HOLIDAYMAKERS IN MIDLOTHIAN OWED NEARLY £1.4 MILLION AND IN EAST LOTHIAN OVER £1.6 MILLION IN WITHHELD REFUNDS
LOCAL MSP SAYS REGULATOR MUST DO MORE TO SUPPORT CUSTOMERS
SNP MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh has demanded action after the latest estimations from Which? suggested people in Midlothian and East Lothian could be owed millions in withheld refunds for cancelled trips.
Customers across the UK are waiting on more than £1 billion in refunds according to the results of the survey of more than 7,500 people who had a package holiday cancelled as a result of the pandemic.
Expressed as proportion of population, the findings of the survey suggest that holidaymakers in Midlothian could be owed nearly £1.4 million, and those in East Lothian could be owed over £1.6 million.
Holiday companies are required to refund money within 14 days but the huge number of cancellations has left many of firms overwhelmed. 21% of those surveyed who requested a refund in March were still waiting at the beginning of October.
The research also found that the average cost of a cancelled holiday was £1,784.
During the summer, the Competition and Markets Authority launched an investigation into package travel companies' handling of cancellations and refunds.
Commenting on the figures, local SNP MSP Colin Beattie said:
“For many people, this saga has rumbled on for far too long – it’s time for the UK government and the market regulator to get a hold of this situation.
“Times are tough financially for many local families, and while I appreciate holiday companies were inundated with refund requests earlier in the year, we are now in November.
“We aren’t talking about spare change here – the average cost of a cancelled holiday was £1,784 according to this survey.
“While we all recognise the travel industry’s acute financial difficulties, there can be no excuse for them hoarding the hard-earned cash of their hard-pressed customers.
“As a matter of urgency, the UK government needs to set out how travel companies will be supported financially to fulfil their legal obligations to passengers – and take firm action against those who continue to drag their feet.
“I would urge anyone in Midlothian or East Lothian who is still waiting on a refund from March to get in touch with my office – I will offer any support I can to make sure you get your money back.”