The refund crisis in travel must not become too deeply framed as an entrenched battle between businesses and consumers, Britain’s new tourism minister has warned.
Speaking during a UKinbound webinar on Tuesday (28 April), Nigel Huddleston said he recognised refunds were a "hot topic" right now, with MPs "inundated" with correspondence from both sides of the debate.
Under the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs), consumers have a right to a full refund within 14 days for package travel bookings affected by the coronavirus crisis.
However, Abta has argued the regulations aren’t designed to cope with a complete cessation of travel that has left many businesses unable to pay refunds with money owed from airlines and suppliers still in the pipeline.
Abta is advising businesses to offer refund credit notes in lieu of an immediate refund, which can be cashed at a later date, to ensure otherwise good travel companies do not go to the wall.
This, though, has angered consumers, many of whom now face the prospect of waiting several months – if not longer – to get their money back, while their plight championed in the national press by consumer champions such as Which?.