Teletext Holidays has become the latest travel firm to be investigated by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) for failing to refund customers.
The CMA said it had received hundreds of complaints from people who had not been given back the money they paid for package holidays the company was forced to call off due to the pandemic.
Holidaymakers with package holidays are entitled to a full refund within 14 days when the tour operator cancels.
However, Teletext Holidays has been pushing customers towards credit notes or new bookings.
Customers who demanded their money back after December cancellations have reported being ignored by the company. Others have described having to wait over six months for refunds after trips were cancelled as far back as July.
Andrea Coscelli, the chief executive of the CMA, said: “We understand that the pandemic is presenting challenges for travel businesses, but it is important that the interests of consumers are properly protected and that businesses comply with the law.
“We’ll be engaging with Teletext to establish whether the law has been broken and will take further action if necessary.”
A spokesperson from Truly Travel Ltd which operates the Teletext Holidays brand said:
“Despite the adverse conditions that the travel industry faces and the lack of industry-specific support provided by the government, the business continues to work hard to process refunds as quickly as possible and will work closely with the CMA in order to reach a satisfactory outcome for all our customers as quickly as possible.”
Thursday’s announcement is the latest action by the watchdog in relation to holiday cancellations and refunds. The CMA has written to more than 100 package holiday firms to remind them of their obligations to comply with consumer protection law.
It has secured refund commitments from a number of holiday firms, including Love Holidays, Lastminute.com, Virgin Holidays, Tui UK, Sykes Cottages and Vacation Rentals, although in recent days the Guardian has heard from a consumer who is still waiting for their money.
The CMA is also investigating whether airlines have breached consumers’ legal rights by failing to offer cash refunds for flights they could not lawfully take as a result of the pandemic.
Telextext Holidays started out on the ITV Teletext service and made a name for itself as the place to get a cheap last-minute holiday, long before travellers used the internet to find breaks.
Passengers would book on the Friday night and head straight to the airport for a departure the following day.