Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis has revealed how travellers can get their money back for cancelled flights amid the coronavirus crisis. On his ITV show, The Martin Lewis Money Show – A Coronavirus Special, he explained that although many airlines are only offering vouchers for future travel in the first instance, holidaymakers are legally entitled to their money.
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He said: “If your flight has been cancelled, providing it is an EU flight, then you are entitled by law to a refund, not vouchers.”
An EU flight is any flight covered by EU Regulation 261/2004, which is all journeys leaving from or returning to the EU or UK.
However, many travellers seem to be finding themselves only offered vouchers by airlines rather than their cash.
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Martin explained that airlines are making customers “jump through hoops” to get their money back as the industry is under such immense pressure.
Martin said: “However, lots of people getting in touch with me saying that when they’ve been told of their cancellation they go to various airline’s websites and all it does it offer you vouchers.
“Look, they’re making you jump through hoops because the airline industry is under threat.”
He says the key to getting around this is simply by picking up the phone and giving them a call.
Although you may find yourself on hold for a while, due to the high demand from people seeking refunds, he encourages people to keep trying.
However, he also urges those who can afford to take vouchers to travel in future to do so.
This will help keep the airline industry afloat and be beneficial for the future.
He urged: “If you can take vouchers do, it will help the airline.”
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If not many airlines could face going bust, meaning less options for holidays and travel in the future.
Earlier in the week, speaking on the Emma Barnett Show on BBC Radio 5 Live, Martin said: “I would say in this day and age we are trying to keep as many companies surviving as we can.
“If you can take the voucher and that wouldn’t compromise you and your finances, taking that voucher from this company may just be what keeps this company going and keeps its staff in a job.
“So I’m not telling anybody to do that, I’m saying we must all look at our own personal, ethics, morality and situation which is very important to decide how hard we are going to push in these unprecedented times.”
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For those travellers who are desperately in need of the money, and are finding it difficult to get through to their airline, the Money Saving Expert recommends going directly to their credit or debit card provider and requesting a chargeback.
“If you paid on deb or credit card, ask for a chargeback from that provider.
legally you are entitled to a full refund. It’s enforcing that legal right,” says Martin.
A chargeback is a return of money to the consumer and is ordered by your bank or card provider from the company.
Though this is not legal protection, it is a process which works for Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
Martin explains: “It tends to be the quickest way of getting your money back – effectively you’re disputing the transaction as you’ve paid for something you’ve not received.”
According to consumer rights advocate Which?’s website: “Chargeback lets you ask your card provider to reverse a transaction on your credit or debit card.
“You have more rights if you spend more than £100 on your credit card.”
This is often favoured by merchants as it means taking the money back from a company, rather than the card provider itself having to payout.
Martin continues: “Now that’s probably the easiest attempt to try is to go for a chargeback, and there are guides online where you can read about credit and debit card chargebacks.”
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