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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I booked a minibus from the company Wien Trasnfers Vienna

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Hi there! I booked a minibus from the company Wien Trasnfers Vienna (operated through a Birkenhead company Kraken Travel). This was for a private minibus to take my group from our holiday apartment in Vienna to the airport on our final day. The trip was scheduled for 27th April 2020. Unfortunately due to COVID19 the trip was cancelled and we have no future plans to reschedule.
JA: Have you talked to a lawyer about this? In which country do you live? If different, which country is your legal question related to?
Customer: I contacted the company at the beginning of April to cancel and apply for a refund. Their T&C's state you need to give a minimum of 48 hours notice to cancel and I was giving over 20 days. They refuse to refund me and now are ignoring all my emails. I paid over £100 which I need to refund to my group and I have exhausted all other options. I live in the UK and the company is in Vienna but we mentioned before their head offices are in Birkenhead. I've not contacted a lawyer yet
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: 1. Attempted to cancel directly well within their cancellation policy 2. Sent several follow up emails
JA: Anything else you want the Lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: That's all for now
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Unfortunately due to COVID19 our trip to Vienna was cancelled and we haven no future plans to travel there as a group. I paid over £100 for this transfer. I emailed the company at the beginning of April to let them know we would not be travelling (Austria at this point was already under strict lockdown). It's worth noting their T&Cs state you need to give at least 48 hours notice for a full refund if cancelling and I was giving over 20 days. At first I was told that I could get a refund but it would take a while as they were "inundated with cancellations" which was fine. A month passed and I'd still not heard anything so I chased up. I was bluntly told that I would not get a refund, only a voucher. We have no future plans to travel to Vienna so I won't get anything for the £100 I spent. I just need a refund to pass onto my group. I have since sent about 7 other emails asking for a refund and all have been ignored. They simply are not responding and I've exhausted all other options on how to resolve this.

Hi, welcome to JustAnswer. My name is*****’m a barrister with 12 years of experience and I am happy to help with your question today.

Did you cancel or did they?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Hi Jo. Thank you for the quick response. I got in touch to cancel (but was well outwith of their 48 hour cancellation policy)
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I'm happier to chat over here

Thanks for the information.

Can you give me 20 mins to dictate an answer.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Of course, thank you

Thank you.

I cannot really give you good news I'm afraid.

Come what may, you cancel this. I do realise that they're going to have to cancel it anyway but the point is they didn't.

The starting point therefore is that you are entitled to nothing I'm afraid unless you can bring yourself within the cancellation policy. You seem to be saying that you cannot.

That said, i wouldn't give up. I would try arguing that they were going to have to cancel anyway and the only reason that you did is that contract was completely unlawful. As a result of that, they cannot enforce an unlawful contract and so you should be entitled to a refund. It is rather convoluted but it is an argument that you can bring.

If they refuse then just issue against them.

It is worth at least arguing this point

Can I clarify anything for you?

Jo

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thanks Jo. Just to clarify, their Terms and Conditions are they require more than 48 hours and I gave 20 days - so I gave much more notice of cancelling than they needed (even without COVID). How can I best issue against them?

So you were within your cancellation rights?

Do they dispute that?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Their initial response to my cancellation on the 6th April (21 days before my booking) was this: I have cancelled your booking. I have forwarded the refund request to my manager. We ask for your patience because we receive more hundred cancellations each days so it takes time for us to issue all of them. There is another option to keep the credit for a later date. Please let me know if you would like to choose that.After 4 chase up emails over the course of a month I got this response:"I kindly apologize for the late reply. I got the official information that due to the extraordinary circumstances entailed by the epidemics, which could easily lead to generation of losses affecting the registered capital even of companies previously in good economic and financial conditions, our company is currently insolvent. As most travel companies instead of refund we offer a voucher in the amount of your booking. You can use this voucher at any time in the future. Thank you for your understanding."And now they are not returning my emails. That last email was from 12th May. They are just ignoring meTheir terms and conditions state: "If we receive your cancellation request more than 48 hours before the scheduled pickup time of the transfer service you wish to cancel, the amount paid for this transfer will be refunded in full (deducting a handling fee of 5% but at least 15 euro). No monies will be refunded for cancellations received less than 48 hours from the scheduled time of the transfer service you wish to cancel. "
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I just won't ever use their voucher they are offering so I've lost £100 of other people's money

Right, what this comes down to almost certainly then is that they just don't have the money. That is a difficulty of course as you cannot have what isn't there.

Did you pay by visa?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I paid with my Visa Debit card (which is a business account too - if that makes a difference?)

Thank you.

I am really sorry but they are just insolvent and if you used a debit card then you do not have the protection of section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

You will get a certain amount back as a result of the insolvency procedures but nothing like the sun that you paid.

I am sorry as this is awful for creditors.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
That's super frustrating but thank you for taking the time to look into this for me
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
If I did want to persue getting anything back, even a small amount, what would be the best way to do that?

No problem.

All the best. I am so sorry.

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