Abta has set up two new helplines, one advising members on how best to dispute a chargeback, and the other offering advice on how to guard against data breaches and other cybersecurity risks.
Each of the new helplines provides 30 minutes’ free advice, and complement the association’s existing support on matters such as employment law, crisis support, training, recruitment and VAT.
The association’s new chargeback support line follows an increase in the number of holidaymakers seeking recompense for cancelled holidays from their bank or card provider, owing to delays in pipeline monies filtering back down to agents and operators.
"Many refunds have been severely delayed, mainly due to suppliers not issuing refunds swiftly," said Abta. "Some customers have now turned to their card provider and asked them to raise a chargeback.
"In some cases, Abta members have been receiving chargebacks from their merchant provider, even when a customer has already received a refund.
"The chargeback helpline will help clarify contracts or misrepresentation under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, [and] advise when a chargeback can be challenged, as well as the correct processes for doing this successfully."
Its cybersecurity line, meanwhile, has been set up in recognition of the growing threat posed to the kind of sensitive customer information held by travel firms by cyber criminals, with Abta warning attacks can have serious legal, financial and reputational consequences.
"The cybersecurity helpline will advise on current threats in the industry, technology available to mitigate attacks, correct processes to prevent attacks or breaches, how to assess company data, as well as a plan for investigating attacks and establishing a response plan to maintain your business," said Abta.
Advice offered via the two new helplines comes via official Abta partners.
Alice Catterall, Abta’s director of partnerships and events, said: "The Abta partner helplines provide an invaluable resource for our members with 30 minutes of free, expert advice on a wide range of issues.
"The two latest additions on how to dispute a chargeback and cybersecurity have been chosen as both areas can have very serious implications for our members’ businesses, and I would strongly recommend all our members take the time to access the helplines to put processes in place to safeguard their businesses."