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Published on Thursday, April 23, 2020

ABTA chief: 'We must do all we can to preserve customer confidence'

ABTA is claiming consumer groups are supporting its campaign for clearer Government guidance over refunds.

In his latest blog, chief executive Mark Tanzer said the debate about refunds during the ongoing crisis has 'attracted increasing focus' this week.

"Our pleas to Government to step in and provide more guidance and support have been echoed by consumer groups and this growing clarion call adds to the pressure for them to respond to clarify the situation for all concerned, particularly around financial protection arrangements," he said in his latest blog.

He reminded members of his open letter to customers in the Telegraph earlier this week, which attempted  to provide some context.

The letter led to a consumer backlash on social media, with little sympathy for ABTA's position. Some consumers accused ABTA of 'sticking two fingers up to the law'.

But Tanzer said he received many positive comments from members about the letter.

"The situation is very challenging but we must also do all we can to preserve customer confidence," he continued.

"It is vitally important that if you do offer your customers a refund credit note because you are unable to process an immediate cash refund for a cancelled package holiday within 14 days, you follow ABTA's guidance for these refund credit notes.

"Customers whose package holidays have been cancelled because of the pandemic have a right to a refund, and where cash refunds are requested they should be given as soon as possible."

He said ABTA continues to engage with MPs though its 'Save Future Travel' campaign.

"We know that many MPs are supportive of our asks, and have contacted Ministerial or Shadow Ministerial colleagues, and we now need that support to translate into Government action," he said.


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  • What no cash refund

    The mail on Sunday laid out the procedure. If a cash refund not made within 14 days. A complaint letter should be sent to the offending business. If that fails then it is a trip to the County Court. The Metro today covers a letter from a reader where TUI had offered her a voucher. The holiday in 2021 is &#pound;400 more than the cost in 2020. I think this makes having a voucher a very unattractive option for the holidaymaker.

    By Paul Johnston, Monday, April 27, 2020

  • No cash refunds

    Without mentioning the operator, they are currently cancelling holidays to end of May and refusing cash refunds. I believe they have a legal obligation to refund if alternatives are unacceptable. This will only add further confusion and distrust by the public to the holy grail that booking with a tour operator provides 100% financial protection. Why are ABTA members ignoring the advice given?

    By Michael Edwards, Friday, April 24, 2020

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