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Holiday booking refund credit note protection extended

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Written by: Emma Lunn
28/04/2021
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has extended the protection available to holidaymakers who are issued with refund credit notes if their booking has been cancelled due to coronavirus.

Holidaymakers now have until 30 September 2022 to redeem refund credit notes issued during the pandemic.

ATOL is a protection scheme afforded to holidaymakers booking package holidays (and some flights) which guards their money and provides help if a business fails.

The scheme is run by the CAA and in July 2020, the regulator announced that holidaymakers who accept refund credit notes (instead of a cash refund) for bookings cancelled due to the coronavirus would be covered by ATOL.

Originally, this protection applied to refund credit notes issued between 10 March 2020 and 30 September 2020. But the CAA then announced that the travel industry could issue ATOL protected refund credit notes until 31 December 2020 – with the notes needing to be redeemed for a new booking or refund by 30 September 2021.

This date has now been extended until 30 September 2022, a 12-month extension to the scheme.

The validity period for issuing RCNs has also been extended and will now continue until further notice. The ATT will provide at least one month’s notice in advance of ending the scheme.

The CAA says these extensions mean that consumers whose package holiday bookings are cancelled will be able to safely accept a refund credit note where it is suitable for them.

Consumers are entitled to a cash refund for a cancelled package holiday should they not wish to accept a refund credit note.

The same conditions as previously advised to travel companies will apply to refund credit notes:

* They must be issued for a cancelled ATOL protected booking

* The booking must have been cancelled by the tour operator due to the coronavirus pandemic

* The refund credit note must be able to be exchanged for cash at a later date

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