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Refunds and cancellations - who have been the good guys?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
i do get the impression (certainly from my dealings with Alpine Elements) is that they have deferred all these repayments as far as they can (Jan 31st 2021 in this case) in the hope that they can get some money in from people paying for next year trips. 31st Jan 2021 + 10/12 weeks is the whole season covered for full payments so they will have the maximum amount of money in that they will be getting in. And then go bust just on Jan 30th before having to pay people back having of course taken their dividends from the company in good time.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Mr_frosty wrote:
we pursued the chargeback route and told our travel firm that we would. a week or two ago our bank informed us ...

"We just wanted to let you know that we're temporarily refunding the payment(s) that was made to xxxx for the amount of £xxxx while we investigate further.
xxxx may give more details about the disputed payment(s). This could lead to the temporary refund(s) paid to your account being reversed. We may need to contact you again at a later date should we require any further information.
If you do not hear from us by 20/07/2020, the refund will remain in your account"

and so basically its down to the travel firm to dispute it with evidence (not sure how they could). given that neither their bank nor ours are liable in chargeback they could just empty their account and so by the 20/7 they'll be nothing there to pay us.


Yes, it depends on the card scheme (Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Diners (remember them?!) etc.), but once you've disputed a payment the steps are approximately:
1) your issuer reviews, and decides if it's a valid dispute - if so, it chucks it into the process.
2) (sounds like you're here) dispute sent to Merchant so it can respond, within XX (30?) days
3a) If Merchant doesn't respond, you win automatically. No right of appeal (to my knowledge), case closed.
3b) If the Merchant does respond, it has to provide very clear evidence to the issuer to explain it. My recollection is that the process is very simplistic, there isn't space for reams of explanation, just a "did you provide the goods/service?" and "was it your choice to withhold goods/service or the customer's choice?" along with "have you already refunded?".
4) Issuer decides who wins.

I'm pretty sure (tho' not current on the rules) that the final liability actually sits with your operator's bank (technically, their merchant acquirer) in this situation, not with the operator. Their bank/acquirer will have a contract that holds the operator liable, but in card scheme terms, that doesn't matter. Even if the operator has no money, their acquirer is liable to refund the money to your issuer and thus you. This is why the travel industry is a high risk category for credit card acquiring - akin to online gambling at times.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Thanks for that explanation, yes we're at 2) it looks however the limit is 60 days in our case.

for 3b) they'll respond with no we didn't provide the goods/service. on the second point quite early on they released a statement to all customers which implied customers cancelled, they since updated the statement reflecting a truer situation of events in that they themselves had no choice but to cancel and so i'm not sure how they answer this question

interesting point on liability, i was unaware of this.
ski holidays
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I`m a little confused, sorry. If the service is not provided, in my case flights from Ryanair for which I have initiated a charge back, the service providers bank is liable for the refund? My Barclaycard is showing a temporary refund at present.
ski holidays
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
CaravanSkier wrote:
I`m a little confused, sorry. If the service is not provided, in my case flights from Ryanair for which I have initiated a charge back, the service providers bank is liable for the refund? My Barclaycard is showing a temporary refund at present.


Yes, their Merchant Acquirer (which may or may not be their bank) is responsible for all their card-related liabilities. This is why being an acquirer is very high risk, needs a lot of capital, and necessitates good risk-scoring of the end-merchants (as a result there's <10 acquirers in the UK). This doesn't mean that Ryanair doesn't end up wearing the cost as the acquirer will take the money from Ryanair eventually, but that's not your problem.

E.g. You paid £150 for a ticket on an MBNA Visa card (MBNA = your card issuer, Visa = card scheme), and Ryanair has RBS as its acquirer.
MBNA files a dispute via Visa, to RBS.
RBS will go to Ryanair and ask for an explanation.
RBS will send this explanation (if received in time) back via Visa to MBNA.
MBNA will review the response and your complaint, and conclude.
If MBNA concludes in your favour, it reports this to Visa and thus RBS.
The card network (Visa) is a giant netting-off system that will reduce the funds flow to RBS by £150. RBS allocates this to Ryanair, but could just take it on the chin. Doesn't matter to you, the credit has gone to you, the debit to RBS.

In this process you'll notice it's cost MBNA nothing, and you are now a happier customer. And who initially reviews your case to see whether you get your money back...? MBNA. Potentially very consumer friendly.

There is a dispute process beyond this, which costs the banks and merchant some fees, but is free to you.
ski holidays
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I can't even get through to my bank to ask for chargeback, which I want to do after Holiday Extras have completely ignored my 3 emails.
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@snowdave, Thank you very much!

@lambert, I did not need to speak to Barclaycard it was all done via an online form.
ski holidays
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@CaravanSkier, Thanks, I can't find any reference on my Lloyds site, as I paid by debit card. I'll keep trying
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@lambert, Good luck
ski holidays
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ring lloyds card services they don’t put it on website for obvious reasons!
I had to write with supporting documentation had a holding response saying they are working on it and will be in touch
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I've got a chargeback ongoing with lloyds - you can do it online with them - takes a bit of finding on the website.

on home page - go to 'our products' and select credit cards

next page click help and guidance tab

then in the 'don't recognise a transaction' box - click the section 75 of the consumer act link

next page - right at the box click the link 'visit our credit card disputes page'

next page - right hand side - Raise a dispute - this takes you to the online form.

It's like they dont want you know its there !!!!

good luck
ski holidays
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@brock, we also got that message from AlpyBus last week and had money taken off the credit card.

Initially I thought they had charged us twice, but re-reading last week's email I wondered if that was the original charge - and looking through old bills it seems they had never put it through the credit card at the time. It looks as if that mistake was noticed when they tried to find the card details for issuing a refund.

Today, now they have my money, there is a further email saying they will refund us but offering the alternative of a credit note worth 20% more than the cash refund.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
The Salzburg Super Ski Card (and, I presume, the Kitzbüheler Alpen Card) are giving €45 (for adults) off next season's pass to those who bought 2019/20 season ticket: see €45 reduction but no extension over the summer season.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@espri, thank you for this info. We had the Salzburg Super Ski Card season passes this year.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@j b, Credit note worth 120% of original is a pretty good incentive ( if you're planning on skiing next season ).
ski holidays
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I went down chargeback route with Amex too as my insurance were asking odd questions about Ski France accommodation, who had refused refunds or re-schedule. Very easy process with them all online. They quickly credited "pending investigation" My complication then came when the insurance paid up a bit out of the blue, so I called Amex to cancel the chargeback, which again they did very efficiently as I didn't think I should keep both refunds!!!
ski holidays
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@dunc999, too late now, but in your position I’d have returned the insurance payout; technically chargeback should be taken first and insurance only if that fails. Effectively, the operator offered a refund (involuntarily!).
latest report
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I see Le Shuttle are still wearing their face mask over their eyes rather than their mouths. Friends coming home Sun ahead of quarantine. Tunnel 175 one way; P and O 80.
ski holidays
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Anyone on here have any refund dealings with the Topflight / DirectSki / Ski McNeill / Ski Beat / Topflight for Schools / Tony Collins Travel Agency group of companies?

I'd be keen to know your experience as I suspect there's a trend. All I've had to date is obfuscation and evasion with delay tactic upon delay tactic and constant fobbing off.

I visited my bank on 6 April to initiate the Chargeback process (they don't offer an online service) and my VISA Chargeback claim was officially lodged on 1 May. The outcome was due on 1 June. My bank have now been in contact to say that the Merchants bank declined my Chargeback and all they have supplied in support of this was my booking confirmation and not the actual reason for Chargeback dispute. My bank has now gone back to them with a pre-arbitration dispute (essentially a dispute against the decline) stating that this is insufficient. The Merchant now has a further 30 days to either accept or decline it.

IMO the merchant has deliberately responded with irrelevant information outside of what is required concerning 3b (as per @snowdave post above). They've chosen not to reply to "did you provide the goods/service?" and "was it your choice to withhold goods/service or the customer's choice?" along with "have you already refunded?" and instead just provided my booking confirmation (which my bank already has in my evidence pack).

So I'm now in a pre-arbitration dispute. Anyone have experience of that? And if the Merchant declines that dispute, what happens next?
snow conditions
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@paul65, I _think_ (and bear in mind it's nearly 20 years since I was involved with some of this stuff; largely tangentially) that the process from here is:

1) Your bank (the issuer) takes a view as to who's right (fortunately it's choosing you, as the issuer nearly always does) and rejects the response.
2) The Merchant now either has to provide more evidence to convince your bank to change its mind...
3) ... or go to arbitration (which the card scheme - Visa for you- administers). If it elects to go to arbitration, this costs the merchant money (tens to hundreds of pounds, the tariffs are probably somewhere on the web) to lodge a defence.
4) ... or fold - i.e. provide no new evidence and lose the claim.
5) Arbitration generally goes in favour of the consumer, costing the merchant a refund AND lots of fees, so it's a dangerous game that the merchant is playing here.

There is a wrinkle that complicates things I won't go into because, frankly, the industry has behaved so badly that I have no interest in flagging any further delaying tactics that any operators on here might use (and I know there's at least one that reads this stuff).
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Thanks everyone on chargeback information.
Holiday Extras have now emailed me to say that they haven't forgotten me. Some progress I suppose.
For any Easyet customers looking for a refund (as I've put on another thread) the current magic email is esupport@easyjet.com
I've had two refunds within days of using this email.
Thanks again everyone
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Remember that chargeback is not your only avenue to get your money back.
You can make a court claim against them.
See below:
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/762843/mcol-userguide-eng.pdf

You have a small upfront fee to pay, but you will get this back if they settle out of court.

While they can seek to delay other processes, the court process will happily continue in their absence.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
https://www.laplates.eu/Eng/index.html

We were booked to go next week, 4 of us with our MTB's. Although they are opening up they have agreed to carry our booking over to the same week next year. Gutted not to go, but looking forward to next year.

Having real trouble with getting a reply out of P&O North Sea though
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
@Frosty the Snowman, try 01304 448888 or 01304 863000, those are the two numbers saved on my phone. Email customer.services@poferries.com you get an auto response and usually a proper response within 48hrs. The guys on the customer services email can access more than the tele operators. I have used the email since Covid to promptly (if only temporarily) solve my issue. I have a fully flexible booking though, so can alter with 24hrs notice, and just pushed back into July for now. If you have a regular fixed date booking then you may be on a sticky wicket as sfaik services are running, ergo you will be cancelling not P&O. So you may have to put an insurance claim in using the FCO advice as the basis.
OR
I could be dead wrong
OR
P&O could go over and above

Good luck
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@midgetbiker, Cheers. The emails were sent, but no reply as of yet. The phone lines are closed for now. We have a fixed booking but they have stated that they will hold any bookings as a credit for 12 months. For the 1st time we booked through Direct Ferries, but they are proving impossible to contract. Their booking confirmation gave us a valid P&O booking reference, so have used that to contact P&O directly. I am sure it will be fine, but am getting a bit twitchy as there are 4 of us, 2 cars and meals and it is £1100.
Thanks for yr help.

FWIW, we love the crossings. The food is good, the bikes are safe, cabins nice enough and we have a right good laugh. A brilliant start to a holiday.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
@Frosty the Snowman, I've been using the Hull>Zeebrugge overnight service for the last couple of seasons. I like the crossing for exactly the reasons you mention plus it saves me a 300 mile drive to Dover. When I had to scarper from France in March P & O could not have been more helpful. I hadn't booked directly with them (discount thro' Caravan Club) but they were fine to sort out amendments and a bit of a reduction at the same time.
ski holidays
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Same for me with PandO. Advised me to go via Calais on the mad dash north in case Belgium was closed. But the Calais was only 60 quid so they advised me to do another new booking and then move my Zeeb booking to next season. I was on the most basic ticket so seems entirely fair. When I called to change the guy could not have been more helpful.
ski holidays
 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
The latest in our chargeback saga with Sunweb:-

"Hereby we decline your request for a chargeback. Although we regret that the travel couldn't be made due to the coronavirus, based on general English agency law principles, sales agents should not be held liable for services which have not been performed by the principal supplier. A chargeback cannot be made against Sunweb Group UK Ltd based on a cancellation by a third party, Sunweb Group GmbH. In addition, the customer will receive a credit note which will be refundable in due course (example of the creditnote and booking invoice is added). Please confirm the chargeback will not be granted."

So we can't claim against Sunweb UK because Sunweb GmbH is a "third party" ? This is taking the wee wee is it not?

Anyone on here who can advise on what "general English agency law principles" are relevant here?
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Yoda, what they are trying to hide behind (I think!) is that an agent isn't responsible for the delivery of the product, it is responsible only for selling you the product.

In travel terms, this means that an agency is only responsible for e.g. selling you an airline ticket - if there is a problem with the service quality or non-delivery, that's between you and the airline.

Sunweb appears to be trying to claim that the UK arm is an independent agent. This is totally bogus; about 5 mins on companies house shows that it's a fully owned subsidiary and shares its directors with Sunweb GmbH.

In your position I would respond with a clear statement that Sunweb Group UK is not an independent third party, it is a subsidiary of Sunweb Group GmbH which is the ultimate holding company.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@snowdave, thanks for that, very helpful.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Yoda wrote:
The latest in our chargeback saga with Sunweb:-

"Hereby we decline your request for a chargeback. Although we regret that the travel couldn't be made due to the coronavirus, based on general English agency law principles, sales agents should not be held liable for services which have not been performed by the principal supplier. A chargeback cannot be made against Sunweb Group UK Ltd based on a cancellation by a third party, Sunweb Group GmbH. In addition, the customer will receive a credit note which will be refundable in due course (example of the creditnote and booking invoice is added). Please confirm the chargeback will not be granted."

So we can't claim against Sunweb UK because Sunweb GmbH is a "third party" ? This is taking the wee wee is it not?

Anyone on here who can advise on what "general English agency law principles" are relevant here?
This looks very misleading and vague probably by design . No one would use the phrase "general English agency law principles" they would quote the specific one. "sales agents should not be held liable" if true would be "sales agents cannot be held liable" and finally "Please confirm the chargeback will not be granted." sounds like they are requesting you not to raise the chargeback. Ok there may be some language issues but it seems they are trying to circumvent their responsibilities under the law by misleading you into accepting a voucher.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@BergenBergen, that is their response to the bank as their justification for denying the chargeback.

We have already told them that their offer of a refund "at some time, maybe in 2021 but we can't really tell you when" is not acceptable.

Having received this from Sunweb, the bank have asked us to respond as the "second stage" of the chargeback process...
ski holidays
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Yoda, OK that makes more sense and ties in with Snowdave's description of the process earlier on. Still seems a bit odd that they would make that response to the bank though.
ski holidays
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Yoda wrote:
The latest in our chargeback saga with Sunweb:-

"Hereby we decline your request for a chargeback. Although we regret that the travel couldn't be made due to the coronavirus, based on general English agency law principles, sales agents should not be held liable for services which have not been performed by the principal supplier. A chargeback cannot be made against Sunweb Group UK Ltd based on a cancellation by a third party, Sunweb Group GmbH. In addition, the customer will receive a credit note which will be refundable in due course (example of the creditnote and booking invoice is added). Please confirm the chargeback will not be granted."

So we can't claim against Sunweb UK because Sunweb GmbH is a "third party" ? This is taking the wee wee is it not?

Anyone on here who can advise on what "general English agency law principles" are relevant here?

If you were sold a package holiday by Sunweb then they are acting unlawfully. I placed a link to the relevant legislation some pages back. Check that and if it applies then point out to the bank that by law you have to be refunded by the company, in this case via a chargeback.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
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@Yoda, Politely remind them that you have been forced to go down the chargeback route as they have fallen a long way short of their legal obligation to provide you with a full refund in a reasonable timeframe.
If they do not want to go down the chargeback route, then inform them that you are very happy get a court order for them to refund you, which will be enforced by bailiffs, if that is how they want to proceed.
Tell them to regard your correspondence as notice of your intention to pursue this activity, and this notice fulfils the initial legal requirement before commencing legal action.
(it'll cost you 5%-10% of the amount owed in court fees, but you will probably get that back too).
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Yoda wrote:
@BergenBergen, that is their response to the bank as their justification for denying the chargeback.

We have already told them that their offer of a refund "at some time, maybe in 2021 but we can't really tell you when" is not acceptable.

Having received this from Sunweb, the bank have asked us to respond as the "second stage" of the chargeback process...


I think what's happened is they don't quite understand the chargeback process; they've sent that to _their_ acquirer, but Sunweb doesn't realise that it's not their acquirer who makes the decision; they think their own acquirer will get back and confirm the chargeback has failed. It's been forwarded to your acquirer (who actually makes the decision whether or not to pursue further).

In light of this, in your position I would NOT get into any dialogue with Sunweb (which appear to be some suggestions on here) - it's a card scheme dispute, leave it to play out through that system. If you respond direct to Sunweb it will muddy the waters and might let them argue that you're in negotiation and thus the chargeback should be abandoned, making it very hard for you to continue this route.

I'd go with a response that makes clear that Sunweb is the operator, and there is no third party agent involved. Sunweb could potentially get into a lot of trouble with the card schemes for trying to duck its responsibilities in this way.
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@MikeM, it was for accommodation only.

@snowdave, we have no intention of corresponding further with Sunweb, after informing them that they :- a) initially offered us a refund, in accordance with their (then) T&C's, (which to me implies that they were accepting their role in this at that time); b) they rapidly changed this to an offer of a "corona voucher" for a future holiday with them (as if!); c) they took the position that it was "a voucher or nothing" - this was when I informed them that I would be initiating a chargeback, as this was not acceptable to us. Subsequent to all this they firstly declared (publicly) that the vouchers might be redeemable for cash at some time, but that anyone who refused a voucher would likely find, in the event that Sunweb went bust, that they would receive nothing at all. I understand that their current position is that refusal of the voucher (which is what we have done) will result in a refund from them, but that "it may take longer than the statutory 14 days" (which expired at the end of March). They appear to suggest that we might get our money some time in 2021, if we're lucky.
ski holidays
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
just a quick update on our chargeback claim, the travel firm are now attempting to dispute the claim under "The Doctrine of Frustration" anyone come across this before?
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@Mr_frosty, I think that's a variant of Force Majeure. In a consumer contract, unless the terms were already in the contract, and were clear, fair and not one-sided, I struggle to see it sticking legally.

However, you're in a card scheme process, not a court of law. I don't think the card scheme process has an option that says "it wasn't my fault guv". Please keep us updated tho', because the rules may turn out to be fluid in these times.
ski holidays
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
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Yoda wrote:
@MikeM, it was for accommodation only.

Ah. Pity. If you'd also bought ski passes from them they'd still be liable. But, looks like you'll have to fight through the bank. May be useful to take a pop at them through ABTA - although, I have little faith in ABTA, but it might rattle a few cages. Personally, I'd take them through the small claims court. It's highly unlikely they'd turn up to dispute the case and you'd win by default, plus expenses.

I certainly won't be going anywhere near Sunweb next season! Good luck and tell us how it eventually works out.
ski holidays



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