The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has threatened to come down hard on the holiday home rental sector, prompting at least one company to change its cancellation refunds properly.
After the CMA announced an investigation into cancellations and refunds, Vacation Rentals voluntarily changed its policy on offering refunds to all customers whose trips were cancelled.
The company – which operates sites including Hoseasons and Cottages.com – had told customers they couldn’t have a full refund if a booking was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
It’s now reversed that decision and has promised to communicate its new policy clearly on its website and via social media, and to update the CMA with monthly reports on the number of refund offers that have been made and accepted.
It was one of a number of companies reported to the CMA’s COVID-19 Taskforce. Common complaints include companies refusing to provide full refunds at all or offering only vouchers instead of cash refunds.
The CMA has vowed to continue its inquiries into the holiday accommodation sector, which could lead to court action against companies which don’t comply.
The CMA says it would expect a consumer to be offered a full refund where a business has cancelled a contract without providing any of the promised goods or services, or when no service is provided by a business.
Or, for example, because the delivery is prevented by Government public health measures, or if a consumer cancels, or is prevented from receiving any services, because public health measures mean they aren’t allowed to use the services.