Sun | Jan 19, 2020

Thomas Cook customers frustrated by refund delay

Published:Saturday | December 7, 2019 | 10:10 AM
Thomas Cook passengers who were stranded in Jamaica wait to be processed at the Virgin Atlantic Airways counter at the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St James. Janet Silvera photo.

Customers of collapsed tour operator Thomas Cook have begun to complain publicly about delays in processing their refunds for holiday trips they never got to enjoy, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has reported.

Thomas Cook, once among the oldest and largest tour operators in the world, ceased operations in September.

Yesterday, BBC reported that it has been contacted by several customers who expressed frustration over the delays.

Following the collapse of Thomas Cook, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the United Kingdom indicated that all valid claims made on the first day of its refund programme would be paid within 60 days, or by December 6.

However, the CAA now says only two-thirds will be paid on time.

Retired teachers Alan and Diane Holmes from Ripon in north Yorkshire are among the frustrated Thomas Cook customers still awaiting a refund.

The Holmes’ booked a two-week holiday in Egypt and thought their money was safe because the booking was made through another firm, Freedom Holidays, according to the BBC report.

"My wife always wanted to do the Egypt Nile cruise. It's been quite peaceful there these last two years, so we thought we'd best do it before it all takes off again,"

Alan said, referring to the possibility of civil unrest in Egypt.

But as they later found out, the cruise itself and the hotel accommodation had been booked through Thomas Cook.

The couple paid £3,200 for the holiday, but were later told they would have to pay another £2,200 upfront if they wanted the holiday to go ahead.

"They had told me the money was safe in a trust fund, but it turned out that Thomas Cook had already taken it," Alan Holmes claimed.

They decided to cancel and are now waiting for the £3,200 to be refunded.

"I filled in the CAA form and never heard anything back. Then two days ago, I got this email saying they wanted more information," Alan Holmes said.

"Travel companies are very happy to take your money, then as soon as anything goes wrong, they don't want to know."

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