Thomas Cook refund: CAA warns customers will have to wait up to two months to get money back

Around 265,000 customers who paid for their holidays by credit card will have to wait up to 60 days to get their money back

Thomas Cook customers will be forced to wait up to 60 days to get their money back. (Getty)

Thousands of Thomas Cook customers will be forced to wait up to two months to get their money back following the travel firm’s collapse, it has been revealed.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) some customers will have to wait as long as 60 days to be repaid for the cost of accomodation and flights.

Direct debit customers will be refunded within 14 days, the CAA said, but many of the 360,000 customers awaiting payment will have to be more patient.

The repayment scheme is reportedly three times larger than any previous refund programme and is in such high demand that the CAA has opened an online refund system.

Repatriation continues

“We hope to pay refunds within 60 days of receiving a valid refund form,” the organisation said.

Package holidays booked with Thomas Cook – the majority of its business – are covered by the Air Travel Organiser’s Licence (Atol) scheme.

Around 100,000 Thomas Cook customers paid for their future holiday by direct debit, with the remaining 265,000 using other payment methods such as credit and debit cards.

The CAA is responsible for bringing Thomas Cook holidaymakers home, as part of the biggest repatriation since the Second World War.

The costs are still being worked out by Government officials, but initial estimates suggest it will be double the £50 million it cost when Monarch Airlines collapsed in 2017.

The CAA said two-thirds of people on holiday have been brought home, with a further 43,000 due to return on or before October 6.

Other costs still unknown include the tab taxpayers will pick up to cover the unpaid wages and redundancy payments to 9,000 Thomas Cook staff who lost their jobs.

Last week, the Business Select Committee launched an inquiry into the collapse, demanding company bosses appear before them to explain what went wrong.

9,000 staff laid off

MPs intend to focus on executive pay and whether auditors did enough to hold bosses to account over their fondness for using “one-off” payments to flatter the underlying profits.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom has also launched a taskforce, although new reports have suggested she declined to speak with Thomas Cook bosses in the build-up to its collapse a week ago – as the company was desperately seeking a Government guarantee to satisfy its lenders.

It comes as Thomas Cook staff prepare for their first payday without wages after the airline’s collapse.

More than 100 staff announced on Friday they have backed legal action against the travel firm in a bid to recover thousands of pounds of lost wages.

Hundreds of Thomas Cook staff are expected to hold a demonstration at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester on Monday – the day they were due to receive their wages.

Dressed in their Thomas Cook uniforms, the workers will protest at the Government’s failure to intervene and cover the £200 million funding gap.

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