Lastminute.com customers 'still waiting' for package holiday refunds
Some Lastminute.com customers still haven’t received all their money back for cancelled holidays, according to research from consumer group, Which?. It comes despite the online travel agent promising the competition watchdog that all refunds would be paid by the end of last month.
In December 2020, Lastminute.com committed, after intervention from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), to refund £7 million to thousands of holidaymakers for coronavirus-cancelled trips. It said it would pay all outstanding refunds for package holidays that were cancelled on or before 2 December 2020 by the end of January 2021.
But Which? says it's seen several reports on social media from customers complaining they haven't been paid their money back. Lastminute.com was among the big names rated worst by MoneySavingExpert.com users for failing to give full refunds for trips they'd cancelled due to the pandemic. Just 8% of Lastminute.com customers told us they'd had a full refund when voting took place between 19 November and 4 December 2020.
The CMA will take legal action if necessary
The CMA would not confirm or deny the reports from Which?, but it said Lastminute.com must keep it informed of its progress. It said: "CMA action led to Lastminute.com committing to pay out over £7 million to customers waiting for money back.
"It must report to us on how it is complying with the commitments it signed up to and the deadlines agreed. We will use our legal powers, if necessary, to ensure Lastminute.com fulfils its obligations to its customers."
A Lastminute.com spokesperson would only say: "We confirm our full commitment and dedication during the last months in order to refund and support all our customers and meet the deadlines agreed with the Competition and Markets Authority.
"We will discuss our obligations on 10 February directly with the Competition and Markets Authority as agreed. Customer satisfaction is our number one priority and we keep listening and learning even from the feedback generated by a very small number of readers involved in the Which? survey."
You're entitled to a full refund within 14 days if your package holiday is cancelled
If your package holiday is cancelled, you're entitled to a full refund under the Package Travel Regulations.
This applies if a package holiday contract is cancelled either by the provider itself, or by the holidaymaker if the performance of the package or the customer's journey to the package's destination would be significantly affected by circumstances, such as coronavirus.
You have the right to a full cash refund "without undue delay" within 14 days of the contract being cancelled – though many firms have struggled to meet this deadline during the pandemic, and we've encouraged consumers to show forbearance where they can.
Lastminute.com told the CMA last year that if it cancelled further package holidays on or after Thursday 3 December 2020, it would pay out refunds within 14 days.
Holidays abroad are currently banned across the UK due to regional lockdown rules. See our Coronavirus Travel guide for more info on your rights.