HOLIDAYMAKERS still waiting for refunds for cancelled trips from Tui have been promised their cash by the end of September.
It comes after thousands of holidaymakers complained to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), sparking an investigation.
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Consumer law states that airlines and travel package providers must give customers’ their money back if the firm cancels their trip.
If your holiday is cancelled by your tour operator, the money has to be refunded within 14 days, or seven days if the airline called off your flights.
But in July, the CMA had received more than 17,500 complaints about the difficulty in obtaining refunds or information from holiday firms.
The CMA has written to more than 100 package holiday companies reminding them of their obligations under consumer law to grant full-cash refunds “promptly and without undue delay”.
The watchdog said Tui has already refunded the “vast majority” of customers, but any outstanding refunds will now be paid by September 30.
Tui hasn’t yet confirmed how many refunds it’s yet to pay out, so we’ll update this article if we get a response.
If you’ve already accepted refund credit notes, Tui will email you to let you know that you can swap it for a cash refund, which will be paid within 14 days.
Following the investigation, Tui will now regularly also report to the CMA over the coming year on the time it has taken to refund customers.
These commitments apply to all of Tui UK’s businesses that offer package holidays, including First Choice, First Choice Holidays, Marella Cruises, Crystal Ski, Crystal, Tui Scene, Tui Lakes & Mountains and Skytours.
Andrea Coscelli, CMA’s chief executive, said: “It’s absolutely essential that people have trust and confidence when booking package holidays and know that if a cancellation is necessary as a result of coronavirus, businesses will give them a full, prompt refund.
“The CMA’s action ensures that TUI UK customers will get their refunds by the end of the month.
“If we find that businesses are not complying with consumer protection law, we will not hesitate to take further action.”
A spokesperson for Tui told The Sun: “We remain sorry that holiday refunds took longer to process during the height of Covid-19.
“We worked tirelessly to deliver system improvements in extremely challenging circumstances, making refund times shorter prior to the CMA engagement with the package travel sector.
“Where due, customer refunds will be made within 14 days, as they were prior to the pandemic.
“We would like to thank our customers for their understanding.”
The travel industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus crisis causing delays for customers claiming refunds for cancelled holidays and flights.
Consumers have struggled to reclaim money they are owed amid ever changing travel restrictions over the past six months.
In April, Which? also found that travel firms such as Tui, Ryanair and British Airways were breaking the law by not giving customers refunds within the set time-frame.
Meanwhile, furious On The Beach customers are taking the package holiday firm to the small claims court as it refuses to fully refund trips.
Travel company STA has also collapsed, leaving hundreds of people without jobs and travellers in limbo about their cash.
Yesterday, the boss of Virgin Atlantic promised refunds will be paid by the end of next month.