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Published on Thursday, May 7, 2020

Kane Pirie disputes ABTA's claims over credit refund notes

The Right To Refund has written to the chairman of the Transport Select Committee disputing claims made by ABTA's chief executive to the committee yesterday.

Mark Tanzer was called to give evidence in front of the committee and urged the Government to change the current regulations over refunds to give members longer to pay. But he said if the Government can't do that, it should fund the replayments itself.

Kane Pire, leader of the Right to Refund campaign, criticised a particular statement by Tanzer during the hearing that consumers will be refunded more quickly via a Credit Refund Note (CRN) than through an ATOL claim.

In the letter he argues ABTA's claim is 'inaccurate and misleading'.

"In our view ATOL protection is sound, tried and ATOL claims are normally paid within a few months of a company failing," he said.

"In contrast the CRNs, that ABTA is recommending as a refunding option for consumers, strike us as being very risky. These CRNs have been issued often without customer consent and without the customer being clearly advised they can, if they prefer, have a real or conventional monetary refund.

"The legal status of the CRN remains unclear, and so far the CAA has refused to confirm if they carry the same level of protection as the original booking / ATOL certificate. In short, ABTA's unnecessary and ill-advised anticipation of a change to the law, has flooded the market with an unpredictable financial instrument.

"It is not ABTA's place to opine on the level of ATOL protection their creation holds; that role falls to the CAA who have held back. Further to the uncertainty of financial security the CRNs and might not to be redeemable for cash for up to 12 months from the date of issue, which could itself be much later than the date of cancellation."

Pirie's letter says ABTA's proposals have 'smashed consumer trust in travel companies and ABTA'.

"There is a disgusting amount of spin around this issue. Spin and greed but the customers know their rights and will enforce them. The ABTA position only serves to embarrass a once fine respected institution and indeed their own members," he added.

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  • But he has a point

    Drivel? I don't think so. Perhaps someone could explain this to me: In a Covid-19 scenario, if a holiday has been cancelled post-balance, pre-departure why must the customer (remember, he has a choice where (if?) he spends his money in the future) fund the transport providers (BA, Easyjet, Eurostar, etc) and the accommodation providers (hotels, etc) or cruise lines? To blithely say "claim on your insurance" or "here's our IOU, which you can only spend against a more expensive holiday" can only be justified by also saying that the carrier and the accommodation provider(s) have not refunded or have refused to refund. Yes the tour op and (possible) travel agent will not have their margin on the booking but let them claim on THEIR insurance.

    By Tony Wedgewood, Saturday, May 9, 2020

  • Honesty is expected from ABTA

    I am very pleased that Kane Pirie keeps this in the public eye. Whatever your view, the current situation is unacceptable. Expecting customers to provide cash assistance to businesses is not right or fair. If such scheme did come into play the customers would have to be guanteed a refund by a date (not longer than 3 months time) and interest at 1% per month should be payable on top from date refund should have been made. This is what a bank would charge to lend to the companies. The longer this goes on the more damage is done to the industry. Customers in future will only book with those companies who have played fair or will book direct with the hotels abroad and travel agents will lose clients.

    By Paul Johnston, Saturday, May 9, 2020

  • Vivid Travel

    Why do TTg keep promoting this guys drivell.He has a point, let him to what he wants and stop publicising him.I for one am sick of hearing it.

    By Greg Pritchard, Thursday, May 7, 2020

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