A pensioner from Clive, near Shrewsbury, has won a court battle against TUI, which owns Thomson Holidays, after he was charged the full 100 per cent cost of a trip to Mallorca he had to cancel due to illness.
The 66-year-old searched the company’s own website to find that the flights and hotel room he returned to Thomson vanished before the departure date – proving TUI had not made a significant loss and was unjustified in keeping all of his money.
Mr Crawcour, represented himself at the Small Claims Court in Telford where a judge ruled in his favour and ordered TUI to pay back the full amount of the holiday – some £2,200 – as well as paying all the court costs.
Mr Crawcour’s court triumph could also see other wronged holidaymakers follow in his footsteps to sue travel firms at their local small claims court over the cancellation clauses in package holiday contracts.
Mr Crawcour complained to Thompson’s customer services department, but was told their cancellation terms and conditions allowed them to withhold the full amount paid for the holiday.
Mr Crawcour argued the TUI cancellation clause was in breach of the Unfair Terms Consumer Contract Regulations 1999 and the guidance from the Office of Fair Trading on Unfair Contract Terms in Package Holiday Contracts published in 2004.
He said an arbitrary 100 per cent charge for cancellations two weeks before a holiday was “unfair” as it could never be a genuine pre-estimate now that most travel business was done on the internet. All the existing cancellation clause did was to give holiday companies the opportunity to cash in twice and “profit excessively from peoples’ distress”.
A spokesman for TUI said: “We note the court’s decision in the case of Mr Crawcour. We have obtained leave to appeal the decision and as such it would be inappropriate to comment further.”