Free advice from leading financial experts is to be provided to Abta members as travel companies battle to stay afloat during the Covid-19 crisis.

Two new advice helplines for members cover how best to dispute a chargeback, and how to get protection against data breaches and other issues relating to cyber security.

The two new helplines, each providing 30 minutes of support, join existing helplines on mergers, acquisitions and finance, employment law, crisis support, training and recruitment, and VAT.

All of the helplines are operated by Abta Partners, who are leading experts in their respective fields.

The chargeback helpline will help clarify contracts or misrepresentation under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, advise when a chargeback can be challenged as well as the correct processes for doing this successfully.

Many refunds have been severely delayed mainly due to suppliers not issuing refunds swiftly during the pandemic, leading some customers to turn to their card provider and asked them to raise a chargeback.

In some cases, members have been receiving chargebacks from their merchant provider even when a customer has already received a refund.

The cyber security helpline will advise on current threats in the industry, technology available to mitigate attacks, correct processes to prevent attacks or breaches, how to assess company data, as well as a plan for investigating attacks and establishing a response plan to maintain business.

The five existing helplines cover:

  • Employment Law. Assistance on issues such as discrimination and diversity, redundancy, collective consultancy, Tupe, absence management, statutory holiday management, maternity rights, discrimination, trade unions and disciplinary and grievance.
  • Mergers, Acquisitions and Financing. Guidance through difficult decisions about finances, investing, selling or expansion plans.
  • Crisis Support. Provides trained staff that can assist with sensitive or traumatic issues that require specialised support or counselling.
  • VAT. Covers support relating to specific VAT issues within the travel industry.
  • Training and Recruitment. Provides support on how to recruit good staff across all areas of your business, and guidance on how to make the most out of apprenticeships.

The association’s partnerships and events director Alice Catterall said: “The Abta Partner helplines provide an invaluable resource for our members with 30 minutes of free, expert advice on a wide range of issues.

“The two latest additions on how to dispute a chargeback and cyber security have been chosen as both areas can have very serious implications for our members’ businesses and I would strongly recommend that all our members take the time to access the helplines to put processes in place to safeguard their businesses.”