Family 'ignored' by travel agents after £3k dream holiday is cancelled
A Doncaster family say they are yet to receive any clarification from their travel agents after their £3,000 dream holiday was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Kowalska family had booked to fly to Dubai, Singapore and Bali with Travel Up.
Their flight was originally scheduled for April 7 and even when the COVID-19 crisis unravelled, the family were told they could still travel.
However, their flights were then changed.
Having booked hotels and activities during certain dates at their three different destinations, Travel Up and Emirates, their flight provider, told them that their flights had been amended.
After they were made aware that their holiday would be cancelled, they assumed they would receive some form of refund or booking amendments.
However, the family say they have not yet been told anything.
Sandra Kowalska said: “It’s been an absolute nightmare to be honest. At this point, we feel like giving up.
“After they had messed around with our flights, which would have made us not being able to go on the holiday anyway, it was beginning to look like coronavirus was starting to break out worldwide.
“So we reached out to Travel Up to ask them what was going to be done about our holiday.
“When we were told the holiday would be cancelled we assumed we would receive some form of refund or an amended date, but we haven’t heard anything.
“We have left numerous emails and called on many occasions, but have yet to be told what is going to happen.”
After attempts to make contact with Travel Up, Sandra became aware of a Facebook group dedicated to securing refunds from the company.
Over 3,000 people have joined the group, with an amount of people who say they have also not yet heard from the company on their refunds.
Some have allegedly been offered vouchers as compensation, whereas others say they have been faced with fees amounting to three figures that have almost eliminated the refunds remitted by the airlines.
Until April, the company’s terms and conditions stated that a £75 per ticket fee applied if a customer cancelled or amended a ticket, whereas if the flight was cancelled by the airline they would receive a full refund “which we receive back from supplier/airline”.
Later that month, a line was added, stating that when airlines refunded a flight they had cancelled, TravelUp would make an unspecified “deduction of credit/debit card (non-refundable) charges incurred by us at the time of the original booking and a small administration fee”.
According to customers, the fee turned out to be the £75 per head plus 2 per cent of the ticket price.
In May, TravelUp’s CEO, Ali Shah, wrote to customers announcing the fee would be reduced to a flat rate of £50 and claimed they had misinterpreted the initial promise of a full refund.
The statement from Ali Shah read: “Our terms and conditions originally stated that the customer was entitled to a full refund of what we receive back from the airline or supplier.
“This will never be the same as the amount you paid us when you booked, as this includes our service charges and we appreciate this has led to some customer confusion.”
Sandra added: “It’s just ridiculous really. I understand it’s a difficult time for everyone, but to just ignore your customers is not fair.
“We should not feel that giving up is the thing to do. We spent a lot of money on this and really looked forward to going together.”
South Yorkshire Live has attempted to contact Travel Up on its refunds policy and to ask if the firm would be contacting the Kowalska family.