Simon CalderFri, 12 February 2021, 1:28 pm
The online travel agent Lastminute.com has been given a week to refund £1.3m owed to package customers or face legal action.
Ten weeks ago the company committed to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to pay out over £7m to more than 9,000 customers whose holidays were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The firm agreed to make the refunds by the end of January.
But the CMA says that Lastminute.com still owes over £1m to 2,600 customers.
The company is still sending out the same responses to customers that it issued last summer, reading: “If you are contacting us for more information about your refund’s status, we can confirm that it is currently being processed, and that you will receive an email with the details soon.”
In addition, Lastminute.com told some package-holiday customers to go directly to their airline to get the cost of their flight back – which the CMA says is against its obligations under the Package Travel Regulations.
Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said: “It is wholly unacceptable that thousands of Lastminute.com customers are still waiting for full refunds for package holidays despite the commitments the company signed with us.
“We take breaches of commitments extremely seriously. If lastminute.com does not comply with the law and pay people their outstanding refunds quickly, we will take the company to court.”
Lastminute.com says that almost 50,000 package holiday customers have already been refunded more than £40m and only £1.3m is pending. It blames the third lockdown for delaying the repayments.
The managing director, Andrea Bertoli, said: “We sincerely apologise to all customers still waiting for their package holiday refunds and we are making every effort to resolve any remaining delays customers are facing.
“Despite all our efforts and commitment, we did not meet the CMA undertaking’s deadline for this small proportion of customers because of the impact of the unforeseen third lockdown and Ryanair disrupting the refund process.
“We had already outlined to the CMA a detailed action plan to manage all pending cases and continue to work to get all customers repaid.”
Lastminute.com, which is based in the Netherlands and Switzerland, has seen its share price has halved in the past year.
THESE STUPID COMPANIES ARE SO QUICK TO TAKE YOUR MONEY BUT NOT SO QUICK TO REFUND WHAT YOU PAID FOR!!!