How Britons can protect themselves when airlines and travel companies go bust

4 min


Following the devastating collapse of Thomas Cook and WOW Air last year that left hundreds of thousands massively out of pocket, credit experts have advised that booking holidays with a credit card could protect Britons under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

TotallyMoney has advised that paying for holidays through credit cards opposed to debit cards outright, means customers can get their money back if something goes wrong and thus protecting themselves from any external issues.

Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act protects all credit card transactions between £100 and £30,000 – but there are many misconceptions associated with the act, according to TravelMoney.

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An estimated 5.2 million Britons will book holidays this January, yet almost a third (29 percent) of consumers don’t realise Section 75 covers them at all.

In addition, more than half (55 percent) aren’t aware they’re protected by Section 75 for the cost of a hotel when booking directly and a third (34 percent) falsely believe that Section 75 covers PayPal transactions over £100.

With many people left in the dark last year about if and how they’ll get a refund, customers can live safe in the knowledge that they’ll be able to get a refund under Section 75, providing the Debtor-Creditor-Supplier (DCS) Link isn’t broken.

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Travel advice: 5.2 million Britons will book holidays this January (Image: Getty Images)

This means the exchange of money between the customer, the credit card company, and the service provider must be maintained. Section 75 therefore wouldn’t apply when the DCS link is broken, which happens when using third parties, such as a travel agent.

Alarmingly, booking a holiday through a travel agent doesn’t cover customers if the operator folds. Customers should therefore confirm their holiday is ATOL-protected if booking through an agent.

TotallyMoney CEO, Alastair Douglas, said: “In a world where things can often go wrong, Section 75 is a safety net. The trouble is, many don’t realise it exists.

“With great deals in January and many suffering from post-Christmas blues, it’s easy to see why people are keen to book a holiday. However, having something go wrong while away — during what’s often the highlight of your year — is an awful situation to be in.

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“If it so happens you can’t jet off, or worse yet, you’re stuck and can’t get home, you can be left feeling like there’s nothing you can do. Section 75 adds an extra level of security that can really help,” Mr Douglas added.

“It was disheartening last year to see so many families stranded and out of pocket when Thomas Cook collapsed. If something like this happens again, being covered by Section 75 means you can contact your credit card provider to claim a refund.

Section 75 Top Ten Tips

To make sure you’re never caught out, here are ten things to know about how Section 75 can help you when booking your next getaway.

1. Limits on claims

Individual items and purchases costing more than £100 and up to £30,000 are covered under Section 75. So whether it’s a cancelled flight or an all-inclusive family holiday and the company goes bust, as long as you paid on credit card, you could be reimbursed the full amount.

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Travel advice: There are various ways to limit loss of money on travel (Image: Getty Images)

2. We’re talking credit, not debit

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Section 75 doesn’t cover anything bought using a debit card. Chargeback protection is as good as you’ll get with debit.

3. They’re bust. You’re not broke

Buying from a company that goes bust before

they deliver doesn’t mean your money’s lost. Section 75 requires credit card companies to get your money back.

4. Pay a deposit, get full value cover

When a deposit is needed for a holiday, use a credit card — even when the deposit is less than £100. Should anything prevent you from settling the balance (like the airline collapses), Section 75 lets you claim the full amount. Not just the paid deposit.

5. Pay part credit and part cheque, get full value cover

The same goes if you decide to pay part of the balance by credit card and the rest by cheque. Consumers can reclaim the full value of the qualifying goods and services even if the total balance wasn’t paid using a credit card.

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6. Stay protected on closed cards

Say you buy a holiday, close the credit card you bought it with, but something goes wrong that’s not your fault, Section 75 means you can still make a claim.

7. Extra expense cover

If you book a holiday and the flight is cancelled, through Section 75 you could claim back additional accommodation and food expenses, providing those consequential losses were reasonable.

8. The Section 75 loopholes

Buying through a third party (like travel agents), additional cardholder purchases, or cash that’s withdrawn from your credit card won’t offer Section 75 protection. You need to have paid the company directly (so purchases made through PayPal, for example, aren’t covered).

9. Section 75 applies to all credit cards

When it comes to Section 75 there’s isn’t one rule for one credit card company and something different for another. All credit cards come with Section 75 benefits.

10. The claims process

First port of call: the service provider, for example the airline or hotel (depending on the situation). Failing that, go to the credit card company — this might be your bank or building society, not Visa, Mastercard or AMEX. They’ll get you to fill out a claim form and voila! Your money is back where it belongs.


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