Agents will be left sweating on Atol claims forms another week while passengers are facing the prospect of not having their forward Cook bookings refunded much before Christmas.
The CAA had been due to issue its claims form on Monday (30 September). However, the authority told TTG last week the process had been pushed back several days.
Come Monday, though, the CAA confirmed that due to delays receiving passenger data from Cook, and the “poor quality” of that data, the process would not begin until 7 October.
The CAA will launch a new, dedicated online system for claims on 7 October, where customers will be able to access an electronic refund form.
Abta is also working towards 7 October for Cook claims.
CAA chief executive Richard Moriarty said the authority “hoped to pay refunds within 60 days of receiving a valid refund form” meaning that even if prospective Cook passengers who had an Atol-protected forward booking when Cook collapsed last Monday (23 September) send off their form on 7 October, they may not receive their refund until early December.
Those who delay returning the form further face the prospect of not receiving their refunds until Christmas.
The CAA said the process would be its “biggest Atol refund programme ever” – three times larger, according to Moriarty, than the authority’s previous largest effort.
Cook had around 360,000 Atol-protected future bookings when it collapsed, Moriarty said.
“We are implementing new systems to enable us to process these refunds as quickly as possible,” he explained.
“For about 100,000 bookings made by direct debit, we hope to refund these within the next 14 days. Refunds of bookings made by other payment methods will take longer as we do not yet have all of the information we need from Thomas Cook.
“For these claims, we will launch a new, simplified online system next Monday [7 October] where consumers will be able to access an electronic refund form. We hope to pay refunds within 60 days of receiving a valid refund form. More information will be available on our website from 7 October.”
Abta, meanwhile, has updated its Thomas Cook microsite to reflect the delay.
“The CAA will be opening its claim process for future Atol bookings the week beginning 7 October 2019, further information is available at thomascook.caa.co.uk,” said Abta.
“Any customers with Atol bookings should not submit claims to Abta as these will not be processed and customers will be referred to the CAA to claim.”