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Published on Sunday, May 3, 2020

Right To Refund campaign lodges complaint about ABTA to CMA

Lawyers acting for the Right To Refund campaign have written to the Competition and Markets Authority to lodge a formal complaint against ABTA for its 'reckless position' with regards to refunds.

On Friday, law firm Osborne Clarke submitted a complaint to the CMA alleging ABTA was 'assuming a position more akin to an industry regulator than a trade association'.

Referring to announcements by the CMA on Thursday, the campaign's leader Kane Pirie, owner of VIVID Travel, said he was pleased the CMA is now engaged.

"We have submitted a formal complaint to the CMA with regards to the conduct of ABTA, as the association is now openly referring to itself as a quasi-regulator and allowing their members to act as if their Code of Conduct, which is in truth is no more than club rules, over powers the law.

"By suspending any refund deadline in their Code of Conduct and then permitting their members to offer only Credit Refund Notes, neither of which respect the Package Travel Regulations, they are leading the industry over a cliff edge.

"Aside from the ethical and legal considerations, it is commercial madness to break trust with the consumer.

"ABTA's reckless position will cause businesses to fail and jobs to be lost that could otherwise have been saved.

"We trust that the CMA will now intervene and as a result ABTA will, finally, move to a position that is more balanced and respects the laws of the land. We again urge ABTA to reconsider in the interests of both travel companies and customers."

A letter to the CMA alleges ABTA is prioritising the financial health of its travel operator members above the welfare of consumers, through its guidance to members, is creating a 'two-tier system whereby those operators that have chosen to comply with their legal obligations are being disadvantaged in favour of those who elect to follow the ABTA guidance'.

ABTA declined to comment.

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