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Who’s holding on to your holiday money?



If you haven’t been offered a refund for a holiday that’s been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to know who exactly is holding on to your cash so that you can claim a refund from the right company.


There have been reports online about holidaymakers being denied refunds when they’ve tried to claim the cash back from their credit or debit card issuers because they’ve pursued the wrong company.



If you lodge a county court claim for a refund, this will also fail if you’ve named the wrong company in the legal documents.


You might have bought your holiday from a travel agent – either on the high street or online – but they won’t necessarily be the ones responsible for refunding your money. It’s the tour operator who organised the holiday who isresponsible for the refund, they’re the ones who’ve got your cash.


When you paid for your holiday, you should have received an ATOL certificate that names the travel organiser. It’s this company that will be responsible for issuing the refund. It might be the travel agent you booked with as some agents are also operators, but it could be a completely different company.


If you booked with a travel agent, you will need to approach them in the first instance to request a refund from the tour operator, but many agents are being told by tour operators that they’re not in a position to issue refunds at the moment. Instead, they’re offering vouchers, credit notes or the option to re-book.



In these cases, the travel agent is just the messenger. They don’t have any power to force the tour operators to refund their customers and they don’t have the money to issue refunds themselves, all they can do is put in your request and rely the response.


Please don’t shout at your travel agent


I’ve heard reports of frustrated clients (not you, I know it’s not you) taking their anger out on travel agents, yelling and swearing at them because they won’t give them their money back. It’s infuriating, I get it, but it’s futile getting cross with travel agents because this isn’t their fault and there’s literally nothing they can do.


What you should do if you’re denied a refund is establish the name of the company that organised your holiday then follow the steps outlined here to get a refund.

Linsey McNeill

A journalist and travel writer of 35 years' standing, a once-a-week yogi, terrible skier and out-of-order mum to 2 teens. Previously Editor of TravelMole.com, bylines also include The Telegraph, The Times, The Observer, the London Evening Standard, Which? and The South China Morning Post.

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  1. I Bagwell says:

    Very disappointed with P&O refund policy offering cruise credit instead of full refunds.

  2. ryanair or kiwi.com (3rd party) will not refund our money as are flights where cancelled de to covid

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