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The travel industry has already severely trashed its image through its behaviour through this crisis. Whilst I understand why a lawyer might get orgasmic over all of this stuff what you need to remember at the end of the day is that if you go down the path of taking customers money and then refusing to refund when they are advised not to travel or expect them to take the risk of travelling without insurance then you are going to damage the industry even more. You need to win back consumer confidence and good will and this is not the way to do it.
UEFA Champions League Finals: FCO travel advice on their website states: "The FCO currently advises British nationals against all but essential travel to Portugal. If you’re travelling to Portugal for the UEFA Champions League Finals against FCO advice, you should read this guidance. Travel insurance: During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever to get travel insurance and check it provides sufficient cover. Your policy may not provide cover if you travel to a country where the FCO advise against all, or all but essential travel".
One question is the law. Is a Package Organiser obliged to cancel when the FCO advice is against travel? I agree with Stephen that will be settled in the Courts given what is at stake here and the position already adopted by two large OTAs. Another question is more around ethics. Is it right to put customers in a position where they either lose their money or travel without insurance? Unlucky customers who do travel without insurance can face ruinous losses if they need significant medical care / medical evacuation. Further, for a Package Organiser adopting that stance it seems doubtful your own liability insurance holds which again feels very risky.
Kane, what's your stance ? Are you refunding within 14 days any bookings to Spain ?
Await your reply!
The new normal in regard to travel is as clear as mud it seems, especially in regard to refunds. It seems TUI and Jet2 toe the government line in regard to it’s advice. A lot of airlines look at the government advice and still fly to these destinations, after all they have to earn an honest crust to survive. So it comes down to the consumer, should I go or should I stay sounds like an old song. The quad-mire might hit the courts to make sense of it all. If the government had not be so heavy handed and more nuanced in it’s approach in regard to spikes in certain countries, instead of a sledge hammer approach wiping out whole country we would not be in this mess.
It should be SHOULD I GO WITH INSURANCE OR WITHOUT INSURANCE
Not necessarily Steve. It's not a blanket 'fits all' that insurance doesn't cover in case of FCO advice (anymore). I have seen examples from at least two different insurance companies who have confirmed to customer that they will still have medical cover intact should they travel, as FCO status is 'only an advisory'. So you may not have cover for cancellation (which is pointless anyway as we have found out this year) or a stolen camera, but will still be protected for medical care. Your choice to travel or not.
Easy one to answer to answer Steve, one should always travel with insurance. One caveat, watch out for the escape clauses on the policy.
If anyone had any doubts that the 2018 Package Regulations were unfit for purpose, then this is a clear example of why, when we leave the EU in 4 months time, this legislation needs to be at the top of the pile for revision.
The fault lies with BEIS who failed to adequately consult with the industry and only published the final wording three weeks before it became law. At the time BEIS thought that the right of customers to cancel free of charge was actually wider than simply when the FCO advised against travel, they used the example of the lorry bomb in Nice as a possible reason for customers to cancel a weekend in Paris and get a full refund!
Now we have a scenario which might mean customers who buy certain packages, which they cannot possibly comprehend, give then fewer rights than other packages, which undermines the advice every travel business has been giving out since March, that it makes sense to buy a package for all the additional protection you get as a result.
We desperately need to be able to communicate with government but unlike aviation that appears to have the ear of government (and have successfully avoided providing financial protection for years as a result) this is still travel and tourism's great weakness. Government either doesn't hear the cry or chooses to ignore it, and we all risk disaster if they don't start listening now.
And for the Steve Kane's of this world , this is the exact opposite of being anti consumer, we want you to be able to understand exactly how the law does protect you and not be left in a limbo of total confusion that doesn't help us or the the consumer at all
Why consumer and NOT CUSTOMER we the CUSTOMER know what we are entitled to in LAW andit does not matter who has to pay we are entitled to a refunds.
No matter who is paid the CUSTOMER always has to pay up front some 10/12 weeks before travel and in the case of airlines on the day its booked so the industry has had the customers money WELL in advance of travel. the Law gives a time limit on when refunds should be paid, to go outside that time should be a criminal offence, And Mr Bowen everyone in the Industry is very good at putting the blame onto someone else but please dont bring in another blameworthy part of the Government BEIS. The industry is at fault no one else
Every time someone likeTravlaw senior counsel Stephen Masoncomeand speaks the end result is ALWAYS in favour of the INDUSTRY never in favour of the CUSTOMER .