How to Claim a Refund from Thomas Cook

Are you one of the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the Thomas Cook collapse? The historical British travel company left customers in the lurch when they went into liquidation earlier this week. Though it is causing a lot of hassle, things are not hopeless. Read this guide to find out how to get your money back from Thomas Cook.

How to Make a Thomas Cook ATOL Claim

If you booked a Thomas Cook package holiday, it will now be cancelled. However, your holiday should be covered by ATOL protection. Anyone with a future Thomas Cook booking should be entitled to a full refund. Unfortunately, the Civil Aviation Authority isn’t launching the service for Thomas Cook ATOL claims until Monday 30th September. This is because it is currently focusing on the operation to repatriate Thomas Cook customers who are currently abroad and due to return. Once you complete the ATOL claim form online, it could take around 60 days for the CAA to fulfil your refund request. You may have to pay upfront replacement costs if you are going on holiday before this.

How to Claim a Refund from Thomas Cook Without ATOL

Even travellers with flight-only Thomas Cook bookings, which are normally not ATOL-protected, will be flown back to the UK by the CAA in the next two weeks. Unfortunately, this does not apply to flight-only bookings after this. For Thomas Cook flight-only bookings from 7th October, you are likely to have to organise and pay for the replacement flights yourself. You will not be able to make an ATOL claim for these costs. However, you might still be able to get a refund for your original Thomas Cook flights another way. If you paid for the Thomas Cook flight booking by debit or credit card, you could get a refund from your card issuer instead. See below for how to claim a refund this way.

How to Claim a Thomas Cook Refund from Your Bank

If you paid for a Thomas Cook booking with a credit card, then you may be covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Your card company is jointly responsible for providing the services that you used your credit card to pay for. So, now that Thomas Cook will not be providing the service, your credit card provider must return your money to you. The booking must have cost between £100 and £30,000 in order for you to claim a refund under Section 75. For bookings below £100, or paid for by debit card, there is the chargeback scheme. You must make a chargeback claim within 120 days. Unlike Section 75, a chargeback is not a legal requirement, so it is not a refund guarantee.

How to Claim a Thomas Cook Refund with Travel Insurance

Everyone knows that it is wise to take out a travel insurance policy whenever you book a holiday. If you have travel insurance, then you should be able to claim back the costs of your cancelled Thomas Cook booking by making a travel insurance claim. Contact your travel insurance provider and follow their claims procedure. It could take you several weeks to get the money if your claim is successful. You need to check your insurance policy for Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance for flight-only bookings or End Supplier Failure coverage for other costs such as hotels and transfers. You can only make a travel insurance claim if you purchased the policy before Thomas Cook went under.

What to Do About Thomas Cook Direct Debits

You may have been paying in instalments for an upcoming Thomas Cook holiday. If it is ATOL-protected then you can get your money back that way, although it might take a few months. Any further payments to Thomas Cook should be cancelled, especially Direct Debits. Thomas Cook should automatically cancel payments from the 25th of September onwards. Cancelling a Thomas Cook Direct Debit will not affect your ATOL protection or credit score.

Can I get a refund for separate bookings or additional expenses?

If you booked extras with a Thomas Cook package holiday, such as excursions or a hire car, you should contact the third party provider to discuss refunds or rearrangements. They may not be obligated to refund you, but explain the situation with Thomas Cook. If you have specialist cover for your Thomas Cook package holiday, such as Wedding Insurance, then this should allow you to make a claim for the associated costs. In other cases, you might have to abandon these parts of the holiday and claim for “consequential losses” through your travel insurance provider. You might have booked a package holiday with a different tour operator which included Thomas Cook flights. The tour operator should get in touch with you to make alternative arrangements. You may have to pay the difference if the replacement flights are more expensive, which is likely to happen as prices rise the closer it gets to your departure.

Will I get compensation from my Thomas Cook flight delay claim?

Since Thomas Cook went into liquidation owing millions in debt, it is unlikely that anyone they owed will see that money. Unfortunately, this includes anyone who had an outstanding flight delay compensation claim. Any payout that you were waiting for from Thomas Cook will become a claim against their assets. You will have to register as one of a long list of unsecured creditors to try to reclaim your money. You probably won’t get the full amount, if any.

Can I get a refund for a Thomas Cook gift voucher?

If you used a Thomas Cook gift card or voucher to pay for your holiday and it is ATOL-protected, then you should be able to make an ATOL claim for a cash refund. Gift cards and gift vouchers immediately lose their value when their company goes bust and they are no longer redeemable. The only way to get the money back from a Thomas Cook gift card is for the person who purchased it to make a chargeback or Section 75 claim to their debit or credit card provider. If you are the recipient of a Thomas Cook gift card, you could register as a creditor. However, it is unlikely that you will get the money back this way. Even if you do, it will take a very long time and won’t be the full amount.

Are Thomas Cook pre-paid cards still valid?

Thomas Cook pre-paid cards, such as Thomas Cook Cash Passports and the Lyk card, are still valid. The company which issues these cards, Wirecard Card Solutions Ltd, is separate from Thomas Cook. They are holding the money safely according to Financial Conduct Authority regulations. You can continue to use Thomas Cook pre-paid cards to withdraw money from ATMs and to make payments in shops. Wirecard still allows you to manage your pre-paid card online and through their mobile app. You can withdraw your money and cancel the card if you prefer to do so.

Is Thomas Cook travel insurance still valid?

If you bought your travel insurance with Thomas Cook as well, then you might be worried about being able to make travel insurance claims. However, your Thomas Cook travel insurance should still be a valid policy. It is underwritten by a separate travel insurance company, which appears to be called White Horse Insurance Ireland. The company is reassuring customers who bought their policy through Thomas Cook that they are still operating and will uphold it.

Watch Out for Thomas Cook Refund Scams

When such a large-scale consumer disaster happens, there will always be scammers looking for the opportunity to take advantage of vulnerable people. Already, people who never even booked a Thomas Cook holiday are reporting calls claiming to offer a full refund in exchange for the customer’s bank details. This is obviously a phishing scam by criminals trying to commit financial fraud, so do not fall for it. Thomas Cook is no longer operational, so do not believe anyone who contacts you claiming to be from Thomas Cook. Do not disclose any personal information to such people, and report them to Action Fraud. You will not be able to get a refund other than by the methods above.