THE collapse of Thomas Cook has left customers unable to spend their gift cards and vouchers with the tour operator.
But depending on how these were paid for originally, you may be able to get some or all of the money back.
Thomas Cook went bust in the early hours of Monday after it failed to stump up £200million required by creditors.
The collapse sparked the UK’s biggest repatriation effort since World War Two, with around 150,000 Brits stranded abroad.
If you’d saved up vouchers to go on your dream holiday but never got round to spending them, you still have rights.
Can I get money back on vouchers and gift cards?
The Thomas Cook vouchers have been given out by some employers as part of benefits schemes, while others have been handed gift cards by their loved ones.
Either way, they have now become worthless as is generally the case when a company collapses.
Yet in theory they still have some value, Martyn James of complaints resolution tool Resolver told The Sun.
Customers can try and claim the money back in a few ways, but there are no guarantees. Below we explain all you need to know.
If you’ve already used your vouchers to pay for a package holiday, you are ATOL-protected and will get it refunded.
Apply to be a creditor
The Official Receiver, the Thomas Cook liquidator, told The Sun that customers who’ve been left with worthless gift cards and vouchers can apply to be creditors in the liquidation.
This applies if you or someone else has paid Thomas Cook for goods or services that you haven’t received – for example, if you haven’t used your gift card.
To register as a creditor you will need to complete a so-called “Proof of Debt” form, including details on how much you’ve lost out.
You’ll then need to send it to administrator AlixPartners. You can find more details on the GOV.UK website.
Just keep in mind that this process puts you at the end of a long queue of creditors, Mr James said.
This, in turn, means you might only get back very little of the vouchers’ worth.
“But we don’t know what will happen so you shouldn’t put them in the bin,” Mr James added.
“The Thomas Cook brand could be revived or sold to a competitor, so the cards could become usable again.”
Make a Section 75 claim under the Consumer Credit Act
If you don’t want to wait around for that, and Mr James advises you not to, another route is to make a Section 75 claim.
This applies to you or whoever gave you the gift cards or vouchers if they paid by credit card.
Just keep in mind that the purchase must have cost between £100 and £30,000, and not all credit card providers will refund you.
To make a claim, contact your credit card provider – your first port of call should be its customer service – and tell them you want to make a claim under Section 75.
It should then send you a claim form which you can fill in and your provider will use to process your application.
Claim back money under the “chargeback” scheme”
If you paid by direct debit or by credit card and the total come to less than £100, you may be able to claim under the “chargeback” scheme.
There is a time limit on chargeback claims – typically 120 days from the transaction processing date, or from when you expected to receive the goods if it’s being delivered.
Also be aware that unlike Section 75, this is not a legal requirement.
Can I still use my Thomas Cook prepaid travel card?
If you have a Thomas Cook Cash Passport prepaid Lyk card, you’ll be pleased to know that the cards are still valid.
This is because the cards are issued by Wirecard Card Solutions Ltd and operated separately from Thomas Cook. Wirecard is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
As its terms and conditions explain: “Your money is however safeguarded at a UK credit institution where it is ring-fenced and designated as customer funds.”
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Airlines and travel firms have been accused of ripping off Thomas Cook customers as prices have tripled since the collapse.
Meanwhile, bosses of the tour operator have pocketed £47million in pay and bonuses since 2007.
Thomas Cook hotel staff also threatened to call the Spanish police if they don’t pay their £1,100 bill, according to a Brit holidaymaker.
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