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In my head I've just written off what I would 'normally expect'. With the two providers I have flights booked with this Summer, I except; at some point, a voucher to travel in the future. I will have no agony waiting on phone-lines, ranting to friends, or wishing for unrealistic expectations. If anyone is that enraged that the cost of travel for their family holiday can be seen as 'pending' or 'in credit' with a provider then they can of course take different action, and join the back of the queue. I honestly don't believe that many of these stories are true in the current media, whereby someone cannot afford to eat, because a tour operator has they £200. Personally I think people should be a little more selfless at the moment. The flight you were destined to get will have been full of people who are in the exact same situation, else the operator wouldn't exist.

Was anyone of my age ever given a high-street voucher for HMV for example at Christmas? I put it in my wallet and waited for a time until I could use it. I didn't ask my mother for her receipt!

Edited by hf_uk
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After the Thomas Cook payout ABTA are nearly bust as well apparently. Their guarantee scheme was never intended to cope with a situation of this maginitude so unless the Government stand behind them they are extremely unlikely to be able to meet their obligations. Just as the insurance industry is frantically backing away from paying out on coronavirus related claims.

As has been said earlier, in most cases vouchers are simply a means of kicking the can down the road and whistling in the dark. If operations resume fairly soon they may be honoured but an extended shutdown will probably mean they are worthless.

Much of this is 'against the law' of course but no one seems to be enforcing the law and lawsuits by individuals are likely to cost more than the sums at issue and even if there is a favourable judgement down the line the operator may simply be unable to pay.

The reality is that a lot of us are simply going to have to take the hit one way or another, in my case it will be around £700 in lost deposits and payments made for EasyJet upgrades. But I have spent the money, and originally budgeted for it so it doesn't directly impact on my day to day circumstances, being retired, unless my pensions (both public sector) cease to be paid. I'm not happy about it but I'm not happy about being under lockdown either. We are where we are.

Obviously it is a different situation for somebody who has been thrown out of work and desperately needs the money back. Some people have many thousands of pounds at stake.

 

Edit: I did get £51 refunded from Gatwick Airport Parking on my refundable booking so all credit to them.

Edited by cvabishop
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42 minutes ago, Gareth said:

And what protection is ABTA providing for these vouchers?  What in practice does it mean that BF holidays are “ABTA protected”?

If you booked a "package" which is defined as two separate elements bundled together in one booking then you are covered by ABTA. That means say a ferry crossing and a holiday, but a ferry crossing and a cabin does not count as that is not two things bundled together. What is now also covered is where you book a holiday and travel on the same website such as Expedia, not necessarily at the same time, with different operators.

ABTA covers that and vouchers are insured. Technically the insurer of last resort for ABTA is HM Government so if you have a voucher for those then you are covered. If you don't use your voucher within 12 months then you are legally entitled to swap it for a cash refund.

If if you booked a single element, such as just ferry travel (with or without onboard accommodation etc) then that is not a "package" and you are not covered by ABTA. Your voucher is not insured so if BF go down then your voucher is worthless. Legally at the end of the validity period it simply expires and BF are under no obligation whatsoever to refund it or extend its coverage period. If BF have an insurance policy that covers the value of credit notes, and you'd have a right to ask to see it before accepting a voucher, then the voucher is insured by not by ABTA and hence not by the government as insurer of last resort... ie, as in the case of Thomas Cook.

For clarity, regardless of what anyone says it's illegal to refuse a cash refund for a service pre-paid for but has been cancelled by the provider. Simples.

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Taking that onboard - and acknowledging everyone has their own circumstances - I perhaps wouldn't mind so much if a tour operator had a couple of hundred quid. The reality is right now in the Jim household, three travel providers are holding around £2,000. Yes, we're fortunate that it's not causing us a problem, but much like the travel providers themselves we're not a charity.

One company who has said they will refund owes us under 200. They keep giving estimates of when this will be, but patience is running thin. This was flight only, so there's no ATOL/ABTA protection - the company is refunding under their own terms.

Another company who has said they will refund owes us a little over 900. They've been clear that it will take 6-8 weeks, but that it will come back. This company operates under Swedish law and is following it.

The last one has issued a credit note for a little under 850 which is valid for two years. They've offered an additional discount if we rebook before July, but it's of no use as we probably won't be travelling abroad for at least the next twelve months. This booking is supposedly protected by ABTA as it was for travel and accommodation. ABTA's guidance on their website is that a refund is due, although acknowledges that doing it within the mandated 14 days would be extremely difficult. 

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We will probably not book early again.

.Our April crossing had increased by £104.00 by the time it was cancelled. September is now full but had increased by £96 so a saving was to be had by booking early Also early booking of the various hotels had saved £80.00 in April and £102 in September in addition a number of free breakfasts.

Off topic but the slower new boats would mean we would not use these as an option so once the vouchers are gone we probably will not use BF again anyway. And as Jim said the money is not the end of the world to us but BF's attitude is not good.

Looking forward it will be leisurely drives through France with transport booked as late as possible this may include BF if the price is competitive

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We have a flexible booking from Santander to Plymouth outwards in the middle of July and returning at the end of August. If we want to amend that booking before the balance is due to 2021, and the sailings for next summer haven't been released, is it possible to amend our bookings to say October this year and then as soon as summer 2021 sailings come out amend the bookings again? That would avoid them taking the balance from us next month.

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12 minutes ago, Valerie Wilton said:

We have a flexible booking from Santander to Plymouth outwards in the middle of July and returning at the end of August. If we want to amend that booking before the balance is due to 2021, and the sailings for next summer haven't been released, is it possible to amend our bookings to say October this year and then as soon as summer 2021 sailings come out amend the bookings again? That would avoid them taking the balance from us next month.

Yes I believe that's possible. It certainly used to be and I amended a booking three times when dates changed for an event I was attending. I haven't tried it with the new booking system but see no reason why that won't work. Everything may hinge on the ticket type you have. Ed. 

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54 minutes ago, Valerie Wilton said:

We have a flexible booking from Santander to Plymouth outwards in the middle of July and returning at the end of August. If we want to amend that booking before the balance is due to 2021, and the sailings for next summer haven't been released, is it possible to amend our bookings to say October this year and then as soon as summer 2021 sailings come out amend the bookings again? That would avoid them taking the balance from us next month.

Yes that can be done. Just remember the ticket is only valid for 12 months from your outward departure date.

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13 hours ago, IanN said:

Looking forward it will be leisurely drives through France with transport booked as late as possible this may include BF if the price is competitive

It'll be walk up fares on Eurostar and Oui SNCF for me!

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We've a  return ferry booking in July. and at this stage we're assuming they'll be cancelled. My question is If we go down the voucher route does the full voucher value have to be used in one transaction?  Or can it be used over a couple of bookings? 

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On 26/04/2020 at 16:52, cvabishop said:

After the Thomas Cook payout ABTA are nearly bust as well apparently. Their guarantee scheme was never intended to cope with a situation of this maginitude so unless the Government stand behind them they are extremely unlikely to be able to meet their obligations. Just as the insurance industry is frantically backing away from paying out on coronavirus related claims.

As has been said earlier, in most cases vouchers are simply a means of kicking the can down the road and whistling in the dark. If operations resume fairly soon they may be honoured but an extended shutdown will probably mean they are worthless.

Much of this is 'against the law' of course but no one seems to be enforcing the law and lawsuits by individuals are likely to cost more than the sums at issue and even if there is a favourable judgement down the line the operator may simply be unable to pay.

The reality is that a lot of us are simply going to have to take the hit one way or another, in my case it will be around £700 in lost deposits and payments made for EasyJet upgrades. But I have spent the money, and originally budgeted for it so it doesn't directly impact on my day to day circumstances, being retired, unless my pensions (both public sector) cease to be paid. I'm not happy about it but I'm not happy about being under lockdown either. We are where we are.

Obviously it is a different situation for somebody who has been thrown out of work and desperately needs the money back. Some people have many thousands of pounds at stake.

 

Edit: I did get £51 refunded from Gatwick Airport Parking on my refundable booking so all credit to them.

Somehow I think that Gatwick Airport Parking can afford to, seeing their overheads are minimal.

If everyone who was owed those thousands for holidays you mention received it now, the company could likely not survive. There should be a balance, or a moving scale, but then you can't really treat 1 passenger differently to another. Difficult!

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39 minutes ago, hf_uk said:

Somehow I think that Gatwick Airport Parking can afford to, seeing their overheads are minimal.

If everyone who was owed those thousands for holidays you mention received it now, the company could likely not survive. There should be a balance, or a moving scale, but then you can't really treat 1 passenger differently to another. Difficult!

In all of this we are in unprecedented circumstances - but in what we're seeing a number of organisations are keeping hold of funds in contravention to their own T&Cs and any protection offered by being a member of ABTA/ATOL etc. 

Nobody has planned for this, although it does raise questions about what insurances providers have now or will (have to?) have in future. Travel companies are normally happy to defer customers to travel insurance - but where is theirs when it comes to complying with their own rules?

 

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1 hour ago, ccs147 said:

We've a  return ferry booking in July. and at this stage we're assuming they'll be cancelled. My question is If we go down the voucher route does the full voucher value have to be used in one transaction?  Or can it be used over a couple of bookings? 

You will probably get two vouchers one for the outward and one for the inbound so you can use one for a future crossing and the other for another. Be aware if the voucher value exceeds the cost of the new booking BF will keep the difference.

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12 minutes ago, Jim said:

In all of this we are in unprecedented circumstances - but in what we're seeing a number of organisations are keeping hold of funds in contravention to their own T&Cs and any protection offered by being a member of ABTA/ATOL etc. 

Nobody has planned for this, although it does raise questions about what insurances providers have now or will (have to?) have in future. Travel companies are normally happy to defer customers to travel insurance - but where is theirs when it comes to complying with their own rules?

 

Just like last year with Pont Aven  again poorly handled by BF

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52 minutes ago, IanN said:

You will probably get two vouchers one for the outward and one for the inbound so you can use one for a future crossing and the other for another. Be aware if the voucher value exceeds the cost of the new booking BF will keep the difference.

Thats great thanks. I'd be happy enough with that except that the bit in bold is illegal here in Ireland under legislation brought in last December covering the use of vouchers. The booking condition on brittanyferries.ie state that "These Booking Conditions and any dispute or claim in connection with your booking will be governed by the law of Ireland. You and we both agree that the courts of Ireland will have exclusive jurisdiction to resolve any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Booking Conditions and your booking. 

https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/consumer_affairs/consumer_protection/consumer_rights/gift_vouchers.html

New gift vouchers legislation

After 2 December 2019, the Consumer Protection (Gift Vouchers) Act 2019 sets out new rules for gift vouchers.

The new rules state that:

  • Gift vouchers must have no expiry date or be valid for at least 5 years - see ‘Expiry dates on gift vouchers’ below.
  • Traders cannot specify that a gift voucher is spent in one transaction.
  • Traders cannot charge a fee to change the name on a gift voucher, (if you have to register a name on the voucher).
  • If the balance remaining on a gift voucher is more than €1 after you buy something with it, a trader must reimburse the balance to you. They can give you cash, make an electronic transfer or give you another gift voucher.

 

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I suspect the catch there is that those terms apply to a gift voucher, which I doubt those being issued by travel firms/BF count as. 

The Act cited suggests under 66A the following constitute exclusions, notably (h)

Quote

 

 

(a) that is redeemable only for the purposes of the purchase, at a discounted price, of specified goods or specified services, from a specified trader or traders—

 

(i) on a specified date, or

 

(ii) for a specified period of a limited duration not exceeding 3 months,

 

(b) that is supplied under a customer loyalty scheme,

 

(c) that is supplied in connection with a promotional scheme that is connected to the purchase of specified goods or specified services,

 

(d) that is supplied by way of a refund for goods returned to a trader,

 

(e) that is redeemable only in exchange for goods or services relating to telephone services, internet services, fuel, electricity, heating or any other utility,

 

(f) that is a cheque, bank draft or postal money order,

 

(g) that constitutes electronic money, within the meaning of the European Communities (Electronic Money) Regulations 2011 ( S.I. No. 183 of 2011 ), or

 

(h) that is not supplied, marketed, provided or otherwise made available to be given as a gift.

 

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Your Question: If the value of my voucher/ refund credit note is more than the cost of a revised sailing, will I be able to use the unused part in future?
 
Answer: We’ve issued Refund Credit Notes (RCN) for sailings we’ve cancelled. If the value of RCN exceeds the value of your revised booking please get in touch with us here. From the ‘reason for contact’ drop down menu, you can choose ‘I have a question about my refund voucher’ and the form will be directed to our team who will be able to help.

https://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/information/coronavirus/your-voice#tab-6

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On 26/04/2020 at 19:38, scarlton said:

Yes that can be done. Just remember the ticket is only valid for 12 months from your outward departure date.

If I amend my July booking to October does that mean 12 months from the original date of July or the amended date in October? 

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40 minutes ago, Valerie Wilton said:

If I amend my July booking to October does that mean 12 months from the original date of July or the amended date in October? 

To be sure of an accurate answer you really ought to ask that question to tne company - via live chat or the contact form if the phone lines are all still closed - it might even depend on when you first booked and what grade of ticket you have, whether your July sailing is likely to be cancelled, or whether they will issue you with a two year credit note voucher instead of a one year amendment. I foresee several variables.

Edited by wortley
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9 hours ago, David Williams said:

Your Question: If the value of my voucher/ refund credit note is more than the cost of a revised sailing, will I be able to use the unused part in future?
 
Answer: We’ve issued Refund Credit Notes (RCN) for sailings we’ve cancelled. If the value of RCN exceeds the value of your revised booking please get in touch with us here. From the ‘reason for contact’ drop down menu, you can choose ‘I have a question about my refund voucher’ and the form will be directed to our team who will be able to help.

https://www.brittany-ferries.co.uk/information/coronavirus/your-voice#tab-6

Sorry I had not seen this before. 

Should they not just issue another voucher for the difference by default? They claim they are very busy so this would save them a lot of time.

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19 hours ago, Valerie Wilton said:

If I amend my July booking to October does that mean 12 months from the original date of July or the amended date in October? 

The original July date.

11 hours ago, IanN said:

Sorry I had not seen this before. 

Should they not just issue another voucher for the difference by default? They claim they are very busy so this would save them a lot of time.

I don't think there is anyway to automate that.

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16 minutes ago, scarlton said:

The original July date.

I don't think there is anyway to automate that.

If the vouchers were credited to an account which is in effect what is happening. Then they could be drawn down on just like the balance in a bank account. The booking process asks if you wish to create an account so the facility is there. BF could do this for the vouchers. This would simplify matters for people with multiple vouchers as I believe (not 100% sure) If you need to use them to amend an online booking there is only the facility to use one at a time. It may be easier on the phone but as you cannot ring no idea.

This is not just BF but if it was a matter of getting money in then away would be found quickly.

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