Travellers love the CMA
Following action by the Competition and Markets Authority, LoveHolidays has committed to pay out over £18 million to customers waiting for money back after their holidays were cancelled due to coronavirus.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating LoveHolidays after receiving hundreds of complaints that people were still awaiting refunds.
When customers contacted LoveHolidays to request a refund for a cancelled holiday, they were told they would only receive money back for their flights once the firm had received refunds from the respective airlines.
Under the Package Travel Regulations, online travel agents are legally bound to refund customers for package holidays cancelled due to coronavirus, regardless of whether or not the agent has received money back from suppliers, for example airlines.
Following CMA intervention, LoveHolidays has now signed formal commitments – known as undertakings – that ensure these customers receive all their money back.
In total, over £18 million will be refunded to 44,000 LoveHolidays customers. Of this, so far £7m has been refunded to 20,000 customers.
Having carefully reviewed LoveHolidays’ financial information, and how quickly it can realistically repay customers, the CMA has accepted LoveHolidays’ commitment to repay these customers in full by March 2021 at the latest. Insisting on earlier repayment would result in LoveHolidays dipping below its regulatory obligations.
In order for customers to receive their money back as quickly as possible, refunds will be made in two parts, for example:
Refunds for the cost of hotel accommodation and transfers:
• by 31 December 2020: customers will receive refunds for holidays cancelled before 1 November 2020
• cancellations from 1 January 2021: customers will receive refunds within 14 days of the holiday being cancelled
Refunds for the cost of flights:
• by 28 February 2021: customers will receive refunds for holidays cancelled before 24 August 2020
• by 31 March 2021: customers will receive refunds for holidays cancelled between 24 August and 31 October 2020
To ensure that LoveHolidays adheres to its commitments, the company must provide the CMA with regular reports on the progress of its repayments.
If the firm fails to repay customers by these dates, the CMA is prepared to take the company to court.
In order to help businesses to understand their legal obligations with regard to consumer protection law, the CMA published a statement on its view of how the law relates to cancellations and refunds due to coronavirus.
[Source: CMA. 15 December 2020]
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