Many Britons have reported difficulties in acquiring refunds for flights thwarted by the worldwide coronavirus pandemic lockdowns. Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis revealed the “systemic issue” causing this outcome when he spoke to BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine. Mr Lewis emphasised that all holiday planners have a “legal right” to a full refund.
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He told listeners: “Under the EU regulation 261/2004, if your flight is cancelled, you get a choice between a full refund or the nearest available flight.
“Clearly currently there’s no such thing as the nearest available flight so legally you are entitled to all EU regulated flights for a full refund.
“Now what’s happening right across the flight industry, not British Airways, obviously airlines are in hideous trouble and what they’re trying to do is use a form of behavioural economics to push people to take vouchers.
“So you go to most websites and vouchers are the obvious piece that they are offering.”
Mr Lewis continued: “Now I would say at this point that if you can afford to take the voucher and it isn’t a financial issue for you then you may want to offer the airline some forbearance and take a voucher.
“Depending on the status of the voucher depends on how well it would be protected it is if the airline went bust.
“But you do have a legal right to a refund.
“What most of them are making you do to get a refund is to call them up.”
The financial expert added: “The problem is clearly lots of people are doing this and their phone lines are clogged.
“So effectively while they are offering cash refunds, there is a bureaucratic blocker in place.
“The Civil Aviation Authority should be looking at this. I’ve heard the Government is actually considering making it legal that holiday firms can only offer vouchers.”
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Mr Lewis also told Radio 2: “You then have the farce with RyanAir which has taken it a step further.
“They made people jump through the hoops like other airlines to get cash.
“Then once they jumped through the hoops to get cash and it was agreed that they’d get cash, then still sent them vouchers anyway.
“For that, yesterday I put in a formal complaint to trading standards and the Civil Aviation Authority.
“It is a systemic issue across the board.”
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