Thomas Cook: Holidaymaker frustration as refund website crashes

Holidaymakers trying to get their money back following the collapse of Thomas Cook have expressed frustration after the dedicated claims website suffered technical problems due to high demand.

Monday, 7th October 2019, 1:40 pm
Updated Monday, 7th October 2019, 3:39 pm
Passengers who had booked holidays with Thomas Cook were struggling to submit refund claims after the website crashed.

Passengers complained that the site, run by the Civil Aviation Authority, was crashing due to high demand.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said that 11,500 claims of 360,000 potential travellers' refunds had been submitted by this afternoon and were being processed. It is expected to take 60 days for people to get their money back.

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The launch of the refund process came as the last Thomas Cook repatriation flight touched down in the UK.

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The CAA tweeted that the website was struggling to keep up with "unprecedented demand".

It said: "This is the UK travel industry’s largest ever refund programme and we would like to thank Thomas Cook customers for their patience."

Scams

Consumer groups warned that the delays could see some consumers turning to bogus claims sites which have been set up to scam Thomas Cook customers.

Adam French, Which? consumer rights expert, said: “It is understandably frustrating for some Thomas Cook customers that they are now facing problems trying to submit their refunds because of high volumes of online traffic.

"It is vital that customers persevere and do not turn to alternative websites, as we've seen scammers seeking to take advantage of this situation by setting up convincing fake refund websites to fleece customers."

Citizens Advice Scotland chief executive Derek Mitchell said: “It is concerning that people are unable to get redress two weeks after the company ceased trading. People have already had to wait quite a long time now. This isn’t just hitting them in the pocket, it’s disrupting their ability to plan alternative holidays."

He added: “We understand that setting up a website like this is not easy, but we hope that the Civil Aviation Authority will do whatever it takes to fix the website’s problems as a matter of urgency, so that consumers can get the redress they are fully entitled to as quickly as possible.”

Final repatriation flight lands

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says that it has brought more than 140,000 Thomas Cook customers back to the UK, with the final 392 passengers arriving at Manchester airport this morning.

Twitter user Pete Horner said to the CAA: "Tried twice to submit my Thomas Cook refund and got the same error at the end of the process, rather than a claim reference number - when should we try again?"

Another holidaymaker, Roy Smith, said: "Have been on your Thomas Cook refund site for 30 mins and not working, have been phoning you but tell me cannot get through and cut me off. Do you have problems with site?"

More than 360,000 bookings, covering trips that would have been taken by 800,000 people, are expected to be refunded through the form on thomascook.caa.co.uk/refunds.