Since March 17, the day the government advised against all non-essential travel overseas hundreds of thousands of holidays had to be cancelled.
Thanks to the sheer weight of pressure this has placed on travel companies, some holidaymakers are finding that their hopes for getting a timely refund from companies are as dashed as their cancelled pre-paid holiday plans.
Typically a refund for a cancelled holiday is given within a fortnight. But these are not typical times.
Travel agents, who on the whole, would like to comply, are finding that their cash-flow is depleted because they themselves are waiting for refunds from hotels and other operators bought on your behalf for holidays during March, April and May. Some are offering holidaymakers a travel voucher in a bid to stave off bankruptcy.
ABTA, the British the travel trade association have asked the government to extend the amount of time they can give a refund to be extended to 4 months.
The Abta chief executive, Mark Tanzer said:
“The global pandemic has put an enormous financial strain on tour operators and travel agents, with businesses seeing a collapse in sales while facing immediate repatriation costs and refund demands for cancelled holidays on a scale that is unmanageable.
“Existing regulations are entirely unsuited to deal with this situation. These businesses are themselves waiting for refunds from hotels and airlines”.
In the meantime, holidaymakers are looking for redress and indeed are now in need of that money and so for them, a delay or a voucher simply does not work.
It is worth noting that either a refund credit notes or cash refunds from your tour operator or travel agent is financially protected in the event your travel business fails.
If you are looking for a refund and can be patient, you can apply any time within a year. So perhaps biding your time may mean an easier journey to getting your refund and allows the travel company to stay in business long enough to make the refund.
Incidentally, some travel insurance policies may payout. Check with your insurer to find out if you are covered.