The Competition & Markets Authority has launched court action against Teletext Holidays over inadequate progress on refunds to package holiday customers.
In May, the government body announced that Truly Holdings, the company that operates Teletext Holidays, and its sister company, the travel operator Alpharooms.com, had signed undertakings committing to refund package holiday customers for holidays cancelled during the pandemic.
After reviewing Truly Holdings’s final report on progress with repayments, the CMA wrote to Truly Holdings on September 16th stating it would take the company to court unless it took urgent action to improve how it handles refunds to package holiday customers.
The CMA does not consider that Truly Holdings has done enough to provide refunds to package holiday customers with outstanding claims, including recent cancellations, or to make sure that it pays all future refunds that are due within the 14 days required by law.
The CMA has therefore filed proceedings requesting a court order that outstanding refunds be immediately repaid and that, going forward, customers who are entitled to a refund are repaid within 14 days.
The CMA will also be asking the court to order that Truly Holdings puts in place appropriate processes to ensure it complies with the law in the future.
As the CMA considers that Truly Holdings is in breach of the law and that harm to consumers is ongoing, it is seeking that the claim be expedited, so that the case can be heard more quickly.
However, it is for the court to determine a date for the hearing.
Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said: “Companies must abide by consumer protection law and treat their customers fairly.
“After engaging with Teletext Holidays extensively, we are now requesting a court order to make sure that the company immediately pays back the money it still owes to customers and refunds people within 14 days, going forward.”
Rory Boland, Which? Travel editor, said more needs to be done to tackle errant companies.
He added: “It’s unacceptable that Teletext Holidays has not yet paid all outstanding refunds for cancelled holidays and is still failing to comply with the 14-day period required by law, so the Competition & Markets Authority is right to start court action.
“Teletext is just one of many holiday providers that have attempted to shirk their legal responsibilities to refund customers for cancelled trips, highlighting the need for industry-wide reform.
“The government must ensure there are better protections for holidaymakers’ money, while the Civil Aviation Authority and Competition & Markets Authority must be given stronger powers to take action against companies that break consumer law – including the ability to impose fines if necessary.”