Tui has clarified that it is offering refunds to customers whose holidays are cancelled as a result of coronavirus, but admitted a delay in the process.
Consumer champion Which? yesterday hit out at the UK’s biggest travel company, saying that it has failed to provide information about customers’ rights to refunds when it extended the suspension of its beach and cruise programmes because of travel restrictions as a result of the coronavirus.
Tui, which has a tour operation with an Atol licence for 5.55 million passengers a year and more than 500 high street travel agencies, has put 11,000 of its 13,200 UK staff on furlough.
In a statement sent to Travel Weekly, Tui said its first port of call was amending holidays for a future date, but made clear refunds are still an option.
It comes as industry association Abta continues to push the government for a change to the Package Travel Regulations (PTRs) to extend the current 14-day window to issue refunds, initially to July 31, and for financial protection to be given to ‘refund credit notes’ offered in place of cash refunds in the interim.
Tui said: “We are proactively contacting all affected customers as fast as we can to help them amend their holiday to a future season. If they are unable to amend to a suitable alternative, we will discuss their various options with them.
“One option currently available for customers is to cancel the holiday and receive a full refund, however there is a delay in this process due to the large volumes of customers impacted, combined with temporarily reduced staffing across the business and limited teams available due to our retail shops and contact centre offices currently being closed with many of our colleagues working from home.
“We appreciate that this is frustrating for our customers and we would like to assure you that our head office teams are working behind the scenes as quickly as possible.”