The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into Teletext Holidays over refunds to customers for bookings cancelled due to Covid-19.
The CMA announced the investigation today, making Teletext Holidays the latest in a series of travel businesses the authority has examined over refunds.
The authority is also investigating whether airlines have breached consumers’ rights by failing to offer cash refunds for flights they could not lawfully take due to government advice against overseas travel during the pandemic.
The CMA said it had received “hundreds of complaints that people were not receiving refunds for package holidays cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic”, adding: “In some instances, Teletext customers reported they were promised refunds by a certain date, only to have that date pushed back.”
The authority said it would engage with Teletext “to gather further evidence on whether the company has broken consumer protection law”.
CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: “We understand the pandemic is presenting challenges for travel businesses, but it is important the interests of consumers are properly protected and that businesses comply with the law.
“We’ll be engaging with Teletext to establish whether the law has been broken and will take further action if necessary.”
The CMA has already written to more than 100 package holiday firms to remind them of their obligations to comply with consumer protection law.
It has previously investigated and secured refund commitments from holiday firms including Love Holidays, Lastminute.com, Virgin Holidays and Tui UK.
The CMA noted an investigation does not mean a business has broken consumer protection law. Most investigations lead to commitments by a company investigated to address the CMA’s concerns.
Teletext Holidays is the trading name of Truly Travel Ltd, a subsidiary of Truly Holdings.
A Truly Travel spokesperson said: “Despite the adverse conditions that the travel industry faces and the lack of industry-specific support provided by the government, the business continues to work hard to process refunds as quickly as possible and will work closely with the CMA in order to reach a satisfactory outcome for all our customers as quickly as possible.”
Consumer group Which? said it had “received a steady stream of complaints from Teletext Holidays customers who have been left chasing refunds for cancelled holidays, so it is right that the CMA is investigating the company”.
“Nearly a year on from the first wave of cancellations, it’s unacceptable for anyone to still be waiting for their money back,” said travel editor Rory Boland.
“Customers have been understanding of the difficult circumstances travel companies faced in the past year, but it’s clear now that some operators feel empowered to act with impunity. The regulator should establish the scale of the problem and, if necessary, quickly take appropriate action against the company to send a clear message that it will not stand for this kind of behaviour.”