Some airlines and tour companies are refusing to issue refunds despite their legal obligations to do so, according to the consumer group Which?, with holidaymakers left thousands of pounds out of pocket.
Which? warned that there had been a breakdown in the system of travel protections, with holidaymakers wrongly told that they have to accept a voucher or rebooking at a later date, rather than claiming a refund.
Which? said it had been inundated by members of the public whose refund requests had been rejected.
One issue is that some airlines have not cancelled flights to destinations such as Italy and Spain to which the Foreign Office is recommending against travel. Currently, there is a blanket advice note on the Foreign Office site advising British nationals against all but essential international travel.
Instead, some airlines are offering switches to flights in the future, at a higher cost – in some cases an extra £100 per person.
Martin Lewis’s site, Moneysavingexpert.com, added: “We’ve seen that many airlines appear to be offering customers credit vouchers instead of refunds. You don’t have to accept this, and if the airline were to go bust, you may not get your money back.”
All flights on EU carriers within or into the EU, and all flights leaving from an EU airport, are protected by the EU’s Denied Boarding Regulation, which requires refunds or rerouting when flights are cancelled, said Which?.
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