Holidays are meant to equal fun and excitement, but for many, travel has been the source of great stress this year. The coronavirus crisis resulted in numerous holidays being cancelled and postponed. This has left a plethora of Britons out of pocket as they wait for travel companies and airlines to issue refunds.
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Many people are hugely frustrated and are at a loss as to what to do.
Travel expert Simon Calder appeared on ITV’s This Morning today to share his travel advice on refunds.
He explained that if a cruise is cancelled you should get your cash back within two weeks, while if your fight is axed and you’re just dealing with the airline, you should receive it within a week of the flight not taking place.
Unfortunately due to the unprecedented circumstances, this is not the case for many holidaymakers.
Travel firms’ “systems simply aren’t designed” for the huge backlog of refunds, explained Calder.
“When you buy travel, you’re buying a dream and you expect that to happen,” he said, “and if it doesn’t, then, quite rightly, you expect, ‘Well I have my money back now’ but then the company says, ‘Well, we haven’t got it; we’ll try and find it, and we’ll bring it back.’
“It’s a shocking state of affairs, but I’m afraid that’s how the travel industry has been and which is why there are millions of people spending many hours getting really stressed and desperately needing their cash back.”
Luckily there are various ways you can fight your corner if you’re owed a refund.
However, Calder cautioned, before you leap for the phone, do think about how urgent it really is.
“If your travel company have said we doing our absolute best to get you a refund then, then probably, you’re actually not doing yourself or anybody else much good by calling them immediately unless you’re really desperate for the money,” he said.
One solution to getting a refund is to opt for a chargeback.
“[This] is basically debit or credit card,” said Calder, “you just say to your card issuer, ‘This service hasn’t been provided, therefore I want my money back.’
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“It’s a voluntary scheme so it’s not part of the law but very often that will work.”
Calder continued: “And if you pay by credit card, then you simply ask for a section 75 claim, which is basically your card company is equally liable to provide the [holiday] and the company, and if it hasn’t been provided, then they get that they should hand you back your money.”
Another remedy is to go to money claim online.
However, the travel expert urged Britons to “offer some forbearance.”
“Any company which is at least being honest and straightforward with people saying, look, here’s the situation, here’s where your money is, here’s what we’re doing to get it back.
“If you can offer some forbearance that would be good.
“But if the company is misleading you about your rights then I would say… you’re effectively giving them an interest-free loan.”
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