I booked a package holiday to Greece for myself and my partner, via the Tui website. Tragically, my partner died two months before the trip. We had travel insurance but we were not covered for his death – he had long-standing but generally well-controlled mental health problems, but he took his own life.
I checked the terms and conditions on the Tui website and saw that I would lose 50% of the holiday cost – £1,800 – by cancelling, plus a further 20% if I left it until the next day. I therefore cancelled immediately, as directed. Three weeks later, there was no sign of the 50% refund.
I checked my holiday dates on the Tui website and saw the hotel was fully booked, which suggested my holiday had been resold.
Tui customer services said that if I’d phoned, my case would have been referred to the “exceptions department” and not handled under standard terms and conditions. She assured me she would contact this department and get back to me later that day. She didn’t.
I tried again daily, always to be told the same thing. I then visited my local Tui shop which promised to chase a response, but in vain.
When I tried customer services yet again I was told the £1,800 cancellation fee would stand as I had cancelled online rather than by phone. To keep £1,800 for a holiday that has been resold is unacceptable profiteering.
Tui was criticised last August after deducting £400 from the refund to a widower whose wife had died suddenly before a holiday.
You were eventually refunded half your holiday cost a month after you’d cancelled. It is true that Tui has no legal responsibility to refund the full amount as its terms and conditions make clear – and it is standard practice for travel companies to retain at least a percentage of a cancelled booking. Ethically, however, you should have been treated differently – and you were, once Tui’s press office was informed.
It apologised for giving you the runaround and refunded the remaining £1,800.
In cases of bereavement, always call a company to explain. Most will consider making an exception under the circumstances.
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