The Holiday Guru is always on hand to answer your questions.
This week topics tackled include ‘misleading’ adverts for Wizz Air flights to Bulgaria, arranging refunds for Interrail passes, re-booking cancelled Ryanair flights and accepting Refund Credit Notes from Tui.
Q. I received a Wizz Air promo email saying ‘Bulgaria is open’ and advertising 20 per cent fare discounts to celebrate a lifting of travel restrictions. But there’s a quarantine on arrival for British tourists. Isn’t this misleading?
John Smith, via email.
Wizz Air says it is the responsibility of the traveller to check entry requirements for Bulgaria
A. It would appear so. Although Bulgaria dropped its quarantine for some countries on Monday, British nationals must self-isolate for 14 days on arrival, as outlined at gov.uk.
Wizz Air, however, says it is the responsibility of the traveller to check entry requirements, even for flights to Bulgaria from Britain (which it says are pitched at essential travellers). The Advertising Standards Authority commented: ‘Adverts should not mislead someone by omission, exaggeration or ambiguity.’
But as the airline is registered in Hungary, it is a matter for Hungarian authorities.
Q. To celebrate our golden wedding anniversary, we booked Interrail passes for a trip through Europe using Eurail.com. Unfortunately, we had to cancel, but arranging refunds has taken countless efforts by phone and email. How can the firm hold on to our money like this?
Carol and Konrad Tapp, Darwen, Lancashire.
A. Eurail has apologised that high demand from customers affected by the pandemic caused this delay. It also points out that promotional tickets like yours are not usually eligible for refunds.
However, the company has changed its policy and is offering 85 per cent refunds.
Alternatively, as you have been informed by email, you can opt to use the passes for travel up to the end of March 2022.
Q. I have been offered a flight voucher or refund from Ryanair due to cancellation because of Covid. I am willing to take the voucher but am concerned the price of the flight may increase a lot. Will I have to pay the difference or will the airline pay it?
Mrs Dorothy Taylor, via email.
A. If you switch to a different date on the same route there will be no fare increase.
Q. We are travelling to Goa in India in November for six weeks. It is very hard to get information on what might happen with our trip then. Can you help?
Gary McDonough, Northampton.
One reader asks if it is likely his trip to Goa, pictured, in India, will go ahead in November
A. Monitor the Indian travel advice at gov.uk. If you have booked any accommodation already using a card, you may wish to request to cancel now to receive back any cash you have spent.
Then wait until closer to your departure date to see if the airline cancels your flights or offers you a voucher in advance — sometimes as much as six weeks before going.
If coronavirus is still disrupting travel at that point, you may wish to accept the voucher and postpone your trip. The good news is that some hotels and restaurants are re-opening in India from Monday.
Q. Tui has offered us a Refund Credit Note after our holiday was cancelled — adding an incentive to re-book later. It has also said the new holiday would carry the same ATOL cover as the original booking. Is this so? If not, should we ask for a refund now?
Robert Hall, via email.
A. Best to re-book immediately without taking a Refund Credit Note (RCN) or ask for a refund. There is no guarantee RCNs will be accepted under the government-backed ATOL (Air Transport Organiser’s Licence) in the event of a company collapsing, as they are not legally recognised.
Under the Package Travel Regulations, you should be provided with a full refund within 14 days. With your cash in the bank, you can then decide on a new holiday without having to worry about RCNs and whether or not they will actually give you any protection.
Q. In February, my elderly father bought a £1,500 multi-trip annual travel insurance but, three weeks later, the travel ban came in. The firm he bought it from refuses to offer a refund. Can you help?
Joan Robinson, via email.
A. The Association of British Insurers says this is ‘unusual’ as ‘many insurers are offering a partial refund based on the numbers of days left on the policy’.
The advice is to make a formal complaint to the insurance underwriter, rather than the broker.
If this does not work, complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service (www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk). Good luck.
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