We booked a package trip with Travel Republic for our honeymoon next month. Sadly, our wedding was prevented by coronavirus, so it will just be a holiday. Travel Republic has now sent us a Covid-19 waiver absolving itself of liability if any part of the booking has to be changed or cancelled at short notice.
As I understand it, this constitutes a significant change in our terms and we should be entitled to a full refund within 14 days. Moreover, we need to change the booking details for my partner as we had assumed we would be travelling as a married couple, but she will now need tickets under her maiden name. Travel Republic has closed its customer services lines and hasn’t responded to our messages.
The word “liability” has caused much confusion during the pandemic. Some companies have justified withholding refunds for holidays cancelled during lockdown on clauses in their terms and conditions that exclude liability for force majeure events.
What such clauses actually mean, according to lawyers Eve England, partner of Eversheds Sutherland, is that the trader won’t have to provide additional compensation if they’re prevented from providing the service. It does not exempt it from refunding the money paid for it – indeed, it is obliged to do so under the Consumer Rights Act and the package travel and linked travel arrangements regulations if the trip can’t go ahead.
Travel Republic confirms that its waiver is not an attempt to shove the risk on to you. “Customers’ package travel rights remain unaffected by the waiver,” it says. “Where there are significant changes, or we cancel their holiday, our customers will receive a refund or option to amend. The waiver is an acknowledgement that services or facilities may be altered as a result of enhanced health and safety measures resulting from Covid-19.”
If you need help email Anna Tims at email@example.com. Include an address and phone number. Submission and publication are subject to our terms and conditions