We’re inundated with reports of refused refunds. Has your airline or holiday company claimed it doesn’t have to pay you because of a force majeure clause?
Among the huge numbers of people reporting that they’re unable to get a cash refund from their airline or holiday company, we’ve also seen a growing number being told that force majeure applies to their situation.
Force Majeure is a common contractual clause which can free parties of liability in the event of specified circumstances beyond the control of the parties.
Can force majeure apply to the COVID-19 crisis?
As we’ve previously discussed, flights out of the UK or EU and flights on UK and EU airlines are governed by the Denied Boarding EU Regulation (Regulation 261/2004 EC), which states that airlines must offer the option of a full refund when they cancel your flights.
This is why it’s not right that so many are only offering vouchers.
If an airline’s flights are subject to these rules, they can’t avoid their legal responsibilities by trying to contract out of the regulations, so we’d be surprised to see any trying to use force majeure as an excuse to claim that they can.
With regards to package holidays sold or offered in the UK, again, these should be covered by the Package Travel and Linked Travel Arrangements 2018.
Any booking covered by this regulation is entitled to a refund if the trip is cancelled due to unavoidable and extraordinary circumstances. This means that force majeure clauses cannot get a holiday organiser off the hook for refunds for packaged holidays either.
Send us your evidence
However, in order to investigate whether companies are doing this, we need your help.
In order to investigate whether companies are breaching travel regulations by claiming force majeure, we will need to see evidence.
If your airline or holiday company is trying to rely on a force majeure clause and you’d be happy to share your details, please email us written evidence that shows the provider stating ‘force majeure’ as reason for non-payment. Your booking details would also prove helpful.
You can reach us on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you being denied a cash refund by your airline or holiday company? Have other excuses been given?
Let us know in the comments and help us put pressure on companies to comply with their legal obligations.