group and had paid 28K and were now being told only a voucher and you have to use it before end of the year!  That is not an acceptable proposition for the consumer.

    I don't have a problem waiting longer for my refund, but I do have a problem with some players in the industry refusing refunds at all - even when they have the refunds from airlines.  Some Companies are blatantly refusing.  I am concerned potentially vulnerable people will be accepting these credit vouchers - not understanding what they are accepting and believing the rhetoric that is being spouted by ABTA.

    ATOL has the backer of the gov't as last resort.  I have been told the gov't has to refund consumers if Companies fail and the ATOL fund runs dry - I am aware funds have dwindled due to the demise of Thomas Cook!

    What I would like is for the gov't to fund the refunds and the tour operators to then pay the government back when they receive the refunds from end suppliers - I believe that is what they have done in Denmark.

    Ultimately, it isn't the consumer's fault if the travel companies have not held their money in travel trusts, or paid their execs and shareholders vast amount of money without evaluating the impact of future liquidity!  I do appreciate it is more complex than that but ultimately many of them are behaving very poorly towards their customers at this point in time.

    If the Companies have already spent consumer monies on their overheads, stalling till July or Sept etc to give refunds is unlikely to help them.  They will still go bust as the market is too unstable and people will not be booking future holidays.....

    ABTA specifies they all have to have insolvency insurance also, so what about that?  Presumably that comes into play.  Also surely they shouldn't be trading as in effect they are insolvent now if they have spent the money before delivering the goods?!

    Airlines should be paying the operators back as per the law, then operators pay the agents and then the consumers get the refunds.  Anything else is unfair and unjust in my opinion.  

    The Government has also put a lot of measures in place to support businesses, most travel and airline Companies have furloughed their staff.



  • k3lvc
    k3lvc Posts: 4,174 Forumite
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    There are a whole series of discussions within EU parliament at the moment to balance consumer rights vs infrastructure (airline) retention. Latest discussions gaining traction are to vary the law to allow a credit note valid for xx months which can then be refunded in cash if not used during that period. Key stumbling block is that no-one can anticipate inflation/currency fluctuation/return to normal and therefore whether a credit note will be worth the paper it's written on vs the new cost of an equivalent holiday. This is of course fairly meaningless given our EU exit and the fact many of the airlines are still owned by/will operate under EU licences.

    In summary GOV.UK are unlikely to have an awful lot of say in whether you get a refund or not and it certainly won't be quick :( 

  • Fairypop
    Fairypop Posts: 13 Forumite
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    Indeed - it is all a mess!
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