I hope yourselves and your families are safe and well.
Club Med are now acknowledging that they must follow ABTA guidelines and issue financially protected Refund Credit Notes. We are seeking further details but this does not remove your right to a refund although it may take several months for those refunds to be processed. We are working on your behalf, campaigning and lobbying for your right to a refund if you are not in a position to rebook. We are unable to refund you until we receive the money back from the operator and that is being held up by airlines and end suppliers withholding monies but we are doing all we can to support you.
There have been no further updates from the Government in terms of stimulus packages for the aviation and travel industry. ABTA guidance has not been updated since 09 April – https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak
The has been a huge response to the ‘Save Future Travel’ campaign. As well as people from within the industry getting involved, an incredible 4,000 “supporters” – people who support the industry, but aren’t employed by it – emailed their local MP yesterday, demonstrating the breadth and depth of concern, and frustration at the lack of government action to date. Governments have already acted in many other countries: France, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Germany, The Netherlands and Denmark, have already proposed temporary changes to existing regulations that are not fit for purpose in this current climate, but the UK industry is still waiting for a response from our own government.
The campaign website www.savefuturetravel.co.uk currently includes over 20 companies supporting the campaign with logos displayed, including agents, operators and cruise lines.
Refund Credit Vouchers
The guidance provides standardised rules on issuing Refund Credit Notes (RCNs) since if “not done right, travellers lose protections”.
Abta believes RCNs, correctly issued, will “help operators and agents remain viable while honouring their obligation to refund customers”.
It notes many businesses “do not have the cash to immediately provide refunds” as required by the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs).
RCNs “allow the customer to amend their holiday for a later date . . . under the same package travel contract as the original booking and therefore retain the protections of the PTRs”.
They are not the same as holiday vouchers, Abta warns, which “are not generally protected by Abta or under the Atol scheme”.
The association confirms it will protect RCNs for bookings originally protected under the Abta scheme but affected by Covid-19, saying: “This protection will last for the period of the financial-protection arrangements in place for individual members, driven by the expiry period of the bonds [they provide].”
The Abta guidance also confirms: “Refunds for Atol-protected bookings are covered.”
We, like you are desperately waiting more clarity and certainty and hope it will come in the next few days. In the meantime, in most circumstances, it appears that the operators will provide a refund credit note as detailed above which can be used towards a new holiday or for a refund in the future. If this is not an option you wish to consider, then please do speak to your travel insurers who may provide cover.