A couple who lost over £1,300 when online travel agent Lowcostholidays collapsed have managed to get that money back plus an extra £300 to cover the cost of rebooking their holiday, in another stunning reclaim success.
Trevor and Alison Bennett wrote to us about their "staggering" refund after returning from a dream trip to Dubai, and said they would never have got their money back without reading MoneySavingExpert.com's guide.
We've now had scores of success stories from Lowcostholidays customers who have reclaimed – though this is the first time we've heard of a refund for the cost of rebooking too. See full step-by-step help in our Lowcostholidays reclaim guide.
How the Bennetts got their rebooking costs covered too
The Bennetts, from Maidenhead in Berkshire, lost their hotel and airport transfer bookings when the travel firm suddenly ceased trading on 15 July. Still keen to go on holiday, they rebooked – but partly due to the slump in the value of the pound, it cost them over £300 more the second time.
After reading MoneySavingExpert's Lowcostholidays reclaim guide, the couple submitted a letter containing two refund claims under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. That's the law that lets you seek a refund from your credit card provider if something goes wrong, as long as what you paid for cost £100 or more.
Trevor sent Barclaycard our template Section 75 letter asking it to refund the £1,330 for his lost booking and the extra £307 for 'consequential losses' – ie, what he paid to rebook.
Barclaycard processed the claim for £1,330 under the chargeback system rather than Section 75 – card providers sometimes choose between the two schemes based on the customer's individual circumstances. The £307 consequential losses claim still went through under Section 75 – because chargeback doesn't cover extra costs resulting from a loss.
Just five days after Trevor sent the letter, the full £1,638 was paid into his account.
Trevor says: "This success story is entirely down to the template letters and information on MSE's website. It truly saved the day. I want to thank you, and I hope our story inspires others to try the same thing."
Can I reclaim for the original loss AND extra costs?
If you've lost out because of Lowcostholidays' collapse, there are a number of things you can try to get your original payment back (see below for more on this).
With most reclaim methods, you'll only be able to claim the amount you originally paid Lowcostholidays – and, with the administrators and the Spanish regulator (the firm was based in Spain), you're unlikely to even get that amount.
However, if you paid Lowcostholidays on a credit card, you may be in luck. Section 75 lets you make an additional claim for consequential losses, so you can claim extra if the problem (in this case, non-supply of holiday bookings) forced you to stump up more cash than you otherwise would have.
What if I've already claimed a refund? Can I go back to claim extra costs?
You can try – it's easier to claim for both at the same time, but there's nothing to stop you submitting a separate second claim to your card provider.
What extra costs can I claim for?
It depends on specific circumstances and the problem you're claiming for in the first place.
In the case of Lowcostholidays reclaims, a typical consequential loss might be having to pay extra to rebook cancelled hotel stays, flights or transfers – as in the Bennetts' case.
What if my claim's rejected?
There's no guarantee your card provider will accept your claim, but if it refuses, you can appeal to the Financial Ombudsman Service. A spokesperson for the Ombudsman told us the following:
- If a Lowcostholidays customer booked a replacement holiday, the Ombudsman would look at whether the replacement bookings were like-for-like or similar to the original holiday when reaching its decision.
- Replacement holidays or other consequential losses don't need to be paid for on a credit card for you to make a claim. As long as the original booking was paid that way (and cost over £100), you can claim for consequential losses too.
- If the consequential losses come to light after you've made a Section 75 claim, the Ombudsman will still look at your complaint if the card provider rejects it.
The Ombudsman adds: "Any claim for consequential losses will depend on the nature of what the consequential losses were, how they came about, and why the costs were incurred by the consumer".
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What does Barclaycard say?
A Barclaycard spokesperson says: "Section 75 and the chargeback process provide important protection for card purchases and at Barclaycard we work hard to get customers their money back when something goes wrong, including consequential loss where we can.
"We're delighted that we were able to help Mr Bennett and many other Lowcostholidays customers whose summer holidays were affected by its entering administration."
We've full help in our Lowcostholidays money back guide, but in brief, these are some of the avenues you can try...
- Section 75. Protection for purchases on credit cards costing over £100 – see our Section 75 guide for more.
- Chargeback. A customer service guarantee for purchases on Visa, Mastercard and Amex credit and debit cards – see our Chargeback guide for full info.
- PayPal. With PayPal you're covered by its buyer protection scheme – but only if you raise a dispute within 180 days of paying.
- Claim from the Spanish regulator (only for customers of the Lowcostholidays brand who booked flights + hotel). Do this by following the instructions on its website.