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Published on Friday, August 14, 2020

Travel Republic apologises for closing phone lines to customers

Travel Republic has apologised for closing its phone lines to customers as it struggles to cope with huge numbers of enquiries about cancellations, refunds and forthcoming holidays.

The OTA says it is dealing with customers 'strictly in departure time and date order' and is not taking incoming calls.

Travel Republic said it started to close lines to incoming calls earlier this month in response to a surge of enquiries resulting from the removal of Spain and the islands from the FCO's 'safe' list, which added 7,000 more bookings to the thousands already impacted by the disruption.

On its Facebook page, Travel Republic has posted: "So that our service teams can focus on reaching out to customers in departure date order, our phonelines remain temporarily closed.

"While we do this, we have taken the precaution to pause automated final balance payments and reminders for all customers due to travel in August and September.

"Due to the high volumes of comments and messages we are currently receiving through our social channels, unfortunately we are unable to respond to every customer concern however, we are doing our very best to reach as many of you as possible."

The Facebook post adds that, as of Thursday, 13 August, Travel Republic has processed 3,143 refunds for those due to travel up to the week ending 28 June. It acknowledges it is continuing to chase 46 refunds with suppliers due from 13-17 March.

Customers have taken  to social media to complain they've been unable to get any response to queries.

One tweeted: "Stop posting ridiculous untrue updates and schedules that you aren't adhering to", while another said: "Ignoring customers won't make them go away."

Another said: "Your phone lines are closed. I made contact via support in June, but no response. Please sort this out. So many customers are trying to make contact."

A spokesman for Travel Republic told TravelMole: "Since May, we've cancelled nearly 70,000 holidays and refunded almost 190,000 customers.

"However, such is the volume of enquiries caused by the continued dynamism of the situation that the whole UK travel industry is dealing with, we've temporarily closed our phone lines for incoming calls to enable our service team to focus on contacting those customers who are either currently overseas and need assistance in returning to the UK, or those who are due to depart imminently.

"We appreciate this is frustrating for those who are trying to contact us and urge them to keep an eye on our daily social media updates for news about our refund schedule. We apologise for any distress they are experiencing and thank them for their patience."

He said the company expects to reopen phone lines in early September, although this 'somewhat depends on any future changes to FCO advice and subsequent impact on bookings'.

He added extra resources have been added to teams monitoring and responding to social media enquiries.

By Lisa James, Deputy Editor (UK)


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