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Covid-19: Passengers' rights to Channel ferry ticket refunds

Refunds are always due if a travel company cancels your trip - but what is the position where you cancel it yourself due to the pandemic? 

Can I get a refund from P&O ferries with a saver ticket if the ferry is running but I cannot use the crossing because of Covid-19 restrictions?

Saver Tickets are one of three types of ticket P&O clients can choose from and, contractually, they are non-refundable.

P&O told The Connexion: “P&O Ferries is granting a full refund or transfer to an alternative crossing for all customers who originally bought refundable tickets, and to any customers who had their original sailing cancelled by P&O Ferries on the Hull-Zeebrugge route.

“For those customers who originally bought non-refundable tickets on sailings that continued to operate, or are expected to sail, P&O Ferries went beyond its legal obligations and are offering a credit voucher for future travel with P&O Ferries. These vouchers are given by the company in good faith and are not refundable.”

The European Consumer Centre France, a consumer advice network set up by the European Commission told The Connexion that refunds are only a legal obligation if the ferry is cancelled.

This applies even if the passenger cannot travel due to confinement regulations. It is up to the company to decide whether to refund or not.

We are aware of a number of travel companies with similar policies with regard to trips cancelled by the customer.

However one disappointed P&O Saver ticket holder, who did not wish to be named, told The Connexion that as the situation is so uncertain she would have preferred a refund.

She said she initially booked at ticket on the day before confinement in March and so she changed her booking to this November, and now she cannot travel because of the new confinement restrictions, which will not ease until December 15. She has applied to change the booking once again to March 2021 as a refund was not available.  

Cross channel ferry companies operating from Dover to Calais have continued to run their boats for freight purposes throughout 2020 and so, without cancellations by the firms, passengers have had fewer legal rights to refunds than many of those who booked with Brittany Ferries which cancelled all its crossings during the first lockdown (a reduced service has been reintroduced since then).

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