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Amendment and cancellation policies

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7 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

A concern about sailings to Spain seem to be the major concern on it , not a mention oh how they will be profitable with half full ships.

This letter sent jointly by BF and DFDS to the French PM thanks the government for their financial support during this period and makes it clear that they are not planning to make a profit for now but are be able to function without accumulating any losses. Presumably that will still apply once passenger sailings resume.

http://corporate.brittany-ferries.com/iso_album/courrier_pm_-_brittany_ferries_-_dfds_-_19.05.20.pdf

Ed

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Just thought that you might be interested in Eurostar’s performance with regard to a friend’s travel plans.

This friend is a lady in her early 80’s and for her, the direct Eurostar service to Avignon suits her down to the ground.  She doesn’t have to change at Lille or trek across Paris to change stations - she pays for a 1st class ticket, gets a breakfast and lunch on the way down and stays with us for a week at a time of the Summer when its not too hot !

She bought and paid for her ticket at the start of the year - due to travel yesterday, 1st June.  Clearly, for some time, we all knew that it was all going to be extremely iffy.  She said that she wasn’t fussed about forfeiting the money, but I told her that she should insist on a refund rather than an e-voucher, which was the ‘standard’ (and understandable) approach of most travel operators.  Furthermore, a refund was appropriate, since she wouldn’t know how her health would be in 12 months time and therefore whether she could travel.

She emailed Eurostar 10 days ago asking for a refund and received a reply which was very ‘telegraphed’.  It said (something along the lines of) “It is not our current policy to automatically refund unless we cancel the service.  Would strongly recommend that you await events”.

The service was never going to operate and sure enough, she received an automatic email 4 days ago confirming that and offering the e-voucher option.  However, she went down the refund request track which was confirmed and the money has just arrived in her account the day after she was due to travel.  She’s disappointed not to be down here with us, but delighted with the way Eurostar have dealt with things.

I relay all this, not to be critical of BF, but to say how well it can work with some operators in difficult times.

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Thought this email I got from Yelloh camping might be relevant to the discussion I wonder if BF are working to similar guidelines?

“Dear Sir,
 
We are going through a difficult period full of uncertainty and we can understand your concern.
The French government announced on May 28 that campsites in France would be open from June 2 and that travel restrictions were removed. All our French campsites will therefore open gradually by June 24. However the borders remain closed until June 15 at least for France and until June 30 for Spain.
However, faced with this situation, we made the decision with all of the Yelloh! Village to issue vouchers for customers wishing to postpone their holidays and who have to cross borders. On request, the campsite will send you a voucher for the amounts paid which can be used for the 2020 or 2021 season. If you do not use this voucher after 18 months, the campsite will then reimburse you the sums paid after this period of 18 months. This mode of operation is governed by a government ordinance which allows any client to have the guarantee that he will not lose money and the professional to proceed with the reimbursement without jeopardizing his cash flow.“

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Nice to see Eurostar protecting the customer. As Martin Lewis said, yesterday, on Jeremy Vine show (BBC R2) if the consumer cancels the deal they automatically lose all their rights to refunds, vouchers, etc. 
We have flights booked with Ryanair in late July, but don't fancy being squeezed in on a plane. We know we'll get no refund and don't want to amend to later date, so we'll lose the money. However might to the Hunter Davies trick of checking in but not turning up so Mr O'Leary can't resell the seats.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, neilcvx said:

Thought this email I got from Yelloh camping might be relevant to the discussion I wonder if BF are working to similar guidelines?

Our contract is under English law and the UK did not introduce rules like this, at the beginning BF thought that they would as they kept on quoting the ABTA campaign. The French vouchers last 18 months, can be swapped for cash at the end and are guaranteed. The BF ones last for 2 years, can not be swapped for cash at the end and are not guaranteed. However BF will now reluctantly give you a refund when they cancel the crossing which is good. 

ps there is nothing formal to confirm what 2 years mean, in twitter they are saying book within 2 years of voucher date, however the 2 year vouchers in the terms and conditions refer to crossing date within 2 years.

Edited by David Williams
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Yes, there’s been a lot of ambiguity and mixed messages in the detail.  I suspect the goalposts have been shifting so frequently that those on the floor dealing with customers have not always found it easy to keep up with the latest situation.  The enigmatic 20% discount for bookings using the vouchers is another example - I think I’ve had at least 3 different versions of the detail surrounding that, and I’ve given up trying to understand it.

David, am I right in understanding that the vouchers issued by BF in respect of holidays booked with them do fall under ABTA rules, or are they issued on the same basis as ferry-only vouchers?

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8 minutes ago, Gareth said:

David, am I right in understanding that the vouchers issued by BF in respect of holidays booked with them do fall under ABTA rules, or are they issued on the same basis as ferry-only vouchers?

No idea, has anyone here had one ?

Note that ABTA were lobbying for a law change and have been told firmly that the rules have not changed and that refunds must be possible, in addition no-one has tested whether a voucher for an atol protected holiday has atol protection or not. I think that it is safer to assume that a voucher has no protection and to either refuse it or spend it quickly on something that is protected !

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I got my refund on the 16th of May 

“I have created a refund credit note to the value of 481.50 GBP . It is valid for two years until the 16th of May 2022.”

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26 minutes ago, David Williams said:

No idea, has anyone here had one ?

Note that ABTA were lobbying for a law change and have been told firmly that the rules have not changed and that refunds must be possible, in addition no-one has tested whether a voucher for an atol protected holiday has atol protection or not. I think that it is safer to assume that a voucher has no protection and to either refuse it or spend it quickly on something that is protected !

Yes - they do. I e-mailed BF to check whether the 'voucher' issued  for a holiday booking constituted a 'Refund Credit Note' as described by ABTA. The response confirmed that the voucher was indeed an RCN 'backed by ABTA'

As I understand it you can use the Contact Form on the BF website and file a request under the category 'My sailing is cancelled, I'd like an alternative to a credit note' to try and push for a refund. Note that you don't get a confirmation e-mail and the estimated response time is/was 45 days.

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I am sure that BF is safe given the French Government involvement, however I am not convinced re the RCN and Abta protection.

Abta members have a bond (either real or insurance based) and that normally has an expiry date - that is why a number of Abta backed RCNs have an expiry date of next March . The Abta info says

A Refund Credit Note entitles customers to rebook a holiday at a future date or receive a cash refund at the expiry date of the note at the latest (if the original booking was for a package holiday). The expiry date is based on a travel company’s financial protection arrangements, which will vary by company. It also retains the financial protection that came with original booking.  https://www.abta.com/news/abta-provides-further-industry-and-customer-guidance-refunds

Abta protection is very different to ATOL protection that is underwritten by the government.

 

 

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Abta protection is very different to ATOL protection that is underwritten by the government

There is also AITO (Association of Independent Travel Operators). which is ued by the company I have made bookings with this year. No idea if the Government would stand behind them either - probably not.

ABTA was almost cleaned out by the Thomas Cook failure and was never intended to cope with a situation of the magnitude we now have. Nor is AITO which is why we chose to cancel and lose our deposits rather than pay the much larger balance of the holiday which might never be refunded. Risk management!

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