On the Beach Group plc, a UK-based travel retailer specialising in short and medium haul ‘Flight + Hotel’ holidays to Europe has issued a letter to customers based on ‘refund information for cancelled holidays’
It reads ;
Dear fellow holiday-maker,
The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown has led to the cancellation of millions of flight and holiday bookings, leaving countless numbers of travellers out of pocket.
At On the Beach we are very concerned about the amount of vouchers and credit notes being offered to customers who are clearly entitled to a cash refund. We believe that in offering these, some companies are undermining trust in the travel industry and mistreating consumers. I’d like to take the opportunity to clarify our own position on refunds, in the hope that you will feel confident booking with On the Beach in the future.
On the Beach have been clear from the beginning of the crisis that we intend to refund customers in cash, and within 14 days of cancellation, as per the Package Travel Regulations. Whilst we have made good progress, refunding nearly half of the monies owed to our customers, we haven’t yet been able to refund the majority of the flight element of bookings. This is due to many airlines breaching their legal obligations to refund cancelled bookings within 7 days, as per EU261.
Since the middle of March, we have been lobbying the Government and regulators such as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to enforce the rules. We are hopeful that airlines will start to process refunds so that we can return them to customers as soon as physically possible.
What can you do?
The consumer watchdog Which? have written a very thorough article outlining your legal rights and options. I recommend you read this article, which can be found here.
The more they hear from consumers, the more likely the regulators are to enforce action.
You can email the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) at [email protected] to provide details of your own experience, and the airline or package organiser who is withholding your refund.
Additionally, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) are asking consumers to report any business that they feel is acting unfairly throughout this Coronavirus outbreak and I would encourage you to visit their website and share your own experiences.
CEO, On the Beach