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EU targets Cyprus for no-refund travel vouchers

Airline travel features heavily in the lives of Paphos expat community

Cyprus is among the nations targeted by EU for allowing travel companies to send vouchers, instead of cash refunds, to travelers who have booked with them.

The European Commission announced on Thursday  that it would launch an infringement procedure against ten EU member states that have not taken action to ensure that travelers receive full cash refunds within two weeks.

National legislation in Croatia, the Czech Republic, Cyprus, Greece, France, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal and Slovakia still violates EU rules.

“Many companies in the transport sector have been faced with unsustainable cash flows and revenue situations. Throughout this crisis, the Commission has consistently made clear that passenger rights remain valid in the current unprecedented context and national measures to support the industry must not lower them. These nations have adopted legislation allowing carriers to offer vouchers as the only form of reimbursement,” the Commission says in a statement.

Countries have ten days to take action before facing fines.

The Cyprus Consumers’ Association has repeatedly called for vendors to provide refunds instead of vouchers. It has called on people to claim back money from travel agents for cancelled trips even if they had previously accepted a voucher, citing opaque procedures.

The association said last week that people were legally entitled to a refund instead of a voucher despite the recent law amendment allowing businesses to issue vouchers instead of cash refunds for cancelled bookings.

The European Consumer Organisation has called the launching of infringement proceedings “good news,” insisting that “consumers should not be used as cheap credit to bail out the travel industry.”


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