In what is the second investigation into COVID-19 cancellation policies by holiday lettings companies, the CMA is clamping down hard on those refusing to provide full cash refunds to customers whose holidays could not go ahead.
Sykes, and the 24 businesses and brands owned by Sykes, including the Pure Cottages Group and Carbis Bay Holidays, has given the CMA a formal undertaking and agreed to:
- offer a full cash refund to customers whose holidays could not go ahead due to government restrictions at the time and who have not already rebooked
- convert credit vouchers to cash, if customers prefer (and as long as the credit voucher has not been used)
- provide the CMA with monthly reports on how many refund offers have been made and accepted
This intervention by the CMA will be welcomed by UK holidaymakers but less so by those in the travel and holiday industry who are facing significant cashflow issues and the pending withdrawal of the furlough scheme - credit vouchers have been a lifeline for some.
While times are incredibly tough for all in this sector (eye wateringly so!), the CMA was right to intervene. As the UK gears up for the great staycation, public trust in travel and holiday companies has never been more important. All eyes are on the economy and we are being encouraged to spend our hard earned cash here, at home.
In the words of the Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, "We're hoping to get tourism back as rapidly as possible, and when it is back we will be investing extensively, ensuring we have a major campaign to encourage British people to take British staycations."
While our roadmap out of the COVID crisis is far from 'oven-ready', one thing is for sure, spending is crucial this Summer and consumers don’t need another excuse to be cautious.
Following an investigation by the CMA, Sykes Cottages has reversed its policy on cancelled bookings and will now offer customers full refunds.