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A Watchdog in the UK has urged people not to book with 20 vacation operators due to'refund issues.'

Andrew Reeve

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Which the watchdog has issued "red list" of 20 package vacation companies that people are advised not to book with.

The advice has been issued due to many company "shortcomings" with refunds because of Covid-19 travel disruption.

Major operators Lasminute.com, Love Holidays, On The Beach, and Teletext are among the companies that could leave tourists out of money if they are unable to travel as scheduled, according to the report.  For a lack of openness, those that did not provide clear information on their booking policies received a red rating.

"If the FCDO advises against travel to a destination, our customers can alter their holiday destination or dates free of charge, and we will waive any of our administrative fees," On the Beach responded.

"If customers decide to cancel their vacation, we will fully repay hotel and transportation fees, and because we have a regulated, ring-fenced trust account, we can do so immediately and always in cash rather than credit notes or vouchers."

"Our holidays include flights from a variety of third-party airlines, and each airline decides whether or not to operate those flights.

"If the airline cancels the flight, we will, of course, repay our passengers in full," the statement continued.

"If a customer wants to cancel their vacation due to FCDO advice, but the flight goes ahead as planned, the airline keeps the money paid for the flight, and we are unable to refund our customers in those cases."

The policies of the companies on the red list were not always in violation of consumer law, but some, such as Love Holidays and Teletext, had been investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the past year for failing to repay clients, according to Which?

Which? examined each company's policy on coronavirus-related interruption, such as whether it would refund clients if a lockdown was implemented, if Foreign Office advice changed, or if they had to quarantine in a hotel upon their return.

British Airways Holidays, First Choice, Hays Travel, Jet2 Holidays, Trailfinders, and Tui were among the companies that pledged to offer refunds in the majority of situations.

Only three companies, Exodus, Explore, and Discover Egypt, promised refunds to customers if they were urged to self-isolate before traveling, as well as any other eventualities.

The Which group advises anyone planning a vacation to avoid booking with one of the companies on the red list and to double-check that their provider has a flexible booking policy.

Source:  Sky News

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