Businesses across Spain have been venting their anger over claims more than €7 billion is being held in refunds by the travel industry saying that money could be spent by holidaymakers on the Costa del Sol or the Costa Blanca.
A CONSUMER rights advocate suggests “up to £7 billion in payments made by UK customers, many who may also be struggling financially due to the impact of the pandemic, are being held in funds by the struggling travel industry.”
The complete tourist industry in Spain has been affected by the lockdown measures introduced to slow down the spread of the coronavirus and bars, restaurants, and hotels need every euro they can get to survive.
The UK’s biggest travel firms and airlines are breaking the law by delaying refunds for trips cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a consumer group.
A recent investigation found that some companies are refusing to provide refunds in a breach of their legal obligations, while others are providing vouchers or credit notes “which may prove to be worthless” if holiday firms collapse.
It was found that none of the country’s 10 biggest holiday companies are offering full refunds within the legal time frame, and some are refusing to provide refunds altogether.
The vouchers then explain how to claim their money back, despite the fact customers have already asked for them. A spokesman for Airlines UK, which represents UK carriers, said its members are facing “a far longer than usual volume of refund claims to get through.”
He added that the coronavirus lockdown means firms are “not able to bring in additional staff to deal with them,” adding: “We are thankful to passengers for their continued patience.” Trade association ABTA has warned that the deluge of claims caused by the travel industry grinding to a halt means firms will collapse if they are forced to pay out immediate cash refunds.
It wants the government to allow companies to offer credit notes as a short-term alternative. An ABTA spokeswoman said cash refunds “should be given as soon as possible” but warned that many firms are unable to provide immediate payments because they have not received money back from airlines and hotels.