Customers of Thomas Cook have responded angrily after being informed that they will face delays receiving a refund for Atol-protected package holidays.
The Civil Aviation Authority [CAA] originally stated that all valid claims made on the first day of its refund programme; would be paid within 60 days, or by this Friday.
However they are now saying only two-thirds will be paid on time.
Customers have responded angrily on Twitter, along with some arguing they should have been made aware from the start that the refund process could take longer than 60 days.
Other customers say they have struggled to reach the CAA via phone to get at least some information.
The boss of CAA, Richard Moriarty acknowledged that a lot of people would be worried about not getting their money before Christmas.
Richard said, “We thank consumers for their ongoing patience as we continue to do all that we can to work through the UK travel industry’s largest ever refunds programme”.
“I appreciate that this is a concerning time for Thomas Cook customers who are waiting for their refunds, particularly at this time of the year.”
It triggered the biggest ever peacetime repatriation, aimed at bringing more than 150,000 British holidaymakers home.
Thomas Cook collapsed in September after last-minute negotiations aimed at saving the 178-year-old holiday firm failed.
From 7 October an online refund application system opened, and customers were told the Civil Aviation Authority aimed to pay out within 60 days. Customers have until September next year to submit the online form.
The CAA said it had received 260,000 valid claims to date. But around 40,000 of the cancelled holidays eligible for a refund have still not been claimed for.
But now it’s more disappointment for the 22,000 of those early bird customers who applied immediately for a refund and still haven’t received a penny back.
For a large number of customers it’ll mean things are going to be extra-tight this Christmas.