How to get refunds on your trips cancelled because of Covid-19 issues.
04 September 2020

How to get refunds on your trips cancelled because of Covid-19 issues.

We understand that your Scout or Girlguiding travels may have been cancelled because of the Covid-19 restrictions. To help you through the options to recover the cost of your cancelled trip, we’ve put together the following guidance.

Under the travel disruption section of our policy we cover irrecoverable travel and accommodation expenses. In order for such expenses to be considered irrecoverable, in the first instance, you must request refunds from your travel and accommodation providers.

If you are thinking of cancelling your trip, speak to us first. 

If you cancel your trip, you should start by contacting the companies you booked with and request refunds on the amounts you have paid. Once all rights to refunds have been exhausted, you should then make a claim on your travel insurance.


Your rights and steps to get refunded

If your group cannot travel due to a lockdown in the UK or in the country you’re going to, you may have cancellation rights.

This will depend on: 

  1. Who cancelled the trip. You or the company providing the travel and/or accommodation.
  2. How the trip was booked. For example whether it was booked as a package or each element booked separately.
  3. Whether you paid on a credit card.

Step One – before you cancel

Before you cancel your trip talk to Unity

If you cancel your trip, it could affect your ability to claim the costs of the trip from your travel insurance. Therefore, if you’re thinking of cancelling because of the Covid-19 travel restrictions, please contact us to discuss your options on 0345 040 7702.  

Step Two – refunds from the travel companies

Cancelled flights and ferries

Obligations of airlines

Where you’ve booked a flight either within the EU or if your flight departs from the EU to a non EU country operated by an EU or non EU airline you have rights under Regulation EC261 in the event of cancellation.

As well as the 27 EU countries, this regulation also includes Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Réunion Island, Mayotte, Saint-Martin, the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and the UK.  It does not include the Faroe Islands, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

The airline operating the flight is the airline responsible for your claim.  

Has the airline cancelled the flight or did it still take off?

If your flight was cancelled you’re entitled to a cash refund to be paid within 7 days.  

If your flight flew but you were unable to travel on the flight due to UK travel restrictions you’re entitled to a voucher for the value of the ticket you had.  

Your airline may offer you a voucher for cancelled flights.  You have the right under EU Rules to choose between vouchers or cash reimbursement for cancelled transport tickets.  The voucher will be protected against the insolvency of the carrier or organiser.  Many vouchers if accepted can be cashed in if the voucher is not used.  

Flight credit vouchers should have be valid at least 12 months.  If they are not used, they automatically revert to a cash refund.  If the vouchers are valid for more than 12 months, you should have the right to ask for reimbursement in money no later than 12 months after the voucher was issued.  

Ferry crossings

If you were booked on a ferry service that has been cancelled the provider is obligated to offer you a choice between alternative journey or a full refund.  

Cancelled trips arranged through a tour operator

Claims against Travel Agent/Package Holiday Organiser fall under the Package Travel Regulations 2018, if you were sold ‘a package’ and you have rights under the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Act 2018.  

If you bought your package booking through a travel agent, your travel agent will have made your booking with a company such as a tour operator or airline. The tour operator is who your contract will be with and who any refund will be due back from.  The travel agent should pass back any refund they receive from the companies as soon as they receive it.  You should contact your travel agent to ask that they chase the request for a refund on your behalf.

For help in determining whether you have been sold a package please feel free to call Unity 0345 040 7702.

Cancelled accommodation

When you booked your accommodation direct with hotel, hostel or campsite

If the accommodation has closed you are entitled to a full refund.

If it is open but government restrictions prevent you from getting to your accommodation it is likely you will be not automatically entitled to a refund. You should check their booking terms and conditions to see if you can ask for a refund.  Refunds for these bookings do tend to be more limited. 

In the event that they don’t provide a refund you may be entitled to a refund if you paid by credit card (Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act).  

Step Three - If you don’t get a refund from the travel company, what next?

If you paid by credit card, S75 Consumer Credit Act

This will apply if you paid for the services on credit card.  You need to have spent £100 on a credit card and that the act covers claims up to £30,000.  You can seek a refund from your credit card provider under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

Therefore if you pay for a hotel, flight or some other travel service and you’ve not received the service booked, it or it was not provided as it should have been, then the credit provider is also responsible for the purchase of the item.  

You can claim a refund for the whole cost of the item or service even if you only paid just a deposit on your credit card.


If you’re unhappy with the response from the travel company, CMA (Competition & Markets Authority)

If you are unhappy with the response from the travel operator or travel agent, you can ask the CMA to investigate on your behalf.  

See the www.gov.uk/CMA website for details of investigations against organisations or for advice and assistance go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cma-to-investigate-concerns-about-cancellation-policies-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic/the-coronavirus-covid-19-pandemic-consumer-contracts-cancellation-and-refunds

 

If you have any further questions about recovering the money spend on your cancelled trip, please call our team of account handlers (Scouts) 0345 040 7703 or (Girlguiding) 0345 040 7704.