The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been investigating Virgin Holidays after receiving hundreds of complaints that people were not receiving refunds for holidays cancelled due to the pandemic.
Even when customers were informed by Virgin Holidays that they would receive a refund, many had to wait for an unreasonably long time, with some being told they would have to wait 120 days to receive their money back. Since 1 March 2020, the company has received 53,000 refund requests.
The CMA has now secured formal commitments from Virgin Holidays – known as ‘undertakings’ – that ensure all of its customers receive their money without undue delay and by the following dates:
- holidays cancelled before 1 September 2020 will be repaid by 30 October 2020
- holidays cancelled from 1 September to 31 October 2020 will be repaid by 20 November 2020
If Virgin Holidays does not repay customers by these dates, the CMA is prepared to take the company to court.
Virgin Holidays will also ensure that people who are entitled to a refund for a holiday cancelled on or after 1 November 2020 will be paid within 14 days.
These undertakings apply to all Virgin Holidays businesses that offer package holidays, including Virgin Holidays Cruises.
To ensure that Virgin Holidays adheres to its commitments, the company must provide the CMA with regular reports on the progress of its repayments.
Andrea Coscelli, Chief Executive at the CMA, said:
People whose holidays have been cancelled due to coronavirus deserve a prompt and full refund.
Our action means that Virgin Holidays customers should receive all their money back without further delay.
We are continuing to investigate package holidays in relation to the coronavirus crisis. Should we find that any business is not complying with consumer protection law, we won’t hesitate to take action.
Today’s announcement follows significant action by the CMA in relation to holiday cancellations. It has written to over 100 package holiday firms to remind them of their obligations to comply with consumer protection law, and has already secured refund commitments from TUI UK, Sykes Cottages and Vacation Rentals.
In order to help businesses to understand their legal obligations with regard to consumer protection law, the CMA published a statement on its view of how the law relates to cancellations and refunds due to coronavirus.
Further information on this case can be found on the COVID-19 cancellations: package holidays web page.