The SNP’s Shadow Transport spokesperson (pictured) has criticised travel firms for refusing to refund customers who are entitled to their money back as a result of the coronavirus crisis and lockdown measures.
Gavin Newlands MP echoed research published by consumer group Which? that highlights many firms are refusing to provide refunds for cancelled trips – breaching their legal obligations.
While some are offering alternatives – including vouchers – which could prove “worthless if holiday firms run into financial trouble.”
However, with many people facing financial difficulties as a result of a loss in income or jobs, and with holidays cancelled due to global restrictions, the UK government has been urged to step in and act to prevent customers and the industry from being pushed further into hardship.
The consumer watchdog has outlined a ten-point plan to tackle the cases being raised and to address the long-term challenges facing the sector.
Commenting, Gavin Newlands MP said:
“The findings from consumer group Which? raises some serious concerns over customer’s rights being violated and people increasingly being pushed towards hardship.
“It is unacceptable for travel firms to refuse to refund customers who have had their plans cancelled, through no fault of their own, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I welcome the 10-point plan published by Which? – putting consumers at the heart of the matter.
“With household incomes under pressure due to the coronavirus crisis, it’s vital that the public are protected, and their rights upheld.
“It’s also clear that without intervention from the UK government, some travel companies will not survive the current crisis and consumers will also pay the price.
“This will have devastating consequences for the economy, for jobs across Scotland and the UK, and industry confidence.
“I urge the UK government to explore the proposed measures from consumer groups – including a Government Travel Guarantee Fund – that will protect the sector, strengthen the rights of customers, and guarantee refunds to those affected and ensure strict regulation on the vouchers many airlines are now offering.”