4 May 2020

Can I get a refund if my holiday is cancelled?

As we continue to navigate the current challenging times, our legal rights as consumers have become particularly important. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has warned against all non-essential foreign travel for an indefinite period. Shops, bars, hotels and restaurants remain closed for the foreseeable future and their long-term sustainability remains uncertain.

The current advice against all but essential travel has resulted in mass cancellations of flights and holidays. Even though Britain has now left the EU, our rights remain in place as we go through the transition period which expires at the end of 2020 and given the present circumstances, it remains to be seen whether the current pandemic will result in an extension.

One of the most important rights we have maintained for the time-being, is in relation to foreign travel and holidays. Travel companies are cancelling flights and holidays up to certain dates with the situation constantly under review as no date has been set as to when the current restrictions are likely to be lifted.

Under EU law, where a flight or holiday is cancelled, consumers have the right to choose between a refund or an alternative flight/holiday. Although recently there have been a number of news reports about many well-known travel operators only offering vouchers – without the option of a refund. This is so they can seek to retain cash flow but it could result in legal action being taken against them.

If consumers feel inclined to support their travel company and wish to take a voucher, caution should be exercised. The future is uncertain and there are no guarantees as to when that voucher can be used. It’s also important to check whether the voucher is protected. If no protection is offered then it’s likely the money will be lost if the company goes bust.

Travel companies are facing huge staff redundancies and government bailouts due to Coronavirus. They have a lot to manage – including their reputations. It’s unlikely the public will quickly forget the way customers are treated in a time of crisis.

For more information on this matter contact Anissa Hallworth on 01328 850726 or email: anissa.hallworth@hayes-storr.com.

This article aims to supply general information, but it is not intended to constitute advice. Every effort is made to ensure that the law referred to is correct at the date of publication and to avoid any statement which may mislead. However no duty of care is assumed to any person and no liability is accepted for any omission or inaccuracy. Always seek our specific advice.