If you’re ATOL protected, you’ll be refunded for your holiday. If you’re currently on the holiday you will be eligible to claim on part of the holiday.
However, if you are not ATOL protected, you should try claiming through Section 75 (if you paid on a credit card) or consider asking your Visa, AMEX, or Mastercard provider to use chargeback.
Also, if you are ATOL protected and if you use Section 75, it is likely that you will be able to claim for consequential costs that occur due to the collapse of Thomas Cook.
You’ve checked the weather, renewed your passports, and packed your bags ready for a late summer holiday to escape the downpours currently taking over the UK and…. Thomas Cook collapses.
As a result of the collapse, all future holidays booked through Thomas Cook have been automatically canceled. If this has happened to you, you’re probably trying to find out exactly what you need to do to get your money back for the holiday you’ve been anticipating.
Check if you are ATOL protected
Check your emails to see if you have an ATOL certificate – it will have been sent through with your documents as a certificate. If you have one, then great news – you’re covered!
ATOL protects customers flying from the United Kingdom when (or if) the travel company that they booked through collapses. This ensures they are not out of pocket and don’t become stranded abroad.
You are likely to be ATOL protected if you booked a package holiday. In the event that you only booked flights, it is unlikely that you have ATOL protection, so you will need to seek a refund in an alternative way.
If you are currently abroad
You can still make a partial claim if you have been affected in any way if you are currently abroad and covered by ATOL.
If you are due to return on or before October 6th
You will still be able to fly home, as the CAA is currently organising for you to either fly home with CAA-operated flights or with other airlines. You can finish your holiday as planned, but make sure you keep an eye on your emails to stay up to date with what’s going on.
You don’t need to be ATOL protected to be eligible to fly home, you just need to have a booked flight with Thomas Cook that is flying to the UK.
If you are due to return after October 6th
You will need to make your own arrangements for your journey home. If you are covered by ATOL, you will be reimbursed for this flight. Make sure you keep all records of your transactions for when you claim.
The Civil Aviation Authority
The refunds will be sorted out by the Civil Aviation Authority. It’s not worth sending them anything at the moment, as they’re currently are trying to deal with the UK’s largest-ever peacetime repatriation programme.
The CAA has announced that on or before the 30th September they will be launching a service to manage refunds. All refunds will be processed within two months of them receiving all of the relevant information. If your holiday has been canceled and you are seeking a refund, the best thing you can do at the moment is gathering up all of the information about your booking including all receipts and statements of payments made.
Keep an eye on this website to stay up to date with future communications and find out when the service is launched.
If you are not ATOL protected
If you paid on a credit card, even just part of the payment, and it is between £100 and £30,000, you are covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. This means that the credit card provider is equally liable to pay out for your canceled holiday. Every item needs to be between £100 to £30,000 for this to work, however, so check with your credit card issuer to find out.
This can become problematic if you didn’t pay Thomas Cook directly, and instead used a third party travel agent. You can also lose your rights under Section 75 if you paid via PayPal. If you’re not sure, ask!
If you made other payments that were related to your original purchase which you then lost as a consequence of Thomas Cook’s collapse, such as train tickets, then you can claim back for these as well.
How to make a claim
To make a claim, you’ll need to contact your credit card company. Tell them you are making a claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. It’s important that you state this, sot hey know how to deal with your claim going forward.
If all goes well, they’ll send you a form for you to fill out and send them.
If you paid by debit card, then you’re not completely out of luck. Visa, AMEX, and Mastercard all have a rule which can allow you to reverse a payment you’ve made if something you’ve bought does not arrive or is faulty on arrival. As you will not receive the product or service you have paid for, you are eligible to do this. Unlike ATOL, this isn’t a legal right, so it may not work in some cases. This works completely by the credit card providers’ discretion.
Unlike Section 75, you are only eligible to get a refund on the amount that was put on that specific card – so a deposit will not get you the full amount back.
Contact Visa, AMEX or Mastercard in order to do this – depending on which one you made your payment on in order to do this. You must make this claim within 120 days of your original flight.
This might not be the best option, as many insurance providers will not cover in this situation. It is worth checking your policy to see if you’re eligible to claim. If you are, make a claim as you would with them normally.
Train tickets – can I cancel or change my connecting train tickets?
Several train companies have agreed to refund customers who have bought train tickets to connect to their Thomas Cook flight. These are Gatwick Express, Great Northern, Southern, and Thameslink. If you booked train tickets with them then you’re able to cancel them.
I just landed and already have a train ticket for a different date
They will allow you to travel with your original ticket on your chosen date. Make sure you have evidence with you that you are a Thomas Cook customer so change your ticket date for you, free of charge. You do not need to go to the ticket office to have the ticket changed.
I need to change the date ahead of travel
If you want to make changes ahead of the date of travel, just head to a ticket office where they will exchange the ticket for you. You’ll need evidence that your flight was cancelled.
I’m not flying to the same airport – can I use my original ticket?
If you were repatriated to a different airport, you cannot use your original ticket. Instead, you should buy a ticket to cover the journey then claim this money back through ATOL or Section 75.
In all of these cases, Govia Thameslink will usually charge a £10 administration fee – however, this has been waived for Thomas Cook customers.
If you’ve taken the time off work and bought all of your holiday items you may still want to get away, especially with the stress upcoming in getting your money back. We have an article here on holidays under £300pp that you could book today!