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Jersey Consumer Council

Consumer News

Should I pay my summer holiday balance?

May 20, 2020 Comments Off on Should I pay my summer holiday balance?

You paid your deposit several months ago and now your tour operator is reminding you the balance or next instalment is due.

The big question is should you pay it or not?
We can’t say yes or no, as the decision is yours to make, and there are many ifs and buts to consider.

You decide to make the payment:
Travel restrictions may be eased or lifted by the time you intend to travel, but they may not.
As a Jersey resident, it’s important that both Jersey and UK restrictions are lifted to the same level to avoid being turned back or stuck in quarantine. Then there are your destination country restrictions to consider.

Pay with a credit card, where possible, as, under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1975 you may be able to claim back. Which? have a good guide on this. If paying by debit card, you might be covered by charge back.

Then you need to consider the following:
– If the tour operator or airline cancel your trip, you’re due a full refund.
– If the Jersey and/or UK governments are advising against travel, but your trip has not been cancelled, you may be able to claim from your travel insurance (as long as you got it before they stopped covering pandemics).
– If travel restrictions are lifted, but you decide not to travel, you won’t be covered.
– If the package holiday firm or airline later cancels your trip, there are some making it difficult to get refunds and are only offering vouchers.

It’s a sad fact that due to the impact of the pandemic, some travel firms may go under. Check if your trip is covered by ABTA or ATOL – you should have received a certificate when booking, but you can always check with the company or online. If it is and the operator collapses, you would get a full refund.

You decide not to pay the balance:
You will be breaking the contract and are effectively cancelling your booking. In this scenario, you will probably lose any money already paid, and even if the tour operator or airline subsequently cancels the trip, you will not be entitled to a refund.
However, it’s worth considering the benefits of losing the smaller amount compared to the full holiday cost.

Booking a new holiday:
With several companies offering us discounts at the moment, it understandable that we could be tempted to book for later in the year.

Speaking to the Bailiwick Express yesterday, our Chairman, Carl Walker, advised Islanders not to be too hasty. If you go ahead, pay with a credit card, ensure your trip or resort is ABTA and ATOL protected and get the best possible travel insurance policy.

As an aside, if you currently have an annual travel insurance policy, purchased prior to companies changing the clauses, and it covers pandemics, it would be a good idea to renew it. Some insurance companies have advised they will honour the cover as long as the policy is renewed correctly and on time.
Although you should receive a reminder when the renewal date is, we suggest you check your documentation and diarise the date, to avoid missing the deadline.


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