Home Coronavirus: Help and support COVID-19 cancellations: beware ‘refund vouchers’ and ‘admin fees’

COVID-19 cancellations: beware ‘refund vouchers’ and ‘admin fees’

by Jonathan Kearney

Knowsley consumers who have tickets for cancelled flights, holidays and events must have their legal rights to a refund upheld, say Trading Standards.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently published data showing they had received almost 20,000 holiday-related complaints about cancellations and refunds; a further 8,000 complaints about airlines and almost 2,000 relating to events.

Some companies struggling to fund cancellation refunds have been attempting to pressure customers into accepting vouchers instead of refunds. Such vouchers aren’t financially protected if the company goes bust.

Some travel agents have also been deducting significant ‘admin’ fees from refunds, contrary to the law.

Under EU and UK law, companies must provide a refund in the event that no service is provided to the customer.

Chartered Trading Standards Institute Chief Executive, Leon Livermore, said: “This has been an incredibly challenging time for both holidaymakers and travel companies alike. Consumer protection professionals are working hard to support both consumers and businesses through this crisis.
“I hope that once the pandemic subsides, the UK travel industry will return to health, and consumers disappointed by the cancellations will be able to enjoy future excursions backed by good consumer law.”

To report concerns about companies that are engaging in unfair practices, contact the Citizens Advice consumer service helpline on 0808 223 1133. You can also contact Knowsley Trading Standards on 0151 443 2885.