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What to do if you’ve been told to rebook instead of refunding a holiday

Brigitta Naunton, a director of corporate, commericial and banking team, on your rights to getting a refund if your staycation is cancelled. Picture: Howes Percival/Getty

Brigitta Naunton, a director of corporate, commericial and banking team, on your rights to getting a refund if your staycation is cancelled. Picture: Howes Percival/Getty

Howes Percival/Getty

Many holidaymakers are being told they won’t be refunded for a holiday cancelled due to coronavirus - they can only rebook.

Eleanor Pringle spoke to Brigitta Naunton of Howes Percival about the legalities of this.

• Can you insist on a refund?

The first place to look at is the terms and conditions that you accepted when you booked for the holiday or paid the holiday, whichever is later.

These terms and conditions will apply to your booking and are a legally binding contract between you and the travel company.

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They will set out the cancellation policy.

If you cancel the holiday yourself, normally you will forfeit the deposit and a proportion of the holiday price.

You will not be entitled to a full refund, unless you have insurance to cover it, depending on the terms of the policy.

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• What if the travel company cancels the holiday?

If the travel company has cancelled your package holiday, you are entitled to a refund or another booking at a later date.

• When will I get my refund?

Refunds would normally be paid in 2 weeks. However, travel companies are inundated with customers whose holidays have been cancelled.

Many of them do not have available funds to immediately refund all of their customers during the crisis and so refunds are taking longer than two weeks to process.

ABTA is working on some financially-protected Refund Credit Notes as an alternative.

These notes give you the right to rebook the holiday in the future or to receive a cash refund on the date the note expires.

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If the travel company goes out of business your note is protected by ABTA or ATOL (depending on the original booking).

Please note holiday vouchers are not the same as Refund Credit Notes and do not offer the same protection.

ABTA recommends that if you have genuine financial difficulties, for example, because of redundancy, and your insurance does not cover that risk, you should talk to your travel company about how you can apply for exceptional assistance which may help you to get your money back sooner.


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