TTA to launch ‘voluntary refund scheme’ after Truly Travel customers complain they’ve been left out of pocket

By Linsey McNeill
22/02/2023
Home » TTA to launch ‘voluntary refund scheme’ after Truly Travel customers complain they’ve been left out of pocket

The Travel Trust Association has told customers left out of pocket by the collapse of Telextext and Alpharooms that it will announce a ‘voluntary refund scheme’ next month.

No further details have been revealed, but the scheme is understood to be for Alpharooms accommodation-only customers who might not automatically qualify for refunds from the TTA.

The TTA had provided financial protection to Teletext and Alpharooms customers, operating as a franchisee of the Civil Aviation Authority, but it says not all accommodation-only bookings were covered by the scheme.

Clients who booked accommodation-only have been told they’re not automatically entitled to their money back from the scheme if the funds had already been transferred to the accommodation supplier when the parent company Truly Travel collapsed, and if the supplier has refused to refund.

It told these customers in an email that it has been trying to persuade suppliers to issue refunds, and it has also advised them to submit a charge back or Section 75 request to their bank.

However, TTA said it will set up a voluntary refund scheme for Alpharooms customers who have been unable to get a refund from their debit or credit card issuer.

It has told customers that claims submitted online by 2 March, with proof that a charge back/S75 request has been rejected by their bank, will be considered.

Details of the Voluntary Refund Scheme will then be revealed on 3 March, it said in an email to customers.

The TTA announced the launch of the scheme following multiple complaints to the CAA about TTA’s handling of refunds following the collapse of Truly Travel in December 2021.

Thousands of people were left out of pocket, many of whom had been waiting for refunds for bookings cancelled during the pandemic in 2020.

The CAA confirmed to Travel Gossip that while the ‘vast majority’ of claims have been paid, it is aware that some are still outstanding more than a year after Truly Travel called in the liquidators.

CAA Head of Crisis Management Andy Cohen added: “We understand the frustrations of customers who are waiting to be refunded by The Travel Network Group [TTA’s owner].

“We continue to monitor the situation closely, but the vast majority of claims have already been paid and we are actively working with the Travel Network Group to ensure that all customers with a valid ATOL claim are refunded without delay.”

Customers who have complained directly to the CAA that they are still waiting for refunds have been told by the regulator that their claims have been escalated.

However,  TTA Customer Experience and People Development Director Ionela Dinu-Mihai told Travel Gossip that some claims had been rejected initially because they were accommodation-only and therefore non-ATOL protected.

Ionela said ‘probably 97%’ of Alpha claims were from customers who’d booked accommodation-only.

She said the ‘very few’ people who had booked packages with Alpha had been refunded once their claims were validated.

“The Alpha customers who contacted the CAA are all accommodation-only bookings, and not package bookings,” said Ionela.

“There is no statutory insolvency protection scheme which refunds accommodation-only bookings when a company such as Alpharooms financially fails – such protection only applies to package holiday bookings.”

TTA said some Teletext claims were also disqualified because the customers didn’t travel even though the flight and accommodation were available.

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