Advice for Highlanders over summer holiday refunds
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Scots have been advised to pursue refunds if foreign holidays are cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic this summer.
Advice Direct Scotland, which runs Scotland’s national consumer advice service, said consumer rights remain in place and legislation must be adhered to by travel providers.
This week, the Competition and Markets Authority said it had reminded package holiday firms of their legal obligations.
Last year, there were 23,000 complaints to the competition watchdog over cancelled holidays, and it was the most common issue raised with consumeradvice.scot advisers at the height of the pandemic.
The CMA has taken action against five firms, which it has reported have now refunded a total of £200m.
For package holidays, cancelled trips must be refunded within 14 days and customers must be offered a refund, not just a credit note.
However, holidaymakers will not automatically be able to seek refunds or claim on their travel insurance policies if they choose to cancel themselves.
Advice Direct Scotland has therefore advised Scots to always check the cancellation policy and read the small print when booking, put purchases over £100 on a credit card, and consider extensive travel insurance for UK staycations as well as foreign trips.
Colin Mathieson, spokesperson for Advice Direct Scotland, said: “The warning from the CMA is a very welcome reminder to holiday companies of their legal obligations.
“As Scots start to consider booking foreign trips again, it’s important that people know their rights should their holiday be cancelled.
“However, holidaymakers will not automatically be able to seek refunds or claim on their travel insurance policies if they choose to cancel themselves, so it’s also important to take sensible precautions.
“Top advice includes checking refund and cancellation policies before booking.
"Paying for bookings over £100 using a credit card means additional protections for consumers, and means recourse can be sought using the Consumer Credit Act in the unfortunate situation where a travel provider enters administration or does not respond to refund requests for cancelled travel.
“It is also always a good idea to check travel insurance policies, particularly those taken out more recently, as newer policies will probably not cover you for cancellations as a result of Covid.”
Free and impartial advice is available to anyone in Scotland if something goes wrong by contact consumeradvice.scot.