Abta has defended its policy on refunds of bookings with failed cruise line Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV).
The association, which provided consumer protection for bookings with the line, which entered administration in July 2020, has said it will only refund the net value of bookings already cancelled due to Covid-19 before parent company South Quay Travel & Leisure collapsed.
That means agents’ commission has not been refunded, so they will have to pay it back to their customers in order to reimburse them the total they paid for their cruises.
Abta is, however, fully covering those bookings that were cancelled as a result of CMV’s failure.
A spokesperson for Abta said: “For clarity, the Package Travel Regulations and Abta’s financial protection programme have never covered, nor been intended to cover, commission payments in addition to proving a refund to consumers.
“Where Abta is managing claims for refunds that were cancelled before a failure and not as a result of the insolvency of the operator, and where the bookings were made through a travel agent, customers can generally expect to receive two payments, one from Abta and one from the travel agent.
“This is because of the way that booking payments are typically managed between travel agents and the tour operators.”
He added: “More widely, refunds to customers are managed by Abta through various mechanisms depending on the way that the booking was made, how it was paid for and the type of travel services booked.
“At the end of the day the intention is that the customer will receive back 100% of the amount they paid for the travel services.”
The spokesperson also said: “We understand that these are extremely difficult times for many of our members and are doing all we can to support them through the biggest challenge the sector has ever experienced.
“We also appreciate that these are unprecedented times when it comes to the number of cancellations, refunds and business failures.”