Despite the limbo, Donna Morris is still pinning her hopes on the financial protection that she believed her holiday offered.
While nothing is sure and her case illustrates the complexity bedevilling travel customers in these uncertain times, there is a glimmer of light.
Over a year ago Donna paid £1,185 for accommodation in Tenerife for a visit that was due to happen a few weeks ago.
But Donna’s booking was with Alpharooms, which in late 2021 folded along with sister company Teletext Holidays when their parent company Truly Holdings went bust.
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Thousands of customers were left out of pocket until regulator the Competition and Markets Authority stepped in over Teletext and Alpharooms’ refund delays and over £7 million of redress for customers was achieved.
In February the High Court agreed with the CMA, which sought to ensure people could book packages with confidence, that Truly Travel Ltd (Teletext Holidays) and Alpha Holidays Ltd (Alpharooms) breached the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements Regulations.
These required them to refund customers for package holidays that were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic within 14 days.
Alpharooms and Teletext were also members of the Travel Trust Association (TTA) network, the only one in the UK offering 100 per cent financial protection for customers – so in essence a very good thing.
Package holiday customers with the firms had the key TTA guarantee. Last November Donna received an email advising her to submit her booking details to TTA anyway.
“I had paid by debit card, and a chargeback was also tried but as the purchase was over the time limit it did not work,” she told Crusader.
“I have sent many messages to the Travel Trust asking about my refund. The reply every month is that I should wait for another email or I will hear very shortly.”
The TTA has been under massive pressure sorting out a huge number of claims following the companies’ collapse. But could it let Donna know where she stood, Crusader asked.
The good news is it has now responded saying its team is looking to send accommodation-only customers like Donna “an update in the next two weeks”.
However, as a “gesture of goodwill” the TTA also confirmed it would organise a refund for her.
After that welcome relief however there’s been a slight wobble as the message Donna received said: “TTA Travel will look to issue the refund to you whilst we continue to seek further advice regarding your claim.”
Donna has now submitted her bank details but said: “Having the £1,000 would have made such a difference especially at Christmas, but I dare not risk thinking that money is mine just yet.”[Donna’s name has been changed]