Lastminute.com to pay £7m in refunds

Lastminute.com has promised to repay a total of £7 million to more than 9,000 customers who it failed to refund for cancelled holidays, a consumer watchdog has announced.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the company has agreed to repay at least half the customers by December 16, and the rest no later than January 31.

Anyone entitled to a refund for cancellations on or after Thursday will be paid within 14 days, the CMA added.

The watchdog received hundreds of complaints that lastminute.com was not issuing refunds for trips cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is continuing to investigate package holiday firms following concerns that refunds across the sector are being delayed.

CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: “Online travel agents have a legal responsibility to provide prompt refunds to customers whose holidays have been cancelled due to coronavirus – irrespective of whether the agent received refunds from airlines and accommodation providers.

“Our action today means that customers whose holidays were cancelled by lastminute.com will receive their money back without undue delay.

“The CMA is continuing to investigate package holiday firms following concerns that people are not getting the refunds they’re entitled to when bookings can’t go ahead because of the pandemic.

“If we find that businesses are breaching consumer protection law, we will not hesitate to take further action.”