Customers empty-handed as cruise company delays refunds by months
PUBLISHED: 14:32 22 April 2020 | UPDATED: 16:23 22 April 2020
A Norfolk holidaymaker has said she has been “left high and dry” by a cruise operator – which cancelled her trip worth thousands but has not returned the cash.
The customer, who wished to remain anonymous, paid for a ten-night trip around Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar nearly a year ago, but it has been cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Having paid more than £2,300 for the P&O cruise trip for two, she has now been told she could be waiting months for the money to be returned.
“My husband and I might do a cruise maybe once or twice a year, and we’ve done that for the past couple of years,” the customer said.
“But I will never book with P and O again – they ask for payment in full 12 weeks before the date of departure but they keep extending the period of how long it will take them to give us a refund.”
P&O is currently telling customers it will take them 60 days to return funds to customers.
“It’s one rule for them and another for us – they just want to hold onto our cash for as long as possible it seems,” she said. “They have left us high and dry, part of me thinks they’re just doing it and waiting to go bust.
“I’ve been furloughed and thankfully we’ll survive that – but some people will be in much worse situations than us and will need that cash back in the bank.”
P&O has directed customers wanting a refund to fill out an online form, or they have been offered a credit note worth 125% of their holiday.
A spokeswoman for P&O said: “Due to the extraordinary circumstances associated with Covid-19 and the associated impact to our customer contact centre team and wider business, refunds may take up to 60 days to be processed. We are obviously working through these as quickly as possible.”
An investigation published by Which? today suggested that delaying refunds by this long is in breach of the law. Which? stated: “Under EU law, travel companies must refund customers within 14 days if their package holiday is cancelled.” When asked about this, the P&O spokesman stated: “These are unprecedented times and whilst we are processing these as fast as we are able, refunds may take up to 60 days to be processed. We are obviously working through these as quickly as possible though.”
“The communication has just been terrible,” said the customer. “The first time I called I was on hold for three and a half hours – they never answer emails. I can see them extending the time again instead of actually paying the invoice.”
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