Thomas Cook Refunds: Will I Get My Money Back? Your Right To Compensation
The Thomas Cook Group is probably one of the best know and oldest names in the travel industry with a history of innovation that began back in 1841. Every year more than 19 million people have trusted Thomas Cook to whisk them away to foreign destinations for sun, sea and relaxation.
The success Thomas Cook has had up until now was thanks to the dedication and inspiration of a single man. It all began back on 5th July 1841 when Thomas Cook started his international travel company with a successful one-day rail excursion at a shilling a head from Leicester to Loughborough. From this single trip, Thomas Cook launched a whole new kind of travel company that has spent years helping Britons see the world.
Times have changed and with the rise in online travel companies, Thomas Cook has struggled to keep pace with the ever evolving industry. In the early hours of this morning it was officially announced that travel company Thomas Cook has gone bust. This has left thousands of customers worried about losing their hard-earned cash and unsure about how to get their money back. Thomas Cook announced a pre-tax loss of almost £1.5bn in the six months leading up to March, with its value going down from £2.2 billion to just £180 million in a year.
When you visit the website now, a message is displayed saying:
Thomas Cook UK Plc and associated UK entities have entered Compulsory Liquidation and are now under the control of the Official Receiver. The UK business has ceased trading with immediate effect and all future flights and holidays are cancelled. A dedicated support service is being provided by The Civil Aviation Authority to assist customers currently overseas and those in the UK with future bookings. Please visit: thomascook.caa.co.uk for further information.
So, what does this mean for the people who have already booked a holiday with Thomas Cook?
Fortunately, anyone who has booked a package holiday is covered by ATOL protection - a scheme that protects people when booking holidays.
If a travel company with ATOL protection ceases trading, the scheme protects customers who had booked through them, which means they are guaranteed not to get stranded abroad, or to lose money through no fault of their own.
Speaking to The Sun, Martyn James, a money expert, said: "When you book a holiday you enter into a contract - so if another business takes over then your holiday transfers over to the new owners and you shouldn't experience any problems.
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"However, it pays to know your rights if a mistake or problem occurs.
"If the firm changes something about the holiday significantly (like the dates, hotel, flights) then you should be able to cancel without penalty - though I'd expect them to come up with a suitable alternative."
He added: "However, always take out a good travel insurance policy - and make sure it begins from the moment you book, so you're covered if you can't travel for any reason."
Thomas Cook confirmed this by adding: "Thomas Cook Tour Operations holds ATOL number 1179, so when you book with us you can be confident you're fully financially protected"
Unfortunately ATOL protection doesn't apply in the case of people booking flights and accommodation separately, it's only package holidays.
If this includes you, you should contact your credit card company or travel insurer. If you have travel insurance and check your policy for the phrase "airline failure".
If you paid by credit card and your booking cost was between £100 and £30,000, you may be able to make a claim under section 75 Consumer Credit Act.
Money saving expert, Martin Lewis said: "While it's not a legal protection like Section 75, this is a core protection in Visa, Mastercard and American Express' rules and it can swiftly help people get their money back,"
If successful, your credit card will refund your money.
If you're looking to book a replacement summer holiday, you'll be happy to know that Easyjet has just released flights for 2020.
Featured Image Credit: Thomas Cook