Tui to clear refund backlog by end of the month
The package holiday firm has been investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) after the regulator received thousands of complaints from customers who didn’t receive refunds after holidays were cancelled.
Under consumer protection law, refunds should be made within 14 days, though the regulator previously noted that airlines and package holiday operators facing refund backlogs should aim to clear them within a reasonable timeframe.
The CMA said the majority of people have already received their refunds or rebooked, but any outstanding requests will be paid by 30 September.
If customers accepted a ‘refund credit note’, the CMA confirmed they are entitled to a cash refund. Tui told the CMA it will contact customers with unused credit notes to let them know they can convert the amount to cash which will be paid within 14 days.
The refund commitments apply to all of Tui UK’s businesses, including First Choice, First Choice Holidays, Marella Cruises, Crystal Ski, Crystal, Tui Scene, Tui Lakes & Mountains and Skytours.
Further, Tui will also need to report regularly to the CMA over the coming year detailing the time it has taken to refund customers.
Andrea Coscelli, the 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.
“The CMA is continuing to investigate package holiday firms in the context of the Covid-19 crisis. If we find that businesses are not complying with consumer protection law, we will not hesitate to take further action.”
The CMA wrote to more than 100 package holiday firms reminding them of their obligations to comply with consumer protection law and has opened investigations into a number of operators.
The Civil Aviation Authority, the aviation watchdog, has also previously named and shamed airlines over their refund processes.