TELETEXT holidays has promised to refund £7million to customers who are still owed cash from coronavirus cancellations.
The holiday company said it will repay the outstanding money after the threat of legal action by the regulator.
The Competition and Markets Authority opened an investigation into the holiday firm in February after customers were left out of pocket.
It's understood thousands of holidaymakers are still owed money back from the company.
The law requires that refunds owed should be paid within 14 days for package holidays that have been cancelled, including those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The CMA threatened Teletext Holidays owner Truly Holdings with court action at the end of April over the matter.
Travel: What are your rights to a refund?
MILLIONS of Brits have had holiday plans cancelled. Here’s what to do if you’re affected.
Firstly, speak to your airline or holiday firm about a refund or rearranging your plans.
You are entitled to a cash refund if it's cancelled your holiday but many have large delays processing cash or may offer vouchers instead.
If the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advises against all but essential travel to countries or regions, you may also be covered for cancellations by your travel insurance if the holiday provider or airline is not helping you.
Keep in mind travel insurance must have been taken out before the FCDO advice changed, otherwise you won't be covered.
If you don't have travel insurance or the excess on your insurance is so high it's not worth claiming, you may be able to claim your money back through your credit or debit card provider.
Credit card payments between £100 and £30,000 are covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act.
To start a claim, you need to contact your credit card provider directly – Which? has a free tool that can help you do this.
Debit card claims or credit card claims of under £100 may be covered under similar Chargeback guarantees.
The company has now promised to give customers all of their money back by August 31.
Customers who have been waiting for the longest will be prioritised.
Andrea Coscelli, the chief executive of the CMA, said: "There’s no excuse for travel firms to delay refunding customers what they are legally owed, even in these extraordinary times.
"Companies should be doing the right thing without the threat of court action."
Truly Holdings has also promised that it will refund customers in full within 14 days for package holidays cancelled because of the pandemic in future.
Teletext Holidays said in a statement: "We are pleased that a successful conclusion has been reached with the CMA in regards to the processing of refunds for our customers who have had their package holidays cancelled due to Covid.
"Further details of the refund timescale and process that we will be embarking upon will be published on our website by May 28."
Hundreds of people filed complaints with the regulator over missing refunds after their package holidays were cancelled due to the pandemic.
Teletext customers reported that they were promised refunds by a certain date, only to have that date pushed back, the CMA said when launching it's investigation.
Teletext Holidays said at the time that it was working to process refunds as quickly as possible.
Mr Coscelli added today: "With international travel resuming and many people considering long awaited trips abroad, all package holiday firms must give refunds within 14 days where these are due, and should also provide clear cancellation information, so that no one else is unnecessarily put through this ordeal."
How to make a complaint
WHAT you can do if you need a refund due to coronavirus:
WHAT you can do if you need a refund due to coronavirus:
Citizens Advice UK states that you’ll automatically have the right to a refund if your booking was for either:
- Package holiday – check if your booking counts as a package holiday
- UK or European flight – check if your booking counts as a UK or European flight
Check with your travel agent or the company you booked your travel or holiday with to see if you're entitled to a refund.
If you’re offered a voucher instead of a refund:
The company you booked your trip with have to give you a refund if you’re entitled to one, which includes if they cancelled your travel.
If you are dealing with a UK company you can insist on a full cash refund, you don’t have to take a voucher or rebook your holiday.
For non-UK based companies, you may not be entitled to a cash refund.
If you’re thinking of accepting a voucher, check the terms and conditions, including:
- When the voucher expires
- Whether you can change your mind later and get a refund
International travel and holidays to some destinations is now allowed again after some lockdown restrictions lifted on May 17.
It's not the first holiday firm that’s had action taken against it by the CMA.
Loveholidays is in the process of refunding £18million to 44,000 customers after hundreds reported them for refusing to give full refunds.
In September 2020, Tui promised to refund customers by the end of the month after thousands of holidaymakers complained.
Consumer group Which? has named Love Holidays, On the Beach and TravelUp among the firms putting holidaymakers cash most at risk.
The group has warned sun-seekers that some package holiday firms may not issue refunds on bookings for trips that can't go ahead due to last minute lockdown or quarantine rules.
Brits have been warned not to travel to or from UK Covid hotspots just days before the start of half term.
Martin Lewis has urged holidaymakers to shop around for Covid tests before travelling abroad to get the cheapest price.
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