Martin Lewis has been inundated with requests and queries surrounding holiday refunds in recent weeks as the coronavirus pandemic saw thousands of people forced to ditch their summer plans. Many people have taken to Twitter to express their frustration as some airlines and holiday companies delay giving out refunds and offer vouchers instead of cash refunds. And now, Martin Lewis is advising people on how to make sure they get a cash refund from Virgin Atlantic.
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Unlike other airlines, Virgin Atlantic has insisted that it will offer refunds to its customers if they ask.
The Money Saving Expert site said that customers may face a “long wait” but offered up some helpful tips for customers whose trips have been cancelled.
Martin Lewis’ first piece of advice is to weigh up whether you want a cash refund, credit or a voucher.
While most people are desperate for their cash back, accepting a voucher or credit means that customers will not have to demand a refund which means they don’t have to try and claim anything.
Virgin are reportedly automatically sending vouchers to those with a cancelled trip.
The site advises: “If you accept a Virgin Holidays voucher you can use it to rebook up to 31 December 2021.
“You’ll have until 31 March 2020 to redeem the voucher – if you’ve not used it by then you can still request a refund.
“If you accept Virgin Atlantic credit you can use it to rebook on an alternative date up to 30 September 2022, and can also change the destination and name on the ticket.
“If you book to travel before 30 November 2020, any fare difference will be waived.”
Martin Lewis is also advising that applying online for a refund is likely to be faster than trying to phone them up.
Virgin Atlantic has refund request links in their emails so that customers can easily make the request.
This also means that the countdown to receiving the refund begins when the customer sends the request while on the phone it will be when an advisor confirms the request.
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Virgin Atlantic told Money Saving Expert.com that it is working through refund requests based on how long they have been waiting.
Currently, Virgin Atlantic cash refunds are taking up to 120 days to be processed.
The site also suggests that if customers can’t wait 120 days then they should maybe try complaining instead.
Customers should technically be owed a refund within 14 days if a package holiday is cancelled and seven days if a flight is cancelled, according to EU law.
At the moment, most airlines and holiday companies are struggling to meet this deadline due to high demand.
If this doesn’t work, then Martin Lewis advises telling Virgin that you’re willing to file a court claim.
But the site warns that “though while you may want to threaten, you’ll need to weigh up very carefully if this is actually worth pursuing.”
The other option is to try and get a chargeback or use Section 45, according to the Money Saving Expert.
Customers who are having no luck trying to get a refund who paid for their flight or holiday using a debit or credit card could try the chargeback scheme.
Banks will try to get the money back from the firm’s own bank but there is no guaranteed success with this.
The site explains that this option is rather a “customer service promise rather than a legal requirement”.
The last resort that Martin Lewis advises is taking Virgin to court but he warns “it’s unlikely to be worth the hassle”.
If customers do want to pursue this, then the site advises going down the “small claims route”.
The site says: “There is a cost – it’s £25 to £300, and it’s refunded if you win.
“If you lose, there are no costs against you in the small claims court, but there may be if it goes up to a higher court (you’ll know beforehand though and could drop the case then).
“It’s also worth weighing up the hassle factor though when considering this – especially given Virgin has promised to pay a full refund in time.”
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