Abta has shared evidence of “double dipping” for multiple refunds with the small business minister as it continues lobbying on the difficulties agents have faced over credit card chargebacks.
Customers who are ‘double dipping’ chase refunds from the travel company and also via credit card providers, meaning the firm can be charged twice.
The association also highlighted late notifications of chargeback claims, including some cases where the trader has been notified of the claim only after the deadline supplied for appealing the decision.
Abta also sent Paul Scully evidence of chargebacks being lodged against travel agents rather than tour operators acting as the principal of the contract, and a “very high number” of reports of difficulties with the dispute process.
The industry body wants the an urgent meeting with government officials and representatives of UK Finance to address the chargebacks issue, that is says is particularly hitting SMEs.
Director of public affairs Luke Petherbridge said: “The chargeback system is failing reputable travel companies, with the dispute resolution system appearing to be at risk of systemic collapse under the volume of Covid-related claims.
“All too often banks and merchant acquirers are applying insufficient checks to ensure that chargeback claims are justified. The wide-ranging problems with chargebacks are adding to the extremely difficult trading conditions and are being acutely felt by our travel agent members in particular. The additional cost is putting the future of some travel companies at risk.
“We are continuing to lobby the government and finance industry on this issue and members now have access to free advice from our partner phoneline.”
Abta says it has consistently stated support for the chargebacks system, which acts to ensure consumers can enforce their rights under the Consumer Credit Act, but claims “strong evidence that the dispute resolution system behind the scheme is failing” and that “proper scrutiny is not being applied” during Covid-19s.
It has set up a free adviceline for members.