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Is it all talk and no action over Lastminute.com refunds?

Can you please ask the Competition and Markets Authority what it actually is doing to check that Lastminute.com is refunding its customers, because

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Can you please ask the Competition and Markets Authority what it actually is doing to check that Lastminute.com is refunding its customers, because I, and many others, are still waiting.

In December it said Lastminute had undertaken to refund £7m owed to more than 9,000 customers following cancelled trips. It set a deadline of 31 January.

I made a £602 booking for return flights and transfers from London Stansted to Palma leaving in July. Although it was cancelled in May 2020, my account at Lastminute.com still shows it is awaiting funds from the airlines, even though I know these were paid in September.

The CMA was supposed to have received regular reports of the progress made in paying out the refunds, so what, if anything, has happened?

JH, by email

It’s a good question – and one to which a great many readers were seeking an answer. The CMA has made much of the agreements it won from a host of travel firms. However, you are not the only one to question whether it is all talk and no action.

When we contacted the CMA earlier this week it told us it was “urgently investigating concerns that the company has not paid refunds to all eligible customers”. It added: “Should we find Lastminute.com has breached the deadline, or failed to refund customers, we will take action and, if necessary, use our legal powers to ensure it fulfils its obligations.”

On Friday, it revealed that Lastminute.com still owed more than £1m to 2,600 customers and gave it seven days to pay the outstanding refunds, saying it would take court action if that did not happen. To avoid court, Lastminute.com must also ensure that from now on customers receive a full refund within 14 days if they are legally entitled to one after the cancellation of their package holiday.

However, the problem you have is that your booking was flight-only meaning it is technically not covered by the CMA’s intervention which only covers package tours – where flights and accommodation were booked together. Lastminute has told us that it now investigating why you have not been refunded and will be in touch.

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