The managing director of Cruise Circle has launched a petition urging Abta to reconsider its stance on Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) refunds.
His agency, along with several others, has had to repay commission to customers for cruises that were cancelled by CMV before it collapsed last July.
Abta provided consumer protection for bookings with the line and is only refunding the net value of cruises already cancelled due to Covid-19 before parent company South Quay Travel & Leisure collapsed – but it is fully covering bookings cancelled as a result of CMV’s failure, and defended its stance.
Cruise Circle had 30 affected bookings, losing about £8,000 in commission that has been passed back to customers, said managing director Jason Daniels.
However, Daniels insisted CMV had said it would protect commission on bookings cancelled as a result of the pandemic, so Abta should refund the customer the full amount paid.
He said several cruise agencies were in the same position as him, such as Cruise365, Vision Cruise and Cruise Select.
Daniels questioned why Abta only paid the net amount to the consumers affected by the cancellations.
“We are very unhappy with Abta about this matter. We feel like low-hanging fruit, we are an easy target,” he said.
He was also frustrated that the policy meant his customers found out the amount of commission his agency earned on each sale.
“Agents are all fighting for survival; we don’t want to pay back commission already earned,” he added.
A spokesperson for Abta last month said that 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,” said the association.