PASSENGERS still waiting for cancelled holiday and flight refunds from Virgin Atlantic have been promised their cash by the end of October.
Shai Weiss, the boss of Virgin Atlantic, which last month secured a £1.2billion rescue deal, said outstanding requests for refunds will be paid by the end of next month.
Some customers have been waiting months to get back the money they are entitled to after holidays and flights were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking to the BBC's Radio 5 Live Wake Up to Money programme, Mr Weiss said he expects to "clear all the backlog" by November of everyone who claimed a Virgin Holiday or Virgin Atlantic refund before August.
He acknowledged and thanked customers for their patience and said the number of refund requests it has received is in the millions.
"It has taken us much longer, we have now increased the capacity over the past few months of our team to handle refunds tenfold and I can assure customers that those requesting a refund in September will be dealt with very quickly," Mr Weiss said.
How to get a Virgin Holidays or Virgin Atlantic refund
IF your Virgin Atlantic or Virgin Holidays trip has been cancelled, here’s how to get your money back.
Virgin should be your first port of call if you're looking to get your money back.
- Submit a claim by the end of September and if you're entitled to a refund, you should get it within 60 days.
- Submit it by the end of October and if you're entitled toa refund, you'll get the money back within 30 days.
- And from November, if you're entitled to a refund you should get it within seven to 14 days.
The timeframe begins from the date the refund is requested and acknowledged by Virgin, not the date the flight is cancelled.
If you’re struggling to reach an agreement with the airline, you can escalate your claim to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) body.
Virgin Atlantic is a member of the AviationADR group – you can find information on how to start a complaint on its website.
Note that you're only entitled to a refund if your trip has been cancelled. If you've decided not to travel, you're likely to be at the mercy of Virgin for a refund.
If you booked through a third-party company, you’ll need to contact it regarding a refund or alternative flight.
But if you're struggling to get a refund, you may be able to make a claim through your credit or debit card provider.
Credit card payments between £100 and £30,000 are covered under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.
To start a claim, you need to contact your credit card provider directly – Which? has a free tool that can help you do this.
Those with flights and hotels booked by debit card may be able to claim a refund via their banks using the Chargeback scheme.
Claims apply for purchases made by debit card, or by credit card for purchases under £100, and must be done within 120 days of the transaction.
To start a chargeback claim, you need to contact your card provider but as it isn’t written into law there is no guarantee you’ll get your money back.
You may also be able to claim money back through your travel insurance provider, but this depends on the terms and conditions of your policy.
You should speak to your policy provider to discuss your options.
Read more about what your refund rights are.
Anyone requesting a refund by the end of September can expect their money back within 60 days, Mr Weiss said, and within 30 days if requested by the end of October.
Customers claiming a refund from November will receive their refund within seven to 14 days, a return to its "normal" procedures – see the box above for more information on how to claim.
Customers making a claim at the height of the pandemic have been forced to wait months for their money back, with Virgin Atlantic telling customers the wait could be as long as 120 days (four months).
A review by regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) into refund processes across airlines called this 120 day wait "unsatisfactory".
But some customers have been forced to wait even longer.
Virgin Atlantic admitted that some requests have exceeded 120 days in response to customer complaints on Twitter.
At the start of September it tweeted to several customers: "We are aware that there are a portion of refunds which unfortunately now exceed 120 days.
"We are resolving this as a priority and any customers affected will have their refund processed ASAP".
A Virgin Atlantic spokesperson said: “We remain focused on resolving any isolated bookings that exceed 120 days and these are being processed immediately, if and when they come to our attention.
“With increased processing capability and greater certainty, we are making steady progress through outstanding refunds and we’re on track to meet the timeframe commitments that we provided to our customers and to the CAA."
The CAA told The Sun it will discuss these cases with Virgin in order to consider if any further action is required.
The travel industry has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic causing delays for customers claiming refunds for cancelled holidays and flights.
Consumers have struggled to reclaim money they are owed amid ever changing travel restrictions over the past six months.
Furious On The Beach customers are even taking the package holiday firm to the small claims court as it refuses to fully refund trips.
Travel company STA has also collapsed, leaving hundreds of people without jobs and travellers wondering if they'll get their money back.
France and Spain are still on the UK government's quarantine list as new coronavirus infections fail to drop.
Brits have also been banned from meeting in groups of more than six people to stop a second wave -here's what will happen with refunds if a wedding is cancelled.
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