Agents say the CAA’s handling of Thomas Cook refunds continues to be “appalling” after it emerged many customers are still waiting for their money back more than three months after the group’s collapse.
Agents said there had been “no consistency” in how customer claims were being processed by Cega, the claims company tasked with handling agency booking refunds, with some being told their bookings do not exist.
Olwen Ogden of Dragon Travel Agents said: “We have been given no guidance. Everyone of our clients has been dealt with differently. There’s no consistency. They’re also asking for information we have already sent.
“The CAA said they couldn’t tell us anything. It’s been handled so badly, it’s appalling. It’s a joke.”
David Hoyle, a homeworker with The Travel Village, said only one of his customers’ 60 claims had been refunded in full.
“I have submitted all the paperwork but, 58 days later, my customers are receiving emails saying their booking cannot be found,” he said.
“In other cases [Cega] has told us they’ve not received the application because they can’t receive emails bigger than 2Mb. Then there’s a spate of emails saying the claims are not covered under Atol.
“One client received the lion’s share of their refund, but not the deposit. There’s no consistency. There are so many comings and goings. It smacks of disservice. The CAA is culpable.”
Marie Vaughan, also a homeworker for The Travel Village, said 12 of her customer claims were still outstanding, including one client who had booked a £7,000 holiday to Dubai for Christmas.
“It’s been an absolute nightmare,” she said. “They don’t know what they are doing and it looks bad on us.”
Shelly Taylor of Taylor Travel said only two of her customers’ 41 claims had been refunded. “When I call the CAA they have no information on the bookings and we’re told it’s just a waiting game,” she said.
On December 24, the CAA said it had settled 90% of all claims from Thomas Cook customers, with refunds totalling £290 million handed to 300,000 claimants.
But it admitted some were taking longer than expected due to the “complexity of the booking” or because it was “waiting to receive the correct information” and carrying out additional security checks “to reduce the risk of fraudulent claims”.
Agents hit out at the CAA three weeks ago as their customers were awaiting refunds, with some clients unable to pay balances due for replacement holidays (Travel Weekly, December 12). All refunds should have been paid within 60 days from when the refund application process opened on October 7.
CAA chief executive Richard Moriarty said: “This is the highest Atol payout since the scheme was established in the 1970s. We thank consumers for bearing with us as we continue this programme.”
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