For members whose holiday has been cancelled
Customers whose holidays have been cancelled due to the current travel restrictions are entitled to a full refund from their travel provider. We are aware that many providers are in the first instance offering either to rearrange travel or to provide travel vouchers but if this is not an acceptable option then customers should insist on being fully refunded. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) are investigating this issue and have stated that they will take appropriate enforcement action against any company failing to comply with the law.
There is access to an online form via the below link for consumers to report any such cases to assist the CMA with their investigation.
There is also an article on the BBC regarding the CMA investigation.
For members who need to cancel their holiday due to lockdown restrictions
Where the holiday itself has not been cancelled by the travel provider but the customer is still unable to go due to lockdown measures, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has advised that for most consumer contracts, they would expect a full refund to be issued by the travel provider where “a consumer cancels or is prevented from receiving the service, due to the restrictions that apply during the current lockdown”. Members should therefore still approach their travel providers to seek a refund even if the holiday is still going ahead. If this is refused then they should consider reporting the travel provider to the CMA using the online form via the below link.
Consumer Credit Act
For any member who has been denied a refund or only received a partial refund from their travel provider and who purchased any part of their trip using a credit card then their transaction was deemed to have been “financed” by the card issuer. In these circumstances they should contact the credit card provider to instigate a claim under the Consumer Credit Act; Section 75.
Policy cover for trips booked before 14/03/2020
For trips booked prior to the World Health Organisation declaring the COVID-19 outbreak as a Pandemic, the policy will provide cover under Cancellation for any remaining irrecoverable costs for members who have been advised not to travel by their GP or where they have received a letter from the NHS advising them to self-isolate. They will be asked to demonstrate that they have explored all other avenues to pursue a refund i.e. via the Travel Provider and Credit card company.
The policy also provides cover under the Medical section should a member contract Coronavirus whilst travelling and under Catastrophe section for travellers already abroad who are having to return home early due to Government advice.
For anyone currently abroad who is unable to return to the UK, the policy will automatically extend for up to 60 days. This is on the understanding that the member is following Government advice which is that all UK Citizens should attempt to return to the UK as soon as possible. There is help available on the Foreign & Commonwealth website.
NB: If a trip was originally booked before 14th March 2020 but has since been rearranged after this date, this would still be considered to have been booked prior to 14th March as long as the travel provider is retaining the money and simply changing dates and/or destination. It would only be if the holiday was fully cancelled and refunded and they then book a new holiday altogether that this would constitute a new booking.
Policy cover for trips booked after 14/03/2020
The policy does not provide cover for claims relating to incidents known to members at the time of booking a trip. Any claims relating to the COVID-19 Pandemic will therefore not be covered for any trips booked after 14/03/2020.