Which? red list dwindles further as more operators are moved to green

By Steve Jones
10/08/2021
Home » Which? red list dwindles further as more operators are moved to green

Only six tour operators remain on Which? Travel’s red list of companies to avoid after its initial verdicts sparked outrage.

It means 15 firms which appeared on the original red list have been moved to either green or amber, or removed altogether.

Anger greeted last week’s publication of the Which? Travel holiday checker which placed dozens of companies in red, green or amber categories based on their flexible booking and refund policies.

The original red list contained 21 operators Which? advised consumers to avoid.

Since then, Ionian Holidays, Newmarket, Sailing Holidays, Mountain Kingdoms and Your Co-op Travel have been added to the green list of companies who provide ‘generous refund policies’.

Meanwhile, Mercury has been reclassified as amber.

Yet the changes are unlikely to appease operators who insist they were shabbily treated by the watchdog.

AITO and individual operators accused Which? of adopting ‘bully boy’ tactics and of overseeing a flawed process of classification which placed several firms in the red list simply because they had not filled out a questionnaire – a questionnaire some say they did not even receive.

Others said it unfairly damaged their reputation, and exacerbated what has already been a torrid time for the industry.

Ionian Holidays Chief Executive Dimitri Patrikios described its move to green as ‘meaningless’.

“We have been in constant communication with Which? and even though Ionian Island Holidays has now been put into their green list, it is meaningless, as this report is seriously flawed and lacking any credibility,” he said.

“The damage has been done. Which? feel they have a divine right and the power to completely destroy a company who does not fill out their questionnaire. They believe they can wield so much power and are untouchable. But they are not a regulatory body, and nor is there a legal obligation for a company to fill out their questionnaire.

“They still do not seem to understand how negligent and damaging their actions have been.”

Mr Patrikios added that his company, which is an AITO member, could find no record of receiving emails from Which?

Following the outcry, Which? said it would remove eight companies from the red list for further investigations. They would be reclassified ‘as necessary’, it said.

Since then, four more tour operators which initially appeared on the red list have been removed altogether. They are Best at Travel, Brightsun Travel, Broadway Travel and Skylord Travel.

It leaves only six on the red list.

In a statement, Which? said Ionian Holidays, Newmarket and Sailing Holidays ‘all provided the info we asked for so have now been rated green’.

Travel Department and Travel Editions, which also appeared on the red list, are still having their ratings reviewed, the consumer body said, while Skylord and Broadway Travel ‘haven’t responded to our questions yet so have been removed while we wait for their responses’.

Brightsun and Best at Travel are being reviewed at the moment, Which? added.

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