Tuesday 21 September 2021

Complaints flood in about cancelled holidays in coronavirus times

No fly zone Photo: Depositphotos

More than 2,000 people have reported problems with cancelled holidays to a special hotline.

The Consumentenbond, an association that represents consumer interests, has been flooded with reactions about people’s recent holidays in the past three weeks. The majority of people who had concerns, 1116 consumers, were upset about how their flight cancellations were handled, 616 had gripes about package holidays, while 394 were upset about accommodation providers.

However, a fifth of the 2,600 responses were actually compliments about how holiday providers handled the pandemic.

Most people complaining about flights felt it took too long to issue a refund for cancelled trips, particularly if they had booked via ticket websites run by firms including Travix, which is behind Budgetair, Cheaptickets.nl and Vliegwinkel.nl, says the Consumenbond. They were also concerned that it was hard to reach the organisations behind the sites.

Sandra Molenaar, director of the Consumentenbond, said in a press release: ‘These complaints show clearly that consumers who book directly with an airline get their money or a voucher back more often and more quickly. We suspect that airlines pay their own clients back quicker than they compensate intermediaries and we will be talking about this to the sector and regulatory bodies.’

With package holidays, many people complained that they were offered vouchers instead of money and the Consumentenbond says the majority were about the organisation Corendon, and have been passed on to the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets, ACM. Earlier in the summer, the ACM said that TUI and Corendon were not meeting their legal requirements to refund consumers within 14 days for a cancelled trip, and that it would be keeping a ‘close watch’ on them.

However, the most compliments submitted to the Consumentenbond were actually about package holidays, mostly about how easy they were to contact and how they helped customers rebook without a fee. Most of these were about the organisation TUI, however this firm also had complaints. Holiday parks also treated many consumers well, with particular brownie points for Molecaten.

The Consumentenbond has urged more people to submit their experiences.

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