Britain’s biggest travel firm has decided to make the process of obtaining a refund more difficult for the hundreds of thousands of customers whose trips have been cancelled.
Tui customers are now asked to provide the company with an interest-free loan for over a year.
Under the Package Travel Regulations, Tui is required to provide a full cash refund within two weeks of cancelling a departure.
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Like almost all holiday firms, it is unable to meet the 14-day deadline, and many customers have expressed anger on social media about the delays.
A spokesperson for Tui said: “Every customer who has requested a cash refund will receive them shortly. We apologise for the delay but we are getting through them.”
But now the company has decided to make the procedure for obtaining a refund more complex – apparently hoping that by doing so, customers will lend it money for a further 12 months from the date of departure.
The travel giant has cancelled all holidays before 15 May 2020, and the disappointed travellers are told: “If your holiday can no longer go ahead as planned, you’ll receive a refund credit for the full value of your holiday”.
Anyone who has paid extra for a seat upgrade, however, is told that Tui is keeping the money.
The refund note is redeemable for cash one year after the intended departure date – which is likely to be months after the payment was made. Typically Tui will have customers’ money for 15 months.
Holidaymakers are still able ask for a refund – but only once they have been given a refund credit note, which they will not get until four weeks after their departure date.
A spokesperson for Tui said: “They have to wait for a refund credit to be issued to make sure that is removed from their booking, before we offer a cash refund to make sure they don’t receive both.
“We’ve worked for weeks on best solution for our customers – and will work through bookings as quickly as we can.”
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