The Holiday Franchise Company has returned a £10,500 fee to one of its franchisees after introducing a new membership package for which he would have been eligible.

The Holidaysplease-backed firm, which specialises in franchises for people looking to set up online travel agencies, said the decision reflected its stance on “ethical franchising”.

The sum was refunded to franchisee Ross Griffiths, who would have qualified for the company’s recently-launched Travel Professional package had it been available when he joined six weeks ago.

The Travel Professional package is available only to those with four or more years of travel sales experience

Luke Western, head of sales & marketing, said Griffiths had been told of the decision ahead of the launch of the new package and the move allowed the Holiday Franchise Company to “evolve our proposition ethically whilst offering to support the industry, and those professionals looking to build their own business”.

He added: “What’s important is that we can look at each of our franchisees in the eye and know they’ve been treated fairly and ethically. We’re proud to be able to back up our ethical claims, especially in the middle of a global pandemic.”

Griffiths said Western and head of franchise Joanne Aldridge had approached him and said “it was only right to offer me the difference of the two packages”.

He added: “Contractually, I do not feel they had to offer me such a generous or welcome refund, however due to their ethics and beliefs, they thought it was only right to. All I can say is that it supports my choice in choosing The Holiday Franchise Company as the right franchise option.”