Agents have appealed for Abta to change its policy on how it refunds bookings with failed cruise line Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) and reimburse the commission agents have had to pay back to customers.
Abta provided consumer protection for CMV’s cruise holidays without flights, but the association is refunding some CMV customers on a net basis (minus agency commission) rather than the full gross value of the booking.
This has left agents having to repay their commission to customers to make up the shortfall in their CMV refunds.
Abta has said it will only refund the net value of bookings already cancelled due to Covid-19 before CMV’s parent company South Quay Travel & Leisure collapsed on 20 July last year. It is covering in full those bookings that were cancelled as a result of CMV’s failure.
An Abta spokesperson said the Package Travel Regulations and Abta’s financial protection programme have “never covered, nor been intended to cover, commission payments in addition to proving a refund to consumers”.
But agents told TTG they were “disappointed” by Abta’s decision. There were also concerns that by paying net refunds to customers, the amount of commission earned by agents had been revealed.
Jason Daniels, managing director at Cruise Circle, called for Abta to change its stance and pay the difference between the gross and net booking values, as well as apologise to agencies for “exposing their commissions/margins”.