A consumer watchdog has recently announced that Lastminute.com has promised to refund £7 million for cancelled holidays to over 9,000 customers.
According to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Lastminute.com promised to clear the refunds by January 31. Half of these customers will be paid by December 16 as per the agreement. As of Thursday, customers will be refunded within 14 days.
Since coronavirus pandemic started, customers have complained about the failure of Lastminute.com to issue refunds for the cancelled holidays. Due to these complaints, the watchdog has embarked on investigating various holiday organizations to validate these claims.
Andrea Coscelli affirmed that online travel agents have an obligation to issue refunds immediately after the cancellations due to coronavirus, regardless of whether the accommodation providers and airlines have paid them. Therefore, he ordered that the customers whose holidays were cancelled to receive the refunds without any delays.
Coscelli said that the CMA was investigating the numerous claims by people who failed to get their money after their bookings did not go through. He issued a stern warning and said that action will be taken against companies that breach the consumer protection law.
CMA has continued to protect customers’ rights by ensuring that online travel agents follow the laid down guidelines. In October, the authority ensured that Virgin Holiday committed to refund its customers.
The watchdog has also been at the forefront of highlighting this malpractice and directing these agents to refund commitments. Companies such as Tui, Vacation Rental, and Skyes Cottages are among the over a 100-holiday firms that have been reminded of their obligations by the overseer.
According to the law, customers are eligible for a refund within 14 days from the date a holiday is cancelled. The civil aviation authority should also ensure that airlines do not hold any money for holiday operators to eliminate any delays in refunds.