With lockdown restrictions being eased throughout the UK and talk of overseas holidays resuming, many will now be thinking about booking a summer holiday abroad. So what are you rights if you book a summer holiday abroad this year?
If you book a package holiday abroad and it is cancelled by your travel provider then you should receive a refund within 14 days under Article 14 of the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations 2018 (although this will often take longer in practice). Similarly, you should receive a full refund within 7 days for most cancelled flights to, and from, the UK/EU under Article 8 of the Flight Compensation Regulation 261/2004 (although this has again been taking longer in practice and flights to the UK/EU from outside the UK/EU must be on a UK/EU airline to qualify).
However, any money that you spend on other travel bookings (such as hotels and car hires) will likely prove more difficult to recover. Similarly, if your holiday is not cancelled but you are unable to leave the UK or enter your holiday destination due to lockdowns, you may also find it difficult to obtain a refund. Alternatively, if your holiday is proceeding but you no longer want to travel abroad or decide to return home earlier than planned (e.g. to avoid having to self isolate or to stay in a quarantine hotel), you are unlikely to get a refund unless you have a flexible booking and reschedule within a specified time period.
Unsurprisingly, most travel insurers are reluctant to pay out for anything COVID-19 related and the specific COVID Insurance Policies offered by most travel providers are full of terms and conditions restricting what is and is not covered. Any policies claiming to provide COVID cover require careful consideration.
One ray of hope is the ability to recover money from your bank or building society by asking for a chargeback on your debit card or from your credit provider by making a claim on your credit card under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. If your bank or building society rejects your chargeback claim then you have the option to appeal directly to Visa or Mastercard or to pursue arbitration. If your credit provider rejects your Section 75 claim then you can then appeal to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Finally, you could take your travel provider to court. If you need further advice on any potential holiday claims then please do not hesitate to call Kirsty Lang on 0131 563 7607 or Hamaad Khalid on 0131 563 7596.