Martin Lewis hopes CMA investigation is the game changer for consumer coronavirus refunds

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into complaints that some firms are failing to refund customers for cancellations due to coronavirus.

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com says: “Let’s hope this is the game changer. Many firms are fighting tooth and nail to not give monetary refunds – whether it’s holiday firms like Hoseasons and Sykes, wedding providers, or airlines like Ryanair. And sadly, in some of those areas, contractually there are grey areas, leaving things at an impasse.

“These Competition and Markets Authority guidelines effectively say it doesn’t matter what’s in the contract – if you’re not delivering the goods or service to customers, they have rights, and they should be given a full refund.

“However while this is welcome guidance, often even when rights are clear cut, consumers have no way of enforcing them, other than starting Court action – which is in no one’s best interest. How can you force a firm to give you a refund when it simply says no, regardless of the law? So ultimately enforcement action is likely to be needed.

“The CMA has chosen to start with nurseries, holiday accommodation and weddings and events, all of which we’ve seen massive numbers of complaints about. The obvious missing fourth though is flights. We know EU regulation 261/2004 gives all those whose flights have been cancelled an automatic right to a refund, yet many of the big players are not paying up or saying you’ll have to wait a year. Perhaps it’s had fewer complaints as people know their rights, even if they’re not getting them.”