Australians to be given THOUSANDS of dollars if their holidays were cancelled due to Covid-19 – so are you in for a windfall?The ACCC ordered ATP to refund anyone charged marketing and overhead costsCruise company was docking 15 per cent from each refund to cover the costsConsumer watchdog said the cruise company was not allowed to charge the fee

Australians who had their holidays cancelled due to Covid-19 border closures will now be reimbursed thousands of dollars by a luxury travel company.

Travel businesses all over the country were forced to issue refunds to patrons who were blocked from holidaying when Australia’s borders closed on March 20 to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Cruise company Australian Pacific Touring, known as ATP, gave cash back to its customers who were forced to scrap travel plans amid the pandemic, but docked each payment by 15 per cent to cover overhead and marketing costs. 

Luxury travel company ATP will reimburse Australians who forked out for holidays but had them cancelled because of Covid border restrictions (pictured: the Northern Territory) 

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission ordered the travel company to repay patrons who were charged for holidays they did not go on (pictured: passengers lining up for a cruise ship in Sydney in early 2020) 

On Wednesday, the consumer watchdog ACCC ordered the family-owned company to stop making the deductions and reimburse all patrons who were charged.

‘The costs that APT deducted for marketing and overheads amounted to 15 per cent of the booking price,’ the watchdog said.

‘With many holidays costing over $20,000, this meant a significant amount was withheld from the refunds given to consumers,’ ACCC commissioner Sarah Court said.

The watchdog said ATP was not entitled to make the marketing and overhead deductions because they were incurred before the bookings were made, and would have been incurred irrespective of bookings.

Customers impacted by the decision will be contacted by the company with revised refunds.

ATP managing director Chris Hall said in a statement to Daily Mail Australia that the pandemic had been a ‘difficult and upsetting time’ for many people. 

‘The APT Travel Group understands the ACCC has a different interpretation of our terms and conditions in relation to refunds, however, we have reached a mutually agreed position,’ Mr Hall said. 

‘The APT Travel Group understands the ACCC has a different interpretation of our terms and conditions in relation to refunds,’ the company said in regards to the ACCC decision 

‘For some guests affected by imposed suspensions, this means that the refund amount initially advised, paid, or available to them will be increased.’

He also explained the company would take a one-off $400 per passenger administration fee for third-party costs associated with the refunds. 

‘As always, we appreciate the support and patience of all our guests. In turn, we are committed to getting through this period and supporting our guests, staff, global networks, and also the Australian travel industry.’

Ms Court said the ACCC’s position on refunds for cancelled travel has been very clear for the last year.

‘Travel businesses cannot deduct fees unless there are applicable terms and conditions in their contract that expressly permit them to do so,’ she said. 

The watchdog will continue to monitor the travel industry to ensure customers are reimbursed correctly. 

The ACCC said they would also be looking at other travel companies who had charged patrons 

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