Virgin Holidays customers to receive £203m in refunds by end of today
Virgin Holidays said it will finally clear its backlog of refunds today, returning more than £200m to tens of thousands of customers since the influx of requests from March.
Since 1 March 2020, Virgin Holidays received 53,000 refund requests valued at £203m following coronavirus pandemic cancellations.
But hundreds of customers complained to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that they weren’t receiving refunds for holidays cancelled due to the health crisis.
The CMA launched an investigation and found many had to wait for an “unreasonably long time” for their money back, with some having to wait 120 days.
But the CMA said it has received formal commitments from Virgin Holidays to clear all outstanding refund requests.
While originally Virgin Holidays undertook to refund holidays cancelled before 1 September by 30 October, and for holidays after 1 October to 31 October to be repaid by 20 November, Virgin said it will clear the last outstanding requests by the end of today.
‘We thank them sincerely for their patience throughout’
A Virgin Holidays spokesperson, said: “Since March, the impact of Covid-19 and subsequent global travel restrictions has led to a huge volume of holiday cancellations. The unprecedented volume of refund requests we have received, combined with constraints on our teams and systems during the pandemic, created significant challenges in the processing of refunds.
“Throughout the crisis we have sought to make improvements wherever possible, including increased processing capability and expanded refund teams. We have gradually reduced refund timeframes and are now 98% through the refund queue, with a remaining 1,300 bookings to be processed on Friday 23 October, in line with our plan to do this by the end of October.
“Our focus now is on rebuilding trust with our customers, recognising that it has regrettably taken much longer than normal to process their refunds. We thank them sincerely for their patience throughout.”
Andrea Coscelli, chief executive at the CMA, said: “People whose holidays have been cancelled due to coronavirus deserve a prompt and full refund.
“Our action means that Virgin Holidays customers should receive all their money back without further delay.
“We are continuing to investigate package holidays in relation to the coronavirus crisis. Should we find that any business is not complying with consumer protection law, we won’t hesitate to take action.”