Travel companies attempting to charge customers fees and taxes for cancelled flights as they hold back refunds
6 May 2020, 11:28
Travel firms are charging 'administration fees' or 'unrecoverable taxes' to customers looking for a refund on their cancelled holidays amid the coronavirus pandemic.
As customers struggle to receive full refunds from their cancelled holidays, some travel firms are now attempting to charge them fees and taxes, it has been revealed.
This week, This Is Money revealed that some of these holiday companies are charging excessive administration fees or deducting large sums of money under 'unrecoverable taxes'.
This comes after thousands of holidays and flights were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Legally, under Package Travel Regulations, customers should be receiving a full refund for their cancelled trips within 14 days, however, thousands of people across the UK are still struggling to claim their money back.
While some firms are attempting to charge cancellation fees, others are claiming their small print means that parts of their cancelled holiday are non-refundable.
There are also reports that some airlines and travel agents are giving their customers vouchers or credit notes instead of a refund, even when the customer does not want them.
This Is Money found that in one case, a company withheld £16,000 from a retired businessman who booked a two-week holiday.
They tried to claim that part of his holiday could not be refunded.
One of the reasons some airlines are holding back giving refunds to customers is because they fear they might go bust.
Rory Boland, of consumer group Which?, said on the matter: "We have huge sympathy for the travel industry but they can't just hold on to customers' cash.
"While some firms genuinely do not have the money, we have seen other operators that just do not want to pay back customers — and they are getting away with it."
Kane Pirie, leader of the Right to Refund campaign – which is calling on firms to fully refund their customers – added: "There is up to £7billion of travel refunds that are overdue.
"But the law is very clear. Tour operators who claim to be waiting on money from suppliers or say they incur excessive costs when processing refunds are adding insult to injury — these excuses are irrelevant. Firms may say they are in financial distress, but so are many of their customers."