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Industry campaign reiterates call for July 31 deadline on refunds

A travel industry campaign backing consumers’ right to a holiday refund has reiterated its call for a July 31 deadline after reports the date could be extended.

VIVID Travel owner Kane Pirie updated the It’s Right to Refund campaign message just two days after launch, saying it would only continue to back Abta’s stance if it stuck to a repayment date of July 31.

Abta has lobbied the government to extend the 14-day window for refund repayments initially to July 31 and called for protection to be given to ‘refund credit notes’ offered in place of cash refunds in the interim.

But reports that Abta will try to push back the deadline to September this year or January next year, and ultimately to March 2021, prompted Pirie to renew his calls for a July deadline.

In an updated campaign letter, Pirie said he was “taken aback” by news of a potential extension to the July 31 deadline.

He said: “We have consistently advocated some sort of grace period be effected, and a grace period through to July 31 2020seemed (and seems) reasonable.

It’s Right to Refund will continue to support Abta in its lobbying of government for a change in the PTRs but only as it previously stated with a redemption date of July 31 2020.

“Regardless as to any further developments in the position of Abta, It’s Right to Refund will hold the line in terms of campaign objectives with July 31 being our line in the sandas the absolute latest date customers should receive their full cash refunds.

“This gives tour operators currently unable to issue cash refunds over three months to put the necessary finance in place. It is not necessary and therefore wholly unfair for tour operators to put upon their customers for a day longer than July 31 2020.

“Further, It’s Right to Refund will only support a change in the PTRs if it is beyond doubt that customers financial protection under both the Atol and chargeback system is in no way diminished by the changes.”

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