02 Apr
2020

Dealing with complaints and refunds

Code of Conduct

The Code of Conduct stipulates that Members must reply to customers’ complaints within 28 days of receipt of correspondence. This is a well-known rule and customers are fully aware that if their complaint is ignored, they can ask ABTA for assistance.

Normally failure to respond in a timely manner results in Code action however, in view of the unprecedented and extremely difficult time for the travel industry as a result of coronavirus, ABTA has taken the decision to extend the response time limit to 56 days. This should give Members the needed extra time to investigate a complaint properly and provide a full response. After this deadline however Members will be in contravention of the Code and action may be taken. 

Customers can still register complaints with ABTA because they haven’t received a response and chasers will be sent however, the new time frame will be taken into account.

On refunds- the Code requires that these are sent to clients without undue delay. The normal position, that 14 days is the correct time frame, will not apply at the moment, and Members should provide refunds as soon as they can. We are of course aware that there are good reasons currently for delays in paying refunds.

ABTA Arbitration

Following discussions with Hunt ADR, time lines have also been extended for Arbitration processes. The amount of time for submitting a Defence can be extended to a maximum of 56 days, but Members will need to contact Hunt ADR for the extension within 28 days of receipt of the claim. Awards will now need to be paid within 56 days of publication. Members delaying payment, will be considered in breach of the Code of Conduct. 

This temporary solution aims to support Members in their day to day business in very challenging times but at the same time ensure that the general public receives the high standard of service that is at the core of the Code of Conduct and gives them confidence in travel.

The Code of Conduct page has been updated with this information so that consumers are aware of the longer Code timeframes.

If you have any questions please contact Member Support membersupport@abta.co.uk 020 3117 0597.