Lastminute.com will face legal action unless it repays over £1 million to customers it committed to refund after their package holidays were cancelled due to COVID-19, according to the Competition and Markets Authority.
On 1st December 2020, the CMA announced that lastminute.com had signed formal undertakings which committed it to pay out over £7 million to more than 9,000 customers.
All those affected were due to get their money back by 31st January 2021 at the latest but, according to the CMA, lastminute.com still owes over £1m to 2,600 customers.
The CMA said the London-based 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 3rd December 2020.
It added: “On top of this, lastminute.com told some package holiday customers to go directly to their airline to get the cost of their flight back. This is also 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 seven 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.”
Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said the situation was “wholly unacceptable”.
“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,“ he added.
The CMA says it has written to over 100 package holiday firms to remind them of their obligations to comply with consumer protection law in relation to cancelled holidays during the pandemic.
It has already secured refund commitments from Virgin Holidays, TUI UK, Sykes Cottages and Vacation Rentals.TravelTech