Holidaymakers Could Lose Hundreds If Travel Agents Don't Pay Out Deposits
Holidaymakers could be unfairly losing deposits to travel agents when they cancel a holiday, a watchdog has warned.
For many, jetting off on holiday is the highlight of the year - however, things don't always go to plan and travellers are forced to cancel due to work commitments, illness or bereavement.
In unfortunate cases like these, many unlucky holiday-goers are stung by travel agents upon discovering they've lost a huge deposit.
According to the Competition and Markets Authority, there is a huge lack of awareness about how much money travel companies can retain if a traveller cancels.
For example, a company cannot automatically hold on to a large deposit if a customer cancels due to unforeseen circumstances. If the company are able to resell the holiday, then the customer should be refunded in full.
The watchdog has warned this week that any amount the travel company charges travellers must reflect its expenses.
They've also warned that the phrases the terms 'non-refundable deposit' or 'cancellation fee' written in the terms and conditions of a contract could be unfair and not legally binding, even if the contract has been signed.
Paul Latham from the CMA says that as many as 50 per cent of travel companies do not know the rules and they are now being warned to redress their Ts&Cs.
The CMA is also working with travel bodies to raise awareness of the rules through its 'small print, big difference campaign'.
Think you've been stung in the past? First, you read through your contract in fine print, checking exactly what you have signed for before contacting the company involved and explaining your situation.
If an illness or bereavement has caused you to cancel your holiday, be clear on your rights. If the company refuses to budge with their policies, appeal to their better nature and explain your situation in full before contacting Citizens Advice.
For any more help contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline for guidance.