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Consumers Association says despite law amendment, people are entitled to travel refunds

The Consumers Association said on Tuesday people were legally entitled to a refund instead of a voucher when it comes to travel.

Last month, with 34 votes in favour and only one against, the plenary approved a controversial plan for businesses to issue vouchers instead of cash refunds for cancelled bookings.

The plan was conceived around the beginning of May to help protect the hard-hit tourism sector from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic that has brought global travel to an abrupt halt and specifically from companies which, due to the absence of tourism, are faced with serious financial issues.

In an announcement, the finance ministry said that the new regulation covers travel agents, hotels, cruise companies and car rental companies.

The law also stipulates government guarantees for €87m, that will be reserved to compensate tourists in case Cypriot business that issue vouchers become insolvent and therefore unable to receive or serve them.

Although approved by parliament, the bill was expected to draw criticism from the EU, as it directly opposes a European law which grants tourists the right to choose between a cash refund or a voucher to be used for a future package holiday.

The Consumers Association said Tuesday it was continuing its struggle to defend the legal rights of consumers, which had “illegally been removed by parliament.

It calls on those consumers who paid for an organised trip that was cancelled, regardless of whether they accepted a voucher or not, or if they accepted a lower refund where it was offered, to contact the association as soon as possible at Tel: 700 00 700 or by email at [email protected]

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