The holiday rentals firm behind Hoseasons and Cottages.com has agreed to give customers refunds for cancelled trips due to the coronavirus crisis after being reported to the competition watchdog.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said Vacation Rentals had changed its policy after originally refusing to give money back to customers whose stays had been cancelled.
Vacation Rentals – which runs a raft of brands such as Welcome Cottages and Blue Chip Holidays – has now made a formal commitment to the CMA that it will give customers affected by lockdown the option of a full refund.
The CMA said its Covid-19 taskforce had received around 4500 reports about UK holiday rental companies, with complaints about Vacation Rentals making up a “significant proportion”.
Common complaints include companies refusing to provide full refunds at all or offering only vouchers instead of cash refunds, according to the watchdog.
But it said it is continuing to investigate the sector, with other holiday companies still refusing to offer customers their money back.
The CMA warned it could take court action against firms that refuse to treat customers fairly amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: “We welcome this step and other holiday lets firms must now follow suit.
“We know the pandemic is presenting businesses with challenges too, but it’s not right that people are being left hundreds or even thousands of pounds out of pocket – on top of having to sacrifice their holidays.
“Consumer protection law exists for a reason; businesses must observe the law or face the possibility of enforcement action.”