The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating TUI UK after receiving thousands of complaints from people that they were not receiving refunds for their cancelled holidays within 14 days. Consumer protection law requires refunds within 14 days.
TUI UK has engaged constructively with the CMA throughout the investigation and while the vast majority of people have already received their refunds or rebooked during the CMA’s investigation, any outstanding refund requests for people who had their package holiday cancelled as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) will be paid by 30 September 2020.
Some customers may have accepted Refund Credit Notes. It is important they know they are entitled to a cash refund as an alternative. TUI UK has now agreed to contact customers who have an unused credit note, to let them know they can convert it to a refund, which will be paid within 14 days.
The CMA wants to ensure that TUI UK meets its obligation to pay refunds on time in the future. Therefore, TUI UK will report regularly to the CMA over the coming year on the time it has taken to refund customers
These commitments apply to all of TUI UK’s different businesses that offer package holidays, including First Choice, First Choice Holidays, Marella Cruises, Crystal Ski, Crystal, TUI Scene, TUI Lakes & Mountains and Skytours.
Today’s announcement follows significant action by the CMA on cancellations in the holiday sector. It has written to over 100 package holiday businesses to remind them of their obligations to comply with consumer protection law and has opened investigations into a number of operators.
The CMA understands that the pandemic has created extraordinary pressure for travel companies, including TUI UK. However, customers who had their holidays cancelled due to coronavirus must be treated fairly and receive their refunds promptly. It is essential that that all businesses comply with consumer protection law so that people are not being left out of pocket. The CMA published guidance for businesses earlier this year to help them understand their legal obligations.
Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s Chief Executive, said:
It’s absolutely essential that people have trust and confidence when booking package holidays and know that if a cancellation is necessary as a result of coronavirus, businesses will give them a full, prompt refund. The CMA’s action ensures that TUI UK customers will get their refunds by the end of the month.
The CMA is continuing to investigate package holiday firms in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. If we find that businesses are not complying with consumer protection law, we will not hesitate to take further action.
Further information can be found on the case page.