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Days left to spend holiday refund credit notes as protection runs out 30 Sept

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Around £30m remains unspent on refund credit notes with holidaymakers urged to spend them or request a refund to avoid putting their money at risk.

Holidaymakers who opted for refund credit notes instead of cash when bookings were cancelled amid the Coronavirus pandemic are urged to act now to avoid losing valuable protection.

The ATOL protection runs out on Friday 30 September. Here’s what you need to know.

Refund credit notes

In July 2020, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced that passengers who accept refund credit notes for cancelled ATOL protected trips would be financially sheltered if the firm were to go bust.

This protection applies to flight inclusive packages where notes were issued between 10 March 2020 and 19 December 2021.

But this protection is coming to an end in just 10 days’ time. It means that if a travel company stops trading after 30 September 2022, holidaymakers with outstanding refund credit notes won’t be covered by the scheme. As such, they risk losing out on money already paid.

The CAA also warned that as redemption expiry dates will vary depending on individual travel companies, even if a refund credit note is still valid after 30 September, “if a consumer redeems the value of their credit note on or after 1 October for a new trip and the company stops trading after this date, none of the value of the refund credit note used to pay for the trip will be refunded by the ATOL scheme”.

It is therefore urging holidaymakers to redeem the credit notes before the end of September or ask for a refund.

The CAA added it has also written to some of the UK’s biggest travel companies to “remind them of their obligations to customers still holding unspent refund credit notes”.

‘Last chance for ATOL protection for refund credit notes’

Michael Budge, head of ATOL at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said: “The deadline for the end of ATOL protection of refund credit notes is 30 September, so we are again urging people to either use their refund credit note to book another ATOL protected trip or ask their travel company for a refund.

“This will affect customers of some of our biggest travel firms, so our message is simple – this is the last chance to make sure you continue to be financially protected by the ATOL scheme.

“Even if your refund credit note is valid after the end of September, it won’t enjoy ATOL protection. It is better to be safe than sorry, and we are urging people still holding one of these refund credit notes to take action now.”

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