Holiday cancellation terms in regulator's sights

Holiday cancellation terms in regulator's sights

The competition regulator could be set to clamp down on travel and cruise companies that it considers profit unfairly from the illness and death of their customers.

As a result of ill health, including among family members and spouses, thousands of older holidaymakers have to cancel holidays each year and often holiday firms refuse a refund, even where the cruise, airline ticket or holiday is sold on to someone else.

Highlighting the issue, Telegraph Money has handed the Competition & Markets Authority a dossier of readers' experiences in January.

The regulator is due to publish new rules on updated unfair terms in consumer contracts legislation, the umbrella of rules under which holiday deposits fall, the newspaper reported.

Private correspondence between an MP and CMA bosses, said to have been seen by Telegraph Money, indicates a modernisation of the rules could finally result in fairer treatment.

The most up-to-date regulation on the subject is provided by the Office of Fair Trading, but legal experts suggest this was framed so long ago it is now out of date.

It states that when a customer cancels a trip, holiday firms are entitled to retain some of the deposit or other payment - but only as much as is needed to cover reasonable costs and losses caused by cancellation.

The Telegraph reported how in 2014, pensioner David Bruce Crawcour won a claim against Tui. The firm tried to keep 100% of his holiday payment after he had to cancel due to his wife falling ill a fortnight before the holiday.

But a judge ruled: "With modern-day technology, a cut-off point of 14 days is not reasonable for the purposes of establishing that the likely extent of losses would be 100%."

Tui was ordered to refund Crawcour a total of £2,236.

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