On the Beach resigns from ABTA in refunds dispute

On the Beach resigns from ABTA in refunds dispute

On the Beach has resigned its membership of ABTA following a disagreement over refunds.

The trade association recently reaffirmed its position that, if the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advises against “all but essential” travel to a destination, trips should be cancelled, and refunds offered.

However, On the Beach has rejected the position.

The online travel agent declined to refund customers for the flight element of package bookings to Spain unless airlines had cancelled flights and made a refund.

A spokesperson for On the Beach said: “The travel industry is facing unprecedented challenges, and changes are inevitable as businesses and trade organisations adapt.

“On the Beach has been an ABTA member since 2004, however the current circumstances have presented difficult decisions and different legal interpretations on complex matters.”

The company added On the Beach and subsidiary Sunshine.co.uk continue to be financially protected by the ATOL scheme.

In response, an ABTA spokesperson said: “We are sorry that On the Beach has resigned as a member of ABTA following ongoing discussions about refunds due to customers when the Foreign Office advice changes to advise against all, or all but essential travel to a destination.

“We recognise that the widespread imposition of advisories against travel places many ABTA members under enormous pressure regarding refunds.

“But ABTA has consistently maintained that the underlying obligation to refund remains, as has been the longstanding practice of the travel industry, and this has not changed as a result of Covid-19.

“ABTA believes this is important to ensure consumer confidence in the package holiday market.”

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