Reports of a £4 billion bailout for the industry have only added to client demands for refunds, Abta’s legal boss has warned.
Speaking during TTG’s Keep Your Business Alive II seminar, Simon Bunce, Abta’s legal affairs director, criticised the “unhelpful” leak in the press suggesting the industry could receive a £4 billion government bailout.
Bunce said Abta “had gone back very strongly on that” and added the association was negotiating with government over the issue of refunds, which he described as “one of the most frustrating episodes of my career”.
“Everybody is kind of agreeing that the 14-day period in the Package Travel Regulations is not working at the moment,” he said, but added: “for all sorts of practical reasons, there is still not any movement from the government or support from the government to recognise that fact”.
“Those companies that are refusing to refund are doing some real damage to the rest of the industry.”
He said there was a broad range between 14 days and six months in which refunds were being paid “and it’s very difficult for us to pinpoint the right answer”.
Bunce urged: “Tell your customer when it will be; give them an indication of when they are likely to get their money.”
Joanna Kolatsis director, Themis Advisory warned: “If we don’t deal with it properly, those few bad apples are going to spoil the cart for everybody.
“Businesses that are being proactive are having great success in rebooking customers because they are giving customers reassurance.”
She admitted though the industry was “grappling” with clients who refused refund credit notes.