U.K. regulator puts pressure on Lastminute.com Group over refunds

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is threatening legal action if Lastminute.com Group does not repay outstanding refunds to customers.

The U.K. regulator says that while the online travel company had committed in November last year to pay more than £7 million to customers by the end of January 2020, more than £1 million is still owed to 2,600 customers.

The CMA adds that Lastminute.com Group has also not met a commitment to pay back customers entitled to a refund within 14 days of their package holiday being cancelled on or after December 3, 2020.

Andrea Coscelli, CEO of the CMA, says: “We take breaches of commitments extremely seriously. If Lastminute.com does not comply with the law and pay people their outstanding refunds quickly, we will take the company to court.”

The CMA says it sent a letter to Lastminute.com Group on Friday, February 12, 2021 outlining its intention to take action against the company.

The regulator also says that the travel company was in breach of Package Travel Regulations for telling some package holiday customers to seek a refund directly from their airline.

In response, Lastminute has apologized to customers still awaiting a refund and says it did not meet the deadline for a small percentage of bookings.

The company says about 2% of total affected bookings are awaiting a refund.

In a statement the company says: “We did not meet the undertaking’s deadline signed on November 27, 2020, for this small proportion of bookings because of the unforeseen third lockdown announced in the beginning of January this year, which further impacted the travel sector, and added extra pressure to an already challenging process.”

Lastminute.com Group also refers to confusion over bookings which include a Ryanair flight with the Ireland-based carrier telling customers to come to it for the refund.

The company says it has taken the CMA through a detailed action plan to complete all outstanding refunds.

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