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Tui promises to pay outstanding refunds by the end of the month

Package holiday giant Tui has promised to pay any outstanding refund requests for holidays cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic by 30 September 2020.

Earlier this year we received a deluge of complaints from Tui customers who were struggling to get cash refunds for cancelled holidays, and competition watchdog the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) says it investigated the firm after receiving 1,000s of complaints from consumers who hadn't received their refund in the required 14-day timeframe.

The CMA says that the "vast majority" of affected Tui customers have now rebooked their holiday or received a refund, and following its investigation Tui has set firm deadlines for refunds. Here are the details of what it's promised:

  • If your holiday's been cancelled and you'd been waiting for a refund for more than 14 days as of Monday 14 September, the refund will be paid by Wednesday 30 September at the latest.

  • Everyone else who's requested or requests a refund should be paid within 14 days of cancellation, in line with the usual regulations.

The commitment applies to all of Tui UK's package holiday businesses, including First Choice, First Choice Holidays, Marella Cruises, Crystal Ski, Crystal, Tui Scene, Tui Lakes & Mountains and Skytours.

Technically, if your package holiday is cancelled you're owed a full refund within 14 days of the cancellation, though many firms have been struggling to meet this deadline due to the volume of requests during the coronavirus pandemic.

Our Coronavirus Travel Rights guide has more info on getting a refund for a cancelled holiday, including specific help for Tui customers.

How to get a refund from Tui

When Tui cancels a holiday now, you have 15 days after receiving your cancellation email to choose to rebook to a different destination or date. If you don't, after 15 days you'll automatically be sent a refund credit note to the value of a booking, plus a booking incentive on top – though you can also get a refund if you want to cancel the booking entirely rather than rebooking.

If you do receive a refund credit note, you can still choose to convert it into a cash refund to the value of your original booking. Many of the complaints we saw from Tui customers earlier this year were from those who were struggling to convert their refund credit note into cash, though Tui has now simplified the process.

To turn a refund credit note into a refund:

  • It's simplest to convert it online. You can do this by simply filling in Tui's online form – you'll need your booking reference and other details.

  • If you're struggling, try calling instead. Some have had difficulties using the online form – earlier this year, this was a particular issue for some who'd originally paid in-store. If you're having difficulty you can also ring up (we've been told the afternoon tends to be the quickest time to get through).

Tui has now promised to contact all customers with unspent refund credit notes proactively, and let them know this can be converted to a refund.

If you've already requested a refund from Tui, then there's no need to do anything else as it should be paid automatically. Tui has been working through a backlog and had advised on its form that "each refund needs to be processed manually and can take up to four weeks" – though now it's pledged to resolve them within 14 days, and says any outstanding refunds should be cleared by the end of the month.

What does Tui say?

A Tui spokesperson said: "We remain sorry that holiday refunds took longer to process during the height of Covid-19. The volume of cancellations and customer contacts was unprecedented, and at a time when retail stores, contact centres and offices were closed because of the nationwide lockdown.

"We worked tirelessly to deliver system improvements in extremely challenging circumstances, making refund times shorter prior to the CMA engagement with the package travel sector. Where due, customer refunds will be made within 14 days, as they were prior to the pandemic. We would like to thank our customers for their understanding."

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