Revealed: When, which one? Vacation package providers who have been tested on future bookings – some have suggested they’ll be breaking the law on refunds again
- Which? Do a mysterious shop of holiday providers, asking for refunds
- Of the six companies, only two – Trailfinders and Tui – provided accurate answers
- Other companies said “misleading or contradictory responses” What?
- These were companies like Love Holidays, On the Beach, Teletext Holidays, and TravelUp
Mass holiday companies cannot be trusted with pandemic refunds, according to consumer experts.
Leading operators have failed to give travelers desperate to break the sun’s rays accurate information about their recovery and cancellation rights, according to an investigation by Which?
Last year, many airlines and holiday companies encouraged people to make reservations during the summer months, and then – illegally – quickly failed to make refunds when flights were banned on government orders.
Leading holiday group operators are failing to give travelers desperate for a break from the sunshine accurate information about their refund and cancellation rights, according to an investigation by Which?
Experts in any? Travelers fear that they will be exposed to the same exploitation again this year, regardless of the euphoria about the effect of the vaccines.
The group made mysterious stores like Love Holidays, On the Beach, Teletext Holidays, Trailfinders, TravelUp and Tui to see what they tell customers about.
Only Trailfinders and Tui consistently answered Who? In line with the law. These two companies are only obligated to compensate both flights and hotels within 14 days, which is required by law.
Which? The agents all gave misleading or contradictory responses, indicating that they may not be complying with the law.
Researchers asked whether customers could cancel a holiday package and get a refund if they found that they would be required to quarantine upon arrival at their vacation destination. In these circumstances, customers should be offered the choice between a reasonable alternative or a refund.
Once again, only Tui and Trailfinders said they would offer refunds to customers in this scenario. Agents at all other companies have said customers will not get a full refund unless the airline cancels their flight.
Only Trailfinders and Tui consistently answered Who? About the money refund package in line with the law. Only these two companies have committed to repaying both flights and hotels within 14 days, said Which?
The editor in whom? Travel, Rory Bolland said: “ Holiday companies are quick to make promises that you can book with confidence this summer, but unfortunately not many of them will be quick to get your money back if the coronavirus prevents you from traveling – and that’s if they refund you at all.
Whether you can book with confidence ultimately depends on who you book with. Several companies that broke the law last year suggested they might do so again, so regulators must be prepared to crack down on any operators found to be misleading their customers or breaking the law.
“Travelers who are considering spending this year off should only book with companies that guarantee in their flexible booking conditions that they will be able to get all your money back in the event of lockdowns, quarantines and other disruptions.”
Teletext Holidays along with Love Holidays, On the Beach, and TravelUp provided “misleading or contradictory responses” when asked about holiday package refunds, according to Which?
Travelers considering vacationing this year should only book with companies that guarantee in their flexible booking terms that they will be able to get all your money back if lockdowns, quarantines and other disruptions occur.
Rory Poland, which one? Travel
Love Holidays said that restitution rights vary according to circumstances and reason for cancellation. It promised to ensure that customer service teams had additional guidance to ensure the correct information was provided.
Travel Up insisted its refund policies are in compliance with the law and pledged to improve training for its employees.
On the Beach said: “ In the event of a travel ban or national lockdown where travel outside the UK is prohibited and flights are canceled, we will fully refund customers in cash within 14 days. This is an important part of Covid Promise, which launched in 2021, as if a holiday cannot be saved due to Covid-19, then a full cash refund will be made within 14 days of an airline canceling the flight.
“In the event that a mandatory quarantine period is imposed upon arrival in a foreign country, we will look to offer our customers an alternative destination package or offer a cash refund within 14 days.”
Teletext, one of several companies the Competition and Markets Authority has investigated, has not commented about non-payment of refunds.