Hotel and travel company Specialist Leisure Group has entered administration, leading to the cancellation of 64,000 bookings across the UK.
The firm included Caledonian Travel, as well as coach holiday brands Shearings and National Holidays, hotel businesses such as Bay Hotels, Coast and Country Hotels and Country Living Hotels. All Wallace Arnold Travel shops are also now permanently closed.
All customers with cancelled package holiday bookings, which include organised travel are expected to have financial protections. Those who had holiday credit notes issued for package holidays that have been cancelled due to COVID-19 since March of this year, may have the same financial protections as they had under their original booking.
How can consumers seek refunds for bookings that have been affected?
The process of seeking refunds varies depending on the company that travel / packages were booked through, what the package consists of and how this was paid.
The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK through the Bonded Coach Holidays scheme (or BCH) have protections in place to protect customer prepayments.
They can help to claim back anything that is owed, including those protected by Refund Credit Notes that have been issued, including for consumers who previously had travel cancelled in March of this year due to COVID-19.
Bookings that include a flight
Consumers who have had bookings that included a flight will be contacted by the Civil Aviation Authority to make a claim for their refunds. They will get information from customers affected / protected directly or through their booking agent.
More information on this can be found on the CAA website at https://www.caa.co.uk/ATOL-Failures/Shearings-Holidays-Ltd/
Bookings made through travel agents or other travel companies
Those who booked through travel agents should contact their travel agent or travel provider in the first instance for advice and guidance on the process for seeking refunds.
Bookings for accommodation only, day trips and excursions
In situations where a booking has been made with Shearings for accommodation only or for day trips or excursions, these are not protected by the Bonded Coach Holiday scheme and a claim should be made directly to the credit card issuer or bank for debit cards on which the travel was purchased.
The card company or bank may request a referral letter to process the claim. These letters are available through the Bonded Coach Holidays scheme website at http://www.bch-uk.org/ (Letters can be located at the bottom of the page).
Section 75 Claims / Chargeback
These options may be applicable in numerous situations. Where payments have been made on a credit card for more than £100, the credit card provider becomes jointly responsible and should issue a refund. For payments made on a credit card under £100, or made on a debit card, consumers may be able to claim through their bank chargeback scheme and should contact them to see if this is possible.
Payments made by bank transfer, cash, or cheque
Those who have made payments by bank transfer, cash or cheque have protections in this instance and can apply for refunds to CSA Ltd who have been appointed by the Bonded Coach Holiday Scheme to manage and process refund claims. They have advised that they aim to complete all claim payments within 4-6 weeks. The quickest way to do this is online through the administrator’s website – https://www.submitaclaim.co.uk/?ID=3556-AD4E691B82C45BFD50F0F9EFE52C3B77 (Available from Tuesday 26th March 2020.
Travel Insurance premiums and gift vouchers cannot be recovered by a claim.
For more information, which is updated regularly on rights in relation to COVID-19 and the coronavirus, you can visit our dedicated website at: www.coronavirusadvice.sco
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