The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
This week the issues tackled include claiming a refund for a cancelled trip to the Maldives and the forms that need to be filled in before entering Croatia.
Q. My husband and I tried to get a refund from Destination2 for a cancelled trip to the Maldives for which we paid £5,441.95. We’ve been offered a credit refund note and told we cannot apply for cash until the end of November. Is this right?
Jane and Guy Hastie, via email.
All at sea: Trips to exotic destinations, such as the Maldives, above, have been cancelled
A. The Government says it will protect refund credit notes issued between March 10 and September 30 for packages booked from travel companies covered by the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (ATOL). Should a company go bust before then, your cash is protected.
Regarding refunds, the Competition and Marketing Authority says credit notes can be ‘exchanged for cash before September 30, 2021’. This should be possible at any time.
Anyone offered a refund credit note should beware: they are only valid if the original booking details, reference number and the expiry date of the travel company’s ATOL are listed.
They should also explicitly say that they are exchangeable for cash at any time up to the end of September next year. Otherwise, you may just have a voucher, with rules set by the travel company.
Q. In June, I booked a trip for a party of six to go to New York next April with Travelbag. The deposit has been paid, with the balance due in January. Where do I stand in terms of getting a refund if I pay the balance but the U.S. is still not accepting visitors?
Jules, via email.
One reader asks if she will get a refund on flights to New York in January if travel restrictions are still in place then
A. This is a grey area — and a gamble. If your flights were to go ahead, as many are for some diplomats and U.S. residents, then there is a possibility you would lose all. If the flights you have booked are cancelled, you would be due a refund.
Let’s hope travel restrictions to the U.S. are lifted by next April.
Q. I have organised a group booking for 20 for a week in Wales in October. I paid the deposit in January and the final balance is due next month. If there is a lockdown that affects us, will we get a refund?
Jan Tunstall, Repton, Derby.
A. Yes, in theory. The Competition and Markets Authority, which enforces consumer protection legislation, says that for ‘most consumer contracts’ full refunds should be offered when ‘Government public health measures mean [consumers] are not allowed to use services’.
For details, see ‘CMA statement on consumer protection’ and to report misconduct go to ‘Report a business behaving badly during the coronavirus outbreak’ — both are at gov.uk.
Finally, for peace of mind, ask your accommodation provider for reassurance that a refund would be available in such an instance. Get this in writing.
Q. We have booked a villa for a week in Croatia travelling from Heathrow on August 29. Please can you advise what must be done on arrival?
Mrs S Merrison, via email.
Before entering Croatia, travellers must complete an entry form. Pictured is the country’s crown jewel – Dubrovnik
A. Before going, complete an entry form at entercroatia.mup.hr. Print this out and also a copy of your accommodation booking — just in case an official asks for them (although this is not compulsory). See the ‘entry requirements’ page for Croatia at gov.uk.
Q. Three girlfriends and I were due to go to Lanzarote in May, but we have found it difficult to get through to Tui by phone to get our ‘credit voucher number’. We paid £3,660.76. Can you help?
Sue Billingham, via email.
A. Follow the instructions at tui.co.uk/destinations/info/coronavirus. The lead booking passenger — whom I understand is not you — ought to have been sent the ‘credit booking voucher’ to input online already.
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