Outrigger Hotels and Resorts

Published on Monday, December 14, 2020

Iglu apologises for refund delay after facing 60,000 cancellations

Cruise and ski specialist Iglu.com has said it is close to refunding all customers after admitting it became overwhelmed with the number of cancellations during Covid.

The online retailer apologised for keeping some passengers waiting for months for their money back as it waded through 60,000 refunds and transfers. It also admitted it failed to keep customers informed when refunds were likely to be delayed.

Chief Executive Richard Downs said 'valuable lessons' had been learned.

"We apologise wholeheartedly for the delay in processing refunds, and we completely understand and share our customers' frustrations," he said. "Like many operators and agents we're dealing with an unprecedented volume of requests.

"Pre Covid-19 the team would handle a handful of refunds per month. Since March, we've had almost 60,000 booking cancellations to refund or transfer.  

"We have been working tirelessly to upgrade our systems in order to accelerate the process and have so far processed 95% of the 60,000 cancelled bookings."

Downs described the refund process as 'complex', with each cruise line, airline, accommodation provider and tour operator having its own refund, cancellation and credit rules.

That required the manual check for all 60,000 affected bookings, he said.

"Some of those third parties are also operating under different regulations which mean they don't honour refunds or issue credit notes, which adds further challenges," he said.

"Our systems were simply not designed to handle this level of requests. I would like to reassure customers that we're committed to refunding all those who've requested a refund and thank them for their patience while our teams work through the remaining backlog."

Along with the delays, Downs acknowledged that customers were not kept informed when refund dates changed. 

"This has not been communicated effectively. We sincerely apologise for the poor communication those customers have experienced and I'm working closely with the team to rectify this and ensure customers are being contacted directly and regularly to ensure they stay informed," he said.

"We have learnt many valuable lessons from this experience and are already taking action so we can serve our valued customers better in the future."

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