Trading Standards Wales welcomes CMA action against Lastminute.com
News that an online travel agent will face legal action unless it repays over £1m to customers has been welcomed by Trading Standards Wales.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has informed Lastminute.com that it will take court action if it does not pay the outstanding refunds to 2,600 customers, worth over £1m.
Trading Standards Wales, which represents the 20 local authority trading standards service across Wales that work together to protect consumers and safeguard legitimate businesses, has welcomed the move by the CMA.
Last December the travel agent signed a formal undertaking which committed it to pay out over £7m to more than 9,000 customers when their holidays were cancelled due to the pandemic.
However, Lastminute.com has failed to refund 2,600 customers, who were due to get their money back at the end of last month (January). The company has also failed to meet its ongoing commitment to repay all customers entitled to a refund within 14 days of their package holiday being cancelled on or after 3 December 2020.
Lastminute.com told some package holiday customers to go directly to their airline to get the cost of their flight back, which is in breach of its commitments and against its obligations under the Package Travel Regulations.
The CMA has informed Lastminute.com that it will take court action if it does not repay the outstanding refunds within 7 days. To avoid court action, Lastminute.com must also ensure that customers who book their package holidays from now on will receive a full refund within 14 days where they are legally entitled to their money back following the cancellation of their package holiday.
The Chair of Trading Standards Wales, Helen Picton, said: “It is disappointing that Lastminute.com customers living in Wales could still be waiting for the package holiday refunds that they are entitled to. Companies need to comply with consumer law and provide refunds when package holidays contracts are terminated as a result of Covid-19.
“We welcome the action that the CMA is considering against Lastminute.com and hopefully it results in their customers receiving the refund that they are entitled to.”
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