The impact of coronavirus has left a lot of holidaymakers wondering whether they should apply for refunds or cancel their plans. The travel and service industries have been hit hard by the virus as they are forced to suspend their schedules and let go of staff. But as lockdown measures continue, and more people are left out of work, many will no doubt be seeking refunds.
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Today, presenter Nicky Campbell took questions on BBC 5 Live Breakfast with financial expert Martin Lewis.
A man called Dave called in and asked Mr Lewis about how he can get refunds on his hotel bookings.
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He asked: “We’ve got three short breaks booked later in the year with a chain of budget hotels.
“I just wondered – I prepaid them all – can I claim back or is there anyway I can do that if I don’t go?”
Mr Campbell pointed out that a lot of companies would be financially in their right to give refunds or not give refunds.
He added: “But I’m sure there are many companies who are understanding the exigencies of the situation and doing the right thing.”
Founder of MoneySavingExpert.com Mr Lewis said: “Yes, and equally we have to understand the exigencies of the situation for firms.
“And as someone who has always backed consumers, I understand that at the moment we have to show forbearance too.
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“Look, we don’t know you can’t go yet. When you say later in the year, how much later in the year are you talking?”
Dave replied: “The first break is in May. The second one is in June and the third is in July and that’s for the open golf as well so that may be off, I don’t know.”
Mr Lewis replied: “Interestingly, unless you’ve booked an open golf package, if the open golf is off but the hotel is available then the open golf being off doesn’t mean you can cancel your hotel.
“Assuming it is cancelled, you are entitled to a full refund if you cannot go because the holiday is cancelled.
“And the same is true of flights. But enforcing that is becoming the problem at the moment.
“Loads of people are talking to me about flights especially as well as hotels.
“With flights there is actually a specific law – EU regulation 264/2004 – with general cancellations you must expect your money back.
“Now, enforcement is the real difficulty. With flights by the way everyone, the easiest solution on that is their websites which are offering you vouchers.
“If you can take a voucher why not, it will help the travel industry but if you can’t then you’re going to need to call them up which I know is difficult and I know there are long delays.
“They should give you the cash refund. With a hotel they should give you a cash refund too.
“Whether they will or not is difficult, the only real way to enforce that is by going to court and some of these companies clearly are under huge trouble and don’t have the money.”
He then explained the best way to get a refund is through your card company.
He said: “I would probably use the charge back system. If you pay for something that you don’t get then under the Visa MasterCard and American Express rules, if you can’t get a refund then you can go to Visa MasterCard and American Express which you do via your card provider.
“Say you’d like to do a chargeback because you’ve paid for this and you haven’t received it and you should get a refund that way.”
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