Refunds in fourteen days

By | Category: Travel news

Over the last few months there have been a number of stories about how airlines, tour operators and travel agents have been slow about making refunds to those that are due them

getting cash back from some airlines, tour operators and travel agents has been difficult

In the UK, the regulatory body – the CAA – has been relatively easy on companies. It has reminded them of the law and confirmed that if a passenger wants a refund rather than a voucher or a re-booking they are entitled to them.

Then on Friday, it anouced that it has sent a letter to 100 companies (the CMA didn’t name them) telling them to get the act together and warning of enforcement action if matters didn’t alter

Up and until the letter was sent, the EU had been a more pro-active on behalf of passengers.

It has decided to take ten member states to court for not enforcing the rules. One accusation that it makes is that some of these countries did not deliver monies back to passengers within the legal time limit which is fourteen days.

The ten countries are Czech Republic, (now also known as Czechia) Cyprus, France, Greece, Italy, Croatia, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia. In addition, Greece and Italy are also being taken to court, this time for not applying EU rules to passengers travelling by air or by boat.

As is usual with the EU nothing moves quickly so people affected in the ten countries won’t receive the monies necessarily faster. The EU has given the countries two months to make their case.

In fairness to the travel trade, refunding the money to a huge number of customers is not an easy task and takes time. Achieving repayments to all those concerned would take longer than two weeks. Equally repaying all the money immediately might well cause them to go bust so it is understandable why companies might want to hold the money as they face cash flow issues. Nonetheless by not repaying they are breaching EU law.

What companies who have been slow in paying really should worry about is the attitude of their customers and potential customers. Not receiving their monies has hit some people really hard particularly if they have been laid off.

Earlier this week, The Sun‘s travel editor – Lisa Minot – said her postbag had bulged with stories about non-repayment of monies owed to Sun readers and hat she had received more comments on this story compared to any other problem.

Readers will notice that neither the UK nor Ireland is on the list although both are EU members and complaints have been received about repayments from both countries. I can understand why the UK might be omitted given the strange status it currently enjoys but Ireland?

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