Your refund rights if you want to cancel your holiday due to quarantine rules


SUMMER holidays look like they could be back on the cards as the government plans to form “travel corridors” with other nations.

But the UK has a 14-day quarantine rule in place for all travellers coming into the country from abroad.

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The rules, introduced on June 8, apply to tourists and UK residents regardless of whether they arrive by plane, train or boat.

Other nations, including France, Spain and Australia, have adopted similar measures for travellers from other countries.

It means Brit families could be forced to take five weeks of annual leave for a one-week holiday, with two weeks of quarantine in the foreign country, and then another two weeks when returning to the UK.

For many, this simply won’t be possible considering that’s almost all of a full-time worker’s statutory paid holiday entitlement, which is 5.6 weeks a year.

So what happens if the quarantine rules mean you have to cancel your trip? Are you entitled to get your money back?

We speak to the experts to find out your rights.

Unfortunately, if you cancel a trip you aren’t automatically entitled to get your money back.

“Your legal right to a refund for flights or a holiday only covers you if the trip is cancelled by the provider,” explains consumer expert Martyn James from complaints group Resolver.

“In theory, if your flight or holiday hasn’t been cancelled then your right to a refund comes down to the terms and conditions of your booking.”

Some organisations will offer a partial refund if you want to cancel your trip but you’ll likely also be charged a fee.

This covers admin costs and to compensate the travel firm for the risk of not being able to sell your holiday to someone else.

These vary depending on the company and how close you are to the start of your trip that you cancel.

For example, TUI charges a cancellation fee of 30 per cent if you change your mind between 69 and 63 days before you’re due to travel, or 100 per cent if you cancel within 14 days of your holiday starting.

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) guidelines say that travel companies have the right to charge you for a trip if you cancel the booking.

This includes if the reason you can’t go any more is because of the two-week quarantine rules, even if they weren’t in place when you made the booking.

“You can see if you can transfer your holiday to another person, as you have the right to do that,” trade body ABTA said.

“If you unfortunately can’t go, the holiday company will have the right to charge you the normal cancellation charges.”

You’ll find the cancellation fees charged by your holiday provider in the terms and conditions of your booking.

Airlines also have the right to charge you the appropriate cancellation fees that are outlined in your booking if you decide you can no longer make the trip.

These also vary depending on which company you booked with but the fees will be outlined in the terms and conditions.

“Let’s face it, for millions of us, it’s not feasible to go on holiday with all the risk, delays and queues and quarantine rules,” said Martyn.

“Travel insurance is probably your first stop if you can’t travel or medically your doctor doesn’t think it’s wise to travel.”

The number of travel insurance policies taken out in March ballooned by a shocking 277 per cent in the wake of the outbreak, according to comparison site

But since then, most major insurers have stopped the sale of new policies altogether or removed cover for trouble caused by Covid-19.

You will need to check with your travel insurance provider to see if it will cover you for cancellations caused by the 14 day quarantine rules.

But remember the government still has a ban on all non-essential travel, which includes holidays.

Travel insurers typically pay out for trips cancelled due to Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice not to travel – but many aren’t paying out until travel providers themselves cancel tripes.

If you simply want to cancel your trip you’re unlikely to be able to claim on your insurance unless you have a pre-existing medical condition that could make travelling risky given the coronavirus climate.

If you do claim on your travel insurance, also bear in mind you’ll likely have to pay a fee known as an “excess” on any claim.

You will only be able to claim a refund through your credit card if the holiday provider has cancelled your trip, not if you choose to terminate it.

Credit card payments of between £100 and £30,000 are covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

This means where you don’t get the service you paid for, eg. your trip is called off, your credit card provider is jointly liable and you can reclaim costs from it.

To start a claim, you need to contact your credit card provider directly.

For flights and hotels booked by debit card you may be able to claim a refund via the similar Chargeback scheme if your provider has cancelled your booking.

This also applies to credit card bookings of under £100.

As with Section 75, Chargeback can be used to reclaim cash for goods and services you didn’t receive.

But unlike Section 75, it’s not a legal requirement so there’s no guarantee you’ll get your money back.

To start a Chargeback claim, you need to contact your card provider within 120 days of the transaction.


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