TUI has admitted to hundreds of thousands of customers ‘we didn’t always get it right’ over pandemic cancellation refunds.
In an email sent to hundreds of thousands of frustrated customers this week, headed ‘We’re sorry’, TUI’s managing director Andrew Flintham wrote: “It’s hard to believe that in a matter of just months, we’ve gone from taking our customers on holiday all around the world, to being forced to cancel holidays for nearly a million customers.
“It’s certainly been a learning curve for us, and I’ll be the first to admit we didn’t always get it right.”
But it hasn’t issued an apology to third party agents, who have also complained about difficulties in getting through to TUI help centres, lack of communication over cancellations, and refund delays.
Many have taken to social media in recent weeks to vent their frustrations about TUI’s handling of Covid cancellations.
When asked if it was going to issue a similar apology to its agent partners, a TUI spokeswoman said: “At the moment we are committed to helping all customers, including those that booked via a third party. We are dealing with unprecedented volumes and really appreciate their patience.”
The poll asked consumers for their rating, feedback and experiences of dealing with companies due to problems arising from coronavirus. Firms were then ranked by subtracting the percentage of consumers who had a poor experience from those who had a great experience with the company.
TUI and its sister brand First Choice scored -60%, although other big brands scored even worse, including Love Holidays, Virgin Holidays, STA Travel, lastminute.com, Holiday Extras and Teletext Holidays.
In a bid to speed up the refunds process, TUI has introduced a new self-service refund section on its website to apply for a cash refund for customers with cancelled holidays before June 11.
Customers with holidays booked up to August 31 can make free amendments to their bookings online until June 30.
Flintham added: “We’d like to sincerely apologise to our customers impacted by delays to refunds and the length of time it’s taken. We really look forward to taking people on holiday again as soon as we’re able to do. We can already see that there is a real appetite for our customers to travel again, with many using our booking incentive for holidays later in the year and next summer.”