Scottish National Party (SNP) Spokesperson for Consumer Affairs, Patricia Gibson MP, has welcomed UK Government confirmation that refund vouchers issued for cancelled holiday packages will be financially guaranteed, protecting affected customers from being left out of pocket.
The move comes following sustained pressure from SNP MPs and consumer groups.
Over the past few months, a number of travel companies have issued refund credit notes (RCNs) and vouchers in lieu of cash refunds - to which customers are legally entitled - raising concerns over the level of protection for customers who accepted them.
The Department for Transport has now finally confirmed that RCNs will be financially guaranteed if firms go under due to the impact of the health pandemic, delivering much needed relief to travellers who received RCNs and who could have lost their money altogether.
Commenting, Patricia said:
“The travel sector has been one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic and it has pushed airlines and holiday companies to the brink, with tens of thousands of people having their travel plans cancelled and put at risk of being left out of pocket.
"A significant number of affected customers are struggling to access refunds owed for cancelled package holidays and face uncertainty over refund voucher guarantees.
"The SNP, travel and consumer groups has pushed the UK Government - to which such matters are reserved - to protect customers and financially guarantee RCNs given the uncertainty facing the industry and consumers.
"It is therefore welcome to see the Department for Transport heed the calls and finally step in and confirm protection. This will be a huge relief to countless customers.
"However, there is much more that the UK Government must do during this unprecedented crisis, including implementing proposed measures from consumer groups, such as a Government Travel Guarantee Fund to protect the sector and strengthen the rights of customers."