By George Stephens • 22 April 2020 • 12:48
AS holidaymakers who were destined to Spain’s Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca for a week or two weeks in the sun, battle to recover deposits and refunds from both travel agents and airlines, it’s been highlighted that they are blatantly not just flouting, but breaking the law totally.
The law is very simple and straight when it comes to refunds.
If the supplier cannot supply what you ordered then you are entitled to a FULL refund, it’s very straightforward.
At present travel agents are not refunding deposits in many cases. The business tactic is to hold onto the cash and try and transfer the deposit to a holiday at a later date including the following year 2021. Consumers in many cases though have no plans for another holiday or a transfer if a country can be found for suitable dates, they ask for a refund, they get fobbed off with a credit note or just told they have to wait for a refund which on many occasions never turns up and the travel agents then deploy stalling tactics with many various reasons of why the refund hasn’t arrived yet.
Firstly the Euro Weekly News spoke to Gareth Childs from Cardiff who operates a company that actually prepares sales pitches for telesales and customer services globally and explained what he thinks how the script will play out:
“Of late I haven’t prepared scripts either to travel agents or airlines because whilst yes I write up pressure scripts for clients I still have ethics, anyway what’s happening here is basically illegal, the companies have the consumers’ money, whilst trade and further incoming funds are basically non-existent so they don’t want to be losing the cash as they will be using it for daily cash flow purposes and so forth as well as appeasing the banks, the last thing businesses need right now is pressure from the bank, if they pull the plug or reign you in, you have big problems.
“So how the direction from management will be, do everything possible to hold onto the cash, in the case of a travel agent, the first a representative will be trained to point one, go for the transfer of the holiday, tell the customer to make a choice, this year or next year, the script would go along the lines of something like this:
T . Good Morning Smith’s Travel Agents
C. Good morning, I have a holiday booked to Marbella for next week, obviously it’s not going to happen now is it, so can I have a refund please?
T. Hi, okay, I do understand your concerns it’s a crazy world right now, no doubt you will be looking for a holiday after all this hey? … once the operator gets a yes, firstly he/she will target next year to defer the cash holding even further, if they don’t get it pushed to 2021, then the next pitch will hit again avoiding anything to do with the word refund (which will be highlighted at the top of the script) on the lines of…
C. Yes but not really looking at next year … (HIT INTERRUPT)
T. Marbella’s going to be fine in September looking at all the data we are being supplied from the region who say everything is already being prepared for then, what dates would we have available for you, the first two weeks or the last two weeks, pick one and I can transfer it to those dates right now as the schedule is looking hectic for then at your choice of destination (name hotel/resort) as it seems everyone has the same mind set as you (FEAR OF LOSS TACTIC).
By this time, the operator 75 per cent of the time will have had a result,” said Gareth.
Gareth then went onto explain what’s known as the ‘drag out’ tactic, if the customer is stubborn and continues to request a refund:
“You pull out what’s known as the ‘firm/switch script’ which goes along the lines of changing your vocal tone “look Sir, refunds at the present time are taking ages to reclaim from hotels and airlines as the crisis is obviously on and many of the hotels holding the money are closed in other parts of the world, also it’s likely that they will hold the deposit money back and so it could possibly be a partial refund when it eventually comes through and back to us, by the time you get a partial refund you might as well have had the holiday, I can only be honest with you,” this then normally gets a rethink to the earlier options,” advised Gareth.
“The tactics can actually go harder than that if the customer still persists, and if they don’t accept any of it you tell them you will send it to accounts and warn them of a long delay, thereafter there’s yet another script for refund chasers that drags out the process even longer and again the operator goes through the process of getting a transfer or credit note issued.”
Lawyer Paul Mohammed founder of M&M Solicitors today advised of the law and that travel agents and airlines are simply breaking the law and you can take action he said.
“The law is very simple on consumer refunding on product supplied in which a holiday or flight is, the supplier can’t provide and so the consumer is entitled on a holiday a full refund within 14 days, simple as that, as with airlines, the law is shorter full refund seven days, no questions asked.
“If you have no joy, you have options to bring the law into action, firstly if you paid by credit card, go to your card company and quote section 75 of the consumer act and request your money back, the card company have 60 days to investigate your claim and refund your money. The process of 60 days sees them investigate your claim and ask the supplier to provide evidence of either the holiday or flight. If you have paid in cash or with a debit card with no charge back facility then simply go online to money claims online and make your application, you will not need a solicitor or even go to the court for hearing, your case will be clear as day as you have not been supplied what you purchased.
“Travel agents and airlines are simply breaking the law at present, why should you be lending them money? Because that’s exactly what’s happening now.”
Paul also went onto warn about credit notes and vouchers being offered instead of cash. “My legal advice would be don’t accept them and continue to request a refund, in the event of a travel company or airline becoming insolvent, they are worthless, in fact you are in a better position if the company in the event is owing you money because you can then fall back to ABTA when in regards holiday packages, but if you have accepted a credit note or voucher you will not be able to.”
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