On Friday 3 July 2020 the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it had obtained undertakings from Sykes Cottages, to offer full cash refunds to customers whose bookings had been cancelled as a result of government restrictions implemented in respect of COVID-19.
Previously Sykes Cottages had allowed customers to reschedule their booking dates, or alternatively had offered partial refunds or credit notes. The undertakings given to the CMA therefore represent a significant shift in approach.
The CMA has identified holiday accommodation providers as a key focus of their investigation into COVID-19 cancellations and are also turning their attention to package holiday providers.
As well as ensuring customers are able to access full refunds, businesses should be alert to unfair practices such as those which make the cancellation process difficult. Consumers must not be presented with unnecessary hurdles to obtain a refund, and cancellation or administration fees should only be charged where reasonable.