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Published on Tuesday, April 28, 2020

ABTA hit by flurry of negative reviews on Trustpilot

ABTA has received dozens of negative reviews on Trustpilot this month, leading to the customer feedback site rating the association as 'bad'.

ABTA's average Trustpilot review scoring currently stands at 1.3 out of five, with the number of reviews jumping from a steady two or three a month over the past year to over 60 so far in April, as customers express frustration at ABTA's handling of the refund process.

Reviewer Neil Smith said: "Absolutely appalled by the response to my complaint which I received from ABTA regarding my travel operator not refunding me after cancelling my holiday. They blatantly told me I should shut up and put up and if I don't like it I can take them to court but they don't recommend it."

Another reviewer, using the name 'Demand refund' said: "ABTA's role is clear in which it merely supports the actions of its members and affords no support for the consumers."

In giving feedback, a customer called Richard said: "Can't give zero. Wish I could. You are a pocket quango with no teeth and work for the benefit of travel companies and not the consumer."

Jim Stevenson renamed ABTA as 'Anything But Travel Advice', asking: "Why does your so-called association still exist? Where are you when needed?"

AB posted: "Don't trust in ABTA to support you as a customer," adding ABTA is focused on 'greedy travel companies'. Kathleen Mckenna said: "They are giving these companies cart blanche to rob us." Jamie Smith accused ABTA of being 'utterly pointless for consumers', adding: "When it really matters, and consumers needed refunds, they did nothing."

Some reviewers have said they will not actively look for an ABTA logo again when booking a holiday.

Peter Kulu said: "Don't ever use an ABTA travel agent or expect ABTA to take a consumer's side". Clare Turner posted: "In future I will be looking at booking my holidays with travel companies not associated with this dreadful organisation" and Kim P said: "I will never seek an ABTA member again. ABTA's silence is deafening to the consumer."

Neil Smith added: "Don't bother checking for an ABTA number when you book. Just use your credit card. Decades of reputation destroyed by one judgement."

ABTA declined to comment.

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  • An update

    My friend has got fed up with being stonewalled by her tour operator, and Easyjet are only sending out acknowledgement emails, not answering questions so she is about to go for the tour operator in a small claims court process. I am sure that she is not the only creditor who is unhappy.

    By Tony Wedgewood, Friday, June 5, 2020

  • Shocked at Customer Last

    I posted on here a while ago at how the industry as a whole has reacted to this crisis - and the way industry bodies have circled the wagons in the face of issues they should have dealt with openly, honestly and fairly - putting customers first. No matter where you look, industry members - whether individual agents on social forums, or bodies like ABTA - have placed protection of the themselves and the industry before protection of consumer rights and have even attacked consumer representatives when they set out the consumer's legal position in a straightforward manner. Of course there will be a backlash - it's crisis management 101. I fear that the travel industry has damaged itself more than the virus could have possibly have done with this defensive position. Time to wise up Travel Industry. Protect yourself of course - but think customer first.

    By Paul Bondsfield, Tuesday, April 28, 2020

  • Is ABTA a valid concept?

    A friend's holiday to Madeira has, understandably, been cancelled. She has no problem with that. When she rang to say that she wanted to have a refund, not a credit note, she was told that it had to be a credit note "...because ABTA said so...." If ABTA and its members want to be relevant to the travelling public, then it needs to convince the public that it is valid.

    By Tony Wedgewood, Tuesday, April 28, 2020

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